Archive through April 08, 2003

Miss Tiffany's picture

Who invented Lithographic printing, what was said person trade, and most importantly what was said person attempting to do when said person made the discovery?

Miss Tiffany's picture

hmmm. :^/ The who is correct. The what is basically correct. But the how isn't quite how the story goes.

matha_standun's picture

Tiffany,

I think the story goes more or less like that. Summary from the Catholic Encyclopedia:

The death of his father forced him to give up his studies in order to support his mother and eight sisters and brothers. After attempting to become an actor, he took up dramatic writing, at which he was at first fairly successful. Because of difficulty in finding a publisher, he tried to devise means for printing his productions himself, and began a series of experiments with etching and copper-plates until he discovered, in 1796, that Kilheim lime-stone could be used for the purpose.

I vote for Joshua.

Matha

Miss Tiffany's picture

I wasn't trying to be nitpicky. Promise. --- From what I remember from the printing history lectures it was something along the lines of his having made notes or something or other onto stone with a grease pen of some kind. He left these out in the barn. It rained. He noticed that the water didn't stick to the grease. From that he had his Aha! moment. --- He was working toward publishing his own plays, as Joshua mentioned. Anyway. Go ahead Joshua.

matha_standun's picture

Well that's a bit more romantic anyway. But is it really likely that someone would make calculations with a bit of soap on a stone?

M.

matha_standun's picture

Can anyone back Lithoboy up on that?

jlt's picture

You got me. You're fast. OK, here you go:

The ATF 1912 "big red book" was the first major type catalog to offer what sort of typefaces "for silk and plain printing"?

matha_standun's picture

Hold on. Unless Lithoboy's joking, it sounds like a valid answer to me.
No takers?

M.

jlt's picture

Sorry to jump the gun. I didn't even see his post there!

matha_standun's picture

I was beginning to think I was hallucinating!

M.

John Hudson's picture

RULE REMINDER:

If you are declared the winner, you must wait one hour before posting your new question. This is to allow adequate time for challenges.

jlt's picture

That's a really good rule. Maybe I should go back and read the rest of them.

kentlew's picture

I'm going to answer Joshua's query anyway, whether or not the question is actually in play.

The typefaces in question were typewriter fonts -- for use such that commercially printed correspondence might look as though it had been typewritten. These fonts were sometimes printed through silk to simulate the effect of the typewriter ribbon and further enhance the illusion.

-- K.

bieler's picture

Kent

I'm not questioning this. But how do you print through silk? Inquiring minds want to know!!!

kentlew's picture

Gerald --

I have no firsthand experience in this. But I'll quote to you from the 1923 ATF Book:


". . . The accurately designed typewriter faces offered by the American Type founders Company, in such wide variety, afford every printer the opportunity of engaging in the printing of imitation typewritten letters to whatever extent he chooses.

"The type here shown, 12 point New Model Smith-Premier, is designed to be printed through silk, crepe chiffon or regular ribbon cloth. By varying the quality and amount of cloth used an impression of any weight and character may be obtained. The ribbon cloth is heaviest, and gives most weight to the type face; crepe chiffon is lightest.

"If addresses are to be filled in on the typewriter, have the stenographer of the firm for whom the work is to be done write a sample letter. Use this as a color sheet and have the pressman work on it, for the depth of color and the weight of the impression may easily be controlled on the press, while it is impossible to do this on the typewriter."



In Joshua's question, the "for silk and plain printing" was the giveaway.

-- K.

Mark Simonson's picture

The process is described it more detail in the 1906 edition:

"This work can best be done by printing through crepe chiffon streached on the grippers, leaving the cloth a little slack. And using Process Inks. This method gives most satisfactory results when used on a platen press. At all times have the chiffon washed thoroughly with soap and water before using. When on a cylinder press, use Japanese silk of good quality, but light in weight. Put the silk through the same preparations as the chiffon; lock it up loosely in the form, between the type and the furniture; draw several impressions from double thickness of stock to be used on job so as to form a matrix of the cloth. Use CLEAN rollers and bearers. Use ribbons that are made from the same ink, for filling in names and addresses.

"You can then have tha assurance that the ink used in printing will exactly match the ribbon used on the typewriter for filling in the address.

"Distribute the Process Ink on the plate as usual, then put in form. The first few rollings will saturate the silk with ink and it will act as an inked ribbon, biving an impression like that of a typewriting machine. The silk will last a long time and when filled up can be washed in benzine and used again."

The sample pages are quite convincing.

John Hudson's picture

Joshua, please confirm whether Kent's answer is correct and, if so, declare him the winner so that he can post a new question (after the obligatory one hour challenge period).

hrant's picture

FYI, Joshua is currently on the road - if you need to reach him let me know. And I'll let him know he's "expected".

BTW, it seems we might need new Rules, covering how long the person who asked the question has to name a winner, and what happens if he doesn't end up naming a winner. Actually, it's trickier than that - in fact it seems we'd need a lattice of new Rules to cover certain behaviors on the part of the person who asked the question - but maybe it's not worth ironing it all out unless it's actually needed.

hhp

John Hudson's picture

I feel a new rule coming on. Does anyone remember what number the last one was?

matha_standun's picture

John,

Any chance of a rule that allows us to continue with the quiz? I've been getting to bed at a reasonable hour for the last few days and my wife thinks I'm up to something.

Matha

John Hudson's picture

HEAR YE:

It is hereby decreed by quizmasterly fiat that Mr Lew's answer to Mr Lurie-Terrell's question is almost certainly correct; even if he made it up, it sounded thoroughly convincing. Mr Lew is therefore declared the winner of that round and is invited to pose the next question. If he has not posed a new question within three hours, the privilege will pass to Mr Stand

jlt's picture

Yes, it is definitely correct! Sorry - I was in Pasadena, having a wonderful cuban sandwich with Hrant.

matha_standun's picture

For 4 days? Hell of a sandwich!! ;-)

hrant's picture

Do you think he'd drive down from Sacramento just for a Subway? ;-)
Joshua, that was one great lunch, wasn't it!

hhp

kentlew's picture

Okay, here we go:

What was the last original typeface designed for Linotype to be cut in metal and who designed it? For extra credit: Who did the production drawings?

-- K.

eomine's picture

hint, please! ;)

anonymous's picture

Aloys Senefelder invented lithography sometime in the late 18th century, I think. I am reasonably sure, although my memory often fails me, that he was attempting to create a chemical printing process to cheaply reproduce copies of plays or stories he had written. He wrote a book about the invention of the process which is pretty detailed. Read it in school years ago, portions of it at least, but can't remember title offhand.

anonymous's picture

Il a racont

anonymous's picture

Not sure if there was more to the story. That description of the "how" is, at least as I can remember, from Senefelder's own description of the process, which the only original source documentation on the discovery in existence. I am wracking my mind trying to remember if there was something else going on, but I just can't seem to remember. You'll have to fill me in.

anonymous's picture

Not joking. Alo

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