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Coating

A coating consists of paint, dye, ink or a solid (such as graphite) applied to a substrate like paper or glass. Information is stored by arranging the coating —whether paint on a cave wall or ink in a barcode—in a pattern. The pattern is normally read optically through reflected or transmitted light (although in a few cases the information is read electrically). In many cases it can be read by direct viewing, but the examples included here are intended to be viewed through a lens or read by a device.

This page is organized by the technologies used to apply the coating. Magic lantern slides were originally hand painted. Various forms of printing have been applied to paper, glass and plastic to create slides, vues d'optique, filmstrips, stereoviews and optical toys. Chemical etching and physical carving or scratching have also been used.

Hand Painting

For the first two centuries after the invention of the magic lantern, slides were hand-painted on glass. The best professional slides were stunning, with fine detail and luminous color, though many failed to reach that level— as Sir David Brewster observed: “"even Michelangelo would have failed in executing a figure an inch long with transparent varnishes, when all its imperfections were to be magnified.” Amateurs could also try their hand using a kit that supplied paint, blank slides and instructions. A movie theater projectionist might hand-letter an announcement or title slide.

At the other end of the scale, a 1920s movie palace would likely have had an industrial-strength magic lantern like the Brenograph F7 in the projection booth. The large disc below would have been placed in a motorized container in the Brenograph and a constantly changing image would be projected onto the screen before the movie started. Similar discs with hand-painted clouds might be placed in a hidden Brenograph Jr. to be projected on the ceiling of atmospheric theatres.

Hand painting was also used for other media, including images for peep boxes and anamorphoses.

  • Paint

    1650s–late 1800s
    Magic lantern slide

    Paint

    1650s–late 1800s
    Magic lantern slide

    Paint

    1650s–late 1800s
    Magic lantern slide

    Paint

    1650s–late 1800s
    Magic lantern slide

    Paint

    1650s–late 1800s
    Magic lantern slide
  • Pen and Ink

    1800s–1950s
    Magic lantern slide

    Pen and Ink

    1800s–1950s
    Magic lantern slide

    Pen and Ink

    1800s–1950s
    Magic lantern slide

    Pen and Ink

    1800s–1950s
    Magic lantern slide

    Pen and Ink

    1800s–1950s
    Magic lantern slide
  • Watercolor

    late 1850s–c. 1900
    Surprise tissue view, painted on reverse

    Watercolor

    late 1850s–c. 1900
    Surprise tissue view, painted on reverse

    Watercolor

    late 1850s–c. 1900
    Surprise tissue view, painted on reverse

    Watercolor

    late 1850s–c. 1900
    Surprise tissue view, painted on reverse

    Watercolor

    late 1850s–c. 1900
    Surprise tissue view, painted on reverse
  • Hand-lettered

    1800s–early 1960s
    Theater announcement

    Hand-lettered

    1800s–early 1960s
    Theater announcement

    Hand-lettered

    1800s–early 1960s
    Theater announcement

    Hand-lettered

    1800s–early 1960s
    Theater announcement

    Hand-lettered

    1800s–early 1960s
    Theater announcement
  • Oil paint on mica

    mid-1910s–early 1930s
    Brenkert Motorized Effect

    Oil paint on mica

    mid-1910s–early 1930s
    Brenkert Motorized Effect

    Oil paint on mica

    mid-1910s–early 1930s
    Brenkert Motorized Effect

    Oil paint on mica

    mid-1910s–early 1930s
    Brenkert Motorized Effect

    Oil paint on mica

    mid-1910s–early 1930s
    Brenkert Motorized Effect
  • Watercolor / India Ink

    17th–18th century
    Cylindrical anamorphose

    Watercolor / India Ink

    17th–18th century
    Cylindrical anamorphose

    Watercolor / India Ink

    17th–18th century
    Cylindrical anamorphose

    Watercolor / India Ink

    17th–18th century
    Cylindrical anamorphose

    Watercolor / India Ink

    17th–18th century
    Cylindrical anamorphose

Hand Coloring

Even after the adoption of printing and photographic technologies for slides and other removable media, hand coloring played a role until well into the 20th century (see, for example, the Brenograph slide below). For a peep box image, an outline was typically created using intaglio printing or lithography, then filled by an artist using watercolors or oil paint. Outlines for magic lantern slides were transferred from etched copper plates before coloring.

Peep boxes, in which viewers saw an image in a box through a lens, were an early form of virtual reality (see the Polyorama Panoptique below). The box blocked out the real world and gave the showman control over lighting. The lens forced the viewer to look at the picture from the direction for which the perspective was most accurate. The lenses tended to be large, which added a further sensation of depth. Peep box artists and showmen were, in effect, creating virtual reality experience—one that remained popular from its invention in the 15th century into the 20th.

