The Processes Necessary to Performing the Work on Copper or Steel.
Lettering may be described under three heads — large lettering, such as bond titles; small lettering, like that done on coupons, cards and tickets, and script, or writing. Some engravers can do good work in all of those branches of lettering, but in large establishments each man is kept employed at that style in which he excels.
In bonds and stock certificates the titles and script are usually done on the plate from which they are to be printed, but there is a lot of small work, common to jobs of that kind, which is done on what are called "dies," or "bedpieces," and transferred from the rolls to the plates.
In large lettering a drawing of the outline of the letters is made on paper to get the shapes, curves and spacing correct. A tracing of this outline is then made on gelatin, and after filling this with vermilion a thin coating of wax is laid on the plate and a transfer of the gelatin tracing put on the wax. Next the outline is carefully marked through the wax on to the plate. The wax is taken off, and the artist is ready to begin his cutting.
Lettering on banknotes, if there is to be more than one note on a plate, is engraved on "dies," or "bedpieces," and transferred to the plate. This insures the exact duplication of the material of each of the notes, and also makes it possible to reproduce and retouch the work at any time. — From "Copper, Steel and Bank Note Engraving," by C. W. Dickinson, Jr., in Popular Science Monthly.
Thursday, August 7, 2008