Monday, June 25

Type cast

Momma was excited today to read about Letterpress Central, a print shop in Chandler, Ariz., that still does letterpress printing.

In letterpress printing a reversed, raised surface is inked and then pressed into a sheet of paper to obtain a positive right-reading image. It was the normal form of printing text from its invention by Johannes Gutenberg in 1450 (or so) and remained in wide use until the second half of the 20th century.

Visions of lead type began dancing in her head and she reminded me that we still have an old type cabinet from the family business.

The cabinet contains 16 large drawers, and each drawer is subdivided into many smaller sections which would contain lead letters and punctuation. Each drawer would hold a different font or size.

Part of my job as a printer's devil would be to fetch type and keep it organized. Many novices get things mixed up since the lead letters are all backwards.

But not me.

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