Taiwan Craftsman Seeks to Save Millennium-Old World of Chinese Lead Type


TAIPEI (AP).- Hunched over a metal casting machine, Chang Chieh-kuan carefully guides a tiny copper mold into a hydraulic press. Seconds later he extracts a piece of lead type with the Chinese character for “happiness.” That’s one down, thousands more to go in a last-ditch effort by this 58-year-old craftsman to rescue the millennium-old world of Chinese lead type from the advance of the digital age. Chang’s foundry is one of the last making traditional Chinese characters the old way. It’s time-consuming and labor-intensive, but Chang says it brings out the grandeur of the characters. “Lead type makes an impression on paper that digital printing cannot,” he said. “It allows people to feel the weight and power of the character.” In an age when Chinese can text and tweet in their native script, and at a time when China has just surpassed Japan to become the