Khmer Printing Types and the Introduction of Print in Cambodia: 1877–1977

Zachary Scheuren


This dissertation introduces Khmer printing types by describing the script and its use in stone inscriptions and palm-leaf manuscripts. This is followed by an overview of the social structure in Cambodia at the time the first Khmer printing types were made, and the introduction of print during the French Protectorate (1863–1953). The dissertation touches on the resistance to print by Buddhist monks, and the short-lived romanisation attempt in the 1940s. With this context the discussion moves on to the most important printers and typefoundries responsible for the creation of key Khmer printing types. An in-depth study of the Stephen Austin & Sons type, including a hand-set specimen, sheds light on some difficulties in the design and typesetting of Khmer. The dissertation concludes with a brief look at Khmer types in use, and a discussion of how the roles of the two main script styles, mul and chrieng, were altered in the transition to print.

Published on ISUU