Welcome to my educational Wednesday post. With the arrival of the new year, I've acquired many new readers here at Mitzi's Miscellany, and I'd like to explain the goal of my Wednesday educational series. On alternating Wednesdays, I introduce a vocabulary word related to the antiques world that will help you become a more knowledgeable shopper when you are out in the field. On the other alternating Wednesdays, called "Show and Tell Wednesdays", I show something from my collection or antique mall space that is somewhat unusual. The goal is to provide a little education and make the hunt for antiques and collectibles a fun endeavor. Plus, the more knowledge you have, the more you will avoid costly mistakes, like buying repro items. You will also be able to spot valuable items in with the junk!
I've mentioned "chromolithographs" before, but I should specify what they are. Not all prints are chromolithographs, but chromolithographs are a type of print.
The term "lithography" might sound more familiar. This is the process of printing in black ink, which was used for many years. Sometimes the finished print was hand-colored. The "chromolithography", a multi-color process, was invented in 1840, and was complex and time consuming to set up, but many prints could be produced once the color was applied to a zinc or stone slab. Sometimes you might hear the term "chromos" or "stone lithography" used rather than "chromolithography".
An example of the deep, rich color that could be achieved through the chromolithography process. Many beautiful book illustrations were produced this way:
Here is a chromolithograph print of an adorable toddler getting into trouble. Notice the doll....
Photo Credit: Lambs' Gate
These charming vintage valentines were printed in Germany in the early 1900's, a prime time for chromolithography production in Germany:
Another item that was produced by the chromolithograph process was the trade card, like this example:
The "Golden Age of Postcards", 1898 - 1918, during which postcard sending was a hugely popular hobby, was due in large part to the beauty of the chromolithograph process. I'm sure the postcard craze never would have occurred if they were all black and white!