  • Copper plate transfer, watercolor

    1821–1850s
    Copper plate slider

    Copper plate transfer, watercolor

    1821–1850s
    Copper plate slider

    Copper plate transfer, watercolor

    1821–1850s
    Copper plate slider

    Copper plate transfer, watercolor

    1821–1850s
    Copper plate slider

    Copper plate transfer, watercolor

    1821–1850s
    Copper plate slider
  • Copper plate transfer, hand-painted

    1929–early 1930s
    Magic lantern slide

    Copper plate transfer, hand-painted

    1929–early 1930s
    Magic lantern slide

    Copper plate transfer, hand-painted

    1929–early 1930s
    Magic lantern slide

    Copper plate transfer, hand-painted

    1929–early 1930s
    Magic lantern slide

    Copper plate transfer, hand-painted

    1929–early 1930s
    Magic lantern slide
  • Copper plate transfer, hand-painted

    1880s–1890s
    Panorama

    Copper plate transfer, hand-painted

    1880s–1890s
    Panorama

    Copper plate transfer, hand-painted

    1880s–1890s
    Panorama

    Copper plate transfer, hand-painted

    1880s–1890s
    Panorama

    Copper plate transfer, hand-painted

    1880s–1890s
    Panorama
  • Lithography, watercolor

    1822–1850s
    Polyorama Panoptique

    Lithography, watercolor

    1822–1850s
    Polyorama Panoptique

    Lithography, watercolor

    1822–1850s
    Polyorama Panoptique

    Lithography, watercolor

    1822–1850s
    Polyorama Panoptique

    Lithography, watercolor

    1822–1850s
    Polyorama Panoptique
  • Lithography, watercolor

    1822–1850s
    Polyorama Panoptique

    Lithography, watercolor

    1822–1850s
    Polyorama Panoptique

    Lithography, watercolor

    1822–1850s
    Polyorama Panoptique

    Lithography, watercolor

    1822–1850s
    Polyorama Panoptique

    Lithography, watercolor

    1822–1850s
    Polyorama Panoptique
  • Lithography, watercolor

    1850s–1860s
    Lorgnette Pittoresque

    Lithography, watercolor

    1850s–1860s
    Lorgnette Pittoresque

    Lithography, watercolor

    1850s–1860s
    Lorgnette Pittoresque

    Lithography, watercolor

    1850s–1860s
    Lorgnette Pittoresque

    Lithography, watercolor

    1850s–1860s
    Lorgnette Pittoresque
  • Small lithographed disc with handpainted color image of the moon over a bridge at night

    Lithography, watercolor

    1850s–1860s
    Lorgnette Pittoresque
    Small lithographed disc with handpainted color image of the moon over a bridge at night

    Lithography, watercolor

    1850s–1860s
    Lorgnette Pittoresque

    Lithography, watercolor

    1850s–1860s
    Lorgnette Pittoresque

    Lithography, watercolor

    1850s–1860s
    Lorgnette Pittoresque

    Lithography, watercolor

    1850s–1860s
    Lorgnette Pittoresque
  • Six lithographed cards positioned one in front of another, with cutouts on each card that combine to give a 3D effect

    Lithography, watercolor

    c. 1720–1750
    Engelbrecht
    Six lithographed cards positioned one in front of another, with cutouts on each card that combine to give a 3D effect

    Lithography, watercolor

    c. 1720–1750
    Engelbrecht

    Lithography, watercolor

    c. 1720–1750
    Engelbrecht

    Lithography, watercolor

    c. 1720–1750
    Engelbrecht

    Lithography, watercolor

    c. 1720–1750
    Engelbrecht
  • Lithographed and hand colored disc with short animation,attached to handle along with slotted disc, additional discs alongside

    Lithography, watercolor

    1833–1840s (?)
    Giroux phenakistiscope
    Lithographed and hand colored disc with short animation,attached to handle along with slotted disc, additional discs alongside

    Lithography, watercolor

    1833–1840s (?)
    Giroux phenakistiscope

    Lithography, watercolor

    1833–1840s (?)
    Giroux phenakistiscope

    Lithography, watercolor

    1833–1840s (?)
    Giroux phenakistiscope

    Lithography, watercolor

    1833–1840s (?)
    Giroux phenakistiscope
  • Colorful glass slide in hand-colored art deco style with musical staff at bottom and organ pipes on either side

    Lithography, watercolor

    1929–early 1930s
    Brenograph slide
    Colorful glass slide in hand-colored art deco style with musical staff at bottom and organ pipes on either side

    Lithography, watercolor

    1929–early 1930s
    Brenograph slide

    Lithography, watercolor

    1929–early 1930s
    Brenograph slide

    Lithography, watercolor

    1929–early 1930s
    Brenograph slide

    Lithography, watercolor

    1929–early 1930s
    Brenograph slide
  • Lithography, watercolor

    1822–1850s
    Polyorama Panoptique

    Lithography, watercolor

    1822–1850s
    Polyorama Panoptique

    Lithography, watercolor

    1822–1850s
    Polyorama Panoptique

    Lithography, watercolor

    1822–1850s
    Polyorama Panoptique

    Lithography, watercolor

    1822–1850s
    Polyorama Panoptique
  • Etching/Watercolor

    c. 1720–1840s
    Vue d'optique

    Etching/Watercolor

    c. 1720–1840s
    Vue d'optique

    Etching/Watercolor

    c. 1720–1840s
    Vue d'optique

    Etching/Watercolor

    c. 1720–1840s
    Vue d'optique

    Etching/Watercolor

    c. 1720–1840s
    Vue d'optique
  • Lithography, watercolor

    c. 1880
    Feux Pyriques

    Lithography, watercolor

    c. 1880
    Feux Pyriques

    Lithography, watercolor

    c. 1880
    Feux Pyriques

    Lithography, watercolor

    c. 1880
    Feux Pyriques

    Lithography, watercolor

    c. 1880
    Feux Pyriques

Tinting

Tinting consists of applying color by hand or machine to a black and white photograph. Although there were early experiments with color processes soon after photography was invented, practical color photography didn't emerge until the early 20th century. Until then, color was often added by hand using paint or dyes. In the hands of a skilled artist, the result could be beautifully realistic. Tinting was also applied to the back of translucent images to be lit from behind in peep boxes or stereo viewers. Finally, movies were sometimes colored by hand or by applying dyes over stencils hand cut for each frame.

  • Coming Attraction

    c. 1912–1960s
    Photographic print, hand-colored

    Coming Attraction

    c. 1912–1960s
    Photographic print, hand-colored

    Coming Attraction

    c. 1912–1960s
    Photographic print, hand-colored

    Coming Attraction

    c. 1912–1960s
    Photographic print, hand-colored

    Coming Attraction

    c. 1912–1960s
    Photographic print, hand-colored
  • Photograph on glass, hand-painted

