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moveable type

Rajshahi’s Last Letterpress

Yesterday I tracked down the last functioning letterpress in the entire Rajshahi Division. As a child growing up in Kushtia, I recall seeing letterpresses in operation on our road, but like the ubiquitous sailboats of that era they suddenly disappeared, rendered obsolete by newer technologies. After reading Fiona Ross’s The Printed Bengali Character about the history of Bengali typesetting, it’s a thrill to get to see all the lead & wooden type in various display and text fonts.

Babu has operated letterpresses for fourty years

Babu has operated letterpresses for forty years

Babu setting in place the ink rollers

Babu setting in place the ink rollers

The below image shows ‘অ’ in two text fonts and one display font; the middle letter is a fairly standard form, but notice the terminal in the smallest font on the right – instead of the standard blob it has a calligraphic terminal. This intrigues me because I’m currently developing a digital font with the same features.

'অ' in two text fonts and one display font

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Royal Printing's type cases and leading

Royal Printing’s type cases and leading