Different Types of Antique Prints And Maps And How To Differentiate Them

Sunday, December 2, 2012
When we talk about antique prints and maps we are simply talking about historical prints made from books and atlases which have been published over various centuries. These prints are usually made using the ancient printing methods and coloured using the hand if coloured. They are really treasured and every one looks upon preserving them as they remind us of our history, where we came from, where we are and where we are heading to. We have various printing methods where each differs from each other. Individual people will have different tastes when it comes to prints, hence, printing companies came up with distinctive printing techniques. These range from copperplate engravings to woodcuts.
Different Printing Techniques
The various printing techniques used most times include; The Copperplate Engraving Technique This is a type of printing which involves making a print of a design on a hard surface. The process involves first heating a plate with the drawing on it, smearing it with ink and waiting for it to harden. This ink will flow into the finer details, lines and textures of the drawing. The rest of the plate is then cleaned and pressed onto a moistened paper. The ink from the copperplate depressions soak into the paper leaving the press of the drawing. This copperplate engraving technique is tiresome since the engraver needs a lot of strength. It was also very time-consuming and exacting. This technique features fine lines, soft contrasts and is rich in detail.
Steel Engraving Technique
Steel engraving involves the use of a steel base during printing instead of a copperplate. This technique was used during the later centuries in order to print bank notes. The steel block used is smeared with ink, heated and then the impressions are pressed onto paper making a print of the drawing. It replaced the copperplate engraving and proves to be easier, much finer, more detailed and causes less pressure to produce these impressions.

Wood Engraving or Woodcuts
Wood engraving uses similar techniques as the above methods, the only difference being that the engraver uses a wood block or piece as the base for printing. It produces much thinner lines with dark compositions making the print quite detailed.
Traditional Limestone Lithography
Lastly we have the traditional limestone lithography which uses limestone to produce prints. It can be used to print images on books and even texts. The prints produce are detailed works of art and images. Modern day lithography makes use of aluminium or paper printing plates instead of tablets made from stones as before. This modern technique involves the use of photosensitive emulsions where the negative of the image to be printed is placed on the emulsion and exposed to ultraviolet light to generate a print. There are various differences between the modern offset lithography and the traditional one. The modern lithography uses aluminium or paper plates. The prints are made on photosensitive emulsions and exposed to ultraviolet light to create a print. With traditional lithography a stone is used as a base during printing, where ink is applied on it to forge impressions when pressed with pressure on paper. Each technique has their own features, but some differences are so minute a magnifying glass is needed to differentiate between them. This is due to the fact that traditional engravers used the mirror-image technique while making prints which was not adopted by modern printing methods.


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