Lithography (from Greek λίθος, lithos, "stone" and γράφειν, graphein, "to write") is a method of printing originally based on the immiscibility of oil and water.
Printing is from a stone (lithographic limestone) or a metal plate with a smooth surface. It was invented in 1796 by German author and actor Alois Senefelder as a cheap method of publishing theatrical works.
Lithography can be used to print text or artwork onto paper or other suitable material.
Origins and process
Lithography originally used an image drawn with oil, fat, or wax onto the surface of a smooth, level lithographic limestone plate.
The stone was treated with a mixture of acid and gum arabic, etching the portions of the stone which were not protected by the grease-based image. When the stone was subsequently moistened, these etched areas retained water; an oil-based ink could then be applied and would be repelled by the water, sticking only to the original drawing.
The ink would finally be transferred to a blank paper sheet, producing a printed page. This traditional technique is still used in some fine art printmaking applications.
Source: Lithography. (2015, January 27). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 04:50, February 7, 2015, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Lithography&oldid=644356152