The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #31121   Message #407313
Posted By: GUEST,petr
27-Feb-01 - 02:19 PM
Thread Name: Help: Greensleeves the real composer?
Subject: RE: Help: Greensleeves the real composer?
fascinating thread. I just wanted to add to the above comments on printing and the f and s lettering. I do know something about printing, as I run a printshop and my father worked in that business for almost 60 years (most of it in letterpress) Ive always heard that was an early s. The reasoning about the wooden type doesnt make much sense to me as very little type was made of wood (usually only large block letters) as small type would be hard to carve and could not withstand the pressure and last very long.

From the time of Gutenberg most small type was cast in lead (with some other metals), wooden type was almost never smaller than about 1 1/2 inches.

By the way Gutenberg did invent movable type (although independently from the Chinese and Koreans). He took existing technologies and put them together, like the wine press, paper (a chinese invention also), and his skill as a goldsmith (goldsmiths made punches to sign their work) and put it all together. The main advantage of Gutenbergs system is that he made steel punches of letters and punched them into molds from which he cast lead type. This way he could produce many copies of letters. These were often melted down and the lead re-used.

The Chinese used wooden hand carved characters and later clay although the Koreans did cast metal type. The main disadvantage was the Chinese writing system requires thousands of Characters whereas the European alphabet has only a small number making it much easier to reproduce.

On the other hand there are some typefaces notably script style that do have overhangs ie. the top of the s that hangs over another character otherwise they would be too far apart.

Thanks for the link on the Printing history site Don. It is quite informative although the last section on advances in Printing Technology while mentioning the Linotype (machine typesetting) completely ignores the invention of lithography (by Alois Senefelder around 1800) which was later developed into offset printing and is in fact todays dominant printing technology used by most printers. Very few printers use letterpress now except for some special applications such as goldstamping, embossing, diecutting and numbering.

There are also other printing process such as screen printing and engraving which are different as well and get no mention on that site. cheers petr.