My Very Own Print Stone

Print stone

An extra special package was waiting for me at my office upon my return to work this week.  I knew the package was coming and I quickly ripped the tape and box open.  I think I masked my excitement but I may have looked something like this as I opened it

My print antique collection is one step closer to complete, because I now have my very own Print Stone.

Any of you confused by that statement?  It wouldn’t be surprising.  Print Stones were first originated in 1798 and although utilized heavily throughout the 1800’s, were instantly effected by the invention of the Rotary Offset Printing Press and their use quickly diminished in the early 1900’s.

A quick overview –

“Aloys Senefelder (1771-1834) invented stone lithography in 1798.  After much experimentation, he achieved the best results using a greasy crayon on Bavarian limestone, and called his new process chemical printing or stone lithography. The stone used in lithographic printing is a very fine-grained, compact limestone, found 
only in the Jura Mountains of Bavaria.

Stone lithography depends on the mutual repulsion of grease and water. After a design is drawn on the limestone with greasy inks or crayons, the whole surface is dampened. The surface helps to hold the water, while the ink repels it. The surface is then rolled with printing ink that sticks to the greasy drawing, but not to the wet surface of the untouched stone.”


Still confused as to what a print stone looks like, or how it works?  This video is one of the best I can find – a start to finish overview in print stone prep and production.

Pretty cool process right?  Dali and Warhol are two artists who embraced Lithography throughout their careers and some of their true lithograph prints have gone for millions of dollars at auction.

Printing sure has come a long way in just 200 short years.

Do you have a print stone in your collection?  We’d love to see some pictures if you do!

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