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For alphabetic scripts, movable-type page setting was quicker than woodblock printing.
The metal type pieces were more durable and the lettering was more uniform, leading to typography and fonts.
The development of the printing press in Europe may have been influenced by various sporadic reports of movable type technology brought back to Europe by returning business people and missionaries to China.
However, none of these early European accounts before Gutenberg discuss printing.
If one were to print only two or three copies, this method would be neither simple nor easy.
But for printing hundreds or thousands of copies, it was marvelously quick. While the impression was being made from the one form, the type was being put in place on the other.
in the 2nd century AD during the Chinese Han Dynasty, writing materials became more portable and economical than the bones, shells, bamboo slips, metal or stone tablets, silk, etc. Yet copying books by hand was still labour-consuming.
The small number of alphabetic characters needed for European languages was an important factor.
Seals and stamps may have been precursors to movable type.
The uneven spacing of the impressions on brick stamps found in the Mesopotamian cities of Uruk and Larsa, dating from the 2nd millennium BC, has been conjectured by some archaeologists as evidence that the stamps were made using movable type.
For each character there were several types, and for certain common characters there were twenty or more types each, in order to be prepared for the repetition of characters on the same page.
When the characters were not in use he had them arranged with paper labels, one label for each rhyme-group, and kept them in wooden cases.