Movable Type

In 2010 I had the good fortune to photograph a Heidelberg Letter Press Machine on Wing Lee Street.

Original Heidelberg Cylinder Letter Press Machine

And now another such machine has been removed owing to the retirement of 83-year-old Lee Zak-yue, after a 60-year printing career.

"I spent more than HK$100,000 on the machine," Lee said. "Buying a printing machine at that time was like buying retail space on the ground floor nowadays."

But it won't go to waste, instead it will become part of an exhibit at Youth Square in Chai Wan.

Letterpress printing, or movable type, was bound to become obsolete as technology usurped it with faster methods. And now Wai Che Printing Company, once one of 11 printing shops along Wing Lee Street, is closed for good. But Mr. Lee will see his faithful machine again, as he plans to host workshops to show kids how traditional printing was done.

Movable type indeed.

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