This type of design, named after the French engineer who came up with a way to emboss the designs by machine, is used for security details for money, distinctive patterns for luxury items and for architectural “pinache”. Read more about this fascinating design and how it appears all around us in every day life.
Guilloch� is a decorative engraving technique in which a very precise intricate repetitive pattern or design is mechanically engraved into an underlying material with fine detail. Specifically, it involves a technique of engine turning, called guilloch� in French after the French engineer �Guillot�, who invented a machine �that could scratch fine patterns and designs on metallic surfaces (Wikipedia).
Engine turning machines, similar to modern day lathes, used to make these designs were first used in the 1500�1600�s on soft materials like ivory and wood and in the 1700�s it was adopted for metal such as gold and silver. The last machines were manufactured around 1948�1949, and today most of this design work is done digitally.
Some of the more common uses today are:
* Engraving in metal, mainly sterling: in fine timepieces (mainly pocket watches), fine pens, jewelry charms, snuffboxes, hair-styling accessories, wine goblets etc. Examples of famous works of Guilloch� are the engravings on Faberge eggs.
* Design on stone for architecture, in wood for styling, on furniture or molding, etc.
* Printing and security features on bank notes, currency or certificates, etc., to protect against forged copies. The pattern used in this instance is called a spirograph in mathematics, that is, a hypotrochoid generated by a fixed point on a circle rolling inside a fixed circle. It has parametric equations. These patterns bear a strong resemblance to the designs produced on the Spirograph, a children’s toy.