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History of Thermographic Printing ("raised printing")? Virkotype Machine?

Started by DJ, August 10, 2008, 01:14:05 PM

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I have been searching for the history of thermographic printing ("raised printing"). Do you have any information about it? So some reason there seems to be no information about how it was invented, why and when ... I have found a "virkotype machine", that created the raised effect automatically.

Can you help (Why was it invented, when)? Do you have any (old) books I could buy?

Thanks for your wonderful website.


Just for info - definition of thermographic printing:

Dave Hughes

Is this the sort of machine you're talking about DJ?

It's the only image I can find on Google Images:

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Hi Dave,

Thanks for your reply. The machine looks quite new ...

This one is a machine that was used around the year 1915 ...

This company provides new machines today, but they do not have any historic information ...

To me it would be interesting to find out, how everything started, e.g. why was the thermographic printing be invented? Are there any old books from around the year 1900 that discribe the old process and the first uses of it??


Background information:
It is difficult to find any information pertaining to thermography
in the archives of printing because no adequate records were kept.
However, it is known that some raised printing dates back to the
1900's. At that time thermography was considered only as a means of
obtaining novelty effects. All the work was done by hand because
automated machines had not yet been developed. A person would dust
each printed piece with resin while the ink was still wet and shake
off the excess resin. The piece would then be held over a heat source,
such as Sterno or a hot plate to melt the powder and obtain a raise.
Because of the heat involved, the process became known as "Fried
Printing". Thermography continued as a craft until around 1915, then
the first machine was developed to do the process automatically.

Dave Hughes

I've had a check on Wikipedia, good description of the process, but no mention of its history, it did link to a nice illustrated article here:
but still no mention of early development.

Here's the picture of the early machine that you linked to:

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Dave Hughes

Forum stalwart Jeffo is working on this one, and has sent in the following pics:


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