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printing

printing, means of producing reproductions of written material or images in multiple copies. There are four traditional types of printing: relief printing (with which this article is mainly concerned), intaglio, lithography, and screen process printing. Relief printing encompasses type, stereotype, electrotype, and letterpress. Flexographic printing is a form of rotary letterpress printing using flexible rubber plates and rapid-drying inks.

For an account of type design, see type; typography. See also book; bookbinding.

Relief Printing

Early History

The story of the invention of printing and of its early days is told in the article type. In the 15th cent. the art spread, directly and indirectly, from Mainz to many parts of Europe. It was brought to England in 1476 by William Caxton; to the New World in 1539 by Juan Pablos, who set up his press in Mexico City.

Mechanization

The first papermaking machine producing a continuous roll of paper and capable of delivering sheets in specific sizes—the Fourdrinier machine—was installed in London in 1803. Steam power was successfully applied to the printing press in 1810 by Friedrich Koenig, a German. The invention did not improve the quality of the product but greatly increased the output of the machine. In Koenig's press, the type bed remained flat as in hand presses, but the paper was pressed on the type by a cylinder. The Adams power press was invented by an American, Isaac Adams, in 1827.

In 1846 and 1847, Richard March Hoe designed a rotary press in which stereotype plates were for the first time arranged in a true cylinder. In 1866 a press known later as the Walter press was patented in England; in this press the printing surfaces were not types but stereotype plates curved to form parts of cylinders. The invention of ways of making paper in sheets of any desired length, so that paper could be fed to cylinder presses from rolls, assisted in increasing the speed of printing. Machines for folding newspapers were incorporated with the power cylinder press.

Typesetting

Not until the late 19th cent. were typesetting machines invented. The Linotype machine, invented by Ottmar Mergenthaler in Baltimore in 1884, produced a metal slug corresponding to a single line of type as set by hand in printing. It was first put into operation at the New York Tribune in 1886. Operated from a keyboard like that of a typewriter, the machine assembled brass matrices into a line, cast the line, and distributed the matrices. The Intertype machine was substantially similar to the Linotype machine, and the matrices made by either machine could be used in the other.

The third principal typesetting machine is the Monotype, patented by Tolbert Lanston in 1887 and first produced commercially in 1897. The Monotype makes each character separately, assembling the characters as in hand composition, for which the Monotype characters can be used. Before electronic composition, monotype had an advantage in setting certain kinds of copy, e.g., mathematical and scientific material, where special symbols or other problems may be involved.

Intaglio

In intaglio printing, such as the etching and the steel engraving, the design to be printed is lower than the surface of the plate, which is wiped clean before each impression, leaving the incised design filled with ink, which the paper receives. In gravure intaglio printing, tone is produced by varying the thickness of the ink of the printing surface through depressions of varying depth; minute points constitute the clean surface that keeps the paper from being pressed into the depressions. In photogravure the gravure plate is made by a photographic process. Rotogravure is photogravure adapted for printing by a rotary or cylinder press.

Lithography

The third kind of printing, lithography, also known as planographic printing, was devised by Aloys Senefelder. Flat stones were the first lithographic plates and are still used, although a variety of thin metal, plastic, and paper plates are now also employed. A drawing is made on the plate with greasy ink or crayon, and water is then applied to the plate. When the plate is inked for printing, the greasy parts accept the ink and the wet parts do not. Preparing a printing surface so that ink will adhere only to parts of it is basic in all planographic printing.

Collotype, also called photogelatin, is a lithographic process that uses a gelatin-faced plate to achieve the tonal distribution obtained through screen dots in engraving. It is chiefly used in the reproduction of fine illustrations or of scientific subject matter requiring accuracy of detail.

Photolithography, offset, litho-offset, and offset lithography are synonyms in commercial printing for the most widely used form of planographic printing, based on a modification of the lithographic press featuring a rubber-covered cylinder between the printing cylinder and the impression cylinder. The plate cylinder transfers the image to the rubber blanket cylinder, which in turn offsets it on the paper carried by the impression cylinder. Offset and other forms of planographic printing, through many technical refinements, make possible increased production speeds, improved quality in the reproduction of fine tones, and a substantial reduction in the number of impressions required to reproduce full-color copy.

Screen Process

The fourth traditional type of printing, screen process, includes silk screen and has special applications in the printing industry. Silk screen printing is a form of stencil printing, i.e., printing where the ink is applied to the back of the image carrier and pushed through porous or open areas. The image is on a piece of silk stretched on a frame and backed by a rubber squeegee containing ink. The nonprinting areas on the silk screen are blocked out, and the ink is pushed through the porous areas corresponding to the design; the process is widely used for posters and for printing on glass, plastics, and textured surfaces. Mimeographing is another commercial application of stencil printing.

Illustrations and Color Printing

In three kinds of printing—relief, intaglio, and planographic—illustrations are often produced by the halftone process, in which a plate is made by photographing through glass marked with a network of fine lines (see also photoengraving). A usual form of color printing is by the Ben Day, or Benday, process, invented by New York printer Benjamin Day, which utilizes celluloid sheets to achieve proper shading and color. Printing in colors is sometimes done, as excellently in Japan, by applying inks of different colors by hand to the printing surface, but usually a separate printing surface is used for each ink.

In full-color printing four standard colors are used—yellow, cyan (a hue between blue and green), magenta, and black—the first three being the complementary colors of blue, red, and green. Other colors are produced by printing one color over another, as green by printing cyan on yellow. Black is used to print the text accompanying the illustration, and it is often used as a fourth color in the illustration itself to add strength and detail.

Modern Innovations

In recent years the use of photographic processes has expanded greatly, and the development of electronic devices, as well as other technological advances, has introduced a new era in the evolution of printing. The development of typewriters and personal computers capable of delivering justified and proportionally spaced copy has made possible the production of camera-ready books and has met the demands for several special types of printing.

Perhaps the most revolutionary innovation has been the introduction of photocomposition machines for setting type by photographic means. Two of these are analogous in principle to the Monotype and Intertype casting machines and have been produced by the respective companies under the trademarks of Monophoto and Intertype Fotosetter. The Linofilm is a phototypesetting machine developed by the Linotype Corporation. The Photon machine, invented by the Frenchmen René Higonnet and Louis Moyroud, using an electric typewriter connected with a computer and a photographing unit, is noteworthy. Almost exclusively electronic, it can deliver justified type on film in a wide variety of styles at extraordinary speed.

Today photocomposition has been adopted in lithography, gravure, and letterpress printing, and its use, together with other electronic techniques, has revolutionized the printing industry (see optical sensing). In recent years some newspapers have started to use pagination systems, in which newspapers are electronically composed by computer, output to a negative, and a plate is made of the negative.

Many reproduction processes other than those cited above have also been developed. Xerography, or electrostatic printing, has been widely adopted for photocopying; it is also the basis of the laser printer, one type of computer printer. It is also an effective means of producing master plates for offset printing. One xerographic device is used for making full-size reprints of out-of-print books from microfilm. Other duplicating processes of commercial importance are the Multigraph, which operates on the letterpress principle; the Multilith, basically a small offset press; the Ditto, a duplicator using a special fluid to remove ink from the master plate and transfer it to the paper; and the well-known photostat process. The development in the 21st cent. of machines for on-demand printing (using xerography) now allows an individual to print an appropriate computer file as a bound book in a retail store in a matter of minutes.

Bibliography

An excellent selected bibliography is H. Lehmann-Haupt, One Hundred Books about Bookmaking (1949). See W. Chappell, A Short History of the Printed Word (1970); L. Febvre and H.-J. Martin, The Coming of the Book (1976); E. Eisenstein, The Printing Press as an Agent of Change (1979) and Divine Art, Infernal Machine (2010).

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printing

printing with movable types, or letterpress, as opposed to printing using carved wooden blocks, was invented by Johannes Gutenberg of Mainz c.1440, though there is evidence that a Dutchman, Coster of Harlem, made a similar breakthrough about the same time. One of Gutenberg's associates, Peter Schoffer, produced a psalter in 1457, the first known book with a printed date. In 1462 the sack of Mainz dispersed printers and their equipment, the process being introduced to England by William Caxton in 1476. It did not reach Scotland until 1507 when the first printing press was set up in Edinburgh by Walter Chapman and Andrew Myllar.

Early printers used a wooden press, types, paper, and ink. The primitive press, constructed of wood and iron, was a screw press resembling a wine or cloth press. The plate, or ‘platen’, was applied by a vertical screw, hand operated by a lever, to the printing surface, or ‘forme’, placed horizontally on the bed of the press. Ink was applied to the type by dabbers, known as ink balls, a technique which survived until the development of the ink roller at the beginning of the 19th cent. Printers at first made their own types, but typefounding, an early instance of mass production, soon became a separate trade. Although many improvements were made, the process remained essentially the same until the early 19th cent.

