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Pillar Of The Community
4628 Posts
Posted 05/29/2014   9:51 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add lithograving to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Florian recently mentioned on the Engravers thread that we haven't discussed STIF yet here on the Stamp Production Process Forum.
I was hoping that either he or Galeoptix/Rein would jump in and start
a thread concerning this printing technique.

STIF is the acronym for Société Technique d'Impressions Fiduciaires

This is from Galeoptix's post on the Collecting by Engraver thread page 115

A recess-printing press STIF capable of printing up to 4 colours according to the GIORI process [1 plate, 4 inking devices]. This press was sheet-fed. The first STIF did perform two times as a demonstration model at the World Exposition 1958 in Brussels and in 1972 at the BELGICA International Stamp Exhibition when the tourist stamps - Couvin and Maasseyk - got printed. The STIF 4 was taken out of production in 1983.

In 1962 another STIF press was introduced. This time for 6 colours and reel-fed! Three colours in direct recess and three colours in indirect recess. Two plates in total using the Giori-process for up to 3 colours each plate. For the indirect process the ink was transferred to an intermediate cylinder which applied the printing onto the reel of paper.

The first STIF could not be used for the definitives whereas the second STIF was used practically for definitives only - the Tourist stamps during the 1965-1981 period. Out of production in 1982.

Due to the very long preparation time for plates/cylinders the STIF's were used for relatively few postage stamps.

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Pillar Of The Community
4628 Posts
Posted 05/29/2014   9:53 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add lithograving to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Florian posted this on the Collecting by Engraver thread page 115

directe plaatdruck in Dutch = direct plate printing / line engraved recess printing = taille-douce 3 couleurs in French

indirecte plaatdruck in Dutch = indirect plate printing / offset-recess = taille-douce report 3 couleurs in French

The T.D.-6 or the S.T.I.F.-6 printing machines can use up to 3 inks in direct plate printing (producing what is generally known as the veritable recess engraving) plus up to 3 inks in indirect plate printing or offset-recess, the effects of which as manifest in the form of dots, lines, cross-hatching and even large solid-colour areas can best be studied on the 1966 "Pour le MUSÉE POSTAL" souvenir sheet.

Would someone, perhaps AnthonyUK collecting France, be in a position to post an image of its "Impression taille-douce report" section at full resolution on this thread? Thank you very much.

As for the Belgian Tourist Publicity issues, such as S.G. 756 depicting Huy and printed on S.T.I.F.-6 in two colours in direct plate printing plus two colours in indirect plate printing, it seems to differ from the 1968 Tourist Publicity issue S.G. 811 showing Spa which seems to have been printed on S.T.I.F.-3 in 3 colours in direct plate printing only.
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Pillar Of The Community
4628 Posts
Posted 05/29/2014   10:04 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add lithograving to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

6 Colors Rotary Press Recess Printing (T.D. 6): in 1960, a new print machine has been introduced, allowing to print stamps with six different colors; the "Marianna of Cocteau" 1282 and the set of the "Birds" n° 1273/76, have inaugurated this procedure.

It allows to print sheets from 10 to 100 stamps, carnets and roulettes.
It require two print groups each usying three colors; in the first group, a metallic cylinder receive three colors from three inking rolls each carrying one color.
But, important fact, the metallic cylinder doesn't print its colors on the paper, but on a plastic cylinder of even diameter; this cylinder is a intermediary that will bring again its three colors on the paper.
These three colors constituting the shade background and they are barely delimited among them and without reliefs.

This print by the plastic cylinder is said Amount carried forward Recess Printing and it is very similar to the Offset print.
A second group of three colors, identical to the T.D. 3 print, it is printed directly with a metallic cylinder on the paper that already includes the three background shades.
With this system we can obtain overlaps of colors and creation of numerous tones impossible to obtain with the normal T.D. 3 print.

This second group of three colors brought again directly on the paper by the metallic cylinder realizes the Directed Recess Printing; it is formed by slight relief clear lines touch perceptible. The Amount carried forward Recess Printing, realized by the plastic cylinder, is performed on dry paper that comes subsequently moistened for receiving the Directed Recess Printing. Once printed the six colors, the paper goes through a drying tunnel before being wound again. There is not need of antispot paper. The paper comes subsequently indented and cut in assembled sheets to the exit from the print machine.

After the introduction of the six-color printing process (taille douce 6 or T.D. 6), Engraver's Die Proofs for some of the stamps printed on these presses, exist as Twin Engraver's Die Proofs, giving either "positive" or "negative" impressions.
Two separate dies are needed, and two separate Proofs exist, because the six-colour press prints three colors directly from the printing plate onto the paper, and three more colors by offset that requires an intermediate roller.

The first die, for the main part of the design, is thus engraved "in reverse" to print a normal positive impression.

The second die, for the background, is engraved "positively" and thus produces a negative impression that subsequently becomes positive when transferred to the paper via the intermediate roller.

It follows, therefore, that only those stamps printed on the T.D. 6 presses and using the offset facility, will require two dies and thus provide Twin Engraver's Die Proofs; while those printed without using the offset procedure will need only one die.

In particular, the large size "painting" stamps of French, Monaco and Andorra were issued in pairs (one "positive" and one "negative"), even if we can observe Twin Engraver's Die Proofs for French Antarctic, St. Pierre et Miquelon and other countries.

For definitives since 1960 some French issues, mostly the large size Art stamps, have been printed in up to six colors.
Two dies are prepared by the engraver: one for direct-recess and one for offset-recess.
Therefore two Engraver's Die Proofs are prepared, one for each die.
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Pillar Of The Community
4628 Posts
Posted 05/31/2014   4:29 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add lithograving to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
This definitive portraying Marianne was one of the first
stamps using the 6 Colors Rotary Press Recess Printing (T.D. 6).
Even though the printer only used two colours.
It appears that the blue was direct-recess and the
red indirect (offset)recess.

France Michel 1335 1961

Would someone perhaps have the other early French STIF
examples to show here? Michel 1326-1327, Michel 1332 - 1333
Birds 1960.
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Edited by lithograving - 03/26/2018 11:39 am
Pillar Of The Community
4628 Posts
Posted 05/31/2014   4:40 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add lithograving to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Below is a previous post from the Collecting by Engraver thread on page 114 by GLENN MORGAN (65170)

I can add to the Bank of Finland Security Printing House's installation - "At the beginning of the 1960s the process of modernising capacity was continued by purchasing new machines to print forms, a steel press for bonds, cheques and other securities and finally, in the middle of the decade, French Stif presses for the production of banknotes and postage stamps." This info comes from "Bank of Finland Security Printing House, 1885-1985".
The press is illustrated here, from that book.

The booklet previously mentioned for Belgium "L'Imprimerie du Timbre" by the
"Direction Technique des Postes - Belgique" (published 1962)
captioned the image below (in French) "<<Stiff>> press for intaglio printing."

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Valued Member
United Kingdom
290 Posts
Posted 06/02/2014   06:47 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add 65170 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
For a 1964 STIF Patent drawing see

See also the thread within SCF for a STIF dummy stamp: and also


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