Sunday, March 8, 2015

Illustrations

An example of an illustration reproduced by The Meriden Gravure Company
The Anatomy of the Brain and Nerves by Thomas Willis contains illustrations that were reproduced by The Meriden Gravure Company in 1978, the book's publication date. 

I will not dwell on the history of The Meriden Gravure Company, but what is important to take about is the way this company reproduced these illustrations with such detail. The company was known for its ability to expertly reproduce high quality images which was first established through the use of full-tone collotype printing. This type of printing, however was retired in 1967, which was before the publish date of the book. Although full-tone collotype printing is an effective way of reproducing illustrations, due to the ability of the camera to record every detail of the original and transfers it to the ultimate plate, retaining all of the original's values, this was stopped and replaced by offset printing presses, which also produced high quality pictures. These offset printing presses relied on the use of fine screened 300-line half-tone processes. Half-tone is the reproduction of an illustration in which different tones of gray are made from different sized ink dots. This type of printing seems to match that of the above drawing due to the color of the image. So it would seem more logical to assume that the type of printing used for these illustrations found in my book of study is the offset printing presses using the fine screened 300-line half-tone process. 

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