A false intaglio is any type of image surrounded with a plate mark that was not actually made by the plate that printed the image. After the ink on a printed image has dried it is placed over a slightly larger and thicker blank plate and run through a press again. This process creates an embossed plate mark like that of an etching or engraving without disturbing the original picture. There is usually some white space left between the plate mark and the image, which is unlikely to be found on a true intaglio print where the embossing tends to meet the edge of the ink. The edges of an intaglio plate that leave this embossed mark are normally wiped clean, but any sort of scratch or abrasion can pick up ink and print. Real plate marks usually have some ink residue on them while false plate marks are always completely clean. False plate marks were used as a marketing ploy and not an attempt to create a forgery. By insinuating a connection between the massed produced postcard and a more exclusive work of fine art, value could be potentially added in the customers eye.
A fancy card was one of the terms in popular use during the 1880’s and 1890’s to describe trade cards printed through chromolithography.
Farbenphotographie is an old German reference to natural color photography, sometimes also called heliochromy. These early color photographs were largely based on Autochromes, which were a type of color photographic transparency manufactured from 1907 by the Lumière Brothers. Color separated plates for tricolor printing could be made from these transparencies by using filters. These natural color cards tend to have the same look as early photochromes because they often share the same palette. It was an expensive process and not as widely used as printing in tinted halftone.
Ferrotyping is a process of drying silver gelatin photographs by pressing them against a sheet of polished metal or glass to impart a high gloss finish when peeled off. Ferrotyping can also refer to a type of damage done to a photograph when it is inadvertently stored under pressure against a smooth surface. Any type of pressure can impart irregular patches of gloss to a photo, which can sometimes be seen on real photo postcards stored in plastic that have been bundled too tightly together.
A fieldpost card is a type of early postcard that was made available to soldiers operating in the field during wartime. They were first introduced in Prussia during their war with France in 1870 to provide a convenient way for soldiers to keep in touch with family. These cards were originally government issued holding a printed stamp but no pictures as they were designed strictly for brief correspondence. In latter years, especially by World War One, many private postcard publishers began producing fieldpost cards with imagery on them. This is best illustrated by the feldpostkartes produced in Germany. Many of these are illustrated with field sketches drawn by soldiers. Blank cards were also produced so soldiers could draw on them directly.
Film is a thin flexible transparent surface that holds a photosensitive emulsion on one side. It began to replace cumbersome glass plates, commercially available since 1875, when the Eastman Dry Plate Company offered a nitrocellulose roll film coated with a photosensitive gelatin emulsion in 1889. Its convenience made it very popular and it quickly came to dominate the marketplace. By 1913 film was made available in sheets. This early type of film with a collodion emulsion became highly unstable as it aged, and it was replaced in 1950. While film is still manufactured, the advent of digital photography has nearly eliminated demand. Most photo-based postcards today are manufactured without the need for film.
A finger cancel is an ink mark applied to postage by the literal hand of a postal clerk when the hand stamp used for cancelation fails to cover it. This will often occur when a large number of postage stamps are applied to a single piece of correspondence or to make up for simple misaiming of a hand stamp.
Fish Glue (Isinglass)
Fish glue is a gelatinous substance extracted from the collagen in fish skin and tails. It was often used in printing as the base for photosensitive gelatin emulsions when combined with dichromate of ammonia. While its fine gluten content was superior to other sources, it was also more expensive and had a tendency to yield inconsistent results. Some have applied this term informally in the past, referring to all forms of gelatin as fish glue, but the expression has generally faded from use.
A flap card is a type of folding card, usually patriotic, satirical, or erotic in nature, in which a flap is partially folded over the full image in order to obscure its true meaning. These cards use the mind’s tendency to extrapolate content from partial visual clues; and thus they can imply socially unacceptable content, only to reveal something quite innocent once the flap is flipped. Flap cards were first developed as novelties in the early 19th century, and later became widely used on advertising and greeting cards.
Flatbed Cylinder Press
A flatbed cylinder press is a particular type of printing press in which the form or plate is mounted on a flat press bed and pressure is applied with a heavy cylinder. Grippers on an impression cylinder pick up paper one sheet at a time, and as the cylinder revolves, the inked plate moves under it, and the paper and plate are squeeze together between the cylinder and the bed, which transfers the image to the paper. When the impression is complete, the flatbed returns to its original position and the plate is then inked for the next impression.