    1850s–1950s
    Magic lantern slide

    Photograph on glass, hand-painted

    1850s–1950s
    Magic lantern slide

    Photograph on glass, hand-painted

    1850s–1950s
    Magic lantern slide

    Photograph on glass, hand-painted

    1850s–1950s
    Magic lantern slide

    Photograph on glass, hand-painted

    1850s–1950s
    Magic lantern slide
  • Albumen print, hand-colored

    1850s–early 1900s
    Hand-tinted stereo photograph

    Albumen print, hand-colored

    1850s–early 1900s
    Hand-tinted stereo photograph

    Albumen print, hand-colored

    1850s–early 1900s
    Hand-tinted stereo photograph

    Albumen print, hand-colored

    1850s–early 1900s
    Hand-tinted stereo photograph

    Albumen print, hand-colored

    1850s–early 1900s
    Hand-tinted stereo photograph
  • Photographic print, hand-colored

    c. 1860s–1880s
    Bi-color stereoview

    Photographic print, hand-colored

    c. 1860s–1880s
    Bi-color stereoview

    Photographic print, hand-colored

    c. 1860s–1880s
    Bi-color stereoview

    Photographic print, hand-colored

    c. 1860s–1880s
    Bi-color stereoview

    Photographic print, hand-colored

    c. 1860s–1880s
    Bi-color stereoview
  • Albumen print, hand-painted

    1860s–c. 1900
    Tissue view

    Albumen print, hand-painted

    1860s–c. 1900
    Tissue view

    Albumen print, hand-painted

    1860s–c. 1900
    Tissue view

    Albumen print, hand-painted

    1860s–c. 1900
    Tissue view

    Albumen print, hand-painted

    1860s–c. 1900
    Tissue view
  • Hand-painted

    1895–c. 1904
    Silent movie

    Hand-painted

    1895–c. 1904
    Silent movie

    Hand-painted

    1895–c. 1904
    Silent movie

    Hand-painted

    1895–c. 1904
    Silent movie

    Hand-painted

    1895–c. 1904
    Silent movie
  • Colored dye

    1896–c.1949
    Silent movie

    Colored dye

    1896–c.1949
    Silent movie

    Colored dye

    1896–c.1949
    Silent movie

    Colored dye

    1896–c.1949
    Silent movie

    Colored dye

    1896–c.1949
    Silent movie
  • Stencil color

    1904–1928
    Silent movie

    Stencil color

    1904–1928
    Silent movie

    Stencil color

    1904–1928
    Silent movie

    Stencil color

    1904–1928
    Silent movie

    Stencil color

    1904–1928
    Silent movie
  • Stencil color

    1922–1928
    Pathécolor

    Stencil color

    1922–1928
    Pathécolor

    Stencil color

    1922–1928
    Pathécolor

    Stencil color

    1922–1928
    Pathécolor

    Stencil color

    1922–1928
    Pathécolor
  • Albumen print, watercolor

    c. 1862–1870s
    Megalethoscope

    Albumen print, watercolor

    c. 1862–1870s
    Megalethoscope

    Albumen print, watercolor

    c. 1862–1870s
    Megalethoscope

    Albumen print, watercolor

    c. 1862–1870s
    Megalethoscope

    Albumen print, watercolor

    c. 1862–1870s
    Megalethoscope
  • Albumen print, watercolor

    1870s
    Frith's Photoscopic Pictures

    Albumen print, watercolor

    1870s
    Frith's Photoscopic Pictures

    Albumen print, watercolor

    1870s
    Frith's Photoscopic Pictures

    Albumen print, watercolor

    1870s
    Frith's Photoscopic Pictures

    Albumen print, watercolor

    1870s
    Frith's Photoscopic Pictures
  • Photograph on glass, watercolor

    c. 1888–1890s
    Pettibone "peacock" slide

    Photograph on glass, watercolor

    c. 1888–1890s
    Pettibone "peacock" slide

    Photograph on glass, watercolor

    c. 1888–1890s
    Pettibone "peacock" slide

    Photograph on glass, watercolor

    c. 1888–1890s
    Pettibone "peacock" slide

    Photograph on glass, watercolor

    c. 1888–1890s
    Pettibone "peacock" slide

Transfer Printing

Transfer printing was invented in the 1750s as a way of printing designs on porcelain and other fragile materials. It originally involved etching the design onto a copper plate and printing it to paper, as in a normal intaglio process, then pressing the paper against the procelain and peeling it back to transfer the ink. The technique was first applied to magic lantern slides in 1821 by Philip Carpenter, an English optician. In Carpenter's process, black enamel was applied to the etched copper plate. Then the plate was coated with a layer of glue, which picked up the enamel. The glue layer was removed from the plate and applied to the glass, transferring the enamel to the slide. The slide was then heated in a kiln to bond the enamel permanently. Color was added by hand.

Carpenter's "copper-plate sliders" were a commercial success, although labor intensive. Lithography, invented in 1796, was faster and cheaper and made it practical to print high-quality artwork in quantity, including images on paper for transfer to magic lantern slides. Transferring the ink image to a slide was easy enough for amateurs to do, so much so that in the 1860s it became a huge craze in France and England: "The great rage among the ladies of Paris just at present is 'decalcomanie'", said the Memphis Daily Appeal in July of 1862. The name— decalcomania in English—was shortened eventually to decal. Easier and cheaper than copper-plate printing or hand painting, it became the standard way of printing children's slides.

