Scientific American Supplement, No. 312, December 24, 1881 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 122 pages of information about Scientific American Supplement, No. 312, December 24, 1881.

When necessary, after each operation, a resinous grain may be applied in the manner usual with engravers.

It is important to note that M. Garnier affirms that in both cases the engravings are untouched, and that this is one of the essential characteristics of his process.

C.—­Engraving in Relief for Letter-Press.—­In the case of drawings in lines to be made into printing-blocks for letter-press printing, the operation is conducted in its first phase absolutely in the same manner as the foregoing, only, after exposure, instead of producing the image with a slightly alkaline powder, powdered bitumen is used, and the plate is slightly warmed, so that the powder may slightly fuse and adhere to the metal, but not enough to make the bichromated sugar become insoluble.  The plate is then washed with water, and all the sugary coating removed, leaving the surface of the copper bare, except where it is protected by the bitumen forming the image.  The plate is then bitten with perchloride of iron, which gives a first biting, leaving all the lines in relief.  Further depth is obtained by alternate inkings and bitings, as in the Gillotype method.

The above processes are very interesting, the use of the sugary coating, the hardening it by heat, and the triple exposure and biting are new—­at any rate, have not, so far as I know, been published before.

The report then goes on to describe a further application of the same principle to obtaining photographic images recently invented by M. Garnier, and called by him atmography.


This process consists in tracing or transferring by means of vapors or fumes an image of any object from one surface to another, whence the name of atmography it is proposed to give it.  The operations are as follows: 

When an image formed of a powdery substance has been obtained either by dusting (as described above), or by filling an engraved plate with the powder, the plate bearing the image is exposed to a vapor, which has no effect upon it.  The powder alone absorbs the vapor, and if the plate be then applied to a surface coated with some substance capable of being acted upon by the vapor, an image is obtained upon this second surface.  For example, the lines of an engraved copper-plate are filled with powdered albumen.  On the other hand, a few drops of hydrofluoric acid are spread over a wooden board, and the powdered engraving is exposed for ten to fifteen seconds to the fumes disengaged by holding it about a quarter-of-an-inch above the board.  The acid is absorbed by the powdered albumen without attacking the copper.  If this plate be now placed in close contact with any surface (metal, paper, or glass) which has been covered with a coating of sugar and borax, and dried immediately, a deliquescent fluoborate of soda is produced under the action of the acid vapors, the sugar becomes tacky, and, by brushing a powder over this surface, the image appears immediately.

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Scientific American Supplement, No. 312, December 24, 1881 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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