1st Day Issue Lithographs

Lithography originally used an image drawn with oil, fat, or wax onto the surface of a smooth, level Lithographic limestone plate. The stone was treated with a mixture of acid and gum, the grease content of the drawing material into the pores of the stone and chemically creating grease reservoirs. The open stone (without drawing) was affected by the gum arabic creating a thin gum layer that would then attract water. When the stone was subsequently moistened, these gummed areas retained water; an oil based ink could then be applied with a roller sticking only to the original drawing. The ink would finally be transferred to a cotton fine art paper sheet, producing a printed page.

In modern lithography, the image is made of a polymer coating applied to a flexible plastic or metal plate. The image can be printed directly from the plate (the orientation of the image is reversed), or it can be offset, by transferring the image onto a flexible sheet (rubber) for printing and publication.