Lithography, from the words lithos which means “stone” and grapho which means “to write” is a form of print technology first invented in 1796. Since then, it has been considered as one of the more popular forms of printing production.
The popularity of lithography should not be surprising, as it is much more convenient than other printing technology. For example, intaglio printing is concerned with etching or engraving on a plate. The cavities, then, is where the printing ink will be contained. On the other hand, woodblock printing is where the characters will be embossed on wood. Both will require a surface that can no longer be used after it has served its purpose. Lithography is different in that a metal plate or a lithographic stone can be used over and over again.
In lithography, you can simply paint on the surface. Because either ink or paint is made of oil, it will necessarily repel water, making it hydrophobic. The part with painting is considered as the positive image. On the other hand, the other parts of the surface where oil was not applied will be hydrophilic. Then, a solution mixed with oil and water will clean out the hydrophilic parts, while enabling the hydrophobic parts. Since oil and water repel, there will be no reaction to the positive image. Instead, a fine print will result. This fine print can be used to produce books, newspapers, or any piece of paper.
If necessary, the surface can again be used for production of another print, making it a very convenient form of printing technology.