Mad in Pursuit Notebook

Postcard Printing Processes: Color

I wanted to know more about color printing processes over the decades. That's me -- can't grasp the product without a peek at the process. I thought that the printing methods would have changed over the first 30 years of the 20th century. I thought if I put some common color postcards under a "microscope" (that is, scanned them at 2400 ppi), I'd see the eureka differences. Hmm...

The first few color views — from 1907 [Sample 1], 1913 [Sample 2], and 1924 [Sample 3] — look remarkably the same: a black and white halftone screen produced from a B&W photograph; then color added in splotchy patterns, probably applied with a "line block" prepared with a tint.

[1] 1907 Undivided back era: Black halftone screen, with color tints added

postcard 1907


[2] 1913 Divided back era: Black halftone screen, with color tints added

1913 postcard


[3] 1924 White border era: Black halftone screen, with color tints added

1924 postcard


[4] 1935 Linen card era: Black halftone with mechanical color tint

1935 postcard


[5] 1960s Photochrome era: 4-color halftone

1960s postcard


[6] circa 1907-1915 Divided back era: Albertype (variety of collotype), hand-colored

postcard circa 1910


[7] 1914 Divided back era: tinted collotype

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7.5.05 (revised 12.6.05, 5.1.13, 10.31.15)


Susan Barrett PriceBooks by Susan Barrett Price

THE SUDDEN SILENCE: A Tale of Suspense and Found Treasure (2015) Thailand: lovers of ancient treasure tangle with international black markets. Delia Rivera pulls Martin Moon back into the game and their quest turns deadly. In paperback and Kindle editions.

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PASSION AND PERIL ON THE SILK ROAD: A Thriller in Pakistan and China (2008) The twin forces of revenge and redemption drive Nellie MacKenzie and Taylor Jackson on a crazed adventure into the heart of Central Asia. They grapple with issues of ethics, trust, rage, and bitter heartbreak -- as well as the intrigue of the international antiquities trade. In paperback and Kindle editions.



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