  • Copper Plate Slider

    1821–1850s
    Copper plate transfer, watercolor

    Copper Plate Slider

    1821–1850s
    Copper plate transfer, watercolor

    Copper Plate Slider

    1821–1850s
    Copper plate transfer, watercolor

    Copper Plate Slider

    1821–1850s
    Copper plate transfer, watercolor

    Copper Plate Slider

    1821–1850s
    Copper plate transfer, watercolor
  • Copper Plate Slide

    1821–1850s
    Copper-plate transfer, watercolor

    Copper Plate Slide

    1821–1850s
    Copper-plate transfer, watercolor

    Copper Plate Slide

    1821–1850s
    Copper-plate transfer, watercolor

    Copper Plate Slide

    1821–1850s
    Copper-plate transfer, watercolor

    Copper Plate Slide

    1821–1850s
    Copper-plate transfer, watercolor
  • Plank Circular Slide

    c. 1880s–early 1900s
    Decal transfer

    Plank Circular Slide

    c. 1880s–early 1900s
    Decal transfer

    Plank Circular Slide

    c. 1880s–early 1900s
    Decal transfer

    Plank Circular Slide

    c. 1880s–early 1900s
    Decal transfer

    Plank Circular Slide

    c. 1880s–early 1900s
    Decal transfer
  • Children's Slide Strip

    c. 1860s–1920s
    Decal transfer

    Children's Slide Strip

    c. 1860s–1920s
    Decal transfer

    Children's Slide Strip

    c. 1860s–1920s
    Decal transfer

    Children's Slide Strip

    c. 1860s–1920s
    Decal transfer

    Children's Slide Strip

    c. 1860s–1920s
    Decal transfer
  • Panorama Slide

    c. 1880–1890s
    Copper plate transfer, hand-colored

    Panorama Slide

    c. 1880–1890s
    Copper plate transfer, hand-colored

    Panorama Slide

    c. 1880–1890s
    Copper plate transfer, hand-colored

    Panorama Slide

    c. 1880–1890s
    Copper plate transfer, hand-colored

    Panorama Slide

    c. 1880–1890s
    Copper plate transfer, hand-colored

Intaglio

Intaglio printing emerged in the late 15th century in Europe. In intaglio, the design to be printed is cut into a metal plate using acid or a cutting tool. Ink is applied to the plate, then the plate is wiped, leaving ink in the depressions. The ink is transferred to paper by applying pressure to the plate, which forces the paper into the depressions containing the ink. Intaglio by nature is suited to line art. Shading is typically produced using crosshatching or other patterns of lines. Engraving and etching are both intaglio techniques.

Intaglio was used to produce images on paper for peep boxes and other devices. Prints were often colored by hand with watercolors or dye. Magic lantern slides could also be produced indirectly using intaglio. Pressing the plate directly against the glass slide would transfer little or no ink and break the glass in the process. Instead, intaglio plates were used to create decals for transfer printing (as described above).

Engraving

In engraving, the design to be printed is stored as grooves cut with a tool into a metal plate. When ink is applied to the plate, it fills the grooves. The remaining ink is wiped off and the plate is pressed against paper, transfering the ink in the grooves.

  • Stereoview

    1850s
    Engraving

    Stereoview

    1850s
    Engraving

    Stereoview

    1850s
    Engraving

    Stereoview

    1850s
    Engraving

    Stereoview

    1850s
    Engraving
  • Vues Pelliculaires

    c. 1900
    Engraving on glassine

    Vues Pelliculaires

    c. 1900
    Engraving on glassine

    Vues Pelliculaires

    c. 1900
    Engraving on glassine

    Vues Pelliculaires

    c. 1900
    Engraving on glassine

    Vues Pelliculaires

    c. 1900
    Engraving on glassine
  • Conical Anamorphose

    1600s–present
    Engraving

    Conical Anamorphose

    1600s–present
    Engraving

    Conical Anamorphose

    1600s–present
    Engraving

    Conical Anamorphose

    1600s–present
    Engraving

    Conical Anamorphose

    1600s–present
    Engraving

Etching

In etching, a metal plate is coated with wax. The design is scratched through the wax, leaving the metal exposed. When acid is applied to the plate, it etches away the exposed metal. The wax is removed and ink is applied. When the ink is wiped off the plate, it remains in the etched lines. The plate is pressed against paper, transfering the ink and printing the design.

  • Cylindrical Anamorphose

    mid-1500s–present
    Etching

    Cylindrical Anamorphose

    mid-1500s–present
    Etching

    Cylindrical Anamorphose

    mid-1500s–present
    Etching

    Cylindrical Anamorphose

    mid-1500s–present
    Etching

    Cylindrical Anamorphose

    mid-1500s–present
    Etching
  • Vue d'Optique

    early 1700s–early 1800s
    Hand-colored etching with cutouts

    Vue d'Optique

    early 1700s–early 1800s
    Hand-colored etching with cutouts

    Vue d'Optique

    early 1700s–early 1800s
    Hand-colored etching with cutouts

    Vue d'Optique

    early 1700s–early 1800s
    Hand-colored etching with cutouts

    Vue d'Optique

    early 1700s–early 1800s
    Hand-colored etching with cutouts
  • Vue d'optique

    c. 1720–1840s
    Hand-colored etching

    Vue d'optique

    c. 1720–1840s
    Hand-colored etching

    Vue d'optique

    c. 1720–1840s
    Hand-colored etching

    Vue d'optique

    c. 1720–1840s
    Hand-colored etching

    Vue d'optique

    c. 1720–1840s
    Hand-colored etching

Woodburytype

Woodburytype is the only photomechanical printing process that produces continuous-tone prints. The negative is placed against a sheet of photosensitive gelatin that hardens where exposed to light. After placing the negative and gelatin layer in sunlight or UV light, the unhardened gelatin is washed away, leaving the hardened gelatin layer thickest where the light was brightest. The gelatin relief is pressed against a lead plate, creating a negative relief that is then used in a printing press to create a continuous-tone print.

  • Woodburytype Slide

    1872–1890s

    Woodburytype Slide

    1872–1890s

    Woodburytype Slide

    1872–1890s

    Woodburytype Slide

    1872–1890s

    Woodburytype Slide

    1872–1890s

Relief

In relief printing the negative space of an image is removed from the printing block, leaving the image as a raised surface. When ink is applied to the block, it adheres only to the raised surfaces. When the inked block is pressed against paper, it leaves the ink corresponding to the raised surface.

  • Zoetrope Bottom Disc

    1865–1900s
    Woodblock engraving

    Zoetrope Bottom Disc

    1865–1900s
    Woodblock engraving

    Zoetrope Bottom Disc

    1865–1900s
    Woodblock engraving

    Zoetrope Bottom Disc

    1865–1900s
    Woodblock engraving

    Zoetrope Bottom Disc

    1865–1900s
    Woodblock engraving
  • Stereoview Demonstration

    early 1900s
    Letterpress

    Stereoview Demonstration

    early 1900s
    Letterpress

    Stereoview Demonstration

    early 1900s
    Letterpress

    Stereoview Demonstration

    early 1900s
    Letterpress

    Stereoview Demonstration

    early 1900s
    Letterpress
  • Newspaper Acting-Picture Machine

    c. 1919
    Letterpress

    Newspaper Acting-Picture Machine

    c. 1919
    Letterpress

    Newspaper Acting-Picture Machine

    c. 1919
    Letterpress

    Newspaper Acting-Picture Machine

    c. 1919
    Letterpress

    Newspaper Acting-Picture Machine

    c. 1919
    Letterpress

Impact Printing

Impact printing is a form of relief printing in which metal or plastic type strikes an inked ribbon against a surface, typically paper, thus transferring ink to the surface in the shape of the character. These devices are relatively simple and inexpensive and, before inkjet and laser printers came along, allowed non-professionals to print custom content. Devices include typewriters, teletypes, daisywheel printers and line printers.

