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  • Graham and Kathy
    Can anyone help me to find a book that gives details and dates of when different methods of letterpress reproduction of pictures became available? I m
    Message 1 of 6 , Aug 2, 2007
      Can anyone help me to find a book that gives details and dates of when
      different methods of letterpress reproduction of pictures became available?

      I'm especially interested in when photographic methods of engraving became
      available - electros I guess came from dabs of wood engravings, but when
      could one get zincos made from line drawings? I know that Emery Walker was
      involved in this development, but can't seem to find any factual details or
      history.

      Thanks in advance


      Graham Moss
      Incline Press
      36 Bow Street
      Oldham OL1 1SJ England
      http://www.inclinepress.com
    • Scott Rubel
      All my books are pretty old and out of print. It is surprisingly difficult to find a good complete history online, also, though it must exist. You can sort of
      Message 2 of 6 , Aug 2, 2007
        All my books are pretty old and out of print.

        It is surprisingly difficult to find a good complete history online,
        also, though it must exist. You can sort of assemble it from different
        URLs and through individual pages about processes in Wikipedia.

        A short version of what I remember about this, in answer to your
        specific interest, is that wood engraving was the most common method for
        letterpress reproduction of illustrations for a couple of hundred years.
        There were different styles of wood engraving, of course. Some styles
        were organic to the process and involved the use of negative lines and
        hatching to achieve tonal variance. Other methods were an attempt to
        imitate a line drawing, with all the positive lines and squiggles carved
        in, usually less beautiful and more difficult.

        When you say photographic methods of reproduction, the time period
        you're after depends upon how automated the method is that you want. For
        instance, by the American Civil War many illustrations for newspapers
        were first transfered to treated wood blocks photographically. The
        exposed block was given to a skilled engraver, which is why you see so
        many illustrations from the period looking so technically "perfect,"
        especially portraits and such. For very large illustrations a block
        would be made in sections and locked together from the back. A
        photograph or drawing would be exposed on the large surface, then it
        would be unlocked and the pieces distributed to many engravers to work
        on. When the pieces were finished, the pieces would be locked back
        together and one tradesman would finish it off, engraving in all the
        seams. This is how weekly and daily newspapers could get so much work
        done so quickly.

        Real photoengraving and acid etching onto a metal surface (usually
        copper) was being used quite a bit after 1878, though the concept had
        been around for decades. It wasn't until the idea of the half-tone came
        about that photoengraving really caught on big time, finally removing a
        barrier of going from photograph to mass-production. The first published
        half-tone was in 1880, and it took another 40 years for wood engraving
        to really die off. When zinc began to replace copper, I'm not sure, but
        would guess it was becoming popular by the 1930s, with magnesium coming
        in the 1940s. Gerald Lange can probably correct this, or someone with
        more time to Google.

        I remember reading the history of the Sander Wood Engraving Company and
        then going to Indiana to visit David Sander. What a shop filled with
        wonderful tools and countless wood blocks stuffed in every available
        krany! All that Crimean boxwood and maple was just stupefying. Sander
        was the last surviving commercial wood engraving shop in the region. To
        think that at in the 1890s there were over 5,000 shops like this in
        Chicago alone!

        --Scott

        Good book for wood engravers, by the way, is by David Sander:
        http://www.amazon.com/Wood-Engraving-Studio-David-Sander/dp/0670780839

        P.S. For those interested in these processes, a new book is just out,
        written by a friend of mine, Barret Oliver. I've known him over the last
        almost ten years as he has reinvented the lost art of Woodburytype
        photographic reproduction. This method was intended as a mass-production
        method for photographs and pre-dated half-tones by 16 years, but it was
        too prone to defects if done by unskilled tradesmen, and labor
        intensive. Books using this method contain some of the most beautifully
        reproduced photographs ever.
        A HISTORY OF THE WOODBURYTYPE
        http://www.nccn.net/~cmautz/Woodburytype.htm
        http://www.iphotocentral.com/collecting/article_view.php/17/95/1

        http://www.bauerengraving.com/engraving.html

        http://www.mcgill.ca/blackader/guides/art/print

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chromolithography#Availability
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wood_engraving
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photogravure

        Graham and Kathy wrote:

