As a point of information, people like Patrick Reagh in Los Angeles in the 1980s pioneered polymer preproduction, but it wasn’t until the late 1990s that it was good enough for typography, which was about the same time that access to foundry type became scarce.
While photopolymer, laser cutting, and 3d printing has been a welcome shot in the arm, we should also attempt to preserve the techniques, machines, and knowledge of traditional letterpress. Industrial ecology is a necessary part of cultural memory and maintaining our links to the past.
At the time of the Boer War, wood engravings were competing with photography in the English newspapers. The engravers’ attempts to compete with the fidelity and tonality of photographs led to expertise and techniques that would be nearly impossible to achieve today, now that the knowledge of these tools and techniques have been lost.