Origins of printing
printing press, movable type, the type mold, and the invention of printing
ink for use on metal type face are all attributed to Johannes Gutenberg (ca.
1394?-1468). The first book printed by Gutenberg's press was the
famous 42-line Bible, published 1455 in Mainz, Germany.
1452, Johannes Gutenberg, a goldsmith by trade, conceived a printing press
that used movable (replaceable) type. In his workshop, he brought
together the existing technologies of linen paper, oil-based ink, metal
working and wine-press mechanics to print books.
Gutenberg’s printing press was the result of inspiration, imagination and
insight that led him to combine a few basic technologies that had been known
• the adaptation of the
goldsmith’s punch and die, used to strike coins, into a letter punch and
mold assembly that made possible the mass production of removable
type-face letters. This replaced wood-cut (fixed image) block-print
technology - that had been known in Europe since the return of Marco Polo
from Asia at the end of the 13th century.
• the adaptation of the
screw-type press that had been in use throughout Europe and Asia for
hundreds of years by European textile makers to print patterns on linen
fabric, as well as by vintners in the production of wine and olive oil.
• the development of mass
production linen (rag) paper-making techniques. Scrolls of hand-made silk
and later linen paper were brought from China to Italy in the 12th century.
Linen paper took too long to make by hand and silk was thought too flimsy
for books. Prior to Gutenberg’s printing press, books made in Europe were
hand-scribed on vellum parchment (calf or lamb skin), preferred because of
• the development of oil-based
inks that were suitable for printing on linen paper. These had been around
since the 10th century, but tended to smear on the vellum parchment used to
make religious manuscripts, which was not porous enough to take the ink. The
vellum manuscripts were hand-scribed with an egg-based tempura that was
unsuitable for printing with metal type. Gutenberg took advantage of
the existing technology of oil paints, which came into general use after
they were perfected and popularized by European artists. Little modification
was needed to turn oil paint into printing ink.
Gutenberg assembled individual
type-face pieces as a matrix of up-turned letters in a cabinet drawer.
Oil-based ink paste was applied ("beaten") onto the letter faces and a
pre-cut linen paper sheet was pressed down against the inked matrix by a
screw press, producing a single impression (two side-by-side pages per
sheet) of printed text. If a letter broke down, it could be removed
The Gutenberg press with its
movable type brought down the price of printed materials and for the first
time in history, books became available to the general public. This was a
turning point for western civilization.
Since that time, many advanced
printing technologies have been developed based on Gutenberg's printing
machine, e.g., offset, lithographic, flexographic and rotogravure printing,
in sheet-fed and web-fed presses. The Heidelberger press shown above
is a good example of modern printing technology at its finest.
Acrobat Reader PDF
Dual air curtain for reducing infiltration in an offset press
Apparatus for merging shingled signature streams
Paper folding apparatus
Magnetic plate cylinder for printing press
Delivery conveyor with ventilation and extraction
5,537,925 Infra-red forced air dryer and extractor
Method and apparatus for handling printed sheet material
Air-dam for printing press vacuum transfer apparatus
Anilox coater with brush
Vacuum transfer apparatus for rotary sheet-fed presses
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