  • Theater Announcement

    1920s–1930s
    Typewriter on cellophane

    Theater Announcement

    1920s–1930s
    Typewriter on cellophane

    Theater Announcement

    1920s–1930s
    Typewriter on cellophane

    Theater Announcement

    1920s–1930s
    Typewriter on cellophane

    Theater Announcement

    1920s–1930s
    Typewriter on cellophane
  • Theater Advertisement

    1920s
    Typewriter on cellophane

    Theater Advertisement

    1920s
    Typewriter on cellophane

    Theater Advertisement

    1920s
    Typewriter on cellophane

    Theater Advertisement

    1920s
    Typewriter on cellophane

    Theater Advertisement

    1920s
    Typewriter on cellophane
  • Radio-Mat

    1910s–1950s
    Typewriter on tissue paper

    Radio-Mat

    1910s–1950s
    Typewriter on tissue paper

    Radio-Mat

    1910s–1950s
    Typewriter on tissue paper

    Radio-Mat

    1910s–1950s
    Typewriter on tissue paper

    Radio-Mat

    1910s–1950s
    Typewriter on tissue paper
  • Transvertex HC-9 Alphabet Sheet

    1950s
    Tabulating machine printer

    Transvertex HC-9 Alphabet Sheet

    1950s
    Tabulating machine printer

    Transvertex HC-9 Alphabet Sheet

    1950s
    Tabulating machine printer

    Transvertex HC-9 Alphabet Sheet

    1950s
    Tabulating machine printer

    Transvertex HC-9 Alphabet Sheet

    1950s
    Tabulating machine printer

Planographic

In contrast to relief or intaglio, planographic printing uses ink applied to a flat plate. The portions of the plate to receive ink are coated with a water-repelling substance, with the negative space represented by areas that repel ink.

Collotype

In collotype, the printing plate is coated with sensitized gelatin that hardens when exposed to UV light through a superimposed photographic negative. The gelatin hardens under the light areas of the negative, becoming more receptive to ink. Under dark areas, the gelatin remains soft and rejects ink.

  • Stereoview

    late 1860s–c. 1910

    Stereoview

    late 1860s–c. 1910

    Stereoview

    late 1860s–c. 1910

    Stereoview

    late 1860s–c. 1910

    Stereoview

    late 1860s–c. 1910
  • Stereo Postcard

    late 1860s–early 20th century

    Stereo Postcard

    late 1860s–early 20th century

    Stereo Postcard

    late 1860s–early 20th century

    Stereo Postcard

    late 1860s–early 20th century

    Stereo Postcard

    late 1860s–early 20th century

Lithography

In lithography, the areas of the image to receive ink are given a grease or oil coating. The plate is then treated with an acidic wash, which etches or roughens the negative spaces. Water is applied to the plate. The water is held by the etched areas and repelled by the grease-coated areas. When a oil-based ink is rolled onto the plate, it is repelled by the water coating the etched areas and sticks to the grease-coated areas. The plate is then pressed against the paper or other receiving surface.

In offset lithography the plate is wrapped around a cylinder. Ink and water are applied to the plate cylinder as it spins. The ink is then transferred to a rubber "offset" cylinder and from there to the paper.

  • Whitte's Moviescope

    1905–1915
    Zoetrope strip

    Whitte's Moviescope

    1905–1915
    Zoetrope strip

    Whitte's Moviescope

    1905–1915
    Zoetrope strip

    Whitte's Moviescope

    1905–1915
    Zoetrope strip

    Whitte's Moviescope

    1905–1915
    Zoetrope strip
  • Le Cinescope

    1920s–c. 1930s
    Barrier grid animation

    Le Cinescope

    1920s–c. 1930s
    Barrier grid animation

    Le Cinescope

    1920s–c. 1930s
    Barrier grid animation

    Le Cinescope

    1920s–c. 1930s
    Barrier grid animation

    Le Cinescope

    1920s–c. 1930s
    Barrier grid animation
  • Lenticular Animation

    c. 1915–present
    Lenticular animation strip

    Lenticular Animation

    c. 1915–present
    Lenticular animation strip

    Lenticular Animation

    c. 1915–present
    Lenticular animation strip

    Lenticular Animation

    c. 1915–present
    Lenticular animation strip

    Lenticular Animation

    c. 1915–present
    Lenticular animation strip
  • Kinophone Gramophone Cinema

    1920s
    Phenakistoscope

    Kinophone Gramophone Cinema

    1920s
    Phenakistoscope

    Kinophone Gramophone Cinema

    1920s
    Phenakistoscope

    Kinophone Gramophone Cinema

    1920s
    Phenakistoscope

    Kinophone Gramophone Cinema

    1920s
    Phenakistoscope
  • Oscar Databar

    1983
    Software as barcode

    Oscar Databar

    1983
    Software as barcode

    Oscar Databar

    1983
    Software as barcode

    Oscar Databar

    1983
    Software as barcode

    Oscar Databar

    1983
    Software as barcode
  • Cauzin Softstrip

    1985–1987
    Software as barcode

    Cauzin Softstrip

    1985–1987
    Software as barcode

    Cauzin Softstrip

    1985–1987
    Software as barcode

    Cauzin Softstrip

    1985–1987
    Software as barcode

    Cauzin Softstrip

    1985–1987
    Software as barcode
  • Barcode Taisen Bardigun

    1998
    Game for Game Boy Color

    Barcode Taisen Bardigun

    1998
    Game for Game Boy Color

    Barcode Taisen Bardigun

    1998
    Game for Game Boy Color

    Barcode Taisen Bardigun

    1998
    Game for Game Boy Color

    Barcode Taisen Bardigun

    1998
    Game for Game Boy Color
  • Nintendo E-Reader

    2001–c. 2005
    Game for Nintendo e-Reader

    Nintendo E-Reader

    2001–c. 2005
    Game for Nintendo e-Reader

    Nintendo E-Reader

    2001–c. 2005
    Game for Nintendo e-Reader

    Nintendo E-Reader

    2001–c. 2005
    Game for Nintendo e-Reader

    Nintendo E-Reader

    2001–c. 2005
    Game for Nintendo e-Reader
  • Universal Product Code (UPC)

    1973–present
    Universal Product Code

    Universal Product Code (UPC)

    1973–present
    Universal Product Code

    Universal Product Code (UPC)

    1973–present
    Universal Product Code

    Universal Product Code (UPC)

    1973–present
    Universal Product Code

    Universal Product Code (UPC)

    1973–present
    Universal Product Code

Chromolithography

In chromolithography, or color lithography, a plate is created for each color to be printed. The color limage is built up by inking and printing the plates in succession.