A two plate printing method known as flat tinting was widely used in the 19th century to reproduce drawing, and it was eventually applied to the production of postcards. The tinting plate in this process does not carry an image but only a very light field of color that was usually tan or blue, solid or textured. The image on a key plate is then printed over in in black or a dark color. Lithography was the preferred medium for tinting plates because the stone it was printed from naturally produced solid flat tones that could easily be scraped off to produce white highlights. The black key plate was usually another lithograph, but it could also be made as a collotype or in gravure. Eventually most key plates would be made using halftones. Both the Albertype and the Curt Teich Company used the trade name Duotone for these types of tinted cards that they produced in the 1930’s and 40’s.
It has always been desirable to place printed designs on a variety of different types of material the but list had long been restricted by the difficulty of matching a rigid or rough surface with that of a hard printing substrate. The Englishman, Robert Barclay who came from a long line of press makers patented one of the earliest solutions to this problem in 1876. He altered a cylinder press so that the image from a litho-stone was first offset onto a sheet of cardboard that was wrapped around an impression cylinder before it was printed onto another hard surface, in this case a sheet of tin. By 1890 Bibby, Baron & Sons patented a new type of press where a flexible transfer plate made of cheap molded rubber is adhered to a printing cylinder and inked with a finely textured roller, and then it is directly rolled onto the intended product to create a printed image. Its basic principles are the same as found in letterpress printing, but this process is more versatile. It is used to print on almost any surface, porous and non-porous alike, such as, leather, plastic, metal, paper, cardboard, plastic, and wood. It was used to create novelty postcards where unusual material could not be run through a more conventional press. Its look can vary between fine and sloppy, and its limitations prevent it from printing finely detailed work. The early water based inks, which had a tendency to smear almost doomed this technology but the introduction of oil based aniline inks breathed new life into the process. A new crisis arose in the 1940’s when aniline was found to be toxic but better inks were substituted for it in 1949. This process went by many names such as gummidruck, lustro and transglo printing but by 1951 flexography finally took hold.
In the flocking process short fibers are dusted over glue or varnish that is printed onto a card’s surface once the ink has dried. These fibers could be of varying color, length, and material depending on the effect desired. Flicking was primarily used on novelty and greeting cards to create a variety of effects.
All sorts of substances have been used to make molds of a plate for stereotyping from starch to custard flan. By the 1820’s it was papier mâché alone or in combination with other substances was most often placed onto the lightly oiled form with a stiff brush making sure it covered every surface with precision. This became known as the wet flong method after the alternative dry flong method was invented in 1892. Here a thick sheet of pliable paper is pressed into the heated form under great pressure until it takes on its every likeness. After it is dried with a dusting of talc it is then bent to create a stereo mold ready for casting or electroplating.
Fluxus is an international collective movement founded by the artist George Maciunas in 1960, to promote anti-art ideals. Fluxus, like Dada, sought to enlarge the meaning of art by challenging the public’s limited definition of it. Common forms of media were often recombined in unpredictable ways to create new meaning. The group’s first activities containing music and street performances took place in Germany, and then they moved on to Paris, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, London and New York. Many avant-garde artists of the 1960’s worked with this group, who later branched out to form different movements of their own. One of these newer trends was mail-art, which incorporated the wide use of postcards.
Flycard is the brand name for free rack cards published by FlyCards in Russia. They dominated the Eastern European postcard market for some time.
Foil stamping is a mechanical process by which a thin sheet of metal foil is adhered to a paper substrate through the use of a die. Heat is most often used to permanently bond the metal to a paper’s surface but some printers first lay down a thin layer of glue with the aid of a stencil and then apply the cut foil cold. Foil stamping was primarily used on postcards manufactured in Germany in three different formats. Some postcards had broad swaths of foil stamped on to them and were then printed over, usually in black & white lithography. Another method was to add foil only to particular details of a card that had already been printed. A third method applied the foil during blocking so that it would only sit at the bottom of sunken lines. Various types of metal foil were used including those with colored pigments added. Foil stamping can be used without any printing but this is unusual for postcards.
