How were books printed before computers?

(Image source: Pixabay)

Question from Efan Irvine

Early printed books were made using a manual printing press. Each page of the book was ‘typeset’ by arranging metal letters, or ‘type’, into words and lines held in a flat frame. The type was inked and a piece of paper pressed down on top by the printing press to print the page. The pages would then be taken out, cut and sewn together to form books. 

Early printing presses were slow and hand-powered, but the technology became increasingly sophisticated as steam and electric power were introduced, and new ways of setting type and printing pictures were developed.


Answered by Tom Lean for Brain Dump in How It Works issue 131.

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