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Hand Printed Cover Page













Next year see the 190th anniversary of the company printing in Diss. To celebrate this anniversary we have printed a limited edition 2020 calendar which have been selling fast and only a few remain.

The calendar is A4 in size and printed letterpress throughout on recycled board. The cover board has been hand inked and hand printed on the companies original Columbian Eagle Press and the twelve monthly pages featured 57 print passes to complete the job. As the cover is hand printed and various colour merging has been applied to the months each calendar is a one off. The firms historic wooden and metal type has been used in the production of the calendars.

Calendars are £20.00 including VAT, envelope and carriage to UK addresses and can be ordered from info@cupissletterpress.co.uk

Watch out for future blogs on items produced during our 190th year.

Wishing all our customers and readers of this blog a Merry Christmas and a Happy 2020.

John and Richard at Cupiss Letterpress.


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Cupiss Letterpress on Tour in Diss Norfolk

Cupiss Letterpress was invited to participate in a Print Action Day in February at Design Makers 21 in St. Nicholas Street, Diss. The event, linked with the Diss Corn Hall, was a great success with many artists demonstrating different methods of printing.

When the invitation arrived Richard and I thought long and hard how Cupiss Letterpress could demonstrate Letterpress printing at a different venue in town as most of our presses are permanent fixtures and could not be moved. We finally decided on the Farley Proofing Press which, whilst being moveable, gave the opportunity to print up to SRA4 (12″ x 8″ ). We decided upon using an alphabet made up of wooden poster type (over 150 years old) to print from and duly hand composed two examples which were locked up in chases (metal frames) to take with the press and various inks and miscellaneous materials to take to the venue the day before.

Arriving early on the day, the type was made ready and inked up when the event opened. The day passed in a blur as visitors were given the opportunity to choose an alphabet, choose a colour board from our pre-cut Colorplan 350gsm boards and choose a colour ink or combination of inks. The text was hand inked with a base colour and, if required, second and third colours were added to create a unique design. This was then hand printed to create a souvenir to take home, giving our visitors a “hands on experience” and chance to examine the tactile effect of letterpress printing.

The six hours whizzed by, with welcome refreshments provided by members of Design Makers 21 and local artist Steve Goddard from SGartdesign. We were soon packing everything up for the return to the printing works.

The idea of printing SRA4 size alphabets tied in with the larger SRA2 (18″ x 25″) alphabets we are creating on our large Columbian Printing Press which the company purchased in 1830. It is planned to hand set and hand print a range of prints using wooden poster type with different boards and different colour inks to give “new life” to these historic fonts. As all processes involved are by hand each print is a “one off”.

Printed Alphabet (small size) using Wooden Poster Type inked and printed by hand

We are able to take commissions on both sizes of alphabets which can be matched to clients choice of colours. Our range of alphabets will be gradually added to our shop along with other items taken from these unique letterpress printed alphabets.

Please feel free to e-mail for more information we will be pleased to discuss the possibilities.



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We will once again be taking part in the Norfolk Heritage Open Days Event. On Thursday 11th September through to Saturday 13th September, 2014. Places can be booked at www.heritagecity.org/hods.

On arrival visitors will be given a talk on the history of the company using a static display of old photographs, printing from our past, hand written letter books and the history behind the veterinary medicines for horses which we still manufacture today.  Continue reading

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How letterpress printing has changed

When I started my apprenticeship in 1971 at City College Print Department, George Street, Norwich adjoining the Art School, letterpress printing was on the wain.

The curriculum for printing apprentices was wide and varied. I studied alongside apprentices from well known local large printing companies including Jarrolds, Clays, Cox and Wyman and Mansfields. Many of these companies had offset litho well established as the major part of their printing process. Film typesetting was also en-vogue. To me, from a small letterpress company in Diss, this was a different world.

Having started my career as a Saturday boy  working for my uncle and grandfather, I learnt the basics of letterpress printing and case layout by being given the job of cleaning and distributing poster type as the typefaces were larger and easier to see and handle.  By 1971 the company had purchased a Linotype hot metal machine for casting lines of 8pt text for fixture cards and draw tickets, greatly reducing the time spent standing in front of a typecase.

Continue reading