        >Can anyone help me to find a book that gives details and dates of when
        >different methods of letterpress reproduction of pictures became available?
        >
        >I'm especially interested in when photographic methods of engraving became
        >available - electros I guess came from dabs of wood engravings, but when
        >could one get zincos made from line drawings? I know that Emery Walker was
        >involved in this development, but can't seem to find any factual details or
        >history.
        >
        >Thanks in advance
        >
        >
        >Graham Moss
        >Incline Press
        >36 Bow Street
        >Oldham OL1 1SJ England
        >http://www.inclinepress.com
        >
        >
        >Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        >
      • nagraph1
        The Inland Printer has numerous articles from their first year in 1883 about photoengraving and halftone development, but I don t think it has all been put
        Message 3 of 6 , Aug 2, 2007
          The Inland Printer has numerous articles from their first year in
          1883 about photoengraving and halftone development, but I don't
          think it has all been put together in book form. Names prominent in
          halftone work in the U.S. included Frederick Ives and another fellow
          whose name I don't have at hand but the first real halftone is
          attributed to him and he wrote a column for the Inland Printer well
          into the 1920s. Almost every edition of the Inland Printer had a
          story about photoengraving and halftone plates were a regular
          feature--and few had anything to do about printing but were pictures
          of scenery, people, cute kids, etc. Zinc was being widely used in
          the 1880s, so it was on the scene relatively early. I don't think
          magnesium was used to any degree until after World War II. Dow
          Chemical came up with the etching process (Dow Etch) as they also
          manufactured the bulk of the magnesium, and still do.

          Fritz

          In PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com, Scott Rubel <scott@...> wrote:
          >
          > All my books are pretty old and out of print.
          >
          > It is surprisingly difficult to find a good complete history
          online,
          > also, though it must exist. You can sort of assemble it from
          different
          > URLs and through individual pages about processes in Wikipedia.
          >
          > A short version of what I remember about this, in answer to your
          > specific interest, is that wood engraving was the most common
          method for
          > letterpress reproduction of illustrations for a couple of hundred
          years.
          > There were different styles of wood engraving, of course. Some
          styles
          > were organic to the process and involved the use of negative lines
          and
          > hatching to achieve tonal variance. Other methods were an attempt
          to
          > imitate a line drawing, with all the positive lines and squiggles
          carved
          > in, usually less beautiful and more difficult.
          >
          > When you say photographic methods of reproduction, the time period
          > you're after depends upon how automated the method is that you
          want. For
          > instance, by the American Civil War many illustrations for
          newspapers
          > were first transfered to treated wood blocks photographically. The
          > exposed block was given to a skilled engraver, which is why you
          see so
          > many illustrations from the period looking so
          technically "perfect,"
          > especially portraits and such. For very large illustrations a
          block
          > would be made in sections and locked together from the back. A
          > photograph or drawing would be exposed on the large surface, then
          it
          > would be unlocked and the pieces distributed to many engravers to
          work
          > on. When the pieces were finished, the pieces would be locked back
          > together and one tradesman would finish it off, engraving in all
          the
          > seams. This is how weekly and daily newspapers could get so much
          work
          > done so quickly.
          >
          > Real photoengraving and acid etching onto a metal surface (usually
          > copper) was being used quite a bit after 1878, though the concept
          had
          > been around for decades. It wasn't until the idea of the half-tone
          came
          > about that photoengraving really caught on big time, finally
          removing a
          > barrier of going from photograph to mass-production. The first
          published
          > half-tone was in 1880, and it took another 40 years for wood
          engraving
          > to really die off. When zinc began to replace copper, I'm not
          sure, but
          > would guess it was becoming popular by the 1930s, with magnesium
          coming
          > in the 1940s. Gerald Lange can probably correct this, or someone
          with
          > more time to Google.
          >
          > I remember reading the history of the Sander Wood Engraving
          Company and
          > then going to Indiana to visit David Sander. What a shop filled
          with
          > wonderful tools and countless wood blocks stuffed in every
          available
          > krany! All that Crimean boxwood and maple was just stupefying.
          Sander
          > was the last surviving commercial wood engraving shop in the
          region. To
          > think that at in the 1890s there were over 5,000 shops like this
          in
          > Chicago alone!
          >
          > --Scott
          >
          > Good book for wood engravers, by the way, is by David Sander:
          > http://www.amazon.com/Wood-Engraving-Studio-David-
          Sander/dp/0670780839
          >
          > P.S. For those interested in these processes, a new book is just
          out,
          > written by a friend of mine, Barret Oliver. I've known him over
          the last
          > almost ten years as he has reinvented the lost art of Woodburytype
          > photographic reproduction. This method was intended as a mass-
          production
          > method for photographs and pre-dated half-tones by 16 years, but
          it was
          > too prone to defects if done by unskilled tradesmen, and labor
          > intensive. Books using this method contain some of the most
          beautifully
          > reproduced photographs ever.
          > A HISTORY OF THE WOODBURYTYPE
          > http://www.nccn.net/~cmautz/Woodburytype.htm
          > http://www.iphotocentral.com/collecting/article_view.php/17/95/1
          >
          > http://www.bauerengraving.com/engraving.html
          >
          > http://www.mcgill.ca/blackader/guides/art/print
          >
          > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chromolithography#Availability
          > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wood_engraving
          > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photogravure
          >
        • Gerald Lange
          Graham I think the best source for you would be _The British Printer_. This was an industrial journal that began about 1887. I suspect university libraries in
          Message 4 of 6 , Aug 2, 2007
            Graham

            I think the best source for you would be _The British Printer_. This
            was an industrial journal that began about 1887. I suspect university
            libraries in your neck of the woods might have a full run of it. I
            have a couple of bound annuals from the 1890s and they are jam-packed
            with information, with illustrations reflecting the processes used
            during the time period.

