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Re: Calling Cards

At 08:28 AM 8/5/97 -0500, you wrote:
>I'm working with a few people who do living history presentations. They
>want to create period correct calling cards=97specifically 1850s-60s,
>United States, and I'm attempted to create them on a hand letterpress.
>I've seen some examples with the name in script--roughly a Shelley font.
>(1) As I understand it, this would probably not have been set as
>individual letters but done as an engraving?
>(2) If this is true, was there a "master font" that they transferred (by
>pantograph?) to the plate? I don't see these elaborate scripts in period
>specimen books.
>Trying to learn! Please point me to any sources.
>Daniel J. Hoisington
>Edinborough Press


One traditional method was:

Draw right-reading copy in SOFT graphite pencil on tracing paper in English
Roundhand (Spencerian hand) or other caligraphy.  Ground a copper plate
with traditional asphultum/rosin/beeswax hard ground.  Heat,  cool till
dry.  Place tracing paper design face down on grounded plate.  Run through
etching press with proper printing pressure.=20

The graphite lettering will now be faintly adhered in reverse to your 16ga.
copper plate.  Lightly redraw your reversed design with an etching needle,
etching in a tray of mordant just long enough to be able to trace the
etched line with your engraving tools (burins, gravers etc.)

Photographic processes came a bit later to hand engraving on copper.
One-half inch thick steel dies are still photoetched first, re-engraved
(touched up) with burins and printed on a special die press.  Law firms are
the biggest users of such "hand" engraved plates.

Another method was to draw slant lines directly on the plate and engrave
the bold shapes first directly into the plate and switch to a finer burin
for connecting or horizontal lines.

Similar techniques were also used to create a engraved litho stone that
were deeply relief etched and prined as a lithograph for large runs of
certificates and stock/bank notes.  Stone engraving would have been used
mid century for large commerical runs.  I'm not sure if anyone would bother
with a calling card. There must be some printed that way.

Do you know about the corner bending system used to announce "callers" when
a household was accepting Sunday vistors?

Very 19th C stuff here.  Just a small tip of an iceburg.  Ask away if this
isn't enough info.

      M I C H A E L   M O R I N                  M.F.A., M.L.S.    =20
    Director Celtic Press                Instructional Media Librarian    =
     Buffalo  New York                   D'Youville College Library
------------------------------------------------------------------- =20
 Member Buffalo Free-Net Information Development Committee   =20
       Member Buffalo Free-Net Executive Board of Directors

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