Type: statue de Mérode
Design: Mac Donald
Printing: Lithografie by J.Verschueren Antwerp
First day issue:saturday 3/10/1914
Perforation: 14 or unperforated
sheet: 75 stamps in three panels of 25 stamps
End of use:14/8/1920

Lithografie

Lithografie or 'writing on stone' was discovered and used for the first time by Alois Senefelder in the year 1798. It is a type of printing by which the printing and the not-printing parts lay beside eachother in the same level of the stone. This gives a great accuracy of reproduction,and is the father of the offset-printing.
The used stone is a light-poreus limestone,who takes water easely and is found in Italie, Austrich. The blue-grey stones are the hardest and are very well apted to fine work.
The stones have to be prepared to be flat on both sides, 6 to 10 cm thick and always at all sides approximately 4 cm wider than the drawing who is put on it. A new or used stone can be polished by rubbing two stones or using a file.
To bring a picture on the stone the process is as follows; the principle is based on the fact that water and fat reject one another. A fatty part of a picture doesn't take water, and a wet part doesn't take fat. This fat can be applicated with inct, a peace of chalk, autographificaly.
After bringing a drawing on a stone, this could be printed immediately, but doing so the picture will lose in clearness. Therefor it is necessary to prepare the stone so the picture will stay clear also after several times of printing. At first the picture is protected by applicating resin on it. At second the stone will be etched to make it possible that the fat of the printing inkt can better go into the stone. This happens with Arabic gum, nitric acid, and water. By doing this the stone is protected against grease with a thin layer so on the parts that have to stay not-printed, the inkt will not attach. At third the drawing on the stone is reinforced by drying the Arabic gum, and by washing out the drawing with terpentine or petroleum. By doing so the whole drawing can disappear or only be visable in a brown form on the stone. The greace of the drawing has fully retracted in the stone. After inking the stone the drawing will reappear. The greasy parts of the stone can take fatty inkt now, and the clean parts of the stone won't.

DIFFERENT COLOURS

To make a printing in more than one colour, you have to take as many stones as the colours you need. To bring the different colours on the same drawing, one uses needless of approxymately ten centimeters with a piece of wood on one side. Than in the margin of the sheets one places marks in the form of a cross, to match the different colours. The method is the following: with a bodkin one makes a little hole in the stone where the crosses are. The second stone is than inkted in the desired colour. Than one takes the printing in the first colour, who has to be very dry, and one makes a hole in the crosses. Than you have to put two needles through the crosses on the under and upperside of the drawing, placing them on the back side. Than you have to put the needles in the little holes of the stone with the new colour so you can print it.

AUTOGRAPHIE

This term means the transfer of an already existing printform to a stone to prepare and print it. Normally all the forms of printing of which one can make a copy in fat printing inkt on autographic paper, can be used. Autographic paper is threated on one side so that it doesn't take any grease, so the printing who is copied on this side can't penetrate in the paper. Also they can repeat one image, for example a stamp, as many times as needed on a stone, to reproduct it very fastly. To put an etching on a stone, tone can use the following procedure: print the etching several times on ordinary paper, cut the pictures out and stick them side by side; Then make a copy with autographic paper. The printing on the autographic paper is positive, with a negative picture on the stone.

THE PRINTING MACHINE.

The drive shaft sets the marble wagon in motion with the stone in the middle and in front the inkttable and at the back the wettable.
Accordingly to the thickness of the stone these is put in place by screws. The stone is moisterd and subsequently inkted, than a sheet of paper is placed upon it and a cilinder presses it on the stone. The paper is pulled into the machine by a cilinder with protuberances, therefore the little points in the margins of the sheet.

SPEED OF PRODUCTION.

When the printing machine works very well, the machine can produce between three hundred and five hundred sheets an our, approximately one every seven seconds.

