Sunday 18 April 2010


I have been researching the information that I want to include in the Origins and Development sections of my publication. There is an awful lot that I could include, and I think that it will be very wordy and over-saturating. I am considering using a timeline for these two chapters, as it will allow me to include dates more easily, and the reader will be able to see the development more clearly. I have put together the basics of the timeline (below) there are a few more points that I want to include, but I need to clarify the dates for these.

140-86 BCE – Invention of paper

618 CE– The first printing is done in China, using ink on carved wooden blocks.

868 – The world’s earliest datable book, the Diamond Sutra, is printed.

1300 – Movable wooden type is invented in the Korea, a technique credited to Wang Zhen.

1377 – Earliest surviving book is printed using bronze movable type in Korea.

1400 – Laurens Coster (Netherlands) works with movable wooden type. He is however not credited with the invention of movable type in the west.

1423 – Hand coloured wood cut. Earliest dated woodcut. P. 25 british library guide (cutting an image into a piece of wood).

1455 – Gutenberg’s 42-line Bible is printed. Gutenberg is credited with the invention of the printing press and of moveable type cast from metal. He was also the inventor of adjustable moulds for type to accommodate the widths of different letterforms.

1457 – Latin Psalter printed throughout in colours and shows the efforts printers made to emulate the coloured manuscripts of the time. Created using two interlocking parts, inked separately and then placed together in the press.

1476 – William Caxton begins using a Gutenberg printing press in England.

1493 – Albrecht Durer transformed woodcutting into a suitable monochrome process by suggesting tone and texture using hatching.

1495 – The first paper mill is opened in England.

1501 – Italic type is first used.

1550 – Wallpaper introduced in Europe.

1660 – Mezzotint is invented in Germany.

1702 – Mezzotint is used by Jacob LeBon to create full colour images using three or four separately printed colours. Initially a very slow and expensive process, therefore mainly used for special classes of work.

1725 – Stereotyping is invented in Scotland by William Ged. The process involves a whole page of type being cast in a single mould so that a printing plate can be made from it.

1798 – Lithography is invented.

1797 – Thomas Berwick develops the ‘wood-engraving’ process. A more refined version of wood-cuts, where the image stood in relief and was therefore able to be printed along side type in a press. His technique was used in countless illustrated books and journals in the nineteeth century.

1800 – A colour print is made using 29 wood-blocks by letterpress printer William Savage in London.

1800 – First iron printing press is introduced by Stanhope. It helped to increase output and many other iron platen presses followed this.

1814 – The Koenig powered cylinder press is introduced. The entire process for using this press was mechanical apart from feeding of sheets, which was done by hand.

1816 – William Caslon IV develops the first sans-serif typeface.

1820 – Lithography starts to spread outside of Germany. It begins to replace letterpress and copperplate printing due to the ease and low costs of production.

1820 – American, Jacob Perkins replaces copper with steel as the surface for intaglio (creating a hollow in the plate) printing as the plates were tougher and therefore gave longer print runs. Perkins’ firm in Britain printed the Penny Black postage stamps.

1829 – Embossed printing is invented by Louis Braille.

1837 – Godfrey Engelmann patents Chromoliography, a process that outstripped all other colour printing processes. Similar to Mezzotint, Chromolithography used separate plates and coloured inks to create one image.

1840 – The first working machine for composing type was the Pianotyp. Operated by two people; one working the keyboard and the second inserting spacing between the words and justifying the line.

1851 – The first mechanized lithography press is patented by Austrian engineer Sigl. It had automatic inking and damping and could be worked by steam or by hand.

1878 – Photogravure printing is invented by Karl Klic. By the late 1880s the gravure process was often used to illustrate high-quality books with photographs.

1880 – Mechanical tints were invented by Benjamin Day in America. Consisting of lines, dots and other patterns, that could be used by lithography draughtsmen to get tonal effects quickly. Chromolithography provided late-nineteenth century society with a huge range of colour printed artefacts, from manuscripts to throwaway scraps.

1892 – 4-colour rotary press invented.

1900 –Due to the industrial revolution the majority of printing processes were mechanized to some degree by the end of the nineteenth century. This is the lithographic machine room of Charles Goodall & Son, London. The machines shown are printing from stone, which was still in common use industrially in this period.

1904 – The first comic book is published.

1907 – The commercial silk screen is invented

1937 – Chester Carlson invents the Xerox copying process using electrostatic energy. Xerography provides the foundation of modern laser printing.

1950 – Offset Lithography becomes the dominant form of commercial printing.

1957 – The Helvetica typeface family is developed

1970 – The first Personal Computers are manufactured.

1969 – The Laser printer is invented by Xerox, which was developed and networked into a printer system by 1972.

1963 – The first Pantone colour matching system is developed.

1976 – The inkjet printer is invented.

1987 – Layout design software QuarkXpress is released for Macintosh computers. It quickly became widely used by page designers, typesetting industry and printers.

1988 – Inkjet printers become a home consumer item with Hewlett-Packard’s release of the DeskJet inkjet printer, priced at $1000.

I found the majority of this information in The British Library Guide to Printing: History and Techniques, Michael Twyman, and the rest I found online at various websites, mainly Timeline of Printing.I think that this is quite a comprehensive overview so far, but I am going to ask a few of my colleagues if there are any points that I have missed that they think would be important to include.

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