Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Evolution of Printing: From Gutenberg to 3D Printing

We all know the value of print in day to day activities. We all know how to use printing machines. Yet only a few knows how printing really started

“Diamond Sutra” is considered as the earliest completely printed book to be printed in history. It was printed in China in 868. The Sutra is composed of 7 strips of paper printed from carved wooden blocks pasted together to form a scroll. The text is written in Chinese but the book is mostly about the Buddhist faith.  

Most books printed before Gutenberg       was limited in number and were mostly hand copied by members of religious orders. When the printing press was invented in 1440s, printing has become much cheaper and quicker. This has made book production easier which in turn fostered the development of science, art, and religion. Since then came the various printing processes which has shaped the print production we know today.

The greatest advancement in printing perhaps came in 1886 with the invention of the linotype composing machine by Ottmar Mergenthaler. This is one-man machine allows the operator to be everyone at the same time: machinist, justifier, type-setter, type-founder, and type-distributor.

After the linotype composing machine, development of printing is as follows:

-          Mimeograph (1890)
-          Screen printing (1907)
-          Spirit duplicator (1923)
-          Dye-sublimation (1957)
-          Phototypesetting (1960s)
-          Dot matrix printer (1964)
-          Laser printing (1969)
-          Thermal printing (ca. 1972)
-          Inkjet printing (1976)
-          Stereolithography (1986)
-          Digital press (1993)
-          3D printing (ca. 2003)

1 comment:

  1. It's really interesting to see how the prining industry evolved over the centuries. And it gives me a different kind of excitement when I think about the printing industry in the future.