History of Printing

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  • The history of printing begins with the earliest ways to make multiple copies. Depending on the source it could have been in China or India. This example shows printed material from cutout wood blocks to make multiple copies.
  • This book was discovered by an Englishman and found hidden away in a secret library in a cave in China. It’s known as the Diamond Sutra, and printed in the year 868. It’s is the world's earliest printed book, made of seven strips of paper joined together with an illustration on the first sheet which is cut with great skill. More information: http://www.silk-road.com/artl/diamondsutra.shtml
  • Movable type printing: In 1041, movable clay type was invented in China. At about 1045~1058 (about same time as Gutenberg was inventing his movable type in Germany), the moveable type was invented by Bi Sheng in China. He invented it on the basis of reforming engraving type. At first he sawed wood into small pieces, then he lettered every small piece of wood to make movable Chinese characters. According to what characters an article needed, he arranged the needed characters on an iron board. After printing, all these characters could be reused. It did not take him much time to make 3000 characters in common use. Because it is hard to find a character from the whole set of characters, Sheng thought of a method. He put the characters in dozens of wood plates by their first parts of pronunciation. To be more efficient, he prepared two iron boards--one was for printing, the other one could be used to arrange characters for the next page or other articles. When the former printing was finished, people could used the latter one, which was already arranged, to continue printing. Then the characters on the former board were hit down and removed for reusing. By using the two boards alternately people could print faster.
  • Around 3,000 characters need to be recognized to read a newspaper written in Chinese. Educated Chinese will usually know around double that number. Although this already seems like a large number, there are up to 30,000 characters required, including the occasional use of rare words. Moveable types in China were made in different ways. The cheapest and most fragile were clay and glue. The durable, but much more expensive, types were made of copper. Wooden type was also used from the 14th century. One of the common methods of organizing this vast number of different types was to place them on two circular bamboo tables which could rotate. One table was used for the common types and the other for the rare, lesser-used characters. Each table was divided into eight sections, and in each section types were arranged in their numerical order according to their listing in the “Book of Rhymes,” an ancient Chinese dictionary.
  • Over a million manuscripts were re-discovered in Timbuktu, Mali and about 20 million more in West Africa. Most were created in the 12th to 14th centuries. They were created by hand, not moveable type.
  • The collected works of Yi Munsun (the literary name of Yi Kyu-bo), the great poet, scholar, and statesman of Korea's Koryo Dynasty (918-1392), were edited and printed with metal movable type by his son Yi Ham around 1241. This was some 215 years before Gutenberg used a similar process to print his famous Bibles in Germany. Printed on handmade mulberry paper, the eight-volume work contains Yi Munsun's essays, poetry, descriptions of early printing, warnings against shamanism, and his autobiography.
  • The first books wouldn't be printed using moveable type in Europe until the 1400's. Little is known about the life of Johann (or Johannes) Gutenberg; he was born in 1398. He invented movable mechanized type, a massive improvement from handwritten manuscripts a=since it allowed faster production of printed materials. Like said before, movable type in China was also invented around this time, but Gutenberg is responsible for spreading its use. His invention and influence would be instrumental in the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Scientific Revolution.
  • Before Gutenberg, every book produced in Europe had to be copied by hand. (Although the Chinese had been mass-producing books since the ninth century.) Now it was possible to speed up the process without sacrificing quality. We know for certain this was the first printed Bible from a letter dated March 12, 1455. On that day Enea Silvio Piccolomini, later Pope Pius II, reported that in Frankfurt the year before, a marvelous man had been promoting the Bible. Piccolomini had seen parts of it and it had such neat lettering that one could read it without glasses. Every copy had been sold. Gutenberg's invention did not make him rich, but it laid the foundation for the commercial mass production of books. The success of printing meant that books soon became cheaper, and even wider parts of the population could afford them. More than ever before, it enabled people to follow debates and take part in discussions of matters that concerned them. As a consequence, the printed book also led to more stringent attempts at censorship. This was a sign that it was felt by those in authority to be dangerous and challenging to their position. Note: In the first half-century of European printing the book rapidly displaces the manuscript of earlier generations, providing equal elegance at less cost. Printed books of the 15th century are known as incunabula (Latin for the 'cradle' of printing). Though very rare now, incunabula were surprisingly numerous then; 1700 presses in some 300 towns are estimated to have produced about 15 million volumes by 1500. The profusion of presses in Europe by the early 16th century means that the machinery is in place for a different and entirely new form of production - the rapid printing of pamphlets, or even single sheets, which could be used for propaganda in a time of war or national change.