CIRCULATION

There is no certancy about the ammount of stams produced, because the data about this are lost in the war. Therefore we publish several figures accordingly the source.
The planned circulation:
5c:
600.000
 
10c:
600.000
 
20c:
75.000
 
The Official Belgium Stamp Catalogue used to give the following figures, but nowadays gives the same numbers as those of the Red Cross.
5c:
23.214
10c:
14.650
 
20c:
8.663
 
Estimation of Soebert:
5c:
24.000
 
10c:
30.000
 
20c:
12.000
 
Accordingly to the red cross(presumely these are the fabricated numbers,not the sold ones):
5c:
150.000
 
10c:
150.000
 
20c:
50.000
 
Our own collections:
5c:
1305
 
10c:
2065
 
20c:
536
 

PERFORATION:

The sheets were perforated by comb-perforation. This is the most used form of perforation, and it is done by an apparatus resembling a comb with one large side and several short sides, who are implanted in a right angle on the longer side.This apparatus perforates three sides of a stamp in one time, thus forming an open rectangle;The fourth side of the stamp is perforated by the progressing of the machine. The sheets are fixed in the perforation machine using the crosses in the margins t as markings. When the machine is working good the corners will be placed right. Sometimes there is a little difference in space between two perforationpassages of the comb, and this can give a "thick tooth" in two corners, does revealing the direction of the passing of the comb. In a whole sheet one can always see the perforation of the comb in one margin of the sheet.

PAPER:

The paper is special apted for the printing procedure namely lithographie. It has to be very soft, the glue in the paper may not be to strong, but strong enough to prevent pulling off small bits of paper during the printing.
Very important is a good rigidity of the paper, this means that shrinking and extension must be minimal by pressure. Hand-made paper is the best, while this has no extension at all. When it is wettend, it will expand equalised in all directions.

INSCRIPTIONS AND SIGNS IN THE MARGINS OF THE SHEET

DÉPOT-IMPRINT
DÉPOT 1914 in a frame. These imprint was put as a proove that the printed sheet was approved and was taken in depot. The imprint was not put in the same place each time, and can appear in the left undercorner, left uppercorner, in the middle of the upper margin, reversed in the right undercorner, reversed in the right uppercorner.

FITTING CROSSES

These are crosses placed in the margins of the sheet and used as markings for the printing and perforation machine.
Sheets of five centimes:
   colour of the cross is green.
   
Sheets of ten centimes:
   colour of the cross is red.
 
Sheets of twenty centimes:
   colour of the cross is purple.
 
Using the position of the crosses one can identify the place of the sheets in the panel, but only with the 10 c and 20 c sheets.The left sheet has a cross on the left side,upper side and under side; The sheet in the middle has a cross on the upper side and the under side; Th right sheet has a coss on the right side ,the upper side and the under side.

PULLINGS

These are little round points in the margins of the sheets by the sides. Sometimes they are completely perforated, sometimes only elevated from the backside of the sheet to the picture side; They are caused by the "pulling" of a cilinder with protuberances,used to pull the paper in the printing machine.

Number: five in left and right margin.
Placement: seven milimetres adjacent the stamp.
Distance between the "pullings" 4,6 centimetres, sometimes 3,6- 3,8 centimetres.


WHOLE SHEET

Here we try to make a reconstruction of the dimensions of the whole sheet using an article by Soebert, published in:
''Le revue du collectionneur-spécialiste'' page 206-207.

At first we will remark that differences can occur in the width of the sheets for three reasons:
1) The paper used for printing was cut from a longer sheet (or role?) what can give aberrations.
2) During the printing the position of the sheets on the printing machine can be slightly different, and the panels are not always placed on the same place, which also can give aberrations.
3) The imprinted sheets are put together and cut in pieces, but the sheets underneath can shift which also produces aberrations.

