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Photoengraver

Photograph copies and prepare photosensitized metal plates.

What does a Photoengraver do?

Photographs copy, develops negatives, and prepares photosensitized metal plates, such as copper, zinc, aluminum, and magnesium for use in printing, using photography and developing equipment and engravers’ handtools: Positions copy on copy board of darkroom camera and exposes film to copy. Fastens scoured metal plate to whirling machine table or suspension hooks, pours photosensitizing solution on plate, and starts machine which rotates plate to distribute and dry solution evenly over plate surface. Exposes negative and plate to bright light in vacuum type printing frame to transfer image onto plate. Rolls ink onto exposed plate and washes unexposed and unfixed emulsion from plate, using running water and cotton pad to expose bare metal. Places developed plate in acid bath or etching machine to erode unprotected metal to specified depth. Mounts etched plates on wood blocks, using hammer and nails or on metal base, using thermosetting adhesive to raise printing surface type to specified height. Removes excess metal from nonprinting areas of cut, using routing machine [ROUTER]. Cuts mortises in mounted plates, using power drill and jigsaw, for insertion of type or other cuts. Modifies and repairs finished plates, using engravers’ handtools, etching brush, and acid. May be designated according to type of plate made as Plate Maker, Zinc.