A Brief Chronology of Printing

  • Block Printing From 618 to 906, China begins printing using ink-covered carved wooden blocks.
  • Diamond Sutra: The first known printed book, printed in China in 868 AD.
  • Clay Movable Type: Invented in China in 1041, allowed single-symbol changes without redoing an entire carving.
  • Wooden Movable Type: First used in China in the year 1300.
  • Gutenberg Press: Gutenberg invented the first printing press with removable wooden or metal letters in 1436.
  • Gutenberg Bible: First book published in volume in 1452.
  • Color Printing: First done in 1457 by Fust and Schoeffer.
  • King James Bible: Published in 1611.
  • Photogravure: Invented in 1878 by Karl Klic. Process allows the printing of an engraved image using an engraving plate.
  • Linotype: Ottmar Mergenthaler invented the linotype in 1886, enabling one operator to be machinist, type-setter, justifier, typefounder, and type-distributor. Used a keyboard similar to that of a typewriter.
  • Teletype: Invented in 1922 by Frank E. Gannett, allowed newspapers to set type by telegraph.
  • Xerography: First invented by in 1938 by Chester Carlson. Process uses magnetism in order to adhere ink to paper.
  • Phototypesetter: Invented in 1949 by Frenchmen Rene Alphonse Higonnet and Louis Marius Moyroud. Used a strobe light and a series of optics to project characters from a spinning disk onto photographic paper.
  • High-Speed Printer: In 1953, the first high-speed printer was developed by Remington-Rand for use on the Univac computer.
  • Inkjet Printer: Invented in 1976. Didn't become a consumer item until more than a decade later due to exorbitant pricing.

All sources accessed 9/17/06


Print"ing, n.

The act, art, or practice of impressing letters, characters, or figures on paper, cloth, or other material; the business of a printer, including typesetting and presswork, with their adjuncts; typography; also, the act of producing photographic prints.

Block printing. See under Block. -- Printing frame Photog., a shallow box, usually having a glass front, in which prints are made by exposure to light. -- Printing house, a printing office. -- Printing ink, ink used in printing books, newspapers, etc. It is composed of lampblack or ivory black mingled with linseed or nut oil, made thick by boiling and burning. Other ingredients are employed for the finer qualities. Ure. -- Printing office, a place where books, pamphlets, or newspapers, etc., are printed. -- Printing paper, paper used in the printing of books, pamphlets, newspapers, and the like, as distinguished from writing paper, wrapping paper, etc. -- Printing press, a press for printing, books, newspaper, handbills, etc. -- Printing wheel, a wheel with letters or figures on its periphery, used in machines for paging or numbering, or in ticket-printing machines, typewriters, etc.; a type wheel.


© Webster 1913.

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