Notes from the Past

Litho., Lithography

Plane surface printing method based upon the antipathy of oil (or grease) and water.  A specially prepared limestone or soapstone was formerly used.  Upon this the design was drawn  in reverse direct, with a greasy ink; or transferred thereon by means of special transfers.  In printing, the stone is kept damp, and only the greasy ink image, with its affinity for the special inks used, transfers the design the right-way round on to the paper.  In offset lithography, the image is first picked up by a rubber blanket, which in its turn transfers the design to the paper.  In modern photo-lithography the image is printed photographically on to an etched or grained zinc or aluminium foil or plate, which can then be attached to the cylinder of a rotary press.  It will be seen that the process is radically different from the recess (or intaglio) methods, and the relief (or typography or surface) processes.

Surface Printing

Any printing method by which the ink is transferred from the surface of the plate to the paper.  In practice the philatelic meaning of 'surface printed' is usually taken to be the same as 'typographed' -- i.e. printed by letterpress.

- R. J. Sutton 6th edition revised by K. W. Anthony
The Stamp Collector's Encyclopaedia
Published 1966
Posted February 18, 2000

Index of 508 Notes from the Past

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