The History of Printing


The printing industry is a very important and useful
industry. The industry has gone through a lot of changes.
My report will discuss the history, changes, and present of
the printing business.
The first printing was actually in China and was called yin
(meaning to authenticate by the impression of a seal on
clay). Seals were followed by taking ink rubbings from
stone inscriptions, which has directly led the way to the
making of books by inked impressions from wood. Ink
rubbings were made by taking a moistened paper and laying
it on the stone inscription. With a stiff brush the paper
was then forced into every depression and crevice of the
stone. As soon as the paper was dry, a stuffed pad of
cotton or silk is dipped in sized ink and passed lightly,
and evenly over it, When the paper is peeled off it is
imprinted with a perfect and durable impression of the
inscription, which comes out in white on a black back
ground. This is a process similar to block printing. China
was the first country to print with paper, ink, and carved
wooden blocks, a process called xylography. In this
process, a single carved wooden block of text was used to
print impressions on whole pages. By the 11th century, the
Chinese had cut the blocks into individual characters,
creating the world's first movable type. 

The Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans printed from movable
type well before the Western world discovered the art in
the 15th century. Johannes Gutenberg of Mainz, Germany, is
generally credited with the invention of printing from
movable type between 1440 and 1450. Historians believe that
his invention consisted of the combination of a number of
existing processes. His major contribution probably was the
making of adjustable metal molds for casting types of
different sizes accurately and in large quantities. By the
end of the year 1500, printing presses had been set up in
more than 250 cities throughout Europe. Books printed
before the end of 1500 were called incunabula, meaning
"cradle books".Gutenberg's process spread quickly to other
European nations. 

Among the printers of the period incunabula the names of
Gutenberg, Johann Fust, and Peter Schoffer are outstanding.
Anton Koberger of Nuremberg, a publisher and printer,
printed many important volumes. Among them were editions of
the Bible in Latin and German. The copies of the 42-line
Bible that remain--about 40 in all--are among the world's
most valuable books. It is known as the 42-line Bible
because most of its pages are 42 lines long. It was printed
in three volumes. The Library of Congress and the national
libraries of Britain and France have complete and perfect
sets. His most famous book is probably the `Nuremberg
Chronicle', printed in 1493. It is illustrated with
hundreds of woodcuts. The portraits are all imaginary, and
the same block is often repeated as the picture of
different persons. Gutenberg's process spread quickly to
other European nations. Over time, the literacy rate
gradually rose among the population of Europe. Literature
and scientific and religious texts, once read only by
scholars, nobility, and the educated priesthood, were now
available to an ever-widening audience.
William Caxton set up the first printing press in England
in 1476. His books were mainly in English instead of Latin.
They included Chaucer's `Canterbury Tales' and Thomas
Malory's `Morte d'Arthur'. Few have survived because they
were read to shreds.
Not all advances in printing technology came from printers
or designers and manufacturers. In 1796 German author
Aloysius Senefelder, in his search for an inexpensive means
of publishing his own plays, developed the techniques of
lithography. Lithography is a printing process in use
throughout the world. It involves a thin metal plate that
carries the image area and the non-image area on the same
plane; that is, the image and non-image areas are neither
raised nor depressed. They are kept separate chemically by
the use of the well-known principle that water and oil do
not mix. 

Joseph-Nicephore Niepce, a French landowner and inventor,
discovered in the 1820s that certain chemical compounds
were sensitive to light. His work marked the origins of
photogravure and eventually led to the invention of
photography and the use of photographic processes to
reproduce images.
Beginning with the invention of the offset technique in the United States, a series of 20th-century innovations made
mass production, high speed, and economy in printing
possible. Automated composition, first developed after the
1920s, gave way to programmed composition in the 1950s.
Many of today's computerized typesetting machines can set
1,000 characters (individual letters or symbols) per
second. Phototypesetting equipment of the future could
conceivably reach speeds of nearly 3,000 characters per
second, or about 10,000,000 characters per hour.1 

Inventors also created pressureless printing, which
eliminated the need for a printing press. In 1948, two
Americans conceived of a type of electrostatic printing in
which the coloring agent is not ink but a powder that is
sensitive to the pull of an electric charge induced on a
plate. This technique gave birth to xerography and the
now-familiar copying machines. The various processes
developed to duplicate and reproduce documents have been
grouped under the name reprography.
Knowing the history of printing is very important because
it helps show its significance. Before printing only the
rich knew how to read because only the rich could afford
writings due to the fact that they were all hand copied. So
when the bible was first printed it meant that the religion
could be spread better. Soon reading became a necessity for
every one. Also newspapers were invented giving the public
a voice and a tool to protect the bill of rights. Writing
became "the great means of communication" and the press
became a symbol of freedom. 

