The Original Heidelburg letterpress machine that we ran in the 1980’s was a Platten which used raised metal lettering to make the print from. The pages would be laid out by hand from thousands of tiny metal lettering pieces. We used this system alongside our lithographic presses, until the late 1980s.
A platten had a flat chase (the rectangular metal holder that the type fits into), ours was 10×15 inches – foolscap not A3. The chase has to be filled up, so along with all the letters and lead spacers ( that go between rows of letters) wooden ‘furniture’ blocks were needed to pack out the chase ready to ink up.
We also used the platten to cut out bespoke shapes, with rubber and blade forms made to specification for us by Diamond Cutting Forms, a company in Chandlers Ford, that still operates.
Bob Stone was the compositor and operator.