Info on the history of cuts

Hello. I am looking to get information about the history of cuts, and how they were made. I recently purchased a large collection of cuts. These all came from a single donation to a local museum. Many have been stamped “Pilgrim Engraving Co” or “Pilgrim Photo Engraving Co”. I am looking to make some short videos on these cuts. Does anyone know where I can find more information on them? I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you!

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Check this previous thread:

Thank you Bob. That is helpful. Does anyone have information about the Pilgrim Engraving Co? I have a lot from them but can’t find any info. I think they were local to MA or New England.

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I have several hundred master electrotypes that came out of the Portland, Oregon office of American Type Founders. These were stocked at each of the ATF offices around the country. When a customer ordered a stock electro, and most of these were shown in the various ATF catalogs, the branch office would send out the master electro to a local electrotype plant and have a duplicate engraving made. The masters have the border on them and the border is stamped with the catalog number.. There was room within the border for the nails that held the new electro so that the border was sawn off once the new electro was made, then it was ready for the customer. I don’t think this process took more than a day.

As a teenager, I worked with two different photoengravers in Palo Alto, California who had very fast turn around times, at times making cuts while I waited. One made photoengravings for the daily newspaper, the Palo Alto Times, which were not mounted on wood but were placed in the page forms that were then rolled to make stereotype mats for casting the page stereotypes for printing. It was quite a process that involved many skilled people who worked to a strict schedule. The photoengraver worked alone, started early in the morning, worked on news cuts until press time, then would work on the cuts used in the advertisements for the next day. He was a heavy drinker but waited to get soused until his work was finished for the day. His plant was located about 2 blocks from the Times plant and I recall that he had a beautiful hand press, a Hoe I think, that greeted customers as they came in his shop.

Love the story and history!

This book is a must-have if you want to learn the ins-and-outs of engraving.

Commercial Engraving and Printing by Charles Hackleman.

Michael Vickey
Nickel Plate Press

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Occupational anecdotes explain how things worked better than academics ever can.


Thank you. I will check that out!