Johannes Gutenberg

The printing press history

The Invention of Printing Press

In the Holy Roman Empire, the German printing press was invented by Johannes Gutenberg around 1440 based on existing screw presses. A goldsmith by profession, Gutenberg developed a complete printing method that refined the printing process in all its phases by adapting current technology to printing purposes, as well as creating his innovative innovations. For the first time, his newly crafted hand mold made the accurate and rapid processing of large amounts of metal movable type possible, a vital factor in the prosperity of the whole printing industry.

Johannes Gutenberg The House book Master, a Southern German artist, made the first dry point engravings in 1465. Drypoint is a process in which an image with a hard pointed ‘needle’ of sharp metal or a diamond point is incised into a (copper) plate.
Johann and Wendelin of Speyer are probably the first printers to use pure Roman type in their print shop in Venice, which no longer looks like the handwritten characters other printers have so far attempted to imitate.
William Caxton purchased equipment from the Netherlands in 1476 and founded the first printing press at Westminster in England. The painting below depicts Caxton explaining to King Edward IV his printing press.

The Spreading of Printing Press

The printing press has expanded to more than 200 cities in a dozen European countries over many decades. By 1500, more than 20 million volumes had already been produced by printing presses in service throughout Western Europe. With presses expanding further afield, their production grew tenfold in the 16th century, to an estimated 150 to 200 million copies.
A press service became so popular with a publishing firm that it lent its name to a whole new media division, the press.

history of print


Printing of the First Book on Printing Press

Johannes Gutenberg’s now-famous Gutenberg Bible was the first book to ever be printed in the Gutenberg press. These have become immensely popular, generating a total of 200 copies in short order.
They were already so famous that many were sold even before they were printed. The contents of his bible are based on the versions currently circulated between the 14th and 15th centuries across the Rhine region of Germany. His edition will thereafter become the de facto standard version for bibles and form the basis for all subsequent biblical texts.

The invention of The First Rotary Press

Richard March Hoe The first rotary press was invented by Richard March Hoe in 1843, refined in 1846, and patented in the United States in 1847. Initially, until William Bullock invented a press fed by a paper roll in 1863, this method was hand-fed with single sheets: the pictures to be printed were curved around spinning cylinders. There was no longer a flat surface that exerted pressure to print: the paper moved through a cylinder that exerted a much greater force instead. The rotary printing presses were able to print up to 8,000 sheets an hour due to the mechanization of the process and the introduction of continuous paper rolls. That makes it the first press that is acceptable for large print runs.
The rotary press began to be used for printing the Philadelphia Public Ledger in 1846.

Robert Barclay Invention of Offset Printing

The offset press was invented by Robert Barclay in 1875 for printing on metal. Then in 1904, the technology for the paper was updated by Ira Washington Rubel. This indirect printing procedure is based on a chemical phenomenon that is very basic: the repulsion between oil and water.
The printing method is anything but straightforward though. An offset plate is divided into two areas: the portion of the image, which is lipophilic and thus attracts the ink; and the hydrophilic area of the non-image, which resists the ink. In a solution that connects to the non-image region, the plate is dipped and then inked. In this way, only the image adheres to the ink, which is then first moved to a rubber cylinder and then imprinted on the paper.

The Linotype – A Typesetting Machine

The linotype, the typesetting machine, was invented by German inventor Ottmar Mergenthaler in 1885. The benefit of this method was that the lines of form were automatically composed. It operated in much the same manner as a typewriter: by pressing the keys on a keyboard, the user wrote text lines. For the corresponding character, each key would release a matrix and this matrix would coordinate with the others. The matrix line was then filled with molten lead, cast, inked, and used on sheets of paper to press the characters.

Although it is an elaborate process, printing was greatly accelerated by linotype. It meant that one character at a time, typesetters no longer had to write typed lines by hand: everything was mechanized.
The linotype machine was first used in 1886 to print the “New York Tribune,” a daily newspaper established in New York in 1841. It was first used in Italy in 1897 to print the “Tribuna”, one of the leading dailies in Rome.

The Innovation of Laser Technology

The Xerox Corporation designed laser technology in 1971. In a laser printer, electronic processes produce the material to be printed and print it directly onto a sheet of paper. The laser transfers the image to a photosensitive selenium cylinder called a ‘drum’) to be more accurate, and from there, it is directly transferred to the paper using toner. It is possible to print about 20,000 lines a minute with this device. Breaking records. But more importantly, everybody could print anything they wanted, whenever they wanted, in their office or home from this point on.
The first laser printers, bulky, complicated, and quite costly, were very different from the ones we are used to today. And we had to wait until 1982 for Canon to release the first desktop laser printer. Its high cost, however, meant few could purchase one. It was not until the beginning of the 1990s that along with inkjet, dot matrix, and dye-sublimation printers, laser printers became widely available to the public. Printers have been ever cheaper, more lightweight, and powerful ever since.

The Present Era of 3D printers

In the age of the 3D printer, we end our journey through time. In reality, this printing technology was created some years ago when Chuck Hull used UV rays to harden varnishes, in 1983 to be exact. His invention was dubbed “stereolithography” by the engineer: a technique that makes it possible to construct solid objects by inserting alternating layers of a photosensitive liquid polymer that has been hit by UV light. It starts from a 3D model such as Blender, AutoCAD, or OpenSCAD created by modelling software.

Today, there are different 3D printing methods. They vary primarily in the way they assemble various layers: they may use heat-melted materials, hardened liquid materials, or materials that are laminated and bound together.
3D printing has taken years to become commonly used. Because the cost was initially incredibly high for this technology. But in many areas, from architecture to archaeology, from sculpture to healthcare, 3D printing is still used, with more being added all the time.