• FA-110582 © Technisches Museum Wien, Photo: Peter Sedlaczek
Collection Area
Information & Communication
Typesetting and Printing
medien.welten (media.worlds)
1850 - 1899

Lithographic star-wheel press

around 1850


Stone printing

From 1800 onwards, lithography becomes the main method of producing picture prints –everything from playing cards to landscape illustrations.

In around 1800, Alois Senefelder develops lithographic printing as a fast and cheap method for reproducing short texts or musical notes. For this purpose, he inscribes smooth limestone using greasy ink. After the moistening and colouring process, the areas free from grease repel the printing ink, while the greased areas absorb the ink. Then printing on paper can be carried out. In order to avoid the strenuous mirror-inverted writing, the template is first set properly on paper and then transferred to the stone in a mirror-inverted way. This then permits prints mirroring the mirror image etched into the stone. Stone gravure is another variation of stone printing, during which the template is engraved into the stone.

Numerous stone printing houses are established in European cities, which supply their customers with countless lithographic prints. They create posters or flyers, playing cards and maps, but also portraits and landscape illustrations for the sitting rooms of the prosperous middle class.

Inv.Nr. 36031/1
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