Letterpress printing includes both hand-set and machine composition.
Foundry type, cast in individual pieces, is used in hand composition, whereas in machine composition the type may be cast in slugs of equal length or measures by linecasting machines. such as the linotype or intertype, or cast in a single piece of type, as in the monotype machine. The advantages of singletype composition are quick correction of individual letters, flexibility in spacing between letters, and the relative ease by which any portion of a line may be increased or decreased to obtain a justified right-hand margin.
Letterpress printing is the oldest, and still the more commonly used, method of printing; it is employed for practically all newspaper printing, as well as the printing of many periodicals and books. It is capable of producing both very fine and very cheap results, in either very short (e.g., 750-copy) or very long (e.g., 250,000-or-so-copy) runs. It is considered the standard with which other printing methods are compared. (17 , 316 )