A sailor brought this to my attention, and we talked about it for a long time at the Yorktown Pub, both of use getting all riled up over it. This is when I realized that sailors love lithography and didn’t even realize it. Now with the reality of no more lithographic paper charts being printed after April 13th, the sailor erupts into a rant about how great the old charts are vs how shitty the newer (and according to the link) “increasingly popular” Print on Demand Charts, which are printed digitally. Basically the issue is the paper quality and the ability to write on the charts, making corrections as you come across them. Nautical charts will get notes written all over them, notes that occasionally need to be changed or adjusted. Sailors like the lithographic charts because the paper is durable and you can easily erase pencil notes with out messing up the ink on the chart, and as I then explained and as other lithographers know, it’s because lithography is about ink layers trapping into themselves and into the paper. And yes, you can still get tangible charts from the Print on Demand, but the digitally printed charts are on a waxier paper and erasing your pencil notes off them pulls the ink of the surface of the paper.
This then branches off into a discussion about the fate of our individual fields, traditional lithographic printing and sailing traditionally rigged ships. Both now only exist in a fine art/luxury capacity, for the most part. We don’t need traditional tall ships moving cargo these days any more than we need advertisements and documents printed by hand off of slabs of limestone. Even though both have changed dramatically from their initial purpose for existing, I’m glad they both still exist - each having their own small networks of people who get it, those who understand that although traditional litho and traditional ships are both dumb and slow (not to mention expensive and inefficient) that they have enough value in what the newer mediums lack to maintain a place in the world and to have people care enough about them to keep them going.
That being said: I’m going sailing
I’m putting my lithographic skills on hold a little longer to sail down with the Schooner Alliance to the wilds of Panama for the winter. Assuming I survive the journey down (500 miles off shore in the North Atlantic, yikes) litho will still exist when I get back in the spring… hopefully.