Notes from the Past

Line Engraving

The early line-engraved stamps were produced by the process invented by Jacob Perkins of the British firm of Perkins, Bacon & Petch, and consisted of hand engraving with a steel tool known as a burin on softened steel.  The 'mother' or original die was then hardened, and a softened steel roller passed over it under very great pressure to produce the 'matrix' or secondary die.  After hardening, this roller was used to produce multiple-impressioned plates from which the actual printing was done -- the 'tertiary' dies.  The final plate bore the design in intaglio (recess).  Printing was done by inking the plate, wiping off the surplus surface ink, and applying pressure to an imposed sheet of dampened paper.  The paper picking out the ink from the incised design in the plate.  Modern 'recess' printing is done from a plate mechanically inked and wiped, and on specially designed high-speed rotary presses.
- R. J. Sutton 6th edition revised by K. W. Anthony
The Stamp Collector's Encyclopaedia
Published 1966
 Posted February 16, 2000

Index of 508 Notes from the Past

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