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The E-Sylum:  Volume 11, Number 16, April 20, 2008, Article 13

QUERY: ORMSBY BANK-NOTE PRINTING METHOD

Arthur Tobias writes: "I hope one of your readers can help me.
I am continuing my published work to describe the working
methods of 19th century American bank-note engraver W. L.
Ormsby. I am currently working on the second in a series of
articles revealing the 20th century forgeries of his cylinder
scene engravings for Samuel Colt.

"Ormsby describes his method of engraving a bed piece in steel,
hardening it, rolling a cylindrical die over the bed piece with
the transfer press, hardening the die and making bank-note
plates. I assume the original intaglio bed piece is in reverse,
so that the intaglio plates are in reverse, so the bank-notes
themselves are in forward. Am I correct?

"The reason I ask is because Ormsby was able to engrave the
bed piece for the revolver cylinder scenes in forward, create
a roller die in reverse, which when hardened created the
cylinder impression in forward. The third step was the end
of the process.

"I will appreciate (and certainly credit) anyone illuminating
the mid-19th-century bank-note process further for me. I have
a background in fine art etching where the original plate is
engraved in reverse."

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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