Printing and publishing, which were closely allied, grew slowly until the latter half of the 18th cent. This was partly due to censorship, which intermittently constrained publication, and partly to the high cost of paper, which was also heavily taxed. While censorship continued until the early 19th cent., paper became cheaper and could be produced in continuous sheets following the introduction of paper-making machines developed in France by Nicholas Louis Robert (1798) and Henri Fourdrinier (1806). John Dickinson, an English paper-maker, patented the first cylinder machine in 1809. Paper could thus be produced in larger sizes and greater quantities than by hand.

The 19th cent. also brought significant developments in the industrialization of printing itself. Lord Stanhope developed the first all-metal platen press in 1804. At the same time the screw mechanism was improved, resulting in greater and more even pressure on the forme, and the ink roller greatly increased the speed of production. The improved Stanhope press doubled the output of the traditional wooden press. Even greater gains in productivity were made following the introduction of the first practical mechanized printing press developed by Friedrich Koening in 1811. It was designed to feed single sheets of paper through a cylinder press and in 1814 was modified for The Times, to become a two-feeder machine printing on both sides of the paper at once. The first power-driven platen press was developed about 1822.

The Times continued to lead the field with a steam press, producing 5,000 copies per hour, in 1827. Another important breakthrough was the rotary press with types fastened round a cylinder, introduced in 1848, and, after a further period of development, the continuously running rotary press, where a stereotyped printing surface was attached to the cylinder, pioneered at The Times in 1868. With subsequent refinements, this remained the standard method of newspaper-printing for over a century.

Pictorial reproduction was greatly influenced by the development of photography. Wood blocks and wood engravings, the commonest means of illustration, were gradually replaced by the photo-engraved line block and later by the half-tone block in which gradations of tone were simulated by typographic dot-formations of varying pattern and size. The monochrome half-tone process, introduced in 1872, was refined by the end of the 19th cent. to allow full colour reproduction. Similar technology was adopted in the book-printing trade.

Composing methods, using movable type, underwent a parallel revolution with the development, initially in the USA during the 1880s, of composing and casting machinery operated from keyboards. For nearly a century, the text to be printed was cast in hot metal, using monotype to set single characters or linotype to set text line by line. Thus, despite mechanization, printing remained a skilled occupation and historically a highly unionized craft, notably in the newspaper industry, which expanded dramatically in the early 20th cent.

Consequently the print unions had a long history of confrontation with the press barons. The printers' solidarity was threatened and ultimately undermined during the 1970s and 1980s by a move away from hot metal to computerized typesetting using high-speed optical methods and electronic page make-up systems. The introduction of new technology led to dramatic rationalization and to redundancies in printing and related trades. In London, bitter strikes and lock-outs resulted from the movement of newspaper printing from its traditional heartland in Fleet Street to new production units in the East End. Elsewhere in newspaper-printing, notably in Manchester and Glasgow, similar effects were felt. Book-printing, like publishing, was also transformed by the new technology. Printing has always had important backward linkages to paper manufacture and the metal trades, and, with increasing mechanization during the 19th cent., to engineering. It was also closely linked after the mid-18th cent. to the development of publishing, of both books and newspapers.

Ian Donnachie

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printing

printing

In the Middle Ages, books were laboriously copied by hand. They were rare, carefully preserved in monasteries and private collections, and too expensive for all but the wealthiest to own. Few people were literate; books were the preserve of the aristocracy, the members of the church, and university professors.

The first printing technology in Europe used wood-blocks, which were carved with various designs and images that could be transferred to cloth and, at the start of the fifteenth century, to paper. This method was invented by the Chinese and may have been brought to Europe by overland merchant traders, or by Christian missionaries and explorers on their return from China. In the 1440s Johannes Gutenberg, a German goldsmith, developed a method of printing by movable type. Gutenberg transformed a farmer's press, loading small blocks of letter type that he cast from a metal alloy. The type was set into a wooden matrix and then covered with an oil-based permanent ink. Pressing sheets of paper against the matrix created a printed page.

Gutenberg used the press to create elaborately illustrated Bibles, as well as broadsheets, pamphlets, and color prints. The press spread rapidly through western Europe in the late fifteenth century, creating a new industry and revolutionizing communication. Venice, Paris, and the Netherlands became important printing centers; bookshops began selling their wares in every major city. Printing allowed philosophers and scholars to distribute their works all over the continent, and poets to set their verse in a permanent form. Presses were set up in the Spanish colonies in the 1530s; the first in North America was running in Massachusetts in 1638.

Printing shops operated as did many other artisanal industries in Renaissance Europe. The masters selected constructed presses, selected titles to print, and purchased materials. Apprentices mixed inks and cut and prepared paper. Journeymen were responsible for casting type, compositors set the type, and pressmen set up pages and worked the printing press. Journeymen had to serve many years of apprenticeship and had to learn Latin, the language of education, law, religious tracts, and mass communication. Printing technology spread when journeymen moved from town to town in search of new employers and opportunities to set up their own shops.

The publishing industry grew rapidly in the sixteenth century, when the first large publishing houses opened for business. Some were supported by groups of wealthy men who pooled their capital and published books as financial speculations. Others printed and sold books by subscription, in which those willing to buy a book agreed to pay cooperatively for its printing. Some books were printed in installments, in which a short section of the work was printed each time. Installment printing spread out the cost of printing and reduced the financial risk. Specialty printing houses created journals, calendars, almanacs, illustrated prints, political broadsheets, and the first newspapers.

Printing spread literacy and specialized knowledge to a wider cross section of European society. It allowed scientists to share ideas and challenge concepts that had been accepted for more than a millennium. Books allowed thinkers to openly question the authority of the Catholic Church, and unite with like-minded writers across the continent. No longer isolated by long distances and difficult travel, Europeans could garner larger followings for their ideas, and take part in open scholarly and religious debates. By the end of the Renaissance, thousands of books were being printed every year, the first public libraries were operating, and books had moved from a preserve of the aristocracy to the common possession of the middle class.

See Also: Gutenberg, Johannes; Venice

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Printing

328. Printing

See also 53. BOOKS ; 98. COPYING

algraphy
an offset process that uses an aluminum plate instead of a lithographic stone. Also called aluminography . algraphic, adj.
autography
the process in lithography of transferring writings and drawings to a stone surface. autographic, adj. autographically, adv.
chromolithography
a printing process by which colored lithographs are produced by a series of stone or zinc plates, each of which carries different portions of the picture to be printed, inked in different colors.
chromoxylography
printing in colors from a series of wooden blocks.
electrotypy
the process of preparing a facsimile printing surface, involving the depositing of a thin copper or nickel shell by electrolytic action in a mold of the original and backing it with a lead alloy. electrotyper, electrotypist, n. electrotypic, adj.
glyphography
a process for making letterpress plates by engraving a waxed copper plate, dusting with zinc, and preparing an electrotype. glyphographer, n. glyphographic, adj.
graphotype
a device for embossing letters on thin sheets of metal.
imprimatur
permission, particularly that given by the Roman Catholic Church, to publish or print; hence, any sanction or approval.
italicism
the use of italics in printing text to indicate foreign words, abbreviations, emphasis, titles, etc.
lithography
1. the art or process of producing an image on a flat, specially prepared stone, treating the items to be printed with a greasy substance to which ink adheres, and of taking impressions from this on paper.
2. a similar process in which the stone is replaced by a zinc or aluminum plate, often provided with a photosensitive surface for reproducing an image photographically. lithographer, n. lithographic, adj.
lithotypy
a printing process in which types are impressed in a soft matrix, the resulting hollow spaces being filled with a heated mixture that later solidifies and can be used for printing. lithotypic, adj.
metallography
an offset printing process, similar to lithography, using metal plates instead of stone.
offset lithography
a printing method in which the image on a plate is offset onto a rubber blanket from which it is transferred onto the surface to be printed.
oleography
the production of chromolithographs printed in oil colors on canvas or cloth as well as on paper. oleographic, adj.
optotype
type used in the testing of eyesight.
papyrography
a process by which a line drawing or writing on paper is transferred to a zinc plate, which is then used for printing. papyrograph, n. papyrographic, adj.
photoxylography
the process of producing a raised impression on wood from a photograph and using the block thus produced for printing.
polyautography
Obsolete, lithography.
thermography
a technique for imitating an engraved appearance, as on business cards, by dusting areas already printed with a powder attracted only to the inks and using heat to fuse the ink and powder. thermographer, n. thermographic, adj.
typography
1. the design, theory, and art of creating characters for printing.
2. the design and selection of printed matter.
3. the craft or business of composing type. typographic, typographical, adj.
typothetae
printers, especially master printers, usually found in the names of associations of printers.
xylography
the art of engraving on wood or of printing from such engravings. xylographer, n. xylographic, xylographical, adj.

