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Sir William Congreve and His Compound-Plate Printing


Book Summary

Published as United States National Museum Bulletin 252, Contributions from the Museum of History and Technology:71.

The chronic problem of counterfeit notes in England in the early 19th century led the Bank of England to sponsor a public competition for a printing process that would deter forgers. Among those answering the appeal was Sir William Congreve, a colorful and controversial figure, who was a governor of the Bank and engineer by profession. During his temporary excursion into the printing trade he developed a process which he felt could not be imitated. This became known as "compound-plate printing." The process was never accepted by the Bank, but it was used with success for many years by one of London's private printing firms and by Somerset House, a government office.
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