Evolution of Printing

15th Century until 3D Printing Today


People would not be able to accomplish many tasks if there had not been the establishment of printing. Many people would not be aware of news about the past effects if there was not printing on paper. Recalling the printing world is uncommon but it is an interesting topic which is full of fascinating facts to read. There have been many technological steps for printing from the past until today. It is a long story but we are making it short here with starting off from the fifteen century.


Woodblock printing

The system of printing emerged from the great empire of China when the wooden matrices were used with engravings. The inked being pressed on the piece of paper was the scope of the invention at that time. Printing was one of the four great inventions for the Ancient times of China.  Among the first printed books with woodblocks was the Diamond Sutra which was six sheet roll with five meters long at the time of 868 AD.


Movable Printing

Next came the movable printing which was the important stages in the history. The invention emerged from China again when the clay type movable printer was invented by Bi Sheng in 1041. There were drawbacks with it but it was stronger than the wood blocker printing. It was the moving tables which improved the quality of printing overall.

It spread fast during the 15th century with back and front printing along with characters. Later the punctuations, letters, and numbers came into the matrix. The three major innovations were the oil-based inks which lasted longer. It was based on the lead through alloy and was more robust. Along with that, the first printing press was there as well.

During the year 1455, the first experimentation of Gutenberg bible got published. It sold out about 180 copies totally.


Rotary Press

In the year 1843, the patent of the first rotary press was there. The press was fed by the roll of paper by William Bullock in 1863. The prints came out from the cylinders and images were printed on it. There was no flat surface for the paper but it came out rolling out of the cylinders. It would print out about 8000 sheets an hour which makes it one of the first press printers with large quantity printing.


Offset Printing

The model of offset printing was shared in 1875 by Robert Barclay. The paper technology came in 1904 through Ira Rubel. It included the phenomena of a chemical through water and oil mixture. The image area was divided through the lipophilic and the non-image area was repelling the ink. There were clean images than before due to this along with high-quality printing on the paper which was smooth as well.


Linotype Machine


The linotype machine was invented by Ottmar Mergenthaler in 1885. He was a German who composed the lines within typing. It worked similarly as the typewriter would with composing lines on the paper as the keyboard does. The alignment was done with correspondence to the words and matrix. It helps in speeding up the process of printing without wasting any time.


Laser Printer

The technology of laser came into being through Xerox Corporation in 1971. It is not far ago when it was developed and seems like yesterday. The electronic printing came into being with straight printing of the sheet of paper. The photosensitivity cylinder transfers the images to the drums with applying toner to it. More than 20,000 lines can be printed out of the printer within a minute through this printer. Anything can be printed at this point whether it was their home or office. It was expensive at that time for people to afford it.

In 1982, Canon introduced the first laser printer for the desktop which was expensive as well and few could afford it. Until the 1990s, printer became a part of every house and office. It was affordable for the public than to have it and get the prints immediately at their home or office. Now the printers are small, compact and efficient to work with.


3D printing

Today, 3D printing is common and it is the era of high-end technology. As printing was created in the 15th century, it improved until now which is convenient and easy to manage. The UV lights and liquid polymers support 3D printing to make it significant for the users. Who does not like 3D prints now yet the ordinary prints are not feasible for them. The start of everything is very difficult and its improvements is easier comparatively. Various stages of printing reached till 3D printing and who knows what the future holds for it. The use of 3D printing is there for the whole world whether it is healthcare or architecture. As the time passes, more will be added and leaving today as history as well.