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printing

printing Technique for multiple reproduction of images, such as text and pictures. In ancient China and Japan, carved wooden blocks were inked to print pictures. From the 10th century, the Chinese used separate pieces of type, so that each page could be printed from arrangements of standard characters. Metal type, made by casting, first appeared in Korea in c.1403. In Europe, Gutenberg and Caxton developed the use of letterpress in the 1400s. Printing expanded rapidly in the 1700s and 1800s. Lithography enabled printers to produce impressive colour prints. For text, stereotype printing plates were cast from the pages of type, so that the type could be re-used for setting other pages. Typesetting machines speeded up the process of setting up pages. The invention of photography in the 1820s led to the development of new techniques for reproducing photographs in print, such as the halftone process. More recently, production speeds greatly increased with the application of photosetting, in which the type is set photographically on sheet film, and offset printing. Today, many publications are produced using a word processor to enter the text. Desktop publishing (DTP) programs allow images of the text and pictures to be arranged on screen. The computer data is postcripted for each page, and the postscripted files transferred directly to printing plates.

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printing

print·ing / ˈprinting/ • n. the production of books, newspapers, or other printed material: the invention of printing | [as adj.] the printing industry. ∎  a single impression of a book: the second printing was ready just after Christmas. ∎  handwriting in which the letters are written separately rather than being joined together.

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printing

printing •matting • exacting •Banting, ranting •parting •enchanting, planting •everlasting, fasting, lasting •narrowcasting •letting, setting, wetting •self-respecting, self-selecting, unreflecting, unsuspecting •tempting •unconsenting, unrelenting •excepting •arresting, unprotesting, unresting, westing •bloodletting • trendsetting •pace-setting • typesetting •photosetting •grating, plating, rating, slating, uprating, weighting •painting •pasting, tasting •undeviating • self-perpetuating •unaccommodating • self-deprecating •suffocating • self-regulating •undiscriminating • underpainting •unhesitating •beating, fleeting, greeting, Keating, meeting, self-defeating, sweeting •easting •fitting, sitting, unbefitting, unremitting, witting •printing, unstinting •listing, twisting, unresisting •shopfitting • marketing •telemarketing • pickpocketing •weightlifting • side-splitting •carpeting • trumpeting •uninteresting • visiting •backlighting, lighting, self-righting, sighting, unexciting, uninviting, whiting, writing •infighting • prizefighting •dogfighting • bullfighting •handwriting • screenwriting •scriptwriting • copywriting •skywriting • signwriting •typewriting • songwriting • knotting •prompting •costing, frosting •self-supporting, unsporting •malting, salting •ripsnorting • outing •accounting, mounting •coating •Boulting, revolting •posting, roasting •billposting • disappointing •shooting, suiting, Tooting •sharpshooting • footing •off-putting •cutting, Nutting •bunting •disgusting, self-adjusting, trusting •blockbusting • linocutting •woodcutting • disquieting •disconcerting, shirting, skirting

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Printing

Printing

History of printing

The Gutenberg revolution

Conventional printing methods

Letterpress

Large presses

Printing pictures

Photogravure

Lithography

Phototypesetting

Another revolution

Desktop publishing

Dot-matrix printers

Laser printers

Ink jet printers

Resources

History of printing

Although a technology in which seals were first pressed into damp clay tablets is known to have been used by the Babylonians, the Chinese probably invented printing. They used carved stones for making copies by first sprinkling soot over the carving, then placing a piece of paper on it and rubbing until the ashes came off on the stone. The oldest known printings were produced in China 1,200 years ago. They consisted of Buddhist texts, and were made using ink blocks and small pieces of paper.

Around 800 years ago, the Chinese printer Pi Sheng first formed Chinese characters out of bits of clay. He found that by fitting the clay pieces together to spell out words, he could print entire texts. These clay pieces, which would now be called movable type, had the advantage that they could be reused. Later type was made out of wood.

In Korea, pieces of type were placed in a box, or form, so that they spelled out words. By pressing the form against wet sand, the individual pieces created impressions in the sand. Molten metal was then poured over the sand, so that it filled the letter-shaped impressions. When the metal cooled, a solid plate with raised images of the characters was formed. This metal plate was then used to print on paper. The metal plate proved easier to work with than did movable type. While a page was being printed using the metal plate, the original movable type was reassembled to make another plate. This technique is still in use, and is known as type mold. By 1400 AD, Korea had the most advanced printing technology, and even commoners there were able to own copies of official publications.

In Europe, meanwhile, the Romans had not discovered printing, and all books were produced by hand. By about 1000 AD most of these handwritten books had been destroyed, and the few that survived were carried off to the East. Some of the surviving books were later returned to Europe by scholars and priests. There, scribes in monasteries made copies by hand. Each of these handwritten books required many hours of skilled labor to produce, and only the wealthy could afford to own books.

Around 1400, Europeans began to experiment with news ways to make books. They had no knowledge of Chinese printing technologies, and developed methods of printing independently of what was happening on the other side of the world. Some Europeans rediscovered the use of carved blocks, the technology the Chinese had used before they came upon the idea of movable type. But block printing was too slow and expensive to meet the rising demand for books.

The Gutenberg revolution

The first European to successfully use movable type was probably Johann Gutenberg, who was born in Germany in 1397. Gutenberg hit upon the notion of cutting each letter in the alphabet on the end of a small stick. Each letter was then pressed into a small square of metal, and when Gutenberg had a letter-shaped hollow for each letter of the alphabet, he could produce type.

Gutenberg fitted four pieces of wood around the letter-shaped hollow, called a matrix, to form an open box. He then poured molten metal into the box, allowing it fill up the matrix. After the metal had cooled and hardened, the sides of the box were removed, leaving a small block with the letter in relief.

Gutenberg reassembled the box to produce as many copies of each letter as he needed. The walls of the box formed a mold that could be adjusted to fit all letters. This mold made possible the development of a less expensive and faster method of printing than had previously been in use.

By trial and error, Gutenberg discovered that the best metal for his type was a mixture of lead, tin, and antimony. This alloy had the advantage that it did not shrink when cooled, so all letters resembled the original matrix, and the pieces of type could be linked in rows. Alloys of lead, tin, and antimony are still used to make type.

The first book of any note to be printed with movable type was Gutenbergs Bible, published in 1456. Copies are still in existence. Printed in Latin, its pages consist of two columns of type, each 42 lines long. It is 1282 pages long. In producing this book, the type was arranged on each page, and inked before the paper was pressed down on it. Gutenberg may have used a wine press fitted with a heavy screw to press the paper against the type. After removing the sheet of paper, the type would then have been re-inked before another sheet of paper was placed on it.

Gutenberg printed about 200 Bibles in a five-year period. Each of the printed characters in the Bible was made to resemble handwriting. Because the type in the Gutenberg Bible makes the printed page very dark, it is called black letter. Gutenbergs Bible has wide margins, and the pages are well designed.

Gutenberg died in poverty. But his invention rapidly spread to other countries in Europe. By the time that Columbus was setting off for the New World, around 14,000 separate books had been printed in Europe. As hundreds of copies of each of these books could be found, there may have been as many as 20 million books in Europe at the time.

European printers continued to experiment with Gutenbergs technology. To make printed type easier to read, the Frenchman Nicolas Jensen introduced serifs, or tiny tails, at the end of his letters. This innovation had the effect of causing the readers eye to skip from one letter to the next. This type eventually became more popular than Gutenbergs black letter type, and the letters are now known as Roman-style letters, because they were designed to resemble the stone carvings in ancient Rome.

Aldus Manutius designed a narrow slanting type, now called italic in honor of Italy where Manutius lived. This enabled Manutius to place many words on a single page, and small, cheap books soon became readily available.

The early European printers arranged their type by hand, character by character in a process known as typesetting. Type was stored in cabinet drawers, called cases. Each case held a complete set of type in a particular style and size, called a font. It was the convention for printers to keep their capital letters, now referred to as upper-case letters, separate from their small, or lower-case, letters.

Letters were removed from the type case, and arranged in rows in a small metal tray. Space bars were inserted to adjust the width of the line. Filling out a line became known as justification.

When the metal tray had been filled with justified lines, the lines were transferred to a larger metal tray called a galley. The galley was inked when the printer had made sure that there were no mistakes in the set type. The printed sheet of paper that was produced became known as the galley proof.

At first, European printers traveled from town to town, taking their type and small hand-operated presses with them. They became known as journeyman printers. Later, when plenty of shops had been established where they could practice their trade, itinerant printers traveled about with only their skills.

Conventional printing methods

Conventional typesetting machines mold type from molten metal, in a process called type casting, for each new printing job. Casting type is more efficient than setting type by hand. Cast type can be melted down, and reused. Typesetting machines either cast an entire line of type at once (linotype machines) or a single letter at a time (monotype machines).

James O. Clephane and Ottmar Merganthaler developed the first commercially successful linotype machine in 1886. Their machine cast type five times faster than an individual could set type.

The linotype machine was operated by a compositor. This individual worked in front of a keyboard. The keyboard consists of separate keys for each letter, number, or punctuation mark found in a case of type. The text to be set, called the copy, was placed above the keyboard. The compositor keyed in the text, character by character. Each time a key was touched, a small letter matrix dropped into a slot.

When the compositor filled in the first line of type, he sent it to a mold. Molten metal was then forced into the mold to produce a metal bar with a whole line of letters in relief. This cast line was then dropped down into the galley, and the process is continued until all the copy had been set.

