Saturday, December 29, 2012

History Lesson: Press On


Letterpress has enjoyed quite a revival over the past few years. So what exactly is letterpress and what makes it so special? 

In a nutshell, letterpress printing is a very old method of printing in which the words (type) and/or images are raised above a non-printed area. This is accomplished by cutting a printing block out of wood or various metals, then coating the remaining raised surfaces with ink. The prepared block is then placed into the press and pressed against the paper. 




Letterpress printing gives the printed piece a 3-dimensional effect by pushing the ink into the paper.

The oldest method of “relief” type printing, letterpress was the most successful and most common form of printing until the 1950's when it was replaced by more efficient, high-speed methods.


Advertising letterpress set, Vintage Lancaster

Letterpress baseball collection, Oceanside Castle

News Gothic condensed letterpress, 6 Cats Vintage

Wood letterpress collection, BMT Vintage


Today, you can find a myriad of vintage letterpress supplies and type pieces on Etsy that are great to collect and display, or use for creating new pieces that utilize this historic method of printing.

15 comments:

Whimzy Thyme said...

Another fabulous lesson. Thank you so much Bryan. I love learning new things. Happy New Year!

Andrea Holding said...

Wonderful information - I've always been fascinated by the printing process and love how the old technology is still used in art. Thanks, Bryan!

Miss Magpies Shoppe said...

Great blog post, Bryan! Thank you so much for sharing......I love to read what you write. Keep up the good work :)

Wicked Darling said...

Bryan, thanks so much!!! You are a treasure trove of knowledge and I LOVE it!!!

ProjectSarafan said...

Very interesting post - I love these aged wooden letters!

Niftic Vintage said...

Wonderful history lesson Bryan! You always enlighten us!

frenchatticfinds said...

great post!

Kathi said...

thanks Bryan, I love learning from you!

gazaboo said...

Love these vintage letterpress finds ~ great industrial look!
Wonderful blog post!

Lisa said...

Thanks for the info! I love all the letterpress sets available now!

ace faced said...

Love this! And all your blog posts for that matter, so informative!

linda dacey said...

trained as a graphic designer
so this is right up my street
love the de/embossed quality of letterpress
would die for a press to have a go
great piece thanks
x ... ***

HilltopTimes said...

Letterpress pieces are so wonderful, and so popular. I love this post! I love all the info, and the youtube is fab! WQW! I bought several letterpress pieces and printers blocks as holiday gifts for friends, and, well, for me too.

Story Tellers Vintage said...

Awesome lesson once again! Thanks Bryan :)

CakeNumber9 said...

Thank you Brian! Another great lesson!

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