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Disappearing jobs: Letterpress operator (video)

A linotype that reads, "Kai Ryssdal."

In the days before laser printers and ebooks and tablets, a company like Aardvark Letterpress would be using gears, cogs and actual pots of molten lead to make molds for business cards and posters. Actually, today -- they still use the same technology.

Cary Ocon and his family own and run Aardvark Letterpress, using relief printing which literally presses ink into paper, leaving a slight indentation. They're based in downtown Los Angeles and Ocon will tell you they still use technology that originated with Gutenberg. 

Ocon remembers when there were a lot of letterpress companies in Los Angeles. He says he remembers days when they had trouble paying rent and bills. "Everyone else died off and now there aren't a lot of places to go -- it's us."

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.

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