In commercial printing, process by which many copies are produced by repeated direct impression of an inked, raised surface against sheets or a continuous roll of paper. Letterpress is the oldest traditional printing technique, the only important one from the time of Johannes Gutenberg (circa 1450) until lithography (late 18th century) and especially offset printing (early 20th century). The ink-bearing surface for a page of text was originally assembled letter by letter and line by line. The Monotype and Linotype were the first keyboard-activated typesetting machines. Letterpress can produce high-quality work at high speed, but requires much time to prepare and adjust the press. For the sake of speed, newspapers are now printed by the offset process.
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