The advantages of monotype begin to show up with reference works and scientific publications, where complicated tables, punctuation, and figures may have to be inserted. With monotype, corrections can be made by hand without resetting the entire line.

Letterpress

Letterpress printing is an example of relief printing, the process in which printing ink is transferred to a printed surface from areas that are higher than the rest of the printing block. In the case of letterpress printing, each page of type is used as the mold for a papiermache mat, which is actually a copy in reverse of that page of type. The mold in turn is used to make a metal copy of the entire page, and this metal copy is used for printing. This was the traditional way to print newspapers. Variations of this printing technique may use plastic or rubber plates. Because several plates can be made from each original, brand new type can be introduced at regular intervals, ensuring that copies remain sharp and clear.

Large presses

In rotary presses, the plates are fastened around cylinders. These cylinders continuously turn against an endless conveyance of moving paper, printing the paper sheet as it moves past. The sheet can be printed on both sides, cut, folded, and tied up so that it comes out as stacks of finished newspaper. Fabrics are also printed on large machines in which cylinders turn against the cloth, printing colored designs on it.

In the case of cylinder presses, a flat type bed slides back and forth beneath a turning cylinder to which a paper sheet is attached. Grippers hold the sheet of paper in place against the turning cylinder before releasing it, and picking up another sheet.

Printing pictures

Images are still occasionally printed using metal plates that are engraved or etched by hand. In the case of photoengraving, a similar process makes use of a camera. First, the image is photographed to produce a negative on a sheet of transparent film. The negative is then used to print the image on a sheet of zinc that is covered with a gelatin-like substance, or emulsion. Chemicals in the emulsion transfer the image to the zinc sheet. The zinc sheet is then treated with chemicals that etch the metal surface except where the image appears. The image remains elevated above the etched surface, and the plate is used to print the image on paper.

Black and white photographs with many shades of gray have been traditionally handled by a process called halftone engraving. With this technique, the original picture is first photographed. Then a screen in the camera is used to break up the picture into thousands of tiny squares. The negative consists of thousands of tiny dots, one for each square. The photoengraving from this negative has many tiny dots raised in relief above the eaten-away metal surface. Portions of the plate that will appear as dark areas in the finished picture are covered with relatively large dots. The portions of the plate that will appear gray are covered with smaller dots. And the portions that will print white are covered by dots that may appear invisible to the naked eye.

Ordinary newspaper pictures are produced with screens of about 5,000 dots per square inch (or about 70 dots per linear inch). A very fine-screened engraving, such as might appear in art books and magazines, might use up to 18,000 dots per square inch (or about 135 dots per linear inch).

Color printing requires plates for each color. Most color pictures can be printed using four plates, one for black and one each for red, blue, and yellow.

Photogravure

In photogravure, ink is held in the hollows of a plate rather than on high relief. This method of printing is known as intaglio. The photogravure plate, like the halftone plate, is produced with the aid of a camera and an acid to etch away parts of the metal plate. The acid creates hollows of different depths. The deepest hollows hold the most ink and print the darkest areas in the picture. Shallow hollows hold less ink and print lighter areas.

Lithography

In lithography, a picture is drawn on a smooth flat stone with a special type of oily crayon. Because the printing surface is flat, lithography is an example of planographic or surface printing. Then the lithographer passes a water-soaked roller over the stone. The water adheres to the bare stone surface, but does not stick to the oily crayon marks. Another roller soaked with printers ink is passed over the stone. Since the ink will not mix with water, it cannot stick to the wet stone, but does stick to the oily crayon marks. When a sheet of paper is pressed against the inked stone, the paper takes up ink only from the places where the crayon lines are. This produces a print of the original drawing on paper.

Photolithography is a variation of lithography performed by machine and using a camera. In this case, a zinc plate is used instead of the stone. The picture is placed on the plate by photographic means rather than by hand. Characters and words can also be printed on the plate. The zinc plate is then curved around the printing cylinder. As the cylinder turns, the plate first presses against a wet roller, and then against an ink roller. This has the effect of covering the blackened portions of the plate with ink. The inked plate next rolls against a rubber-blanketed cylinder so that the image is picked up. The blanketed cylinder then transfers the image to the paper. This kind of printing is known as offset printing.

Phototypesetting

Rather than using hollowed-out metal plates, phototypesetting machines use strips of photographic film to carry images of the text that will be printed. The phototypesetting machine produces images on fresh, unexposed film. Conventional phototypesetters can expose up to 50 characters per second, but usually expose closer to 30 characters per second. Phototypesetting does not use hot metal. Instead, type is set by exposing a light-sensitive material (film or paper) to light projected through a character negative. A computer controls timing.

Another revolution

In the early 1980s the personal computer made its first appearance in many homes and businesses. A panoply of software applications followed suit, and before long the era of desktop publishing began. The first desktop publishing systems consisted of a personal computer and a dot-matrix or daisy wheel printer. With the introduction of the laser printer in 1985, desktop publishing was well advanced.

Recent advances in on-line document delivery systems, many incorporating multimedia techniques, have led some to suggest that we are in the midst of a revolution in publishing that will eventually prove to be as far reaching as the revolution that Gutenbergs printing press set in progress over 500 years ago.

Desktop publishing

In desktop publishing, text is first prepared on a word processor, and illustrations are prepared using drawing software. Photographs or other art may also be captured electronically using a scanner. The electronic files are next sent to a computer running a page-layout application. Page layout software is the heart of desktop publishing. This software allows the desktop publisher to manipulate text and illustrations on a page.

KEY TERMS

Case A shallow tray divided into compartments to hold fonts of different types. The case is usually arranged in a set of two, the upper case for capital letters and the lower case for small letters.

Desktop publishing The writing, assembling, design, and printing of publications using microcomputers. Depending upon the printing quality desired, the electronic pages may either be printed on a desktop printer, or sent to a printing bureau where the electronic document is loaded onto a highend computer.

Font A complete set of type in a particular style and size.

Galley A metal tray filled with lines of set type.

Galley proof A copy of the lines of type in a galley made before the material has been set up in pages. The galley proof is usually printed as a single column of type with wide margins for marking corrections.

Intaglio printing The process of printing in which the design or text is engraved into the surface of a plate so that when the ink is wiped off, ink remains in the grooves and is transferred to paper in printing. Photogravure is a type of intaglio printing.

Justification Filling out a line of type with space bars to a specified length.

Linotype Typecasting machine which casts a whole line of type at once.

Monotype Typecasting machine which casts single letters.

Planographic printing The process of printing from a flat surface, also known as surface printing. Lithography and photolithography are two examples of planographic printing.

Relief printing The process of printing from letters or type in which the printing ink is transferred to the printed surface from areas that are higher than the rest of the block. Letterpress printing is an example of relief printing.

Depending upon the printing quality desired, the electronic pages may either be printed on a desktop printer, or sent to a printing bureau where the electronic document is loaded onto a high-end computer. If the document is sent to a printing bureau, the scanned images may be replaced with higher-resolution electronic images before printing.

If the document is to be produced in color, the printing bureau will use color separation software to produce four electronic documents, each representing the amount of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black that go on one page. The color separation process produces four full-sized transparent negatives. When these negatives are superposed, they produce an accurate grayscale negative of the whole page.

Flexible plates are then made from the four negatives, with one ink color per plate. Clear areas on the film end up a solid raised areas on the plate. In this case, all of the color is printed on the paper. Gray areas, which become regions of raised dots on the plate, put down limited amounts of ink on the paper. Black areas produce no raised areas, so the paper remains white. The plates are then attached to four rollers, one for each color. As the paper passes under each of the rollers, it gets a coat of one of the four colors.

Most desktop printers create images by drawing dots on paper. The standard printer resolution is 300 dots per inch, but higher resolutions are available. This is much higher than the computer terminals resolution of 72 dots per inch.

Dot-matrix printers

Dot-matrix printers work by drawing dots in much the same way that typewriters produce characters. They create whole letters by striking a sheet of paper through an inked ribbon. The dot matrix printer is ideally suited for printing carbon-copy forms, but does not find much current use in desktop publishing.

Laser printers

Laser printers currently accommodate the high volume printing needs of many large organizations, and meet the more modest requirements of individuals and small businesses. In laser printing, electronic signals describing the document are first sent from the desktop publishing computer to the printers logic board. Printing fonts are next loaded into the printers memory. The printers central processing unit then sends light signal instructions to a laser, which focuses a beam of light on a rotating drum in the printer. This beam is turned on where black dots will appear, and turned off where the page will remain white.

The rotating drum is coated with a negatively charged, light sensitive material that becomes positively charged wherever the light strikes it. Negatively charged toner particles are attracted to positively charged regions on the drum. This creates the image to be printed on the drum.

A sheet of paper is drawn from the printers paper tray so that it passes between the drum and a positively charged wire. The positively charged wire draws the negatively charged toner particles from the drum to the paper. Finally, the toner is bonded to the paper as it passes through two rollers that are heated to about 320°F (160°C).

Ink jet printers

Ink jet printers offer low cost printing alternatives to laser printers, while retaining some of the print quality of laser printers. They operate silently, are lightweight, and make good home printers.

