When Draper’s 2016 AV Price List hit the streets yesterday, something was missing from its pages. For the first time since 1957, the Draper V Screen isn’t there.
The V Screen was the very first projection screen introduced by Draper.
Before 1957, Draper was strictly in the business of solar control—company founder Luther O. Draper had started the company in 1902, traveling around east central Indiana selling window shades to schools. But several Draper customers had started asking if the company could also provide a roll-up projection screen, or consider it. So Luther Pidgeon, grandson of Luther Draper and himself a future company president, invented the V Screen.
The V Screen was designed to be a durable, inexpensive solution for classrooms. It featured spring-roller operation and a simple design so it could easily be mounted and used by anyone. It came with one type of viewing surface at first—a Matt White coated with several layers of vinyl plastic—and mounting accessories to allow it to go just about anywhere in a classroom, even in a corner.
One big difference between the V Screen and other projection screens was the fact that it was not enclosed in a case. According to the product literature at the time, this was because:
” … a metal case does have one very important fault—it significantly reduces the life of the average wall screen. This occurs for three reasons:
- Whenever an encased screen is operated, the screen fabric frequently rubs against the lip of the case. This eventually frays the screen fabric along the edges, causing it to tear. By eliminating the case, we preclude this possibility.
- Many wall screens wear out along the bottom hemline because they are operated carelessly by students who allow the screen to roll up too rapidly, causing the bottom hem to strike the metal case, which tears out the hemline. By eliminating the case, we preclude this possibility.
- Many wall screens wear out because moisture condenses inside the metal case and eventually rots the stitching in the bottom hemline and causes the screen fabric to mildew. By eliminating the case, we preclude this possibility.”
There was also another difference: The Draper V Screen came with a five-year warranty.
Over the years, Draper equipped hundreds of thousands of classrooms with this basic, quality screen, and it continued to be a popular low-cost option into the new millennium. Time and technology, however, finally caught up with the venerable screen, as the advantages were taken care of thanks to advances in material and production technologies.
Motorized screens that tie into the AV or distance learning system; screens—both manual and motorized—that can be recessed above the ceiling; new viewing surfaces; other new technologies: they have all taken their places in classrooms over the years. Nowadays, using Draper’s Projection Planner and with our TecVision Engineered Screen Technology, a screen can even be matched to the conditions in each room.
Still, 59 years is a pretty good run!
Even though this is a bittersweet moment, perhaps the most important thing to remember about the V Screen is this: It was the first step in a continuing trend of product innovation in projection screens and related products. Some of our most successful and groundbreaking products are a direct result of that first step. Without it, things like the Access “Case now screen later” concept, StageScreen and FocalPoint modular screens, or Optically Seamless TecVision would not have come about.
Twenty-first century innovation, rooted in tradition. And it all started right there in Luther Pidgeon’s mind back in 1957.