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Evolution of Printing
The book on your shelf has come a long way from the first book that was known as a ‘manuscript’ during the 7th – 13th century. Manuscripts were predominantly religious books and were completely handmade.
It was in the year 1439 that the book got a new look. Johan Gutenberg, a German goldsmith by profession invented the first press – Gutenberg Press. Named after its inventor, this press was constructed entirely of wood. The entire operation was manual - right down to inking the text blocks. From what it was, this invention greatly sped up the printing process. Importantly, the Gutenberg Press opened the door to further inventions in printing, which continued for nearly 400 years to reach today’s books that you see in stores.
The Steam Printing Press that was invented in the 1800s took the printing industry a step forward. The Steam Press doubled the print size and required a lot lesser force for good printing. However, the production was still limited to 250 prints/hour. The first automatic press greatly increased the efficiency of printing books and newspapers.
Desktop Printers appeared in the year 1984, almost alongside the introduction of the HP LaserJet printers. Printing quality and speed was clearly an advantage and as the mass production of the Laser Jets dropped the prices, this became a ‘convenient’ form of printing – Desktop Printing.
Today we all use printers on a near daily basis and don’t give much thought to the printing or the process that goes into it. This is the age of super-fast, high quality, relatively low cost laser and inkjet printers. Today's fully automatic digital printing presses are capable of handling any colour, font and print size. An entire newspaper can be printed in a few seconds – about 230 A4 pages/ minute at 1200 dots/inch. Who knows where the printing industry will go next?
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