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Wood type

Movable type made out of wood / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In letterpress printing, wood type is movable type made out of wood. First used in China for printing body text, wood type became popular during the nineteenth century for making large display typefaces for printing posters, because it was lighter and cheaper than large sizes of metal type.[1]

Wood type in close-up

Wood has been used since the earliest days of European printing for woodcut decorations and emblems, but it was not generally used for making typefaces due to the difficulty of reproducing the same shape many times for printing. In the 1820s, Darius Wells introduced mechanised wood type production using the powered router, and William Leavenworth in 1834 added a second major innovation of using a pantograph to cut a letter's shape from a pattern. This made it possible to mass-produce the same design in wood repeatedly.[2][3][4][5][6]

Exhibition poster by Alan Kitching, who often uses wood type in his work[7][8][9][10][11]

In the twentieth century lithography, phototypesetting and digital typesetting replaced it as a mass-market technology. It continues to be used by hobbyists and artistic printers.