Movable type printing

 The printing technique is one of the major factors of the development of civilization. The technique and cultural relics of movable type printing which had prevailed for about one hundred years began fading away or disappearing since the 1990s on account of the rising demand for computer typesetting. In response to that situation, the National Science and Technology Museum, through a case-by-case investigation, endeavored to salvage over 300 printing cultural relics worth collecting, including matrix engraving machine, hand-cranked type-casting machine, automatic type-casting machine, letterpress machine, proofer, multigraph press, matrices, thousands of lead types with various sizes and fonts, type racks, a whole set of a typesetting room, and typesetting tools.

 Among those items, the most precious one is a whole set of classical Chinese regular script matrices which were moved to Taiwan from mainland China in 1949. The matrices, called "Shanghai Type" in the industrial circle, were made by Fenghang Type Foundry; they have preserved the strokes and structure of traditional Chinese calligraphy; its style is graceful and delicate, but sufficient strength can still be felt from the strokes of points, presses and hooks. Currently, mainland China uses simplified Chinese Characters, and the movable type printing has been replaced by computer typesetting in Taiwan. Therefore, this set of matrices from Fenghang Type Foundry is the most important regular script matrix in Taiwan and a rare complete set of Chinese movable type matrix in the world as well. In terms of the importance of cultural heritage, the matrices are irreplaceable for the preservation of traditional Chinese regular script characters. With the matrices, we can appreciate the lead-type-printed Chinese characters from a different aspect other than precious ancient books.