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Priniting - First Book Printed in the West
Printing - First Book Printed in the West
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The History of Printing and Printing Processes

From Mary Bellis,
Your Guide to Inventors.
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The earliest dated printed book known is the Diamond Sutra.

Timeline of Printing

The earliest dated printed book known is the "Diamond Sutra", printed in China in 868 CE. However, it is suspected that book printing may have occurred long before this date.

Before Gutenberg, printing was limited in the number of editions made and nearly exclusively decorative, used for pictures and designs. The material to be printed was carved into wood, stone, and metal, rolled with ink or paint and transferred by pressure to parchment or vellum. Books were hand copied mostly by members of religious orders.

Johannes Gutenberg

Johannes Gutenberg was a German craftsman and inventor. Gutenberg is best known for the Gutenberg press, an innovative printing press machine that used movable type. It remained the standard until the 20th century. Gutenberg made printing cheap.

Printing Processes

Linotype & Ottmar Mergenthaler

Ottmar Mergenthaler's invention of the linotype composing machine in 1886 is regarded as the greatest advance in printing since the development of moveable type 400 years earlier.


Teletypesetter, device for setting type by telegraph developed by F.E. Gannett of Rochester, N.Y., W.W. Morey of East Orange, N.J., and Morkrum-Kleinschmidt Company, Chicago, Ill. The first demo of Walter Morey's "Teletypesetter" took place in Rochester, New york in 1928.


Louis Marius Moyroud and Rene Alphonse Higonnet developed the first practical phototypesetting machine. The phototypesetter that used a strobe light and a series of optics to project characters from a spinning disk onto photographic paper.

Silk Screening or Serigraphy

In 1907, Samuel Simon of Manchester England was awarded a patent for the process of using silk fabric as a printing screen. Using materials other than silk for screen printing has a long history that begins with the ancient art of stenciling used by the Egyptians and Greeks as early as 2500 B.C. A few years after Simon's patent, John Pilsworth of San Francisco developed a multicolor process of silk screening called screen printing. The term "Serigraphy", comes from the Latin word "Seri" (silk) and the Greek word "graphein" (to write or draw).


One of the earliest newspapers was the Roman Acta Diurna said to have been started by Julius Caesar.

Comic Books

The history of comic strips and comic book printing.

Continue > Printing Processes - Technical Reference & History

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