Copperplate engraving was the most important method for producing maps from the 16th to the 19th century. The items to be printed were etched or engraved into the plate by the copper engraver. Copperplate engraving had key advantages over woodcuts: it enabled finer lines and larger map formats to be produced. Moreover, mistakes could be corrected and new elements added to the map. Copperplate engraved maps often contain decorative, baroque elements that were fashioned with special engravers or etchers. Those maps were often coloured by hand.
Picture: «Helvetia cum finitimis regionibus confoederatis», Gerhard Mercator, 1585, e-rara