The “Color As You Like It” color matching system was Benjamin Moore’s name for its pre-formulated color mixes. Before the company had a machine to pump the color, which is an interesting story in itself, there was a system that used discrete units and bases. That is, there were various sizes of tubes and cans of colorants. Just like today, there were several bases depending on how deep you wanted your color to be. Of course these bases were available for each type of paint in the system.
After the customer picked the color, you had to go to a chart and look up the formula for the type of paint. Then you needed to gather up the various tubes and cans of colorant. Next you had to squeeze tubes and empty cans into the called-for base. You had to take care to empty the containers as completely as possible. Finally, it just remained to put the can in the paint shaker. I only had to mix a couple of gallons this way. At best it was a messy process, and I was happy when we brough in machines that measured the colorants.
In 1958 or ’59 one of the sales representatives tried to sell my grandfather a color dispensing machine. Granddad asked if the machine had umber colorants. The salesman said no. My grandfather replied that he didn’t believe he wanted one.