  • Praxinoscope Strip

    1877–present

    Praxinoscope Strip

    1877–present

    Praxinoscope Strip

    1877–present

    Praxinoscope Strip

    1877–present

    Praxinoscope Strip

    1877–present
  • Praxinoscope Theater

    1879–c. 1910

    Praxinoscope Theater

    1879–c. 1910

    Praxinoscope Theater

    1879–c. 1910

    Praxinoscope Theater

    1879–c. 1910

    Praxinoscope Theater

    1879–c. 1910
  • Cine Skob

    1942–early 1960s
    Paper movie

    Cine Skob

    1942–early 1960s
    Paper movie

    Cine Skob

    1942–early 1960s
    Paper movie

    Cine Skob

    1942–early 1960s
    Paper movie

    Cine Skob

    1942–early 1960s
    Paper movie
  • Uncle Sam's Duracolor

    1930s
    Alternating-frame animation

    Uncle Sam's Duracolor

    1930s
    Alternating-frame animation

    Uncle Sam's Duracolor

    1930s
    Alternating-frame animation

    Uncle Sam's Duracolor

    1930s
    Alternating-frame animation

    Uncle Sam's Duracolor

    1930s
    Alternating-frame animation
  • Red Raven Record

    1957–1970s
    Praxinoscope record

    Red Raven Record

    1957–1970s
    Praxinoscope record

    Red Raven Record

    1957–1970s
    Praxinoscope record

    Red Raven Record

    1957–1970s
    Praxinoscope record

    Red Raven Record

    1957–1970s
    Praxinoscope record
  • Iter Auto

    c. 1930
    Scrolling map for in-car navigation device

    Iter Auto

    c. 1930
    Scrolling map for in-car navigation device

    Iter Auto

    c. 1930
    Scrolling map for in-car navigation device

    Iter Auto

    c. 1930
    Scrolling map for in-car navigation device

    Iter Auto

    c. 1930
    Scrolling map for in-car navigation device
  • Ombro Cinéma

    c. 1910
    Barrier grid animation

    Ombro Cinéma

    c. 1910
    Barrier grid animation

    Ombro Cinéma

    c. 1910
    Barrier grid animation

    Ombro Cinéma

    c. 1910
    Barrier grid animation

    Ombro Cinéma

    c. 1910
    Barrier grid animation
  • Edison Bell Picturegram

    1924
    Scrolling story with synchronized audio

    Edison Bell Picturegram

    1924
    Scrolling story with synchronized audio

    Edison Bell Picturegram

    1924
    Scrolling story with synchronized audio

    Edison Bell Picturegram

    1924
    Scrolling story with synchronized audio

    Edison Bell Picturegram

    1924
    Scrolling story with synchronized audio
  • Cycling Roller Map

    c. 1910
    Scrolling map for bicycle navigation device

    Cycling Roller Map

    c. 1910
    Scrolling map for bicycle navigation device

    Cycling Roller Map

    c. 1910
    Scrolling map for bicycle navigation device

    Cycling Roller Map

    c. 1910
    Scrolling map for bicycle navigation device

    Cycling Roller Map

    c. 1910
    Scrolling map for bicycle navigation device

Halftone

Halftone lithography is a photomechanical method for printing photographs. The continuous tones of the photograph are represented by dots that vary in size or separation. Color is reproduced by overprinting colors in succession.

  • Stereo Realist Print

    1900s–present

    Stereo Realist Print

    1900s–present

    Stereo Realist Print

    1900s–present

    Stereo Realist Print

    1900s–present

    Stereo Realist Print

    1900s–present
  • Chromoplast

    1910–1938

    Chromoplast

    1910–1938

    Chromoplast

    1910–1938

    Chromoplast

    1910–1938

    Chromoplast

    1910–1938
  • Whiting Sculptoscope

    1913–late 1930s

    Whiting Sculptoscope

    1913–late 1930s

    Whiting Sculptoscope

    1913–late 1930s

    Whiting Sculptoscope

    1913–late 1930s

    Whiting Sculptoscope

    1913–late 1930s
  • Photogrammetric Survey

    1912–present
    Aerial stereogram

    Photogrammetric Survey

    1912–present
    Aerial stereogram

    Photogrammetric Survey

    1912–present
    Aerial stereogram

    Photogrammetric Survey

    1912–present
    Aerial stereogram

    Photogrammetric Survey

    1912–present
    Aerial stereogram

Transparencies

Lithography can also be applied to transparent substrates like celluloid film or glassine.

