Print processes: letterpress printing

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The letterpress printing process takes its name from the method by which the process was used, i.e. ‘letter - pressing’. Johannes Gutenberg is credited with the invention (circa 1440) , but as early as the 2nd century the Chinese and Japanese used the ‘letterpress’ method to print using engraved wooden, porcelain and metal blocks.

The major development in letterpress printing was the use of woodcut and cast movable and reusable letters, known as ‘type’. The letters were handset into lines to form pages and the pages locked into a ‘chase’ to create the ‘forme’ ready for fitting into the printing press.

John Morton

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John has hands-on experience of all the major printing processes and has held operational and technical development roles at director level in the packaging sector. A qualified printer, John’s career spans magazine production, commercial print, packaging and label production.

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Robert Shimmin

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Robert has held senior marketing and business development positions in the print, packaging and label sector spanning more than 20 years.  He is a regular contributor of articles to the print and packaging trade press and has supported initiatives that seek to build awareness of the latest resear

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