Cuts That Are Not Lead?

I was fortunate enough to purchase some cuts from an estate sale and they were quite dirty. Upon cleaning they appear to be of a sky blue material - perhaps rubber? Does that date them from a particular period? A certain manufacturer or technique? A few printed beautifully. Any ideas what they might be made of? Thanks, Neil

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Is the backing metal silver-gray in color? If so, the blue may be the “top” on the engraving plates which resists the acid etching. One manufacturer made plates with blue resist, andother with red.

If the material is blue all the way through, then that is a horse of a different color, and I’m not certain what you might have.

John Henry

Zinc photoengravings were made using an acid resist coating applied photographically to the plate before etching, and many or most photoengravers used a blue-colored resist, whereas the zinc metal of the plate would be greyish in color, as John says. If the plates are rubber (which us usually reddish) they would be soft enough to dent with a fingernail.


Thanks - sounds like zinc. Best - Neil