Electrotyping (also galvanoplasty) is a chemical method for forming metal parts that exactly reproduce a model. The method was invented by Moritz von Jacobi in Russia in 1838, and was immediately adopted for applications in printing and several other fields.[1] As described in an 1890 treatise, electrotyping produces "an exact facsimile of any object having an irregular surface, whether it be an engraved steel- or copper-plate, a wood-cut, or a form of set-up type, to be used for printing; or a medal, medallion, statue, bust, or even a natural object, for art purposes."[2] In art, several important "bronze" sculptures created in the 19th century are actually electrotyped copper, and not bronze at all;[3] sculptures were executed using electrotyping at least into the 1930s.[4] In printing, electrotyping had become a standard method for producing plates for letterpress printing by the late 1800s. It complemented the older technology of stereotyping, which involved metal casting.[5] By 1901, stereotypers and electrotypers in several countries had formed labor unions around these crafts.[6][7][8] The unions persisted into the 1970s, but by the late 20th century, after more than a century in widespread use for preparing plates, the two technologies had been bypassed by the transitions to offset printing and to new techniques for the preparation of printing plates.[9][10]

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