Letterpress1964's picture

Hi Everybody

I couldn’t find an intro thread so here goes...

I saw some interesting topics on this forum (like the “business card” thread) and liked the “feel” of it - not the usual bickering as on some forums. Also quite a few members here seem to be “old school” which also interests me :)

I’m a semi-retired printer (letterpress and litho) based near Leeds, UK.

I’ve had a long term interest in typography - starting in 1964 as an apprentice compositor (typesetter) with a small family letterpress firm and starting my own little litho and letterpress business in 1977. This business is now run by my son and I’m just in the background - although I still enjoy using the old methods and like to produce the occasional short run bespoke business cards myself in letterpress foil on a small hand machine.

I found the resurgence of demand for letterpress very interesting - and a little surprising - the letterpress Christmas cards offered by Steve Jobs had a lot to do with my own renewed interest and also the general resurgence in demand for letterpress, I think - anyway that’s about it :)

- David

JamesM's picture

Welcome to Typophile.

I think Apple started offering letterpress cards (which you could customize with iPhoto and then order) only a few years ago (2010 maybe) and there was already a renewed interest is letterpress at that point, at least among designers, but Apple's offering may have increased public awareness and interest in it.

oldnick's picture


Welcome. I salute you, sir, and your compadres in what ought to be a dying breed. I was fortunate enough, during my working career, to see hand compositors and Linotype operators in action, and wss in awe of their skills and expertise. It's refreshing to find practitioners of the Arcane Printing Arts--wizards in a way, really--still going strong...

JamesM's picture

Many years ago I had a summer job in a small print shop and observed Linotype and letterpress, and the skill of the operators was indeed impressive.

hrant's picture

Welcome David.

I myself am strictly forward-looking, but that doesn't mean I see no place for things like letterpress in the present and future. In fact my own "high-grade" card* I printed myself (on a rented press sadly):

* I also have a Vistaprint one for people who don't know the difference. :-)


Joshua Langman's picture

Hi David.

I'm a student of letterpress, both metal type and digital plates. I own a C&P Pilot and use a Vandercook at school. I've done some Linotype typefounding at the Bixler foundry too.

It's really great to have another letterpress person on here.

Here's a project I'm working on now that involves a bit of letterpress:

5star's picture

Welcome Letterpress1964! I'm about to embark on some letterpressness, I have a drill press just taunting me ... and I have a laser cutter that will cut into most anything. I figure together I should be able to come close enough :)


Letterpress1964's picture

Hi guys - Many thanks for the lovely welcome...

JamesM - no doubt you're right - I just wasn't aware :)

oldnick - very nice to meet you - a wizard eh - made me laugh :)

hrant - yes that's the answer, expensive cards for those who matter and cheapos for the rest :)

Joshua - I guess a C&P Pilot is similar to an Arab Platen? - I pedalled many a mile on an Arab as a new apprentice before being allowed into the composing room :)

5star - good to meet you - can you please tell me what's a 'drill press' ?

Best wishes to all - David

Joshua Langman's picture

So I had to Google "Arab Platen" — it looks like a flywheel operated platen press, similar to most C&Ps. The Pilot, on the other hand, is a table top platen press, operated with a lever. It was designed for high schools, more as a tool to explain and practice the basics of letterpress than for any real job work. It's a lot more difficult to injure yourself with than a flywheel press.

By the way, do you know about It's a great letterpress resource.

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