Antique Lithography Stone

This Antique Double-Sided Lithography Stone is quite the example of how far technology has brought us since the turn of the century. Long live vintage printmaking!

11 Comments leave a comment below

  1. I don’t know much about lithography, but I always assumed that the type would be reversed on the litho stone.

  2. Ich hatte gerade denselben Gedanken wie Bryan.

  3. Thanks for the comment Bryan, as I was puzzling about this myself.

  4. My thoughts exactly. Something’s fishy (or someone in production flipped the image to “correct” it)

  5. I believe these positives were used to create litho films that could be used with more modern litho techniques and not subject to failing with over use.

    If you’re in the NYC area and would like to see some pretty awesome ones up close, the REI store in the Puck Building on Houston has a slew mounted in the lower level. They were found when they excavated the building to put in the store. The haul contained both a selection of positive and negative plates. Very cool.

    Also, for some real fun, go into the kids section and take a look at the remains of one of the last building generators in the city. Not sure when it was installed – I’m thinking pre WWI – but the thing was MASSIVE. There was nothing like standing in the basement of the old building and seeing this huge hulking (size of a bus) machine rattle and roll from the vibrations of the 6 train directly below. Very sad I won’t get to see that anymore.

  6. I was going to suggest the same thing.. I went there last saturday and was surprised to see the variety of plates.

  7. I’m happy to see you post about Litho Stones. My grandfather owned a printing company in Milwaukee (my uncle now owns) and he had an entire wall of Litho Stones in his conference room. Seeing those stones, which are super heavy and each unique, makes me remember my childhood and my grandfather fondly. :)

  8. I recently picked up a few of these stones at an estate sale, when I first saw them I wasn’t quite sure what they were, but after talking to a few local print shops, I learned that they are the old limestone blocks, and I believe they were mined and shipped from Bavaria. I have a couple with beer and whisley labels on them that are about 9″x7″x3″, I also have a larger one about 12″x9″x3″ that has a blank check print on one side and maybe a ledger sheet or a check stub on the other side, they are from a bank in Michigan for a mining company in the Upper Peninsula. All three are two sided and appear to be in pretty good condition. How rare are these stones and is there much value here ? Any information would be greatly appreciated, Thanks, Joe L.

  9. If the image is right reading then the stone was used on an offset press. This is where a large roller covered in a special blanket picks the image up off the stone reversing it and then lays the image down on the paper reversing it again. These small stones are pretty easy to come by these days now that commercial stone lithography is obsolete and the stones are generally to small for most fine art lithographers. Unless you find one with a famous original ad they can go for any where from 0 to $200.
    I am a lithographer working at the Tamarind Institute and we occasionally come across these stones. It is fun to try and revive the image on the stone and print it but then we usually grain off the image and prepare the stone for a new drawing.

  10. The postive engraved stones were used to make transfers to other stones,the stone was inked up to print then printed on clear selavain coated with egg white and transfered to wet stone. thhis methhod was used to put mulple images on a ston for printing

  11. My name is Kathy. I am a resident of New jersey. As you know the recent super storm “Sandy” devastated the Jersey shore. As a result my home of 30 + years was destroyed and needs to be rebuilt. During the deconstruction of the house, in the crawlspace was discovered approx. 500+ block or paver type material used to line or surface the entire area (approx. 30′ by 30′). A closer look revealed these blocks were not intended to be used as a building material but in fact were vintage lithographic stones used in the printing industry. Each block appears to have different advertisements, logos or labels printed in reverse and are also a variety of sizes.

    With the endless, frustrating runarounds from FEMA and the insurance companies we’re hoping there is some value in the blocks to assist with the rebuilding costs. Any advise or opinions on what the blocks are worth or the best way to sell them would be greatly appreciated.

    For more details and pix contact me at
    my email address. Thank you

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