Letterpress Images

I am not a printer, but I am studying a letterpress book that was published in 1924 and illustrated by Henry C. Pitz. I thought I’d ask the experts and pose my question here. Is there a term for the blocks used to produce letterpress images? As in, letterpress letters are “sorts,” and images are …

Also, can anyone tell me what a “cliché” is in printing terms? Or is it spelled another way?

Thanks for your help.

image: FancyDesire.jpg


Log in to reply   6 replies so far

We older printers call them cuts. This probably from the history when the first such images were cut or gouged from wood. Late comers who print from photopolymer call them plates.
Type was purchased from a type founder by the font. If later the printer needed some more of specific letters, figures, punctuation she or he could order a specific number of each. This was a sort.

I believe a cliché is technically a mechanically reproduced image on a printing plate/cut. I have also heard the term used for screenprinting stencils.

Origin of CLICHÉ
French, literally, printer’s stereotype, from past participle of clicher to stereotype, of imitative origin
First Known Use: 1892

Thanks everyone for this useful information. It’s much appreciated!

For the blocks I have used the term cuts, but now
(for the past 25 years) I have been calling them woodmounts.

According to Oliver Simon in his ‘Introduction to Typography’ published by Faber and Faber and Penguin, blocks is an English term and cuts an American term for the same thing: illustration, woodblock, galvano, etc.