What Does Letterpress Mean?

The letterpress is the oldest form of printing whereby letters were arranged on a frame, dipped in ink and then pressed onto the printing substrate to produce an impression. Letters were carved on the surface of wood, metal or stone to use on the printing press. The letterpress was used by hand, and this method was later replaced by typewriters and then modern-day printers.

Techopedia Explains Letterpress

The letterpress was the predominant method of document printing since the mid-15th century, when movable type was invented by Johannes Gutenberg. The printing industry was revolutionized by the invention of rotary press, after which books and other printed medium such as newspapers were made in bulk. Xerox machines and printers have greatly simplified the task of printing, and hundreds of copies can be made in minutes, whereas when using a letterpress, making a single copy required an enormous amount of effort.


The letterpress is currently having a renaissance of sorts by modern-day enthusiasts who prefer classic printing processes over modern methods.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…