Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Color Printing

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COLOR PRINTING, the art of producing pictures, designs, cards, etc., in various colors by means of lithography, printing from metal blocks, etc. The ordinary methods are: (1) the chromo-lithographic, in which a tracing of the original picture, or the like, is first made and a copy transferred to as many stones as there are colors in the original, every color requiring a fresh stone. The drawing on each stone is made to fit in, or register, with the preceding one, and as the paper passes through the machine an additional color is added every time, and thus the picture is built up color upon color (each being allowed to dry before the next is put on) until it is completed. Some chromos or oleographs may have as many as 25 or 30 printings or colors. (2) Block or surface color-printing is specially adapted for book illustrations or similar work where nicety of detail or rapidity is required. As in chromo-lithography various printings are necessary; but these, while producing similar effects, are reduced in number by a method of printing several tints of the same color at one operation. Each block, which is usually of zinc and prepared in the usual way, is capable of producing three or more gradations of the same color; the darkest shade from the normal surface, lighter shades being got from parts which have been bitten or corroded in an almost imperceptible degree—the deeper corrosions giving, of course, the lightest shade. When all the tints of one color are thus printed from one block and at one operation, a second block with gradations, in the same way, is used, registering as in chromo-lithography, and so on until the picture is finished.