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As is true of all scientific illustrators, Sydney Prentice drew for publication in scholarly journals and books. Prentice’s original drawings were sent to an engraver where they were reduced and engraved photographically (in reverse) onto zinc plates. The original drawing (below left) is twice the size (9") of the image on the printer's block (4.5") (below right). The zinc plates were then mounted on 1" wooden blocks.  

Basilosaurus skull drawing photo-engraved block

Prentice drawing of the ear region of a partial skull of the fossil whale, Basilosaurus, (above left) with its corresponding photo-engraved printer's block (above right).

printer's proof

The engraver would return a proof of the illustration (above) exactly as it would eventually look in publication. The artist and scientist would examine the proof and then approve or reject it.

After publication, all the printer's blocks were returned to the author (Kellogg), wrapped in brown paper with a copy of the proof on top for identification (below).

printer's blocks

The blocks would have then been sent to a printer and printed with a double revolution cylinder press such as the one in the photo below.  



Double revolution cylinder press (above). Photo courtesy of the Graphic Arts Division of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.

Archeocete book

The published book (above) is the result of a great deal of effort (collecting the fossil, preparing the fossil, research, description (text) and illustration. This book (Kellogg, Remington. 1936. Review of the Archaeoceti. Carnegie Institute, Washington, DC, Publication 482) is part of the Smithsonian Institution's Kellogg Library.

For more information about printing see:

Hackleman, Charles W.  1924. Comercial Engraving and Printing: A Manual of Practical Instruction and Reference Covering Commercial Illustrating and Printing by all Processes.  Commercial Engraving Publishing Company.  838 pages.


Many thanks to Joan Boudreau and Helena Wright, Graphic Arts Division, Smithsonian National Museum of American History, for their generous assistance.