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the impressing of a decorative relief pattern on such materials as leather, sheet metal, velvet, and paperboard.
Formerly, metal was embossed by covering the metal with a yielding substance (leather, lead) and then hammering the metal, in sheet form, onto a metal or stone block having a raised design. This method, which was known in antiquity in Egypt and other countries, was used in the large-scale production of ornaments, including icon frameworks (seeBASMA). In the 20th century, metal is usually embossed with a screw press.
The traditional method of embossing leather involved the use of hot metal blocks. Applied to leather bookbindings as early as the 12th century, this technique has been widely used in the decorative art of the Baltic republics of the USSR. Embossed patterns on velvet are produced using red-hot iron stamps.
In printing, embossing is used to produce patterns or typeface on bookbindings, paper, or paperboard. The process is carried out on an embossing press. A distinction is made between raised, or Congreve, impressions (seeRAISED IMPRESSION) and sunken images (Figure 1). With the latter, a flat stamp of zinc or brass is used. Embossing can be carried out with or without coloring; in the latter case, the process is referred to as blind stamping. When coloring is used, the image is formed using special colored or metallized foil, which remains in the depressions.