BH 101, part 2

>The creation of individual pieces of metal type was Gutenberg’s invention. He did NOT invent printing; rather he developed an extraordinarily versatile printing process, which was so effective that it remained THE process for transmitting text for five hundred years.

Creating a fount (font) of metal type was labor-intensive. Today we can simply select a font in our word processor, which takes a second or two. Back in the day, you had to employ a punch cutter to design each letter and carve them into punches, which were used to strike matrices; the matrices were placed in molds to cast the type (see the diagram). It’s an intricate, time-consuming process, but workers became quite proficient. A good type-caster could produce up to 4,000 pieces of metal type per day!

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