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Re: letterpress...



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Sue
>   Hi, I'm a lurker on this list and I've a burning question.
>   What exactly is Letterpress?  Where does one buy a 'letterpress' machine
>   or whatever it is that enables one to create and print words on a
>   page???

It's a press that prints with three-dimensional type on which the ink is
rolled and then the paper pressed down. It's the kind of press you see in
Western movies with the guy ratcheting down a press (like a wine press!);
it's the kind of press you see in Albrecht Durer engravings showing
Gutenberg's Bible. It's the clattery press in the old movies about Hearst
and newspapers in the 1910s.

In printing, there are three (and now four) processes:

Intaglio, in which the the ink-bearing parts of the image are below the
printing surface, and the ink is transferred by pressure when the paper is
pressed against it. Etchings are intaglio. Paper money is printed from
intaglio plates.

The relief process (which is what letterpress is), in which the image (in
this case, type) is raised and the ink is rolled onto the surface. Then the
paper is pressed against it.

Planar, which is what lithography is. In this process, the completely flat
printing surface is prepared in a certain way so that when it is inked, the
ink is kept in certain areas and repelled in other. Then the paper is
pressed against it and the image appears. Photolithography (most the high
quality printing is photolitho) is the most common form, although true stone
lithography is still used in certain instances. SIlkscreening is a form of
planar printing. Xerography (almost all digital laser printers are
xerographic, except the ink-jet and bubble-jet kinds; see below) is a form
of planar printing.

In the fourth method, the printing implement doesn't actually touch the
paper. Ink jet is such a method.


-------------------
Michael Brady
jbrady@email.unc.edu   http://www.unc.edu/~jbrady/index.html

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