In ink jet printing, liquid ink is pumped into a set of chambers, each containing a heating element. There the ink is heated until it vaporizes. The vaporous ink is then forced through tiny nozzles, squirting dots on the paper. As each line of text is written, the paper advances slightly to accept another line.

Resources

BOOKS

Adams, J. Michael, and Penny Ann Dolin. Printing Technology. 5th ed. Albany, N.Y.: Thomson/Delmar Learning, 2001.

Birkerts, Sven. The Gutenberg Elegies. Boston: Faber and Faber, 1997.

Epstein, Sam, and Beryl. The First Book of Printing. New York: Franklin Watts, Inc., 1975.

Randall Frost

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Printing

Printing

THE VERNACULAR

Sources

Profound Impact. A communications revolution took place in the mid fifteenth century. Few technological innovations had as dramatic an influence on the communication of ideas as the introduction of movable type. Thousands of identical pages could be produced in the fraction of the time that it took a scribe to hand copy a manuscript. As works published on presses replaced hand-copied books, the prices of books fell dramatically. The successes of the Protestant Reformation hinged in large part on the ability to circulate printed religious and political ideas widely and inexpensively. Printing changed written communication, created a new role for the author, restructured communities of readers, provided new notions of libraries and the preservation of knowledge, fostered cross-cultural exchanges of ideas, and influenced the local knowledge of uneducated Europeans. The world of the uneducated masses altered when the functionally literate villager gained a degree of respect and attention previously reserved for the village storyteller. The transition from script culture to print culture required more than simple technological innovation. Heightened demand for books encouraged a wide range of innovations in the mechanical aids for scribal production. Increased production of handcopied books fed this audience and created a culture receptive to written knowledge. An audience and a message preceded the technological transformation.

Technological Innovations. Printing was not really invented; it evolved over time as the increased demand promoted a range of innovations in manuscript production. Johannes Gutenberg is usually credited with the first use of movable type in Europe circa 1454, but aspects of printing originated in several places. Printing required basic techno-logical innovations such as inexpensive substances suitable for taking printed impressions (such as paper); ink that could be applied to metal surfaces and then transferred to paper; a press that would firmly press the paper to the inked metal; and a metal alloy appropriate for creating movable type. Printing words onto paper is quite similar to printing patterns onto textiles, an industry that flourished in Europe long before the first printing press. The rise of printing required that technological innovations corresponded to increased demand for written texts. This demand for books was fueled by the thirteenth-century rise of urban universities, the fourteenth-century rise of humanism with its focus on philology and textual analysis, and the fourteenth- and fifteenth-century rise of a literate urban audience that read the growing body of vernacular literature. The broad audience differed in profound ways but also shared a cultural approach of qualitative thinking and the insistence on accurate record keeping that was prerequisite to quantitative thinking.

Market Demands. Books, whether handcopied or printed, were commodities that were bought and sold. The earliest printed books (called incunabula) were essentially manuscripts in print. Early printers and their customers had all learned to read from handwritten manuscripts and thus they preferred books such as the 1457 Mainz Psalter that looked exactly like a handwritten manuscript. Perhaps the greatest difference between early books and manuscripts involved economic considerations. Scribes responded to buyer demand by taking orders to copy books. They rarely copied books in anticipation of finding buyers, with the exception of some scribes in university towns who would anticipate which books students might need. Printers, on the other hand, needed to print a large number of unordered books in order to turn a profit. Printers were thus forced to create a market for the books they printed and to print a number of titles simultaneously to hedge against a low-selling volume. This situation produced economic and intellectual issues. In a manuscript culture, the role of the scholar was to memorize, letter-perfect, key texts and comment on them. With printed books, the texts were readily available and the role of the scholar shifted to the creation of new texts. The economic issues involved raising sufficient capital to publish a number of titles and the ability to market what one printed. Combined with the changing role of the scholar, it becomes obvious that printers became more interested in printing books by known intellectuals than in printing books by aspiring scholars.

Subject Matter. Initially, printing presses were used to make the Bible accessible both in Latin and the vernacular to a wider audience of readers, supply university teachers and students the main texts under study, provide prayer books for church services and daily prayer, and make devotional works involving practical piety and mysticism for the lay society. The growing humanist interest in classical literature resulted in a wide range of Latin language textbooks and other works from classical antiquity and early church theologians such as Jerome and Augustine. Latin books outpaced vernacular books and scientific works in the fifteenth century. Some historians estimate that between 150-200 million books were published between 1500 and 1600. Early in that period, religious works outpaced Latin, Greek, and humanist works, but that trend was reversed later in the century. Moreover, vernacular translations of classical works began to appear in large numbers in the sixteenth century.

Conquering the Old World. In the 1450s a small group of printers worked in a handful of workshops in Mainz, Germany. The 1462 sack of Mainz in the so-called Bishop's War is frequently offered as an explanation for the spread of printing. (Whether printers immigrated to other parts of Europe because of the war or simply to exploit economic opportunities elsewhere is open to debate.) During the 1460s, printing expanded rapidly in Germany because of the high number of skilled metal workers, the abundance of wealthy urban merchants, and the familiarity of trade connections with the German-speaking Mainz artisans. Some Germans moved to Italy in the 1470s, and by the 1480s more than 110 towns in Western Europe had printing presses. Mainz ceased to be as significant, and the Italians grew in importance because of the better quality of their paper, the introduction of Roman type, and the humanist demand for classical texts. Spain and England relied largely on imported books, but in France a dramatic increase occurred in printing because of developments in Paris. Germany, Venice, and France were the main centers of printing at the end of the fifteenth century, but Antwerp and Basel quickly became important sites for European-wide distribution. Every major town in Germany, Italy, France, and the Low Countries (present-day Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg) had a press by the early sixteenth century and every large town in Portugal, Spain, and Poland had one by the mid sixteenth century. In England,

on the other hand, government restrictions limited presses largely to London.

New World Secrets. Portuguese voyages of exploration were kept fairly secret. Christopher Columbus's famous letter describing his first voyage was printed simultaneously in Barcelona, Rome, Basel, and Paris in 1493, reprinted in Basel in 1494 and Strasbourg in 1497, and was quickly purchased across Europe. Portuguese voyages of exploration in the East Indies had been intentionally kept fairly secret until Peter Martyr wrote Libretto in 1503. Other than the Columbus letter, the geographic discoveries and the imperial conquests of Spain and Portugal were not known beyond a comparatively small circle of scholars, merchants, and courtiers until about 1550. However, Sir John Mandeville's Travels was reprinted many times in a wide range of languages during this same period. The Cosmographia Universalis (General Description of the Known World) by Sebastian Münster was published in Basel in 1544 and was extremely successful, with forty-six editions in six languages in its first century in print. Shortly after Munster's work, a number of groundbreaking books on the New World were published for a wide audience. This dissemination began in Spain in 1550 when Francisco Lopez de Gomara (Hernán Cortés's secretary) published Historia de las Indias y conquista de Mexico and the Dominican priest Barto-lome de Las Casas published History of the Indies in 1552. In Portugal, Joao de Barros's Decades appeared in 1552 and Afonso de Albuquerque's Commentaries were edited and published by his son in 1557. By the 1560s, an avalanche of books on the New World flooded the market and dramatically influenced how Europeans viewed non-Europeans.

Standardization and Cross-cultural Interchange. Printing altered written communications in many ways. Cross-cultural interchange expanded greatly with access to identical copies of a wide range of books. Readers were certain that they shared the same text as their counterparts in other areas. This degree of standardization and dissemination was not possible in a script culture because scribal mis-takes inevitably crept into handcopied manuscripts. The inherent corruption of manuscripts was compounded as scribes inserted further mistakes into already tainted texts. The use of movable type did not prevent all errors, but it ensured that any errors were shared by all readers of an edition. Errors that crept into handcopied books could be changed further.

Fixity and Certainty. The ability to overcome scribal mistakes created a permanence of canonical texts that formed a new foundation for certainty. Tycho Brahe provides a clear example of how the new certainty could influence scientific thought. Brahe was an autodidact, or a self-taught scholar. At his remote island workshop, Brahe assembled a collection of works from a wide range of commentators in astronomy, a task that was inconceivable prior to movable type. Printing allowed him to acquire the newest theories from around the world and even to place multiple editions of a wide range of astronomers’ works side by side. Brahe experienced a previously impossible opportunity to observe the heavens and simultaneously monitor various theories. He was also able to oversee the printing of his ideas and thus could be certain that accurate accounts were disseminated. Brahe possessed a certainty that was inconceivable before printing; namely, his sources were accurate and his ideas would be spread accurately.

THE VERNACULAR

William Caxton, the first printer in England, writes In the preface to his translation of Virgil's Aeneid about the use of the vernacular.