  • The Licensing Order of 1643
  • Containing 101 woodcuts, this was also the first book printed in German, and the first dated book with woodcut illustrations. This book has actually been digitized and can be downloaded through Google books.
  • Books printed by Gutenberg's method are ideal for combining text and illustration on the same page. Movable type can be set in any shape round a wood block. The raised surfaces of both type and image will receive the ink together and can transfer it to the paper in a single impression.
  • Jost Amman became famous for his series of woodcuts used for illustrations in his Book of Trades in 1568. The left–hand illustration shows a designer drawing an image in preparation for a woodcut or copper engraving. The right–hand drawing shows the woodcut being made.
  • Caxton was both the first to print a book in English, and the first English printer. He realized the commercial potential of the new technology while working as a merchant in the Low Countries and Germany, the birthplace of printing in Europe. Around 1475, Caxton set up his own printing press in London. This being a momentous event, and soon after prints started to be created. Because manuscript making was slow and laborious, books were expensive luxury items. They were individually commissioned by well-to-do patrons, the only people who could afford them. Printing prints changed all that.
  • 1638 - The Reverend Jose Glover, who might rightfully be called the father of printing in the United States, brought the first printing press from England to America in 1638 and hired Stephen Day, a locksmith, to do the printing. Glover died during the voyage; the press was passed on to his wife, who brought the press to the newly established Harvard College.
  • Transferring an image to paper: Stone lithography depends on the mutual repulsion of grease and water. After a design is drawn on the limestone with greasy inks or crayons, the whole surface is dampened. The surface helps to hold the water, while the ink repels it. The surface is then rolled with printing ink that sticks to the greasy drawing, but not to the wet surface of the untouched stone. This process was initially used for commercial printing, especially for duplicating scripts and book illustrations. This was a significant change to how illustrations were printed and multiplied.
  • Letterpress printing: This new technology quickly replaced traditional woodblock printing. Movable type was not only more durable and uniform than woodblocks, but also much quicker to work with. Simultaneously, movable type not only improved the quality of printed goods, but also resulted in a drop in the price of production. Presses sprouted up all over Europe and the technology became the primary form of commercial printing for the next 500 years. Letterpress printing made printed goods more accessible, ultimately leading to dramatic cultural shifts. Many regard movable type as one of the most important inventions of the second millennium.
  • Koenig steam powered press: Printer, bookseller and inventor Friedrich Koenig conducted the first test of his steam-driven platen press in 1812. This was the first printing done by the first printing press not powered by hand, and, at the rate of 800 sheets per hour, it achieved more than double the speed possible with an iron hand press, such as the Stanhope press. This contributed to more news, newspapers, publications, and gave the public knowledge of what was going on in the world.
  • Applegate and Cowper: In 1827, Cowper and Applegate developed a four-cylinder steam press capable of 4,000 to 5,000 impressions per hour. This was instrumental to mass production of books. This is an important development because the printing was now happening on drums from the previous flat surface. The drum idea is still used today with what we call web offset printing, mainly for laser printers and copiers.
  • Frederick Ives: With woodcuts and illustrations, printing was still at the mercy of dealing in black and white. In other words, there was no way to produce varying shades of colors with just one ink, such as the different shades of gray one sees in a modern halftone image. But, printers back then did know that one could create this through an optical illusion. In 1890, an American named Frederick Ives came up with a photographic method for the process. In short, he engraved horizontal and vertical lines on a sheet of glass. From here, he projected the image through the glass onto the other side where there was negative, unexposed film. The parts of the image that could not pass through the engraved lines bounced back, so that what reached the film was not a continuous tone image, but spots of light of varying sizes, or a halftone. A dark area on the original image would produce a large dot of black ink, whereas a light part would produce a small dot.
  • The Linotype: Just like is sounds this machine made a line of type. This would replace the method of setting up the lead type by hand. The Linotype typesetting machine is a "line casting" machine used in printing. Along with letterpress printing, linotype was the industry standard for newspapers, magazines and posters from the late 1800s to the 1960s and 70s, when it was largely replaced by offset lithography printing (like stone lithography, based on the repulsion of oil and water) and computer typesetting. The name of the machine comes from the fact that it produces an entire line of metal type at once, hence a line-o'-type , a significant improvement over the previous industry standard, i.e., manual, letter-by-letter typesetting using a composing stick and drawers of letters.
