With the ink, the finished type is inked in the last step before printing with the so-called ink balls (or dabber). These consist of pieces of leather filled with wool or horse hair (sheep, calf or dog leather) and a wooden handle. The person responsible for inking usually uses two ink balls simultaneously. He holds a ball in each hand, takes up ink with them and rubs them against each other to distribute the ink evenly. Finally, he applies the ink to the type with circular movements.
In the 6th and final part of our series “Gutenberg’s Inventions” you can find out how printing in the printing press works in the final step.