  • Lanterna Magica Film

    1910s
    Magic lantern filmstrip

    Lanterna Magica Film

    1910s
    Magic lantern filmstrip

    Lanterna Magica Film

    1910s
    Magic lantern filmstrip

    Lanterna Magica Film

    1910s
    Magic lantern filmstrip

    Lanterna Magica Film

    1910s
    Magic lantern filmstrip
  • Cinebana Strip

    1964
    Strip for cardboard magic lantern

    Cinebana Strip

    1964
    Strip for cardboard magic lantern

    Cinebana Strip

    1964
    Strip for cardboard magic lantern

    Cinebana Strip

    1964
    Strip for cardboard magic lantern

    Cinebana Strip

    1964
    Strip for cardboard magic lantern
  • Marx Flashy Flickers Picture Gun

    1966
    Filmstrip for toy projector

    Marx Flashy Flickers Picture Gun

    1966
    Filmstrip for toy projector

    Marx Flashy Flickers Picture Gun

    1966
    Filmstrip for toy projector

    Marx Flashy Flickers Picture Gun

    1966
    Filmstrip for toy projector

    Marx Flashy Flickers Picture Gun

    1966
    Filmstrip for toy projector
  • L'Après l'École

    1895–c. 1913
    Magic lantern slides

    L'Après l'École

    1895–c. 1913
    Magic lantern slides

    L'Après l'École

    1895–c. 1913
    Magic lantern slides

    L'Après l'École

    1895–c. 1913
    Magic lantern slides

    L'Après l'École

    1895–c. 1913
    Magic lantern slides
  • La Pierre Cinematographe

    c. 1898
    Intermittent projection

    La Pierre Cinematographe

    c. 1898
    Intermittent projection

    La Pierre Cinematographe

    c. 1898
    Intermittent projection

    La Pierre Cinematographe

    c. 1898
    Intermittent projection

    La Pierre Cinematographe

    c. 1898
    Intermittent projection
  • Ernst Plank Kinematador

    c. 1897
    For magic lantern with rotating shutter

    Ernst Plank Kinematador

    c. 1897
    For magic lantern with rotating shutter

    Ernst Plank Kinematador

    c. 1897
    For magic lantern with rotating shutter

    Ernst Plank Kinematador

    c. 1897
    For magic lantern with rotating shutter

    Ernst Plank Kinematador

    c. 1897
    For magic lantern with rotating shutter
  • Plank Cinematograph

    c. 1910
    35 mm film loop

    Plank Cinematograph

    c. 1910
    35 mm film loop

    Plank Cinematograph

    c. 1910
    35 mm film loop

    Plank Cinematograph

    c. 1910
    35 mm film loop

    Plank Cinematograph

    c. 1910
    35 mm film loop
  • Fortuna

    1950s
    For the Fortuna Cartoon Projector.

    Fortuna

    1950s
    For the Fortuna Cartoon Projector.

    Fortuna

    1950s
    For the Fortuna Cartoon Projector.

    Fortuna

    1950s
    For the Fortuna Cartoon Projector.

    Fortuna

    1950s
    For the Fortuna Cartoon Projector.
  • Cinebana Reel

    1964
    For a cardboard magic lantern

    Cinebana Reel

    1964
    For a cardboard magic lantern

    Cinebana Reel

    1964
    For a cardboard magic lantern

    Cinebana Reel

    1964
    For a cardboard magic lantern

    Cinebana Reel

    1964
    For a cardboard magic lantern
  • Fisher-Price Music Box Movie Camera

    1968–1970

    Fisher-Price Music Box Movie Camera

    1968–1970

    Fisher-Price Music Box Movie Camera

    1968–1970

    Fisher-Price Music Box Movie Camera

    1968–1970

    Fisher-Price Music Box Movie Camera

    1968–1970
  • Play n' Show

    c. 1970
    For Kenner's Play n' Show phono-projector.

    Play n' Show

    c. 1970
    For Kenner's Play n' Show phono-projector.

    Play n' Show

    c. 1970
    For Kenner's Play n' Show phono-projector.

    Play n' Show

    c. 1970
    For Kenner's Play n' Show phono-projector.

    Play n' Show

    c. 1970
    For Kenner's Play n' Show phono-projector.
  • Screen-A-Show

    1972–mid-1970s
    Filmstrip cassette

    Screen-A-Show

    1972–mid-1970s
    Filmstrip cassette

    Screen-A-Show

    1972–mid-1970s
    Filmstrip cassette

    Screen-A-Show

    1972–mid-1970s
    Filmstrip cassette

    Screen-A-Show

    1972–mid-1970s
    Filmstrip cassette
  • Movin Pictures See & Hear Pack

    1977–1978
    Comes with an audio record. Both are placed in a projector that turns the disc as the story progresses.

    Movin Pictures See & Hear Pack

    1977–1978
    Comes with an audio record. Both are placed in a projector that turns the disc as the story progresses.

    Movin Pictures See & Hear Pack

    1977–1978
    Comes with an audio record. Both are placed in a projector that turns the disc as the story progresses.

    Movin Pictures See & Hear Pack

    1977–1978
    Comes with an audio record. Both are placed in a projector that turns the disc as the story progresses.

    Movin Pictures See & Hear Pack

    1977–1978
    Comes with an audio record. Both are placed in a projector that turns the disc as the story progresses.
  • Real Ghostbusters Ghost Zapper

    1984
    For Kenner Ghostbusters toy gun

    Real Ghostbusters Ghost Zapper

    1984
    For Kenner Ghostbusters toy gun

    Real Ghostbusters Ghost Zapper

    1984
    For Kenner Ghostbusters toy gun

    Real Ghostbusters Ghost Zapper

    1984
    For Kenner Ghostbusters toy gun

    Real Ghostbusters Ghost Zapper

    1984
    For Kenner Ghostbusters toy gun

Thermal Transfer

In thermal transfer printing a ribbon holding a waxy ink is pressed against the surface by the printing head. The printing head heats tiny dots in the pattern to be printed, which melt the ink and bond it to the receiving surface. Thermal transfer printing was developed in 1981.

  • Code128

    1981–present

    Code128

    1981–present

    Code128

    1981–present

    Code128

    1981–present

    Code128

    1981–present

Digital

In digital printing there is no printing plate; the image is represented as a digital file and the print is created on-the-fly by applying ink or toner to the medium.

Inkjet

In inkjet printing, tiny droplets of water-based ink are launched from the printer head onto the receiving media using either thermal or piezoelectric technology. Inkjet printers are particularly valued for producing color photographic prints.

