When his mother asked him to draw up a list of laundry linen, he had no paper and ink with him, so he wrote it on a stone using soot mixed with soap and wax. He noticed that the places covered with this mixture do not receive water, but the paint adheres to them. Since then Alois made drawings on stone, moistened the surface of the board with water and then applied paint with a roller.
This is how he created the matrix that he used to reproduce his works. One of Senefelder’s successful experiments was to transfer the drawing made with special ink onto a special paper onto a lime plate, thanks to which it was possible to make right-handed drawings, resume the circulation, replicate exactly the same drawing on one plate. Alois patented his invention, becoming the father of the lithos (gr. lithos = „rock”).
Litography vs typography
Initially, lithography spread rapidly, but in the twentieth century it began to give way to typography. Litography did not allow for faster printing due to flat stone slabs. In order to speed up printing, it was necessary to introduce rotating presses, but the material (stones) prevented this type of solution. The search for suitable metal plates has begun. After the search a suitable material was found: zinc and aluminium.
Zinc plates were put on a cylinder and the paper was printed in this way. However, due to the direct contact between the disc and paper, the drawing on the disc quickly became worn out, so this direct printing method never spread. An additional obstacle was the lack of technical possibilities of faster and easier drawing on the board.
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Typography as a method of cardboard boxes printing?
The American paper manufacturer printed it with a flat lithographic machine. There was rubber underneath the sheet of paper. The operator of the machine failed to take care of the sheet and the paint reflected on the rubber. The next sheet was printed by a lithographic stone on one side and a reflected drawing on the rubber on the other side.
It was found that the drawing carried by rubber is clearer and cleaner. The drawing was started to be transferred via rubber. Indirect printing has increased the life span of the discs and has given rise to a new technique – offset printing.