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What is Intaglio Engraving? Is hand engraved stationery the finest process available?

 Intaglio engraving is the finest quality printing method and the one that provides the most distinguishable and distinct look and feel.
Intaglio is the family of printing techniques in which the image is incised into a copper plate or steel die, originally used from about 1820 to the early 20th century, for banknotes, illustrations for books, magazines, and decorative prints. 
Intaglio engraving was mainly used when etching from about 1820 to the early 20th century, for banknotes, illustrations for books, magazines, and decorative prints.  Today it is largely used for paper currency, banknotes, passports, high-value postage stamps, and extraordinary stationery.
Steel engraving is a term for images that are carved from a steel block.  in fact are often mainly in etching mostly used from about 1820 to the early 20th century, for banknotes, illustrations for books, magazines, and decorative prints. 
Copperplate engraving is a term for engraved printing when the design is engraved into a plate made of copper. 
Line engraving is a term for engraved images printed on paper mainly used in connection with 18th or 19th-century commercial illustrations for books.
Intaglio Explained
Originating in Italy, the word “intaglio,” with a silent “g,” refers to prints made from plates in which the areas that carry the ink are recessed below the surface of the plate. The plates are most often made of copper, but zinc, brass, and other materials are also used.
The method of creating the recessed areas differs with the technique, and in a moment we’ll learn how each one works. But once the plate itself is complete, all five processes share the following steps to produce the finished intaglio print.
The Process
Our craftsman applies ink to the entire surface of the finished plate, often using a roller. The ink is then squeegeed across the plate, forcing the ink into every recessed line and area. The plate is then wiped with a rag called a tarlatan. This removes the ink from the raised portions of the plate, leaving only the ink in the recessed areas to be printed.
The plate is then placed onto the bed of an etching press, a rectangular steel slab. A dampened sheet of etching paper, larger than the plate itself, is laid on top. Two felt blankets are placed on top of the paper.
The bed is then cranked between two steel rollers, pressing the blankets into the softened paper and forcing the paper down into the recessed areas of the metal plate, where it grabs the ink. After the bed comes to rest at the other end of the press, the blankets are lifted off. The paper is removed to reveal the finished printing or impression.
The look of the final print is affected by numerous factors, including the choice of ink, the method of wiping the ink from the plate, the choice of paper, and of course, the skill of the craftsman.
The contours of the plate leave an embossment on the paper called the platemark, and the residual ink on the surface is called plate tone.
Engraved Paper is usually worked through an evolution called states, with the craftsman printing a sample impression, then working the plate further until it is completed, when the final proof is taken. At that point the plate is ready for editioning — the creation of multiple impressions.
There are five traditional intaglio processes: engraving, etching, drypoint, aquatint and mezzotint. Each produces prints with a distinct look and feel, and many prints are created through a combination of two or more of these processes. Engraving is the most difficult, the finest, and the most highly valued.
Leave a Lasting Impression
Making a good impression is important for any individual or business.  Take it one step further with engraving… and make a lasting impression.
Engraving remains the universal choice for currency and negotiable instruments, as well as an excellent choice for individuals and organizations looking to provide a look and feel that is unmatched by any other process.
Studio Burke Ltd | Makers of Fine Stationery for over 100 Years


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