These lovely Christmas cards from Smythson are engraved and die-stamped by old temperamental machines from the 1960’s.
The process of making the Smythson Christmas cards is very labour intensive.
Designs are first developed onto film by a Linotronic image-setter. The film is then photographically printed onto pre-sensitised copper plate, leaving just the copper etching surrounded by a green acid resist. The plate is then clamped into the Super Etch etching machine where ferric chlorid acid eats into the copper at a rate of one 1,000th of an inch per minute for four minutes.
The etched copper plate is then mounted onto the press with strong double-sided carpet tape, and as it goes through the cycle of a press an ink roller rolls the plate in thick gloopy ink, which goes back over a wiping pad leaving it perfectly clean except for what’s in the engraving.