I confess I am not learned nor knowing the art of rhetoric, nor of such gay terms as are in these days now used . . . having no work in hand, I was sitting in my study where many diverse pamphlets and books laid, it happened that to my hand came a little book in French, which of late was translated out of Latin by some noble clerk of France . . . which book I saw over and read therein ... in which book I had great pleasure, by cause of the fair and honest terms and words in French, which I never saw the like before, nor none so pleasant or well ordered . . . and when I had advised me in this said book, I deliberated and concluded to translate it into English, And forthwith I took a pen and Ink and wrote a leaf or two, which I oversaw again to correct it And when I saw the fair and strange terms therein I doubted that it should not please some gentleman which of late blamed me, saying that in my translations I had over curious terms which could not be understood by common people, and wanted me to use old and homely terms in my translations. And then would I satisfy every man, and so to do took an old book and read therein, and certainly the English was so rude and broad that I could not well understand it. And also my Lord Abbot of Westminster did show me of late certain evidences written in old English and to reduce it to our English now used, and certainly it was written in such a way that it was more like Dutch than English. I could not reduce it nor bring it to be understood. And certainly our language now used varies far from that which was used and spoken when I was born. For we English men are born under the domination of the moon, which is never steadfast, but ever wavering, waxing one season and waning and decreasing in another season. And that common English that is spoken in one shire varies from another. Insomuch that in my days it happened that certain merchants were in a ship in Tamyse for to have sailed over the sea into Zelande, and for lack of wind they tarried at Foreland, and went to land to refresh themselves. And one of them named Sheffeild, a mercer, came in to a house and asked for meat, and especially he asked after “egges,” And the good wife answered that she could speak no French. And the merchant was angry, for he also could not speak French, but would have had “egges” and she did not understand him. And then at last another said that he would have “eyren,” then the good wife said that she understood him well. Now what should a man in these days now write, “egges” or “eyren?” Certainly it is hard to please every man because of diversity and change of language. For in these days every man that is in his country will utter his communication and matters in such manners and terms that few men shall understand them. And some honest and great clerks have been with me and wanted me to write the most curious terms that I could find. And thus between plain, rude, and curious I stand abashed. But in my judgement the common terms that are used daily are lighter to under-stand than the old and ancient English.

Source: Douglas McMurtrie, The Book: The Story of Printing & Bookmaking, third revised edition (New York & London: Oxford University Press, 1962).

Piracy. A problem inherent in the new technology of printing emerged quickly. Brahe's control over the printing of his ideas contrasts sharply with Galileo's experience one generation later. Piracy of Galileo's work was rampant because the church officially forbade the open publication of his works. As a result, circulated copies of Galileo's famous phases of the moon were largely erroneous for decades. The maintenance of accurate texts shifted from communities of clerical and lay scribes to self-serving entrepreneurs when centers of book production shifted from monasteries, university towns, and aristocratic courts to urban commercial centers.

Skepticism. People's skepticism of printed books changed as communities of readers came to experience written knowledge in new ways. Initial skepticism centered on the remarkable number of books that could be produced. Contemporaries commonly attributed the new output to either God or the Devil. Early printers began to use a “printer's mark” to identify whose movable type had been used to print the book. (No such producer's marks were used by scribes for their handcopied books.) The printer's mark evolved into the modern trademark. In the sixteenth century, entrepreneurial printers began to include the firm's name and the location of their shop on the front page of the books, thereby creating the title page. Fifteenth-century books, both hand and machine produced, placed this information at the end of the book in what was called a colophon. Although a colophon did not always include the title and name of the author, the movement to a title page became a method for selling books as authors such as Desiderius Erasmus and Martin Luther came to achieve celebrity status in society. Consequently the celebration of the author as cultural hero reinforced the growing national consciousness that vernacular literature had helped to create. Written knowledge thus created communities of conscious readers during the Reformation who bought and collected written texts at a pace and in a manner that was not possible in the early Renaissance.

Sources

Roger Chartier, The Order of Books: Readers, Authors, and Libraries in Europe between the Fourteenth and Eighteenth Centuries, translated by Lydia G. Cochrane (Stanford, CaL: Stanford University Press, 1994).

Elizabeth L. Eisenstein, The Printing Press as an Agent of Change: Communications and Cultural Transformations in Early Modern Europe, 2 volumes (Cambridge & New York: Cambridge University Press, 1979).

Lucien Febvre and Henri-Jean Martin, The Coming of the Book: The Impact of Printing 1450-1800, translated by David Gerard, edited by Geoffrey Nowell-Smith and David Wootton (London: N.L.B., 1976).

Douglas McMurtrie, The Book: The Story of Printing & Bookmaking, third revised edition (New York & London: Oxford University Press, 1962).

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Printing

Printing

MOISTENED CLAY

TESTING SCHOLARS

Sources

Origins. Prior to the Tang dynasty (618-907) the Chinese used steles bearing transcripts and drawings as stamps or blocks to make reproductions of engraved pictures and well-known pieces of calligraphy. The Chinese also used rubbings and seals to produce impressions of written characters, drawings, and religious pictures. Printing developed steadily during the era of the Tang and Five Dynasties (907-960). A new technique was to print from carved woodblocks and create precise reproductions of manuscript pages from ancient texts.

Woodblock Printing. Buddhists, realizing the importance of printing for the spread of their faith, were among the first promoters of printing. The earliest printed text in the world was a Buddhist charm scroll printed in China between 704 and 751; one million copies were printed in 770 for a Japanese empress. Reproduced by woodblock printing in 868, the Buddhist Diamond Sutra, the first complete printed book in the world, consisted of six sheets of text and one sheet of illustration pasted together to form a sixteen-foot-long scroll. By that time woodblock printing had already been used in the commercial centers and densely populated cities and towns of Sichuan province and southeastern China.

Coming of Age. By the end of the Tang dynasty the government regularly printed a newspaper declaring new regulations and appointments. Printing became a prosperous industry in the Song era (960-1279) when government and private printers alike printed specimens of famous art. Printed in 953 by the Chinese National Academy, a complete 130-volume set of the Confucian classics with commentaries was the first official printed publication in the world sold to the public. By that time,

printing had come of age. Great quantities of certain works were reproduced in millions of copies. Between 972 and 983 the entire Buddhist canon, the Tripitaka of 130,000 pages, was reproduced. The set was reprinted twenty times during the Song and Yuan (1279-1368) dynasties from the original woodblocks. More than 400,000 copies of one Buddhist collection from the tenth century still survived in the late Ming period (1368-1644).

Movable Characters. The commoner Bi Sheng invented effective movable type between the years 1041 and 1048. The first mention of the invention of movable type in China appeared in 1086 in the famous scientist Shen Gua’s Dream Pool Essays, a collection of notes mostly on the history of science and technology. Since then, movable type continued to be used from time to time throughout China. A councilor of Kublai Khan’s employed it to print books of philosophy. The Mongols utilized pottery, tin, wood, and lead to make this type.

Use. By 1300 the Mongols had introduced movable wooden type to eastern Turkestan, known as Turfan. Movable type was much easier to use for the Uighur scripts of Turfan than for the Chinese language. Wang Chen perfected the use of wooden type when printing his classic, the Treatise on Agriculture, in 1313. However, owing to the difficult task of handling the huge quantity of movable type required for the most frequently used Chinese characters, woodblock printing remained the ordinary Chinese technique until the seventeenth century.

MOISTENED CLAY

Shen Kuo, a great scientist in the eleventh century, mentioned the invention of movable-type printing m his book, Dream Pool Essays (1086). He wrote:

As late as the Tang dynasty the production of books by block printing was still practiced on a limited scale. It was not until the time of the Later Tang (923-936) that the government, upon the recommendation of its prime minister Feng Tao, first sponsored the reproduction of the Five Classics by block printing. From then on practically all important books were produced by block printing.

During the Ch’ing-E period (1041-1048) a commoner named Pi Sheng first invented the movable type. Each type was made of moistened clay upon which was carved one Chinese character. The portion that formed the character was as thin as the edge of a small coin. The type was then hardened by fire and thus made permanent.

Source: Shen Kuow, “Meng-hsi Sketches,” in The Essence of Chinese Civilization, edited by Dun J. Li (Princeton, N.J.: D. Van Nostrand, 1967).

Color Printing. The Chinese invented multicolor printing in the twelfth century. Paper money produced in 1107 was printed in three colors in order to prevent counterfeiting. The money had legends in black, a circle design in vermilion, and a “blue face” in indigo. Two-color printing of texts probably began when an edition of the Diamond Sutra was produced in 1340, which used black for the text and red for prayers and pictures. Four-color printing in black, gray, green, and red was also developed. In general, Chinese color-printing techniques used water instead of oily inks to create subtle effects. In the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) multicolor block printing was perfected.

Comparison. Chinese woodblock printing, to some extent, was more advanced in technique than European typography of the fifteenth century. The Chinese experience with seals and stamping and the use of special papers allowed the text being reproduced to appear reversed on the back. In addition, being a fairly inexpensive and flexible procedure, woodblock printing did not need a large capital expenditure.

Spread. Korea was the first country to which printing spread from China around the year 700. (Many old printing blocks survive today in South Korea.) Other Asian countries also learned the printing technique from the Chinese. When the Mongols occupied Central Asia, printing spread to Persia and finally to Europe. The first Persian paper money was printed following the Chinese system in Tabriz in 1294. The Persians called paper money “Jiao,” the same as the Chinese called it.

