A Brief History of Pre-Electronic Printing

Chicago Office Equipment

Mankind took a series of steps across thousands of years to put his thoughts onto the printed page so he could share them with others. Join us for some highlights.

The Beginnings

The 3rd Century BC: The hair writing brush on silk paper makes a vast improvement upon the bamboo stylus and the accompanying stiff strips of bamboo upon which to write. The world can thank Chinese General Meng Tien for the improvement.

105 AD: Ts'ai Lun favors the world with the first paper. Made from a combination of old rags, mulberry bark and hemp, it was far less expensive (and, therefore, more readily available) than silk.

356-323 BC: The vast empire of Alexander the Great may be responsible for China's use of the seal, both for private and imperial authentication.

500 BC: The Chinese improve upon the seal, creating a stamp and ink process that paved the way for printing using a carved wooden block.

712-756 AD: During the dynasty of Ming Huang, monks developed a system using woodcuts to make images of Buddha. At some point, a handle was added to the wooden block, the image reversed, and ink washed over the block. A simple improvement, but it was a revolutionary method that provided an important stepping stone for the future of printing.

1392: The Korean culture saw the invention and extensive use of the first cast metal type, but the method seems to have been isolated within the country's borders.

We Have Lift-Off

In 1455, Johannes Gutenberg gave the world a gift in the form of the first movable type. Gutenberg's Mainz Bible and his revolution in printing brought about a seismic shift throughout the known world. One of only two books on permanent display in the Library of Congress, Gutenberg's impact on civilization was tremendous.

In 1796, Bavarian printer Aloys Senefelder printed a sheet of music and introduced the world to lithography. Chromolithography, using a variety of colors, came some 40 years later. This was soon followed by the three-color spatter tint process, and voila! The poster was born! Thank you, Jules Cheret!

Proven Business Systems can help your company share your thoughts with the world. Whether you seek to fill that niche with a copier or multifunction printer, we can help! Contact us today!