Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Day 111: Money money money money! MONEY!

In class today, one of the presentations was about an engraver named Bewick. Before Bewick, detailed illustrations in books were done with engraved metal plates, while only childrens' books were illustrated using wood blocks. This was because the grain of wood blocks meant that illustrations could only reach a certain amount of detail before you would just splinter the grain and ruin the image.

However, Bewick had the great idea of turning the block on its end and carving in the end of the grains rather than along and across the grains on the side of the block. This meant he was able to make gorgeously detailed wood block prints. He was actually able to make such detailed engravings in wood that they were able to use them to print money.

He also created the book "A History of British Birds", entirely illustrated with his gorgeous engravings, and really providing an everyman's guide to ornithology.

Lesson 111: Wood block printing was preferred to metal plate engraving for printing money.

This was because when a wood block was made of a super hard wood, like cherry wood, you could make millions of prints before the block couldn't print clearly anymore. Metal plates lost the ability to print clearly much much quicker.

The reason they used metal plates instead of wood blocks was because the extra detail you could get was very good at discouraging counterfeiting.

However, with Bewick's new method, you could get the detail needed to stop counterfeiters with the durability to print in more economical batches of money.

Everybody wins!

He also did the most adorable engravings of bats... Bats for Bats 2012!

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