• FA-123861 © Technisches Museum Wien, Photo: Peter Sedlaczek
Collection Area
Information & Communication
Typesetting and Printing
medien.welten (media.worlds)
1850 - 1899

Bleisatz Letter case

The Hamilton Mfg. Co., Two Rivers 1896


Movable type

In the mid 15th century, Johannes Gutenberg develops movable type printing, thereby setting the foundation for modern book culture.

In around 1450, Johannes Gutenberg, a goldsmith from Mainz, develops movable type printing. He begins to cast letters from metal, which can be set in any desired sequence, then taken apart after printing and reused again.

In order to make the letters, the male mould of a letter is first engraved onto an iron stamp. These punches are then driven into soft copper. Subsequently, a lead alloy is poured into the copper stencil. Once they have cooled down, the letters are arranged in a letter case. The letters are then arranged on a composing stick to form lines, which are subsequently arranged on a composing galley to form a page. The finished printing plate is placed onto the moveable carriage of the printing press and coloured in using leather ink balls. Subsequently, the sheet of paper is inserted and the carriage is moved underneath the platen. By tightening the screw spindle, the flat platen is pressed onto the inked printing plate with the paper.

Inv.Nr. 39219/1
Member of