Timeline: From Gutenberg To The Royal Press

A block of typefeces arranged for a print-set is being tended to by a Royal Presss staff.

A block of typefeces arranged for a print-set is being tended to by a Royal Presss staff.

1455: Johannes Gutenberg prints 200 copies of the Gutenberg Bible, heralding the beginning of the print era.

1816: Earl Stanhope invents the iron hand press. This letterpress, incorporating a combination of levers, doubles the print area and reduces force used in printing.

1934: A German printing press company, Heidelberg, produces a fully automated cylindrical press. This is the letterpress used by The Royal Press.

1936: Ee Lay Swee establishes The Royal Press in Malacca, a polyglot letterpress with a collection of lead blocks that include English, Chinese, Jawi and Tamil script.

1952: Art Printing Works is established in Bangsar with advanced offset printing technology; The Royal Press maintains status quo.

1960s: The Ee family makes the decision to provide jobs for her loyal staff, and not to upgrade to offset printing technology. Modern machines mean fewer jobs for people.

2000s: Royal Press accrues annual losses of RM30,000. From a peak of 50, the staff count drops to six. The press remains in operation just to keep its name and traditions alive.

2011: Ee Soon Wei and his cousin, Winston Ee, collaborate on a project to reinvent The Royal Press.

2013: The Royal Press prepares to open its doors to the public and develop boutique products that incorporate the art of the letterpress.

 

 

 

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