Type and Typography

Typography concerns the design, arrangement, placement, and usage of machine-printed type. Although the notion of mechanical printing predates Johann Gutenberg, the father of modern printing, by at least six centuries, essentially, the history of typography begins with the German goldsmith’s invention of the letterpress around 1450. Gutenberg’s invention was so well conceived that it remained the principal method of printing for more than 400 years. Gutenberg’s process for printing from movable type brought together four skills: calligraphy, chemistry, metallurgy, and engraving. The key to the system was metal type.

Gutenberg used steel punches and brass molds to cast individual letters from an alloy of lead, tin, and antimony. Each character was cast hundreds of times as a separate block, and then the thousands of individual ...

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