> To continue progress on reconstructing the layout of the lithograph stone, it would be
useful to watch someone demonstrate the old style methods of lithography used in the
1860's. Please E-mail (email@example.com) me if you know a museum or other facility where the old style tools
can be found, or where the old method of lithography is still used.
> Let me know if you have, or know of, lithograph multiples, stamps with extra wide margins
or stamps with significant portions of an adjoining stamp. If you can send an image by
e-mail, better yet.
> Let me know if you have, or know of, proofs from the lithograph stone. The ones I have
are black on card. Ink skips in the left leaf panel connect the proof with the
RECONSTRUCTING THE LITHOGRAPH STONE CAT'S PAWS AND DONUT HOLES
In lithography, the printer typically prepares a die and lays out a number of images on a
transfer stone. From this stone, a paper image is made to prepare the printing stone. It
is possible, however, to vary this process by entering the subjects directly onto the
printing stone. In the case of the Boston Lithographs, it seems likely the printer used
this shortcut process. By one process or another, the printer lays out a number of
subjects on the stone. We cannot tell exactly what layout was used to print these stamps.
S. Allen Taylor, who lived in Boston when these stamps were printed, gave us a layout of
four panes of 25 stamps each, laid out six across and four down with one extra subject
laid down in the top margin of each of the upper panes and in the bottom margin of each of
the lower panes. Modern research shows each pane was laid out five across and five down.
The order called for sheets of 25 and supposing the printer gratuitously added extra stamps
Few multiples of this stamp exist and no complete panes are recorded. The largest
recorded multiples are two blocks of ten stamps, both from the same position of the same
pane and both classed as Scott 28a.
Here for an image of a block of ten.
Apart from the two blocks of ten, three multiples of six stamps are recorded (UR pane
positions 1-3 and 6-8; UR 6-8 and 11-13; and UR 2-5 and 9-10), all Scott No. 28a. We also
have a photographic image of another block of six (from one of the lower panes) which has
since been separated and only a strip of 3 remains from it. Several blocks of four are
known to exist, most from the UR pane and one from the UL pane. The UL pane is the only
recorded Scott No. 28 multiple of this size. The others are Scott No. 28a.
Unless more multiples come to light, the true layout of these stamps may never be known.
Given the evidence we have, the layout on the stone was 100 subject, laid out in four
panes of twenty-five subjects each, with two panes on top and two on the bottom. The
panes are identified as UL, UR, LL and LR. Stamps can be located within one of the panes
and assigned, for example, UL1 for the first position in the UL pane.
A complete reconstruction has been accomplished for the UR pane, using overlapping
multiples. Twenty subject locations have been confirmed for the UL pane. Reconstruction
of the two bottom panes remains virtually undone for lack of multiples and presently those
panes are repositories for stamps that do not fit the upper two panes.
Each stamp produced from the printing stone for this issue has distinct features. Easiest
to see are ink skips leaving white spots where color should be. For some reason, ink skips
occur only in the left leaf panel of the stamp. Referring to these skips as "cats paws"
and "donut holes" give some impression of how they appear. Other marks are stray spots or
lines of color. Regardless of whether the stamp is a first printing or second printing
stamp, a stamp printed from the same location on the stone will have the same distinct
markings. Proofs exist from the original printings and they demonstrate the same position
marks found on the stamps.