  • Stereoview

    late 1970s–present

    Stereoview

    late 1970s–present

    Stereoview

    late 1970s–present

    Stereoview

    late 1970s–present

    Stereoview

    late 1970s–present
  • Photoshop Displacement Map

    c. 2000–present
    Transparent anaglyph

    Photoshop Displacement Map

    c. 2000–present
    Transparent anaglyph

    Photoshop Displacement Map

    c. 2000–present
    Transparent anaglyph

    Photoshop Displacement Map

    c. 2000–present
    Transparent anaglyph

    Photoshop Displacement Map

    c. 2000–present
    Transparent anaglyph
  • Dot Data Matrix

    late 1980s–present
    Data matrix code on pill bottle

    Dot Data Matrix

    late 1980s–present
    Data matrix code on pill bottle

    Dot Data Matrix

    late 1980s–present
    Data matrix code on pill bottle

    Dot Data Matrix

    late 1980s–present
    Data matrix code on pill bottle

    Dot Data Matrix

    late 1980s–present
    Data matrix code on pill bottle
  • Plickers

    2013–present
    Classroom polling tool

    Plickers

    2013–present
    Classroom polling tool

    Plickers

    2013–present
    Classroom polling tool

    Plickers

    2013–present
    Classroom polling tool

    Plickers

    2013–present
    Classroom polling tool

Laser

In laser printing, an image is transferred to a drum using a laser, building up a pattern of static electricity which then attracts toner (powdered ink). The drum deposits the toner on the receiving media and heat is applied to fix the toner to the media. The media is usually paper, but other kinds of media are available, including transparency film (usually cellulose acetate). Transparencies are typically meant to be projected using an overhead projector.

  • Transparency

    1940s–present
    For use in overhead projectors

    Transparency

    1940s–present
    For use in overhead projectors

    Transparency

    1940s–present
    For use in overhead projectors

    Transparency

    1940s–present
    For use in overhead projectors

    Transparency

    1940s–present
    For use in overhead projectors

Pen

Ink can be distributed on a surface in meaningful patterns by feeding it through a moving tip or nib. Examples include quill pens, fountain pens and markers. Of course, pen and ink have been used to store information since the ancient Egyptians wrote on papyrus three thousand years ago. Normally that information is extracted through direct visual experience. But pens have also been used to store information specifically meant to be read by machine. The two examples below are for Morse code practice. They use strips of paper on which a simple back and forth pattern is used to the coded message. The machine can play back the code, producing audio dots and dashes that telegraph operators decoded as part of their training. In the case of the McElroy Keyer, used by the military, the pattern is read optically. The Master Teleplex uses a conductive ink that is read electrically.

  • Master Teleplex

    1932–1930s
    Conductive ink read electrically

    Master Teleplex

    1932–1930s
    Conductive ink read electrically

    Master Teleplex

    1932–1930s
    Conductive ink read electrically

    Master Teleplex

    1932–1930s
    Conductive ink read electrically

    Master Teleplex

    1932–1930s
    Conductive ink read electrically
  • Mcelroy Keyer

    late 1930s–mid-1940s
    Opaque ink read optically

    Mcelroy Keyer

    late 1930s–mid-1940s
    Opaque ink read optically

    Mcelroy Keyer

    late 1930s–mid-1940s
    Opaque ink read optically

    Mcelroy Keyer

    late 1930s–mid-1940s
    Opaque ink read optically

    Mcelroy Keyer

    late 1930s–mid-1940s
    Opaque ink read optically

Photo Etching

In photo etching, a pattern is stored as a metal-coating on glass. To create the pattern, the metal is covered with a photosensitive resist. Light is projected onto the surface through a negative of the desired pattern. The photoresist hardens where exposed to light. The unexposed resist is dissolved and the surface is coated with an etching chemical, which removes the metal corresponding to the opaque areas of the pattern, leaving a silhouette of the original. Photo etching is used to create the masks that are central to manufacturing integrated circuits. It's also used to create gobos, which are inserted into stage lighting to project silhouettes.

  • Gobo

    1990s–present

    Gobo

    1990s–present

    Gobo

    1990s–present

    Gobo

    1990s–present

    Gobo

    1990s–present
  • Photomask

    1960s–present

    Photomask

    1960s–present

    Photomask

    1960s–present

    Photomask

    1960s–present

    Photomask

    1960s–present
  • Planetarium Disc

    2010s–present

    Planetarium Disc

    2010s–present

    Planetarium Disc

    2010s–present

    Planetarium Disc

    2010s–present

    Planetarium Disc

    2010s–present

Scratch-Off

In scratch-off art, a pattern is created using a tool with a sharp tip to remove parts of a dark coating, revealing the surface underneath. In the case of magic lantern slides, removing the coating leaves transparent glass. When projected, the illustration or diagram appears as white against a black backround. Colors can be added after the fact by over-painting with watercolors, as with the Morropaque slide below.

  • Morropaque

    early 1910s–mid-1960s
    Coming-attraction slide

    Morropaque

    early 1910s–mid-1960s
    Coming-attraction slide

    Morropaque

    early 1910s–mid-1960s
    Coming-attraction slide

    Morropaque

    early 1910s–mid-1960s
    Coming-attraction slide

    Morropaque

    early 1910s–mid-1960s
    Coming-attraction slide
  • Custom Announcement

    early 1910s–1950s
    Hand-lettered slide announcing the end of World War II in Europe

    Custom Announcement

    early 1910s–1950s
    Hand-lettered slide announcing the end of World War II in Europe

    Custom Announcement

    early 1910s–1950s
    Hand-lettered slide announcing the end of World War II in Europe

    Custom Announcement

    early 1910s–1950s
    Hand-lettered slide announcing the end of World War II in Europe

    Custom Announcement

    early 1910s–1950s
    Hand-lettered slide announcing the end of World War II in Europe
  • Primus Diagram Plate

    1900s–1910s
    Pre-coated slide for custom diagrams

    Primus Diagram Plate

    1900s–1910s
    Pre-coated slide for custom diagrams

    Primus Diagram Plate

    1900s–1910s
    Pre-coated slide for custom diagrams

    Primus Diagram Plate

    1900s–1910s
    Pre-coated slide for custom diagrams

    Primus Diagram Plate

    1900s–1910s
    Pre-coated slide for custom diagrams

Tape

Tape stuck to a surface with adhesive can function in the same way as more traditional coatings. The item below is a Kartrack bar code for a system used to identify railroad cars in the 1970s. This was the first use of bar codes, which were invented by David J. Collins specifically for this purpose. The colored stripes encoded the car number, car type and owner. The stripes are reflective tape developed by 3M for this application.

  • KarTrak

    1967–1977
    Barcode

    KarTrak

    1967–1977
    Barcode

    KarTrak

    1967–1977
    Barcode

    KarTrak

    1967–1977
    Barcode

    KarTrak

    1967–1977
    Barcode