Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


From glass eyes to colour-fast digital prints


Top quality colour printing could be revolutionised thanks to the revival in Bristol of an old printing process once used to create, among other things, colour charts for selecting glass eyes. Art researchers from the University of the West of England have discovered a 21st century use for the process, known as collotype, which fell out of favour during the early 1900s. As an added bonus, new inks are being developed which unlike current computer colour printouts, won`t fade over time.

In the past, the process, which was slow and extremely labour intensive for printers, used gelatine-coated plates to create accurate reproductions of works of art, with all the subtle colour tones of the original. However staff from UWE`s Faculty of Art, Media and Design have revived the technique and found that it can be linked up with computerised printing technology to open up new vistas in accurate colour reproduction.

The findings of the UWE research have just been revealed in a paper given by Dr Paul Thirkell at an international conference in Leipzig, Germany.

"UWE is now a world authority in this technique, which was so nearly lost," said Steve Hoskins, director of UWE`s Centre for Fine Print Research. "This was the first international Collotype conference and enabled print experts from around the world to learn from our discoveries."

"Collotype was one of the first photomechanical printing methods to be developed during the mid-nineteenth century, and was a means of commercially reproducing some of the most exact facsimiles ever produced. Despite its unparalleled image and colour fidelity, the process relied heavily on the skill of highly trained printers to make it worthwhile.

"Collotype declined as printing techniques such as offset lithography and letterpress took over in the mid-twentieth century, although the last printer capable of the process did not close until the 1980s. This was Cotswold Collotype at Wotton-under-Edge, in Gloucestershire, which from the 1920s until the 1960s produced art posters for the home. Owned for a time by Brooke Bond, the works also printed cigarette cards and more quirkily, shade-charts for the NHS showing the subtle variations in the colours of glass eyes that were available."

As well as providing a faithful record of original artworks, the collotype process could also answer a growing need for permanent, archive-quality records. Already, digitally printed reproductions using synthetic inks have been found to fade and lack permanence. Further avenues for research include developing the special papers and inks required for collotype. None of the original ink manufacturers exists, but UWE researchers are working on developing suitable inks based on traditional ingredients such as pure pigment and linseed oil, in a final marrying of old and new technologies.

Julia Weston | alfa
Further information:

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>