from The Century Dictionary.
- noun The act or process of printing from an engraved plate.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
But surface-printing being much less sharp and distinct than plate-printing, imperfect copies of notes for which that process is used are the more likely to escape detection.
In the former, adapted to the process called plate-printing, the ink is delivered from the lines in the plate to the paper pressed upon it; in the latter, adapted to surface-printing, the ink is spread upon the face of the lines and printed as in typography.