The History of Printer Technology – The Beginnings
How many times a day do you stand at a printer waiting for it to finish its job, and you think to yourself, just print faster. Although consumer based printers are now printing at astounding speeds of 40 PPM in both colour or monochrome, it’s still not fast enough. But to look back in time, and really see how far we have come over such a short period of time, it’s quite amazing. We’ve decided we’re going to do a blog series on the history of printing technologies to show the amazing strides the world has taken in printing technology, and how it’s affected the people inside the world.
Where better to start than Gutenberg’s 15th century printing press.
Life Changing Beginnings
Most of us today understand the advances in technology appear to have moved along rapidly in the last 30 years, especially when we consider the changes to such items as computers or printers. It is worth considering how the print process started out in the 15th Century with Gutenberg’s innovative printing press demonstrating the integration of a punch and mould system, where letters are laid out in a tray allowing for individual letters to be moved or replaced easily. There are examples of other people combining similar steps but Gutenberg’s mechanics were the sturdiest and most efficient. He combined this with the already in use wine style screw press and united it with oil based ink and paper.
What happened next was explosive to say the least, as the mechanisation of the printing process allowed previously church restricted material to be freely disseminated amongst the common people, who no longer had to listen to the doctrine fed from the pulpits of the church to control the masses. People started to learn to read and make their own choices and during the 1500’s, as printing presses became more prolific across Europe the amount of books created is estimated to be between 150 – 200 million copies.
This shows how genuinely thirsty people were for information and their desire to have the ability to replicate it. Next we will jump forward to the 1970’s to show how from one mighty printing press, the beginnings of the home user printer were starting to emerge, although to get to this point history would witness some pretty enormous machines along the way!