Letterpress was the predominant printing method for 500 years. The creation of huge rotary presses made industrial printing and newspaper production practical. Letterpress is the oldest form of printing. Typically, metal type has been used but other possibilities include carved wood, cuts or stone blocks.
The Gutenberg press introduced movable type in which ink is applied to a reversed, raised surface then pressed into a sheet of paper to obtain a right reading.
For over 60 years, the film industy's primary form of advertising was newspapers. The blocks (also known as "cuts" in the printing trade) were made by only two companies in the United States one of which was located in Omaha, NE. The firm that manufactured these cuts was the main Source used to make these blocks and plates. These were produced by an acid eteched process from a photographic image.
These cuts were then attached to a letterpress to produce the original images used in newspapers and press books from the early 1930's to the mid 1980's.
Included with this collection is a 1938 Vandercook letterpress in prestine working condition. The blocks and plates can now be "re-struck" exactly the same way it was done almost 100 years ago.
By the 1950s, offset printing began to supplant letterpress and by the end of the 20th century, digital printing and related technologies had become the industry standard for many uses. Nevertheless, letterpress is still used for some specialized commercial applications.
The old method is also enjoying resurgence among modern-day enthusiasts who prize the hand-made qualities and historical nature of letterpress print.
This collection of original letterpress plates and blocks still reproduce excellent prints using the original sources that printed press kit materials theatre owners used to advertise movies in the newspaper, on marquees, etc.