Before the printing press, the written word was the responsibility of the monasteries. Each book was written and illustrated by hand, highly inaccessible and very expensive to produce. Each block was carved by hand with every ideogram in position, which meant a completely new carved block for each page! This was the year 1 B.C.
During the 21st century, rotary presses were used for high-speed work like newspapers which sometimes required overnight production along with photopolymer plates.
Today letterpress survives in the form of small shops printing limited edition books, invitations or stationary which use both old and new printing techniques. It's fun not only using letterpress blocks, but collecting them for display too! Here's some of favourites we've come across:
Ideas for letterpress use include cards, invitations, gift wrap and of course, display! We hope you enjoyed our brief history of letterpress and we'll see you next Tuesday for more!