Printing has evolved into a major industry. It has become
more efficient through new technology and is vital to many
other industries such as advertising, magazines,
newspapers, schools, and much more. One example of a
printing company is Enterprise.
Enterprise press one of New York City's many printing
companies was started by the Hort family in 1911 and is
still run by the same family today in 1996. For a business
to survive for 85 years is very hard. Enterprise was
started in the industrial revolution as the techniques of
mass production were being invented and improved. The
business has grown tremendously since its start. 

In an interview, Andrew Hort (co-owner) was asked how
Enterprise has survived for eighty five years? He said it
was due to many factors. They have not let their market get
too specific. They don't work for just one industry. So if
one industry crashes such as the financial market, they
still can turn to their fashion business and so on. Also
they don't let a customer cover more than three percent of
their business so even if they lose their biggest customer
they are not in trouble. Another thing that helps them is
that they do every thing "in-house"(meaning they don't just
do printing they do design shipping and ect.) so they don't
have to pay sur-charges. They work fast because they
control it all. 

One of the major reasons they have survived is due to the
fact that they are not a corporation, but a family
business. They don't have to pay stock holders so they can
take the money if they are having trouble and reinvest it
into the businesses. For example during the recession a
couple years ago they just cut their(Andrew and Benjamin
Hort) own salaries and put it into the business. 

Another thing that helps is that they advance with
technology so production changes over the years. One of the
main advances was computers. They made printing more
accurate, consistent, faster, and efficient, Lithography
also changed their process. 

When asked if the government has helped or hurt Enterprise?
he said they hurt by restricting their trash and having
restrictions on the works that they must get hearing tests
which cost the company a couple thousand dollars a year.
Also the government of New York city has hurt them by
ticketing the trucks that make paper shipments to them.
They get sixty-five dollar tickets every time the trucks
that make paper shipments which raises Enterprises cost.
That is something New Jersey printers don't have to deal
with so the city ends up giving New Jersey printers an
edge. When asked the reason why Enterprise expanded he said
it was not forced but chosen in order to make Enterprise a
stronger company. 

What creates change in the printing business is many
things. The resources available, the skill or the lack of
skill, the money, and so on. The biggest factors is
technology. Technology has driven the printing industry
into the force that it is today. Need is also a large
factor the need for reading material and such is what has
forced technology to keep up with the wants. Technology
does not just happen you make something better because
someone wants or needs it to be better.
The importance of printing can not be denied nor can its
growth There are still changes being made to improve every
detail of the business. Business' such as Quad graphics
founded by Harry Quadracci are breaking new ground. Harry
Quadracci used to work for printing giant W.A Krueger but
left after being disgusted with a labor-management battles
that victimized both sides. He left in 1971 to start his
own business. "We wanted a company for employees and by
employees, rather than by employees for stock holders ".2
On that theory he has built a $582 million company that
prints more then 400 publications and catalogs. 

Quad Graphics is very family friendly. They give $4,000 to
a worker for the adoption of a child, double what any other
one of the few companies who offer this benefit. There is a
daycare center open from 6am-8pm which costs $15 a day and
also summertime programs. Quad employees also have access
to a fitness center which is open to spouses as well as
workers. You can order head and neck massages at your desk
for $15 a half hour. Quad also has a free Medicare clinic
free for employees and their families. They may also use
their private physicians for free. The management of the
place is just teams not authorities. Quad also does plenty
of work to help out the community. With even more
unmentioned benefits for the worker Quad is proving that to
succeed you don't have to be heartless.
There are many different types of businesses Quad and
Enterprise are both companies that have not given into the
ruthless side of business. Something that is not as easy as
it appears. In a vital and competitive business such as
printing you must have the ability to change. Something
that both these companies has figured out which enables
them to be kinder bosses.
Over the years printing has evolved from being a luxury to
a necessity, and is still growing. There is now computers
which let the public print there own work. With at home
printers getting more and more advanced you must ask will
this become a threat to the printing industry? the only way
to find out is to watch.
<> A Short History of the Printed Word, Warren Chappell,
Nonpareil Books, Boston, 1970.
<> "Changing Business as Usual: Five companies that built
their success on a new definition of corporate values",
Janet Ramford, Working Woman, Nov.'93, p.62.
<> The Invention of Printing in China and Its Spread
Westward, Thomas Carter, The Ronald Press Company, New
York, 1955.
<> "The Lithographic Print and Process", Steven Shoahan,
American Artist, August '95, p10.
<> The Printed Book in America, Joseph Blumenthal, David R.
Godine Publisher, Boston, 1977.
<> An interview with Andrew Hort (co-owner) of Enterprise 


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