Invented in the 1400's by a German printer named Gutenberg, letterpress is the oldest printing process on the planet. Letterpress began as printing for the masses; it was how people used to communicate with each other. It was how people once printed their books, their broadsides, their manuals, their pamphlets, their newspapers.
But then the twentieth century happened and anything done by a skilled hand seemed old-fashioned, outdated, and way too slow. It was a dark time for artisans. Even back when we began printing in the 1990's, the letterpresses we loved were still being dragged off to scrap yards to be destroyed. It took the 21st century's true renaissance of craft to allow letterpress to thrive. These days, letterpresses are snapped up in an instant; so many people now want to practice this way of printing. We're glad of that. It's good to see this historic craft has found a home in the hearts of printers and clients. It's good to see the world once again valuing quality, craft, and the handwork of our history.
Letterpress isn't the easy way to print. Constant interaction is required between the pressperson and the printing press. Our presses are both finicky and old. But it's worth it, because in the end, the final product is heavy with human warmth and uniqueness, and all of us — we the printers, you the client — are tied together to a craft tradition that longs to be practiced and preserved. We're proud that our presses are pre-computer. They are heavy cast iron hulking beauties made to outlive us. We're proud to take the slow and beautiful road forward and we'll meet you at the end (I stop somewhere, waiting for you).