TESTING SCHOLARS

Wang Pu, an historian in the tenth century, discussed in his book the role of printing in the spread of classical learning. He wrote:

In the second month of the third year of Ch’ang-hsing (A.D. 932) the First and Second Secretariats petitioned the emperor for the printing of the Nine Classics, the test of which would be based upon inscriptions. The Department of Cultural Affairs, ordered by the emperor to be in charge of this undertaking, was to recruit professors and students to collect authentic copies based upon stone inscriptions. Each professor or student was to examine the different versions of a classic in which he specialized, and once the authentic version was determined, duplicate it by hand for as many copies as possible.

The Department of Cultural Affairs was also charged with the responsibility of hiring carvers who would make printing blocks in accordance with the adopted text based upon stone inscription. Copies of the Nine Classics, once printed, would be distributed throughout the empire. The imperial order made it clear that anyone who wished to copy any or all of the Nine Classics for his own use should copy from the authorized version which was now in printed form. He should not be allowed to use any of the unauthorized versions.

Source: Wang P’u, “The Institutions of the Five Dynasties,” in The Essence of Chinese Civilization, edited by Dun J. Li (Princeton, N.J.: D. Van Nostrand, 1967).

Sources

Thomas F. Carter, The Invention of Printing in China and Its Spread Westward, revised edition by L. C. Goodrich (New York: Ronald, 1955).

Robert A. D. Forrest, The Chinese Language (London: Faber & Faber, 1973).

Jerry Norman, Chinese (Cambridge & New York: Cambridge University Press, 1988).

Denis C. Twitchett, Printing and Publishing in Medieval China (New York: Frederic C. Beil, 1983).

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Printing

Printing


History of printing

Although a technology in which seals were first pressed into damp clay tablets is known to have been used by the Babylonians, the Chinese probably invented printing. They used carved stones for making copies by first sprinkling soot over the carving, then placing a piece ofpaper on it and rubbing until the ashes came off on the stone. The oldest known printings were produced in China 1,200 years ago. They consisted of Buddhist texts, and were made using ink blocks and small pieces of paper.

Around 800 years ago, the Chinese printer Pi Sheng first formed Chinese characters out of bits of clay. He found that by fitting the clay pieces together to spell out words, he could print entire texts. These clay pieces, which would now be called movable type, had the advantage that they could be reused. Later type was made out of wood .

In Korea, pieces of type were placed in a box, or form, so that they spelled out words. By pressing the form against wet sand , the individual pieces created impressions in the sand. Molten metal was then poured over the sand, so that it filled the letter-shaped impressions. When the metal cooled, a solid plate with raised images of the characters was formed. This metal plate was then used to print on paper. The metal plate proved easier to work with than did movable type. While a page was being printed using the metal plate, the original movable type was reassembled to make another plate. This technique is still in use, and is known as type mold . By a.d. 1400, Korea had the most advanced printing technology, and even commoners there were able to own copies of official publications.

In Europe , meanwhile, the Romans had not discovered printing, and all books were produced by hand. By about a.d. 1000 most of these handwritten books had been destroyed, and the few that survived were carried off to the East. Some of the surviving books were later returned to Europe by scholars and priests. There, scribes in monasteries made copies by hand. Each of these handwritten books required many hours of skilled labor to produce, and only the wealthy could afford to own books.

Around 1400, Europeans began to experiment with news ways to make books. They had no knowledge of Chinese printing technologies, and developed methods of printing independently of what was happening on the other side of the world. Some Europeans rediscovered the use of carved blocks, the technology the Chinese had used before they came upon the idea of movable type. But block printing was too slow and expensive to meet the rising demand for books.


The Gutenberg revolution

The first European to successfully use movable type was probably Johann Gutenberg, who was born in Germany in 1397. Gutenberg hit upon the notion of cutting each letter in the alphabet on the end of a small stick. Each letter was then pressed into a small square of metal, and when Gutenberg had a letter-shaped hollow for each letter of the alphabet, he could produce type.

Gutenberg fitted four pieces of wood around the letter-shaped hollow, called a matrix, to form an open box. He then poured molten metal into the box, allowing it fill up the matrix. After the metal had cooled and hardened, the sides of the box were removed, leaving a small block with the letter in relief.

Gutenberg reassembled the box to produce as many copies of each letter as he needed. The walls of the box formed a mold that could be adjusted to fit all letters. This mold made possible the development of a less expensive and faster method of printing than had previously been in use.

By trial and error, Gutenberg discovered that the best metal for his type was a mixture of lead , tin, and antimony. This alloy had the advantage that it did not shrink when cooled, so all letters resembled the original matrix, and the pieces of type could be linked in rows. Alloys of lead, tin, and antimony are still used to make type.

The first book of any note to be printed with movable type was Gutenberg's Bible, published in 1456. Copies are still in existence. Printed in Latin, its pages consist of two columns of type, each 42 lines long. It is 1282 pages long. In producing this book, the type was arranged on each page, and inked before the paper was pressed down on it. Gutenberg may have used a wine press fitted with a heavy screw to press the paper against the type. After removing the sheet of paper, the type would then have been re-inked before another sheet of paper was placed on it.

Gutenberg printed about 200 Bibles in a five-year period. Each of the printed characters in the Bible was made to resemble handwriting. Because the type in the Gutenberg Bible makes the printed page very dark, it is called black letter. Gutenberg's Bible has wide margins, and the pages are well designed.

Gutenberg died in poverty. But his invention rapidly spread to other countries in Europe. By the time that Columbus was setting off for the New World, around 14,000 separate books had been printed in Europe. As hundreds of copies of each of these books could be found, there may have been as many as 20 million books in Europe at the time.

European printers continued to experiment with Gutenberg's technology. To make printed type easier to read, the Frenchman Nicolas Jensen introduced serifs, or tiny tails, at the end of his letters. This innovation had the effect of causing the reader's eye to skip from one letter to the next. This type eventually became more popular than Gutenberg's black letter type, and the letters are now known as Roman-style letters, because they were designed to resemble the stone carvings in ancient Rome.

Aldus Manutius designed a narrow slanting type, now called italic in honor of Italy where Manutius lived. This enabled Manutius to place many words on a single page, and small, cheap books soon became readily available.

The early European printers arranged their type by hand, character by character in a process known as typesetting. Type was stored in cabinet drawers, called cases. Each case held a complete set of type in a particular style and size, called a font. It was the convention for printers to keep their capital letters, now referred to as upper-case letters, separate from their small, or lower-case, letters.

Letters were removed from the type case, and arranged in rows in a small metal tray. Space bars were inserted to adjust the width of the line. Filling out a line became known as justification.

When the metal tray had been filled with justified lines, the lines were transferred to a larger metal tray called a galley. The galley was inked when the printer had made sure that there were no mistakes in the set type. The printed sheet of paper that was produced became known as the galley proof.

At first, European printers traveled from town to town, taking their type and small hand-operated presses with them. They became known as journeyman printers. Later, when plenty of shops had been established where they could practice their trade, itinerant printers traveled about with only their skills.


Conventional printing methods

Conventional typesetting machines mold type from molten metal, in a process called type casting, for each new printing job. Casting type is more efficient than setting type by hand. Cast type can be melted down, and reused. Typesetting machines either cast an entire line of type at once (linotype machines) or a single letter at a time (monotype machines).

James O. Clephane and Ottmar Merganthaler developed the first commercially successful linotype machine in 1886. Their machine cast type five times faster than an individual could set type.

The linotype machine was operated by a compositor. This individual worked in front of a keyboard. The keyboard consists of separate keys for each letter, number, or punctuation mark found in a case of type. The text to be set, called the copy, is placed above the keyboard. The compositor keys in the text, character by character. Each time a key is touched, a small letter matrix drops into a slot.

When the compositor has filled in the first line of type, he sends it to a mold. Molten metal is then forced into the mold to produce a metal bar with a whole line of letters in relief. This cast line is then dropped down into the galley, and the process is continued until all the copy has been set.

The advantages of monotype begin to show up with reference works and scientific publications, where complicated tables, punctuation, and figures may have to be inserted. With monotype, corrections can be made by hand without resetting the entire line.


Letterpress

Letterpress printing is an example of relief printing, the process in which printing ink is transferred to a printed surface from areas that are higher than the rest of the printing block. In the case of letterpress printing, each page of type is used as the mold for a papier-mache mat, which is actually a copy in reverse of that page of type. The mold in turn is used to make a metal copy of the entire page, and this metal copy is used for printing. This was the traditional way to print newspapers. Variations of this printing technique may use plastic or rubber plates. Because several plates can be made from each original, brand new type can be introduced at regular intervals, ensuring that copies remain sharp and clear.


Large presses

In rotary presses, the plates are fastened around cylinders. These cylinders continuously turn against an endless conveyance of moving paper, printing the paper sheet as it moves past. The sheet can be printed on both sides, cut, folded, and tied up so that it comes out as stacks of finished newspaper. Fabrics are also printed on large machines in which cylinders turn against the cloth, printing colored designs on it.

