About GTO Letterpress Printers

GTO Printers is a small specialist printing company situated in Birkenhead on the North Shore of Auckland. We offer unique print capabilities not found in many other print shops. The business is situated just 5 minutes walk from the centre of Birkenhead.

Graham Judd grew up in Masterton where he served an apprenticeship as a letterpress machinist, then retrained on offset printing. During his apprenticeship years, he came to a personal faith in God through Jesus Christ.

Graham and his wife moved to Auckland and in the 1980s set up GTO Printers, presently situated at 23 Enterprise Street, Birkenhead. GTO Printers has experience in most aspects of the printing trade. The company has trained two other ladies as letterpress printers, and is still passionate about anything related to letterpress printing. Graham is always happy to have visitors to the printshop and these days you could almost call it a working museum. He keeps a lookout for pieces of classic letterpress equipment to add, and also sells off pieces at various times.


History of Letterpress Printing

Picture of GutenbergIn about 1440, Johannes Gutenberg is credited with the invention of modern movable type printing from individually cast, reusable letters set together in a form (frame). He also invented a wooden printing press, based on the extant wine press, where the type surface was inked with leather covered ink balls and paper laid carefully on top by hand, then slid under a padded surface and pressure applied from above by a large threaded screw. Later metal presses used a knuckle and lever arrangement instead of the screw, but the principle was the same. Ink rollers made of composition made inking faster and paved the way for further automation. With the advent of industrial mechanisation, the inking was carried out by rollers which would pass over the face of the type and move out of the way onto a separate ink plate where they would pick up a fresh film of ink for the following sheet. Meanwhile... Read more about letterpress history.

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