In this article we find the following picture:

This picture represents a part of a sheet called ''waste of printing'',a sheet who had already been printed with stamps of the serie little Albert, and was used a second time when putting in operation the printing machine.Apparently this machine needed a few times of printing, before producing perfect stamps, wherefore one used sheets who were already printed ( and rejected?) to economise paper.
Whe have here a part of panel two and of panel three of the 5 c de Mérode stamp, with an interpanel distance of 3,6 cm.
Now we give some measurements of the complete panels in our possession.
-5 c panel 1
Left margin: 14 mm three times, 13 mm two times.
Right margin: 14 mm three times, 13 mm two times.
Total width of the panel: 16,2 cm five times,with a width of the stamps of 13,4 cm each time.
-5 c panel 2
Left margin: 14 mm six times, 13 mm once, 11 mm once.
Right margin: 14 mm four times, 13 mm three times, 11 mm once.
Total width of the panels: 16,2 cm seven times, 16,6 cm once, with a width of the stamps of 13,4 cm each time.
-5 c panel 3
Left margin: 12 mm once, 13 twice, 14 mm five times, 15 mm once.
Right margin: 13 mm seven timres, 14 mm once, 15 mm once, 19 mm once, 21 mm once. Total width of the panels: 16,1 cm three times, 16,2 cm six times, 16,6 cm two times, with a width of the stamps of 13,4 cm each time.

Starting with a maximal width of the left margin of panel 1 of 1,4 cm,a width of the stamps of three times 13,4 cm, an interpanel distance of two times 3,6 cm and a maximal width of the right margin of panel three of 2,1 cm we can make the following calculation: 1,4+13,4+3,6+13,4+3,6+13,4+2,1 =50,90 cm.

Now follows the same measurements and the same calculation for the 10 c.
Striking are the differences between the panels.Apparently the panels were not cut equaly. -10 c panel 1
Left margin: 13 mm two times, 16 mm five times, 17 mm once.
Right margin: 12 mm once, 13 mm five times, 14 mm once, 15 mm once.
Total width of the panels: 15,9 mm once, 16,3 mm five times, 16,4 mm once, 16,5 mm once.
Total width of the stamps 13,4 cm each time.
-10 c panel 2
Left margin: 14 mm four times, 15 mm seven times.
Right margin: 11 mm three times, 14 mm seven times, 16 mm once.
Total width of the panels: 16,3 mm ten times,16,4 cm once, with a width of the stamps of 13,4 cm each time.
-10 c panel 3
Left margin:14 mm once, 15 mm once, 16 mm six times.
Right margin: 13 mm six times, 14 mm once, 15 mm once.
Total width of the panels: 16,3 cm seven times, 16,4 cm once, with a total width of the stamps 13,4 cm.

Starting with a maximal width of the left margin of panel 1of 1,7 cm, a width of the stamps of three times 13,4 cm, an interpanel distance of two times 3,6 cm, and a maximal width of the right margin of panel three of 1,5 cm we can make the following calculation:
1,7+13,4+3,6+13,4+3,6+13,4+1,5=50,60 cm.

Now we give the measurements of the 20 c whole sheets in our possession:
-20 c panel 2
Left margin: 15 mm.
Right margin: 15 mm.
Total width of the panel 16,4 cm
-20 c panel 3
Left margin:15 mm
Right margin :15 mm
Total width of the panel 16,4 mm

Here we can make the same calculation:Left margin panel 1 1,5 cm, two times the Interpanel distance of 3,6 cm, three times the width of the stamps of 13,4 cm and the right margin of panel 3 of 1,5 cm.
1,5+13,4+3,6+13,4+3,6+13,4+1,5 =50,40 cm.

Now we give an example of another part of 'waste of printing'with a different position of the Mérode stamp 20 c accordingly to the 5 c Little Albert.
Apparently the stamps were produced in several times, first a part of Mérode stamps and Little Albert stamps to cope the need of 3/10/1914 first day of appearance.Later another number of stamps was produced to cope the intended number of circulation while the printing was still going on the 7/10/1914 at the beginning of the shelling of Antwerp.