  • Lyonel Feininger: One of the first uses of color in printing cartoons in the Sunday paper.
  • Phototypesetting was a method of setting type, rendered obsolete with the popularity of the personal computer and desktop publishing software, that uses a photographic process to generate columns of type on a scroll of photographic paper. Typesetters used a machine called a phototypesetter, which would quickly project light through a film negative image of an individual character in a font, through a lens that would magnify or reduce the size of the character onto film, which would collect on a spool in a light-tight canister. The film would then be fed into a processor, a machine that would pull the film through two or three baths of chemicals, where it would emerge ready for paste up.
  • Modern day: From setting the type by hand to sheet-feeding a press one sheet at a time, we now have massive printers, like the very modern Heidleberg shown here—which can use 10 inks at one time. CMYK plus 6 spot colors.
  • History of Printing

    1. 1. Early Chinese printing technique included blockprinting. First the text was written out on paper. Then that paper was placed face down on a wood block.The impression on the block was use to carve out thetext. Then ink is applied to the block and a new sheet of paper is then pressed onto the block.
    2. 2. The Worlds earliest printed book: TheDiamond Sutra - AD868The British Library
    3. 3. In the Song Dynasty, in 1040, Bi Sheng invented movable type printing.
    4. 4. Divided into eight sections, removable type tables were used to organize the huge number of different types.
    5. 5. Timbuktu was home to the University of Sankore, which at its height had25,000 scholars. An army of scribes, gifted in calligraphy, earned their livingcopying the manuscripts brought by travelers. Prominent families added thosecopies to their own libraries. As a result, Timbuktu became a repository of anextensive and eclectic collection of manuscripts.
    6. 6. The collected works ofYi Munsun (theliterary name of YiKyu-bo), the greatpoet, scholar, andstatesman of KoreasKoryo Dynasty (918-1392), were edited andprinted with metalmovable type by hisson Yi Ham sometimearound 1241.
    7. 7. There are 48 known copies of the Gutenberg Bible (a number imperfect, some comprising one volume of two, and a few of those imperfect). All but three are in institutional collections. The last substantially complete copy at auction sold in 1978 for $2,000,000, and the Doheny copy of volume one, consisting of 324 leaves of the Old Testament only, sold for a hammer price of $4,900,000 in 1987 .Gutenberg bible with Illuminated pics
    8. 8. The Licensing Order of 1643• In Britain pre-publication licensing• Registration of all printing materials with the names of author, printer and publisher in the Register at Stationers’ Hall• Search, seizure and destruction of any books offensive to the government• Arrest and imprisonment of any offensive writers, printers and publishers.• Repealed in 1694 with a Bill of Rights
    9. 9. Der Edelstein (1471), a collection of morality tales whose titlemeans "The Precious Stone,” may have been the first printedbook with text and woodcut illustrations.
    10. 10. Bay Psalm BookFirst book printedin America(1640)
    11. 11. Painting on limestone for transferring an image to paper
    12. 12. Letterpress printing is relief printingof text and image using a press with a "type-highbed,’ in which a reversed, raised surface is inkedand then pressed into a sheet of paper to obtain apositive right-reading image. It was the normalform of printing text from its invention byJohannes Gutenberg in the mid-15th century untilthe 19th century and remained in wide use forbooks and other uses until the second half of the20th century.
    13. 13. Friedrich Koenig steam powered press, 1814
    14. 14. Applegate and Cowper’s Printing Machine forthe London Times (1827) 5,000 impressions/hr
    15. 15. In 1890, theAmerican FrederickIves came up with aphotographicprocess to producethe halftone image.
    16. 16. Lyonel Feininger(July 17, 1871 -January 13, 1956),was an icon in thecontemporarycartoon scene.Chicagos dailynewspaper, TheChicago SundayTribune, publishedthese strips during 1904: Offset lithography becomes common. The1906-07. first comic book is published.
    17. 17. Phototypsetting, 1970’s
    18. 18. Susan Kare Fonts on the screen created in pixels for the first Apple computers

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