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GregAlex
This was an interesting little research project that I finally figured out, with some help from Mark Tomasko. Here is a stamp-sized proof of a label for the Fuchs & Lang Manufacturing Company, which built lithographic presses and produced printers ink. The proof is for a label that I believe was used to seal the tins of ink.

The curious part is that the image is reversed. It is definitely intaglio printed (engraved) because I can feel the raised ink on the card. Before I give you the rest of the story, let's see if anyone else can deduce what this is. Hint: the actual labels were offset printed.

I'll post the proof and a close-up that I flipped to make it easier to read. Fyi, the fellow depicted is J. Alois Senefelder, inventor of lithography.

Fuchs & Lang proof.jpg 
Fuchs & Lang reversed.jpg 
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mikelaw
Inventor of lithography!? Nice ...Interesting story and research as usual. What’s the rest of the story?
Mike
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Scooter1
After some research,  I found the other forum.  Was it a proof for what was a strip of those stamps  used to seal ink containers.   Earlier stamp before it became a division of a larger company.
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GregAlex
Yes, indeed, it is a proof of the label -- but the question is, why is the image reversed? Scooter mentioned another forum; I actually posted it on a couple, but didn't get any real answers. Someone suggested it was a proof of a transfer die. These are heavy steel cylinders used to transfer engravings onto another steel plate. The image on the transfer roll is readable, so it would, in fact, print a reverse image -- if you could print from it. But because it is used to impress an engraving into a plate, all the grooves that would normally hold the ink protrude. Instead of valleys you have peaks. So I knew that wasn't right. Here's what one of those looks like, next to the flat plate it transferred to:

transfer roll and plate.jpg 
Ultimately I got some help from Mark Tomasko, author of "The Feel of Steel: The Art and History of Bank Note Engraving in the United States". Here's his response to my query:

"It is definitely not a print from a transfer roll. I have never heard of transfer rolls being used for printing, and remember, that would be letterpress, not intaglio. The way you can get a reverse print from an intaglio die is to print it offset, I.e., printing an intaglio image onto an intermediary piece such as a rubber blanket, which is then used to print a piece of paper."

So here's what I think happened. Knowing that the final product would be offset printed, Fuchs & Lang commissioned an engraving to be made in reverse (actually a positive image on the engraved steel plate). My proof would have been printed directly from that plate using intaglio methods (hence the raised ink) as a quick way to see various color samples (I've seen other reverse examples in different colors). But the labels themselves were printed using that intermediate step onto what was probably a large rubber roller, then to paper, with the end result in readable form.

So -- now you know!
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GregAlex
I picked up a couple more of these. My guess is there are a *lot* of ink varieties.

Fuchs labels orange and black.jpg 
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