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Engraving and Etching - Origins And History Of Intaglio Printing, Evolution Of Etching Techniques

plate ink lines paper

Engraving and etching are processes used to make intaglio prints. An intaglio print is made from a plate, usually a metal one, which has been had lines drawn into its surface. These lines trap ink when the ink is rolled across the surface of the plate. When the surface of the plate is wiped with a cloth, the lines retain their ink. A piece of damp paper is placed on the plate, and the two are run through a press, which forces them together. This process transfers the ink from the plate to the paper. In an etching, acids are used to draw into the plate. In an engraving, sharp tools are used to draw directly into the metal.

Engraving and etching have been used in printing for hundreds of years. Before the invention of modern, photographic-based techniques, they were the most commonly used method for reproducing images. Newspapers and printed advertisements formerly used engravings. Stamps and paper money are still printed using the engraving process because of its ability to reproduce fine lines and sharp details.


Enlightenment - Counter-enlightenment, Fractured Enlightenment, The New Cultural History, Bibliography [next]

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