In the case of cylinder presses, a flat type bed slides back and forth beneath a turning cylinder to which a paper sheet is attached. Grippers hold the sheet of paper in place against the turning cylinder before releasing it, and picking up another sheet.


Printing pictures

Images are still occasionally printed using metal plates that are engraved or etched by hand. In the case of photoengraving, a similar process makes use of a camera. First, the image is photographed to produce a negative on a sheet of transparent film. The negative is then used to print the image on a sheet of zinc that is covered with a gelatin-like substance, or emulsion . Chemicals in the emulsion transfer the image to the zinc sheet. The zinc sheet is then treated with chemicals that etch the metal surface except where the image appears. The image remains elevated above the etched surface, and the plate is used to print the image on paper.

Black and white photographs with many shades of gray have been traditionally handled by a process called halftone engraving. With this technique, the original picture is first photographed. Then a screen in the camera is used to break up the picture into thousands of tiny squares. The negative consists of thousands of tiny dots, one for each square. The photoengraving from this negative has many tiny dots raised in relief above the eaten-away metal surface. Portions of the plate that will appear as dark areas in the finished picture are covered with relatively large dots. The portions of the plate that will appear gray are covered with smaller dots. And the portions that will print white are covered by dots that may appear invisible to the naked eye.

Ordinary newspaper pictures are produced with screens of about 5,000 dots per square inch (or about 70 dots per linear inch). A very fine-screened engraving, such as might appear in art books and magazines, might use up to 18,000 dots per square inch (or about 135 dots per linear inch).

Color printing requires plates for each color. Most color pictures can be printed using four plates, one for black and one each for red, blue, and yellow.


Photogravure

In photogravure, ink is held in the hollows of a plate rather than on high relief. This method of printing is known as intaglio. The photogravure plate, like the halftone plate, is produced with the aid of a camera and an acid to etch away parts of the metal plate. The acid creates hollows of different depths. The deepest hollows hold the most ink and print the darkest areas in the picture. Shallow hollows hold less ink and print lighter areas.


Lithography

In lithography , a picture is drawn on a smooth flat stone with a special type of oily crayon. Because the printing surface is flat, lithography is an example of planographic or surface printing. Then the lithographer passes a water-soaked roller over the stone. The water adheres to the bare stone surface, but does not stick to the oily crayon marks. Another roller soaked with printer's ink is passed over the stone. Since the ink will not mix with water, it cannot stick to the wet stone, but does stick to the oily crayon marks. When a sheet of paper is pressed against the inked stone, the paper takes up ink only from the places where the crayon lines are. This produces a print of the original drawing on paper.

Photolithography is a variation of lithography performed by machine and using a camera. In this case, a zinc plate is used instead of the stone. The picture is placed on the plate by photographic means rather than by hand. Characters and words can also be printed on the plate. The zinc plate is then curved around the printing cylinder. As the cylinder turns, the plate first presses against a wet roller, and then against an ink roller. This has the effect of covering the blackened portions of the plate with ink. The inked plate next rolls against a rubber-blanketed cylinder so that the image is picked up. The blanketed cylinder then transfers the image to the paper. This kind of printing is known as offset printing.

Phototypesetting

Rather than using hollowed-out metal plates, photo-typesetting machines use strips of photographic film to carry images of the text that will be printed. The photo-typesetting machine produces images on fresh, unexposed film. Conventional phototypesetters can expose up to 50 characters per second, but usually expose closer to 30 characters per second. Phototypesetting does not use hot metal. Instead, type is set by exposing a light-sensitive material (film or paper) to light projected through a character negative. A computer controls timing.


Another revolution

In the early 1980s the personal computer made its first appearance in many homes and businesses. A panoply of software applications followed suit, and before long the era of desktop publishing had started in. The first desktop publishing systems consisted of a personal computer and a dot-matrix or daisy wheel printer. With the introduction of the laser printer in 1985, desktop publishing was well advanced.

Recent advances in on-line document delivery systems, many incorporating multimedia techniques, have led some to suggest that we are in the midst of a revolution in publishing that will eventually prove to be as far reaching as the revolution that Gutenberg's printing press set in progress over 500 years ago.


Desktop publishing

In desktop publishing, text is first prepared on a word processor, and illustrations are prepared using drawing software. Photographs or other art may also be captured electronically using a scanner. The electronic files are next sent to a computer running a page-layout application. Page layout software is the heart of desktop publishing. This software allows the desktop publisher to manipulate text and illustrations on a page.

Depending upon the printing quality desired, the electronic pages may either be printed on a desktop printer, or sent to a printing bureau where the electronic document is loaded onto a high-end computer. If the document is sent to a printing bureau, the scanned images may be replaced with higher-resolution electronic images before printing.

If the document is to be produced in color, the printing bureau will use color separation software to produce four electronic documents, each representing the amount of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black that go on one page. The color separation process produces four full-sized transparent negatives. When these negatives are superposed, they produce an accurate gray-scale negative of the whole page.

Flexible plates are then made from the four negatives, with one ink color per plate. Clear areas on the film end up a solid raised areas on the plate. In this case, all of the color is printed on the paper. Gray areas, which become regions of raised dots on the plate, put down limited amounts of ink on the paper. Black areas produce no raised areas, so the paper remains white. The plates are then attached to four rollers , one for each color. As the paper passes under each of the rollers, it gets a coat of one of the four colors.

Most desktop printers create images by drawing dots on paper. The standard printer resolution is 300 dots per inch, but higher resolutions are available. This is much higher than the computer terminal's resolution of 72 dots per inch.

Dot-matrix printers

Dot-matrix printers work by drawing dots in much the same way that typewriters produce characters. They create whole letters by striking a sheet of paper through an inked ribbon. The dot matrix printer is ideally suited for printing carbon-copy forms, but does not find much current use in desktop publishing.


Laser printers

Laser printers currently accommodate the high volume printing needs of many large organizations, and meet the more modest requirements of individuals and small businesses. In laser printing, electronic signals describing the document are first sent from the desktop publishing computer to the printer's logic board. Printing fonts are next loaded into the printer's memory. The printer's central processing unit then sends light signal instructions to a laser, which focuses a beam of light on a rotating drum in the printer. This beam is turned on where black dots will appear, and turned off where the page will remain white.

The rotating drum is coated with a negatively charged, light sensitive material that becomes positively charged wherever the light strikes it. Negatively charged toner particles are attracted to positively charged regions on the drum. This creates the image to be printed on the drum.

A sheet of paper is drawn from the printer's paper tray so that it passes between the drum and a positively charged wire. The positively charged wire draws the negatively charged toner particles from the drum to the paper. Finally, the toner is bonded to the paper as it passes through two rollers that are heated to about 320°F (160°C).


Ink jet printers

Ink jet printers offer low cost printing alternatives to laser printers, while retaining some of the print quality of laser printers. They operate silently, are lightweight, and make good home printers.

In ink jet printing, liquid ink is pumped into a set of chambers, each containing a heating element. There the ink is heated until it vaporizes. The vaporous ink is then forced through tiny nozzles, squirting dots on the paper. As each line of text is written, the paper advances slightly to accept another line.


Resources

books

Birkerts, Sven. The Gutenberg Elegies. Boston: Faber and Faber, 1994.

Epstein, Sam, and Beryl Epstein. The First Book of Printing. New York: Franklin Watts, Inc., 1975.

Gaskell, Philip. A New Introduction to Bibliography. Oxford, 1972.

McLuhan, Marshall. Understanding Media: The Extensions ofMan. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1965.

Rizzo, John, and K. Daniel Clark. How Macs Work. Emeryville: Ziff-Davis Press, 1993.


Randall Frost

KEY TERMS


. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Case

—A shallow tray divided into compartments to hold fonts of different types. The case is usually arranged in a set of two, the upper case for capital letters and the lower case for small letters.

Desktop publishing

—The writing, assembling, design, and printing of publications using microcomputers. Depending upon the printing quality desired, the electronic pages may either be printed on a desktop printer, or sent to a printing bureau where the electronic document is loaded onto a highend computer.

Font

—A complete set of type in a particular style and size.

Galley

—A metal tray filled with lines of set type.

Galley proof

—A copy of the lines of type in a galley made before the material has been set up in pages. The galley proof is usually printed as a single column of type with wide margins for marking corrections.

Intaglio printing

—The process of printing in which the design or text is engraved into the surface of a plate so that when the ink is wiped off, ink remains in the grooves and is transferred to paper in printing. Photogravure is a type of intaglio printing.

Justification

—Filling out a line of type with space bars to a specified length.

Linotype

—Typecasting machine which casts a whole line of type at once.

Monotype

—Typecasting machine which casts single letters.

Planographic printing

—The process of printing from a flat surface, also known as surface printing. Lithography and photolithography are two examples of planographic printing.

Relief printing

—The process of printing from letters or type in which the printing ink is transferred to the printed surface from areas that are higher than the rest of the block. Letterpress printing is an example of relief printing.

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