This section is from the "Henley's Twentieth Century Formulas Recipes Processes" encyclopedia, by Norman W. Henley and others.
Designs can be transferred on painted surfaces, cloth, leather, velvet, oil cloth, and linen sharply and in all the details with little trouble. Take the original design, lay it on a layer of paper, and trace the lines of design accurately with a packing needle, the eye of which is held by a piece of wood for a handle. It is necessary to press down well. The design becomes visible on the back by an elevation. When everything has been accurately pressed through, take, e. g., for dark objects, whiting (formed in pieces), lay the design face downward on the knee and pass mildly with the whiting over the elevations; on every elevation a chalk line will appear. Then dust off the superfluous whiting with the fingers, lay the whiting side on the cloth to hold it so that it cannot slide, and pass over it with a soft brush. For light articles take powdered lead pencil, which is rubbed on with the finger, or limewood charcoal. For tracing use oil paint on cloth and India ink on linen.
To make a facsimile of an engraving expose it in a warm, closed box to the vapor of iodine, then place it, inkside downward, on a smooth, dry sheet of clean white paper, which has been brushed with starch water. After the two prepared surfaces have been in contact for a short time a facsimile of the engraving will be reproduced more or less accurately, according to the skill of the operator.
The best way to transfer engraving from one piece to another is to rub transfer wax into the engraved letters. This wax is made of beeswax, 3 parts; tallow, 3 parts; Canada balsam, 1 part; olive oil, 1 part. If the wax becomes too hard, add a few drops of olive oil, and if too soft, a little more beeswax. Care should be taken that the wax does not remain on the surface about the engraving, otherwise the impression would be blurred. Then moisten a piece of paper by drawing it over the tongue and lay it on the engraving. Upon this is laid another piece of dry paper, and securing both with the thumb and forefinger of the left hand, so they will not be moved, go over the entire surface with a burnisher made of steel or bone, with a pointed end. This will press the lower paper into the engraving and cause the wax to adhere to it. Then the top paper is removed and the corner of the lower one gently raised. The whole is then carefully peeled off, and underneath will be found a reversed, sharp impression of the engraving. The edges of the paper are then cut so it can be fitted in a position on the other articles similar to that on the original one. When this is done lay the paper in the proper position and rub the index finger lightly over it, which will transfer a clear likeness of the original engraving. If due care is taken two dozen or more transfers can be made from a single impression.