Monday, August 01, 2011

Jacob Perkins and the Men Who Engraved Early U.S. Stamps

The Philatelic Database website has reprinted a 1955 article from an unkown newspaper or magazine which talks about the people who engraved the nation's first postage stamps.

According to the piece, "The man to whom banknote engraving, and therefore stamp engraving, probably owes the most is one Jacob Perkins born on July 9, 1776, at Newburyport, Massachusetts."

It goes on to say Perkins perfected a process whereby vignette dies engraved on separate pieces of steel could easily be transferred from a flat piece of steel to a steel cylinder which, after hardening, could rolled to any desired position on the plate. Another of his inventions was the process of hardening steel without damaging the engraved surface of the plate.  He also invented a roller, whereby the ink could be spread evenly over the engraved plate.

In 1818 Perkins left the United States and settled in England. There he established a banknote printing firm, under the name of Perkins, Fairman and Heath. In 1822, when he returned to the United States he changed the name to - Perkins, Bacon and Co.

The original printing press for the Penny Black (shown above) was invented by Jacob Perkins and is on display at the British Library in London.

To read the entire article, click here.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM