The History of Print

Putting words into writing has come a long way since its first conception, and the invention of printing has brought written word even further. Modern printing has a long, intricate history behind it that’s branched off in many ways, bringing us the amazing variety of current technology, between laser, digital, and even 3D printing! Check out this basic timeline of the world’s major print advancements:

– 200 Woodblock Printing – Woodblock printing came into use in China, where pieces of wood would be carved into to show characters, filled with ink, and then repeatedly pressed against different materials to produce prints.

– 1040 Movable Type – China was also the origin of movable type, which included the process of ceramic tiles being placed, inked, and then pressed to different textiles.

– 1440 Printing Press – The invention of the printing press is often the earliest ancestor that many link directly to modern printing. Its invention occurred in Europe, and it’s considered the first machine form of printing, as its convenience allowed for simpler widespread printing and distribution.

– 1515 Etching – Etching became a popular medium rapidly because of its relative simplicity. Metal plates coated with wax have the wax removed to create lines, pictures, and text before the ink is applied and pressed onto its medium.

– 1796 Lithography – Lithography was the next printing trend to surface, involving grease and water smeared onto stone surfaces in order to reproduce prints. Both text and images were commonly made with this method.

– 1910 Screen Printing – Screen printing is a method in which paint or ink can be transferred through a mesh onto its medium by blocking off portions and forcing the liquid through. This treatment, typically used for fabrics, can also be used for a variety of materials.

– 1949 Phototypesetting – This form of printing involves setting type to transfer onto photo film or paper, with an end product that can be replicated in that manner. This was later replaced by digital typesetting.

– 1951 Inkjet Printing – This computer-enabled method prints by spraying ink onto sheets of paper, reproducing a digital image.

– 1952 AZ Litho Opened – Our mission is to provide high-quality printed materials with an element of service that exceeds every customer’s expectations in order to maintain our leadership role in the marketplace and the industry.

– 1969 Laser Printing – Laser printing, which has since advanced on its own, is a form in which a computer transfers a digital image to the printer. The image is then recreated through a laser with toner, which sends ink onto the paper in an array of dots.

– 1984 3D Printing – 3D printing, an ever-evolving process in the modern day, is a method in which a 3-dimensional digital rendering is printed by thin layers of material into a 3D object. This printing method has seen a wide variety of applications with its flexibility in making solid, usable objects.

Arizona Lithographers is happy to continue print education and evolution, keeping up with industry trends and increasing our own offerings to maintain new adaptations and demands. To learn more or to take advantage of our newest services and capabilities, contact our print experts today! “