This article has been extracted from an article on the BBC News Asia website, written by Cindy Sui and dated 1st May 2012.
The movable-type printing system invented around 1040 AD helped to revolutionise the world by making books and other written material easily available. It is one of the most important inventions of mankind, increasing literacy and allowing money to be printed. But few people in the world still make the characters for such printing presses, even in China, where the system was invented.
In Taiwan, however, a man has devoted his life to this dying profession, making words the traditional way, one character at a time. Chang Chieh-kuan, 59, operates the last word-making shop in Taiwan, making Chinese characters out of lead. His shop is believed to be one of only a handful in the world.
With 120,000 moulds of different characters and more than 10 million lead character pieces, it has perhaps the largest reservoir of three-dimensional Chinese characters. Mr Chang now wants to turn the shop into an interactive museum. If he succeeds, it will be a rare place to see this great ancient invention in operation.
Read more of this article, by Cindy Sui, on the BBC News Asia website here.