Letterpress Printing

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Letterpress Printing


one of the principal methods of printing multiple copies of texts and drawings. In this method the printing surface and blank areas are set at different levels (not on the same plane); the elements to be printed are higher, and the blank areas lower. This makes it possible during the rolling of the rubber inking cylinders to place the ink selectively, only on the printing elements, and to transfer the ink from them to the surface to be printed. Owing to the relative simplicity and speed in making up plates (especially those for reproducing texts), the high quality of the product, and high productivity, letterpress printing is used extensively for printing newspapers, magazines, books, and multicolored illustrations. Printing done by letterpress is marked by the precision and sharpness of the elements of the image, high ink saturation, and a slight relief on the reverse side of the sheet.

The methods of letterpress printing have been in use for more than 1,000 years. The first plates were flat wooden boards with an even, smooth surface on which the image to be printed was created by incising (hollowing out) the areas that were not meant to be printed. Such plates are sometimes used even today for artistic reproduction (xylography and engraving). The invention of book printing and the extensive development of letterpress printing were linked, first, with the creation of composite plates, made up of separately cast or cut letters and signs.

Today text plates for letterpress printing are made up by hand from separate, previously cast letters and signs or are made up on typesetting machines (monotype and linotype) or phototypesetting machines. Various illustrations in letter-press are printed from stereotype blocks made by etching (zincography) or engraving. A distinction is made between primary and secondary plates. The primary or original plates for letterpress printing are flat plates, including typeset and stereotype blocks, from which printing is done directly. So-called flexible plates, on which the relief image is made by etching out the blank spaces on a metallic plate or by “washing out” on a photopolymer layer applied to a backing sheet, also belong to this category. The secondary plates, or stereotypes, are made from the primary plates, usually in order to make multiple copies or to make curved plates for printing on a rotary press. Modern secondary plates are cast metallic plates, pressed plastic or rubber plates, or electro-stereotype plates. Printing from flat letterpress plates is done on crucible or so-called flat-bed printing machines; from curved plates, on sheet or roller rotary presses. There is also the offset method of printing, in which the image is first transferred from the plate to a rubber base (a cylinder coated with rubber), and then to the paper. Modern letterpress rotary presses can print multicolored newspapers, magazines, and books on a continuous paper web as wide as 2 m at a speed ranging from 3 to 15 m/sec.


References in periodicals archive ?
PH: Between Thomas Printers and the Ladies of Letterpress, how do you hope to influence the future of commercial letterpress printing in America and beyond?
Paul Maravelas's Letterpress Printing is a helpful resource for beginners and a useful reminder for more experienced printers, offering a succinct, informative overview of the basics of letterpress printing.
Allen's knowledge of flexographic, offset and letterpress printing provides Roto-Plate with insight into both prepress and pressroom operations encompassing stringent requirements, plate and pressroom layout, equipment analysis, as well as training and troubleshooting.
Whether in posters promoting a Johnny Cash concert or a carnival performance; advertising the rodeo or the Grand Ole Opry; or capturing the modern-day verve of a concert by Coldplay or The Strokes, posters printed by Hatch Show Print capture the heralded traditions of American letterpress printing and graphic art at their very best.
His dedication to the handpress was not the stillborn affectation of days gone, but to a tool with unique abilities for letterpress printing.
Among them, Flint Group Printing Plates will present new products for flexographic and letterpress printing.
There's something about the heavy paper, the embossed lettering and the colored ink used in letterpress printing that just does it for us.
Perhaps the writer was referring to the "stereotype mat" of letterpress printing.
Under the name Diter Rot, his mastery of letterpress printing made him the consummate concrete poet.
Something old, something new: Brides love options and many combine modern designs with traditional stationery elements like ecru paper and letterpress printing.
The Morgan Conservatory is the largest arts center in the United States dedicated to every facet of papermaking, book arts and letterpress printing and to cultivating the talents of established and emerging artists.
39,927,800 pages of questionnaires and other documentary material having different formats, run lengths, types of letterpress printing and construction.