A technical dictionary of printmaking, André Béguin.

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Acid
Acids are used in many different ways in the making of prints. They have, in fact, been used ever since the end of thye 15th century to bite metal plates. Is is worth noting that nitrous corrosives, for example, were used much before nitric acid. In the Middle Ages this corrosive substance was already used both in Spain and in Damascus in etching decorations into weapons. The products used to attack various substances have been grouped under the heading attacking agents. Under this heading the reader will find a description of the various acids, alkalis, and salts which are used in scouring, cleaning, and biting of metals, cloth and paper. The above mentioned entry also gives the references to more specialized entries such as mordants (where the reader will find the various formulas of solutions used to etch plates), etching, scouring, cleaning, lithography, et., where the use of each type of attacking agent is exposed. Attacking agents should, however, be distinguished from those which dissolve grease, resins, and ground which are listed under the general heading of solvents (gasoline, acetone, chlorinated solvents, etc.).
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