A foldout is a type of postcard printed on paper at least twice the length of standard size, and then folded into panels so it can be mailed as a regular sized postcard. They have been available since the earliest days of postcard production. Two and three panels are the most common sizes, but some cards have as many as eight panels. Some of the longest cards were also sold unfolded to give the purchaser the choice of saving it as an unblemished souvenir or folding it themselves to send it through the mail. With excessive wear these folds often tear apart and single panels can find their way into the collector’s market. They are often discernible by having only one or two ragged edges. Typically only one panel had a postcard back, so panels torn from it most likely have blank backs.
When the type, spacing bars, and picture blocks used in letterpress are locked together in a cast iron chase and made ready for printing, it is called a form.
Fototipia is a term found on Italian postcards indicating that the image was printed by a collotype process.
Foxing refers to the brown spot-like stains sometimes found on paper that are often the result of impurities left in the pulp when manufactured. One form of chemical residue is iron particles (ferric oxide) that can oxidize with age. The most common cause of foxing is from the action of enzymes produced by mold that has attached itself to accommodating impurities, and encouraged to grow by a damp and warm environment. It is now believed that some of these brown stains are also a form of cellulose oxidation damage caused by repeated drying and wetting in places with high fluctuations in humidity.
A framed card is a postcard with a border that is wider than typical white edging. The images on many of these cards are bounded by simulated printed picture frames, but cards with plain and elaborate borders can both fit under this definition as well. While frames were sometimes used for pure decoration, they were often meant to show off the printer’s skill in creating an illusion. This added touch was a simple way of attracting attention in a highly competitive market.
Franking is the ability to send mail through a postal system free of postage. This privilege is usually reserved for military personnel who are allowed to send mail for free during wartime, and to Congressmen who can send free literature out to their constituents. Certain written information is required to be placed this type of correspondence before it can be sent. A letter or postcard sent this way is referred to as franked mail or free mail. For some, metered mail fits under this definition; though it is not sent for free, postage is not added in the form of stamps but as a receipt of postage paid.
Freecards is an informal term most often used in Europe for free rack cards.
A French fold is a sheet of paper that is folded in half then in half again at the opposite right angle. For cards this forms a double fold creating four pages that can be printed at the same time. The front page usually carries the image and a message is place on an inside page, though there is room for additional printing. The unseen underside is left blank. French folded greeting cards were first manufactured in 1913. They quickly replaced the common use of postcards to send birthday and holiday greetings.
A French postcard is a postcard sized photograph or printed image depicting a nude that was published in the latter 19th century. Many of these cards came from the French magazine La Beaute that published 75 monthly poses for the use of artists. They were highly sought after because there were few opportunities to acquire nude images, and many if not most did not wind up in the hands of artists. These were not literally postcards as they have blank backs and were illegal to mail. Sometimes the term French postcard is used informally to denote any postcard with a nude woman on it.
Frequency is a way of referring to the number of dots per inch (dpi) produced by halftone screens. Lines on screens were drawn in using standard rulings ranging from 50 to 300 lines per inch. They in turn would produce the same amount of dots per inch (dpi). The more lines placed into a screen the smaller the dot produced. There was a cost benefit ratio as to how many dpi to use; small dots could render much more detail than large ones but as they grew smaller the overall tonal range within the image would decrease proportionally. Large dots could create images with bold contrast but could not capture fine detail.
Frey Process (Glaser-Frey Process)
See Glaser Process)
A friendly society is an archaic term for a membership organization that published its own postcards to attract more members or publicize their events.
Friendship Check Book
Elongated Friendship Check Book postcards were novelties published in the 1910’s to look like checks with a payment stub attached. The check portion held an image and motto while the name of the sender and the date could be recorded on the stub. Some if not all of these American made cards contain patriotic messages relating to World War One. The backs of some stubs read, “You may open an account in the Bank of Friendship on one condition - that you have at least one friend!”
Frosted is an informal derogatory term used to describe the dry dull postcards printed by the Photochrome Process Company of Philadelphia. It is meant to differentiate their look from the colorful Phostints printed by the Detroit Publishing Company who they were trying to emulate. While the Photochrome Process Co. hired former employees of the Detroit Publishing Co. after they went out of business, trade secrets were so tightly held that the Phostint process could not be duplicated.
A frosted appliqué was a white crystalline substance that was often pasted onto printed and real photo Christmas and New Year’s cards in order to simulate icy frost or snow. The process can be considered a specialized form of flocking, though the cards produced are not necessarily considered novelties. These cards are sometimes informally referred to as frosted.