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Fig. 1, top: Metal type set by hand in a chase, showing the rigidity of a letterpress lock-up. Fig. 2, bottom: In traditional letterpress printing each row of text is composed of individual letters cast on rectangular blocks, allowing for vertical alignment or justification when locked in the chase with spacing material. The grid system imposes a formal organizational structure to typesetting design. The type case shown here is known as a California job case; its compartments are organized so that more frequently used letters and spaces are within convenient reach of the typesetter, thereby speeding up the typesetting process. American Specimen Book of Type Styles (Jersey City, NJ: American Type Founders Co., 1912), 1,274. Collection of Mark von Bronkhorst, Albany, California.
In this age of emails, texts, and instant messages, receiving a letter has become a rare treat. Engraved stationery can make a piece of corr...