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Re: blockmaking

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  • 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 1 of 6 , Aug 2, 2007
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      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 2 of 6 , Aug 2, 2007
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        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 3 of 6 , Aug 2, 2007
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          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 4 of 6 , Aug 2, 2007
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            --- 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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