            I think the key in regard to the movement to photographic processes
            was the commercial availability of film. That coincides with Walker
            and Morris. Walker's seminal slide lantern show is an initial use of
            the technology. The further exploration of historical typeface
            specimens by the pair that resulted in the Kelmscott Press, is
            likewise the result of the industrial standardization of photographic
            processes. I'm not sure how much Walker was involved in the
            development of photo-engraving but, but as I recall, he was an owner
            in such a firm.

            In one of _The British Printers_ that I have the editors speculate on
            the production costs and profit involved in one of the Kelmscott
            books. They were "blown away," or the equivalent late 19th century
            expression.

            Gerald
            http://BielerPress.blogspot.com




            --- In PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com, Graham and Kathy
            <kwhalen.incline@...> wrote:
            >
            > Can anyone help me to find a book that gives details and dates of when
            > different methods of letterpress reproduction of pictures became
            available?
            >
            > I'm especially interested in when photographic methods of engraving
            became
            > available - electros I guess came from dabs of wood engravings, but when
            > could one get zincos made from line drawings? I know that Emery
            Walker was
            > involved in this development, but can't seem to find any factual
            details or
            > history.
            >
            > Thanks in advance
            >
            >
            > Graham Moss
            > Incline Press
            > 36 Bow Street
            > Oldham OL1 1SJ England
            > http://www.inclinepress.com
            >
          • Graham and Kathy
            Excellent suggestion - I ll see if I can track down a set without the big trek to London, and eventually report back somehow on what I find. All the best,
            Message 5 of 6 , Aug 2, 2007
              Excellent suggestion - I'll see if I can track down a set without the big
              trek to London, and eventually report back somehow on what I find.

              All the best,


              Graham Moss
              Incline Press
              36 Bow Street
              Oldham OL1 1SJ England
              http://www.inclinepress.com






              On 2/8/07 20:21, "Gerald Lange" <Bieler@...> wrote:

              > Graham
              >
              > I think the best source for you would be _The British Printer_. This
              > was an industrial journal that began about 1887. I suspect university
              > libraries in your neck of the woods might have a full run of it. I
              > have a couple of bound annuals from the 1890s and they are jam-packed
              > with information, with illustrations reflecting the processes used
              > during the time period.
              >
              > I think the key in regard to the movement to photographic processes
              > was the commercial availability of film. That coincides with Walker
              > and Morris. Walker's seminal slide lantern show is an initial use of
              > the technology. The further exploration of historical typeface
              > specimens by the pair that resulted in the Kelmscott Press, is
              > likewise the result of the industrial standardization of photographic
              > processes. I'm not sure how much Walker was involved in the
              > development of photo-engraving but, but as I recall, he was an owner
              > in such a firm.
              >
              > In one of _The British Printers_ that I have the editors speculate on
              > the production costs and profit involved in one of the Kelmscott
              > books. They were "blown away," or the equivalent late 19th century
              > expression.
              >
              > Gerald
              > http://BielerPress.blogspot.com
            • parallel_imp
              ... available? Graham, according to a brief historical introduction to Modern Photoengraving (1948) by Flader & Mertle, the first relief etching was made in
              Message 6 of 6 , Aug 2, 2007
                --- In PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com, Graham and Kathy
                <kwhalen.incline@...> wrote:
                >
                > Can anyone help me to find a book that gives details and dates of when
                > different methods of letterpress reproduction of pictures became
                available?

                Graham, according to a brief historical introduction to "Modern
                Photoengraving" (1948) by Flader & Mertle, the first relief etching
                was made in copper by A. Dembour in 1823, and in zinc by Blasius Höfel
                in 1840. Firmin Gillot introduced a different method of zinc etching,
                transferring an image from a litho stone to the zinc as a resist, in
                1850.
                The first three-color relief halftone was done by Frederick Ives in
                1881, using a single-line screen, though they don't say specifically
                if this was photomechanical or not. The first photographic crossline
                halftone by Wm. Leggo was in 1869.
                --Eric Holub, SF
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