Meisenbach, Georg


Meisenbach, Georg
SUBJECT AREA: Paper and printing
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b. 1841 Nuremberg, Germany
d. 12 December 1912 Munich, Germany
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German engraver, inventor of the first commercially exploitable halftone printing process.
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Trained in Nuremberg as a copper-plate engraver, Meisenbach moved to Munich in 1873 and established the first zincographic engraving business in Germany. In 1879 he began experimenting with halftone reproductions and in May 1882 he took out a German patent which described a single-line screen made from the proof of an engraved plate ruled with lines. The screen was then placed before a photographic positive of a picture and the two were photographed together. Approximately half-way through the exposure the screen was turned 90 degrees so that the lines crossed. A halftone negative was thus produced, from which could be made a zinc printing block. The full details of the process were not revealed in the patent so that trade competition would be limited. It was the first commercially practicable halftone process. Ill health forced Meisenbach to retire from the business in 1891, by which time his process was being superseded by Ives's cross-line process.
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Bibliography
May 1882, German patent no. 22,444 (halftone printing process). 1882, British patent no. 2,156.
Further Reading
J.M.Eder, 1945, History of Photography, trans. E.Epstean, New York.
G.Wakeman, 1973, Victorian Book Illustration (a popular account of the introduction of halftone to England).
JW

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.