Steel Engraving

Like copper engraving this method also uses an intaglio technique.

Developed at the beginning of the 19th century, initially for use in producing issues of bank notes, by about 1830 harder steel plates were being used to produce finely rendered engravings using closely cross hatched lines. The technique was the same as that for copper engraving but the lines tended to be shallower therefore producing lighter tones on the printed paper.

Plates were often engraved in conjunction with other forms of line engraving to produce differing tonal qualities. Although permitting greater numbers of impressions to be taken form a plate than allowed by copper engraving.

The sheer hardness of the steel however made the work rather arduous until the discovery of steel facing; the covering of an engraved copper plate with a thin, replaceable layer of iron by electroplating in the 1850s, greatly facilitated the work of the engraver.


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