A false intaglio is any type of printed image surrounded with a plate mark that was not actually made by the plate that printed the image. After the ink on the printed image has dried it is placed over a blank intaglio plate and run through a press again. This process creates an embossed plate mark without disturbing the original picture. Postcards in photogravure employed false intaglio plate marks the most to make it look like a hand pulled print of an artist rather than a massed produced product. Even though gravure is an intaglio process most cards were printed in large sheets, which were latter cut down leaving no plate marks behind. A variety of intaglio techniques were reproduced in gravure without plate marks, and these prints are also sometimes referred to as false intaglios.
A fancy card was one of the terms in popular use during the 1880’s and 1890’s to describe trade cards printed in chromolithography.
Farbenphotographie is an old German reference to natural color photography, sometimes also called heliochromy. These early color photographs were largely produced through the autochrome process. Many were made into prints and postcards using three color process printing in RGB colors. These types of postcards have the same look as that of early photochromes because their color was achieved through photomechanical color separation utilizing filters rather than a retouchers hand. It was an expensive process and not as widely used as printing in halftones. Many news photographers became attracted to autochromes during the First World War so there is a predominance of these postcards portraying war imagery.
Ferrotyping is a process of drying photographs with a silver gelatin emulsion while pressed against a sheet of polished metal or glass. A high gloss finish is imparted when the photo is 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 as pressure can impart irregular patches of gloss to a photo. This can sometimes be seen on real photo postcards stored in plastic that have been bundled too tightly together.
A field-post 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 field-post cards with imagery on them. This is best illustrated by the feldpostkartes produced in Germany.
A film is a thin flexible transparent surface that holds a photosensitive emulsion on one side. Commercially available glass plates were first manufactured in 1875, and their convenience and availability helped create a large amateur photography market during the 1880’s. Even so these plates were still very cumbersome to deal with, and when the Eastman Dry Plate Company offered a substitute for glass with a flexible nitrocellulose roll film coated with a photosensitive gelatin emulsion in 1889 it was quickly accepted by the marketplace. By 1913 film became available in sheets. This early type of film with collodion emulsion was replaced in 1950 because of its highly unstable properties.
A finger cancel is an ink mark applied to postage by the literal hand of a postal employee when a hand stamp has failed to cover it during canceling. This will often occur when a large number of postage stamps is applied 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 as the base for photo gelatin emulsions in printing 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 to refer 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 in which a flap is folded over the image side of the card in order to obscure the first glance of it. By unfolding the flap a hidden message is revealed, usually of a patriotic, satirical, or erotic nature. 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 and was latter applied to the production of many postcards. The tinting plate in this process did not carry an image but only a very light field of color that could be tan or blue, solid or textured, and it would be overprinted with a black key plate. 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 into in order to produce whites. The black key plate was usually another lithograph but it could also be made as a collotype or in gravure. Eventually these key plates would make wide use of the halftone process. 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. In 1876 Robert Barclay 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 transferred onto the end surface, in this case a sheet of tin. By 1890 a new type of press was patented by Bibby, Baron & Sons where a flexible plate made of cheap molded rubber is adhered to a printing cylinder, then inked with a finely textured roller, and directly rolled onto its intended product to create a printed image. Its basic principles are the same as letterpress printing but this process is more versatile. It was 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 certain novelty postcards where the unusual material utilized 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.
In the flocking process fibers are dusted over glue or varnish that is printed onto a card’s surface after the ink has dried. It was used on novelty 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 by itself 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 know 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 more 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, then 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 that are published by FlyCards in Russia. They currently dominate the Eastern European postcard market.
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 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 were most common size, but some cards had as many as eight panels. Some of these long cards were also sold unfolded to give the purchaser the choice of saving it as is for a 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 market. They are often discernible by having only one or two ragged edges and possibly no labeling on them.
Type, spacing bars, and picture blocks, when locked in a cast iron chase, and ready for letterpress printing 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. They can be caused by the oxidation of iron particles (ferric oxide) in the paper’s chemical residue left over from manufacturing. The most common cause of foxing the action of enzymes from 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 from environments with high fluctuations in humidity.
A framed card is a postcard with a border wider than a simple white edging. While many of these cards are bounded by simulated printed picture frames, cards with plain and elaborate decorative borders can both fit under this definition as well.
Franking is the ability to send mail through a postal system free of postage. This privilege is given to 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 was is referred to as franked mail or free mail. For some, metered mail can fit under this definition as it is not sent for free but no postage is added to it in the form of stamps; instead a machine prints out a receipt stating the amount of postage paid, which is then adhered to the mail.
Freecards is another informal term for free rack cards most often used in Europe.
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 an underside that is left blank and a two sided outside of one fold that is printed upon. 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, though they did not end up being the primary market for them. 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 image on it.
Frequency is a way of referring to the number of dots per inch (dpi) produced by halftone screens. Lines on screens were placed in standard rulings ranging from 50 to 300 per inch, which in turn would produce dots in the same frequency. The more lines placed into a screen the smaller the dot produced. There is a cost benefit ratio as to how many dpi to use; small dots can render much more detail than large ones but as they grew smaller the overall tonal range within an image decreases 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 out of use term for a membership organization that published postcards to attract more members or publicize their events.
Frosted is an informal term used to describe the look of postcards printed by the Photochrome Process Company of Philadelphia and to distinguish them from the Phostints printed by the Detroit Publishing Company. These cards were manufactured to be look a likes for Detroit’s cards but they wound up having a soft dull dry finish instead.
The term frosted was also used to describe both printed and real photo postcards that had a white crystalline substance pasted onto them in order to simulate icy frost or snow. This technique is most often found on Christmas cards.