Printing And The History Of Printing

Printing is a process for reproducing text and image, typically with ink on paper using a printing press. It is often carried out as a large-scale industrial process, and is an essential part of publishing and transaction printing.

In the Mid-15th Century, things begin to change with the advent of the printing press. In 1452, Gutenberg conceives of the idea for movable type. In his workshop, he brings together the technologies of paper, oil-based ink and the wine-press to print books. The printing press is not a single invention. It is the aggregation in one place, of technologies known for centuries before Gutenberg.

The other inventions brought together by Gutenberg in his pursuit of a printing press were:

The adaptation for printing, of the wine or olive oil, screw-type press that had been in use for hundreds of years, throughout Europe and Asia.

The adaptation of block-print technology - known in Europe since the return of Marco Polo from Asia at the end of the 13th century.


The development of mass production paper-making techniques. Paper was brought from China to Italy in the 12th C. but was thought too flimsy for books.

Prior to the advent of the printing press, books were made of vellum (calf or lamb skin) because of its durability. Vellum is extremely durable. In San Simeon (also known as Hearst's Castle), there are lampshades that William Randolph Hearst had made from 15th century Gregorian prayer books and the vellum is still in excellent condition. For books that took more than a year to produce, paper was too flimsy.

The development of oil-based inks. These had been around since the 10th century, but smeared on the vellum used to make books. The religious manuscripts used an egg-based tempera. This was unsuitable for printing with type.

Gutenberg's contribution to printing was the development of a a punch and mold system which allowed the mass production of the movable type used to reproduce a page of text. These letters would be put together in a type tray which was then used to print a page of text. If a letter broke down, it could be replaced. When the printing of the copies of one page was finished, the type could be reused for the next page or the next book.

But the advent of the printing press did not bring about a great shift in the social organization of learning in Europe.

The first books to show up in print shops were bibles and religious tracts. The next books to attract publishers were the "humanist" texts brought back from Byzantium by the Crusades, and other texts of antiquity but there was little or no printing of new ideas.

Many people went into the printing business and went right back out again. The reason was that the distribution of books was poorly organized. The market was there, and the potential for filling the demand, but the transport and control and "advertising" mechanisms were not in place.

In addition, there was still a low literacy rate in Europe. Most people did not know how to read at all. But non-literates were still affected by the book trade because the elites, who controlled society, were affected by books. And people who could not read still had access to book culture because there were traveling raconteurs who stood in the market and read from books as a means of making a living as entertainers.

Frankfort was an early center for printing and so it sponsored a book fair which drew publishers, booksellers, collectors, scholars, who could find what they needed for their livelihoods. This helped coordinate supply and demand.

The fair also produced a catalog of all the works shown at the fair - an early Books in Print.

None of this is to say that new book printing posed much of a challenge to the power and prestige of the church.

The printed book quickly becomes a regular object in the world. By 1501 there were 1000 printing shops in Europe, which had produced 35,000 titles and 20 million copies.

Across the world, over 45 trillion pages (2005 figure) are printed annually. In 2006 there were approximately 30,700 printing companies in the United States. Print jobs that move through the Internet made up 12.5% of the total U.S. Printing market last year.

Books and newspapers are printed today using the technique of offset lithography. Other common techniques include:

  • pad printing popular for its unique ability to print on complex 3-dimensional surfaces.
  • flexography used for packaging, labels, newspapers
  • relief print, (mainly used for catalogues),
  • screen printing from T-shirts to floor tiles
  • rotogravure mainly used for magazines and packaging,
  • inkjet used typically to print a small number of books or packaging, and also to print a variety of materials from high quality papers simulate offset printing, to floor tiles; Inkjet is also used to apply mailing addresses to direct mail pieces
  • laser printing mainly used in offices and for transactional printing (bills, bank documents). Laser printing is commonly used by direct mail companies to create variable data letters or coupons, for example



Tüm Hakları Saklıdır. © 2010
Kartaltepe Mh. Halkalı Cd. Şınık Sk. No:6/A Sefaköy/İstanbul
Telefon : 0212.424.22.57  |  Fax : 0212.424.35.87

MT Grafik Web Tasarım Hizmetleri