Letterpress blocks

How often have we taken print for granted? Most of us can barely remember a time without computers anymore, not to mention typewriters. While the print industry is constantly advancing technologically, such as 3D printing skyrocketing in recent years, the actual printing process as a means to communicate and preserve culture is ancient.

We condensed the long history of print into a brief timeline to give you an idea of just how far we’ve come:

-Around 59 BC, it was rumored that one of the earliest newspapers was the Roman Acta Diurna, started by none other than Julius Caesar.

-As early as 2500 BC, ancient Greeks and Egyptians illustrated sheets of papyrus as a way to tell their literary, religious, and culture histories using an early silk screen technique.

-In 868 CE, the earliest dated printed book known is the Diamond Sutra, printed in China. Typically, the printing process consisted of carving onto wood, stone, and metal, or rolled with ink or paint then transferred by pressure to parchment. Usually, religious figures hand-copied print or books at this time.

-In 1436, Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press with replaceable wooden or metal letters for the rapid production of books.

-In 1556, Notizie Scritte was the first monthly newspaper, published in Venice.

-In 1690, the first American newspaper, Publick Occurrences, was published.

-In 1833, The New York Sun became the first penny press, as each issue was 1 cent.

-In 1886, Ottmar Megenthaler invented the linotype machine, which was the first device to easily and quickly set lines of type.

-In 1907, Samuel Simon of England patented the process of using silk fabric as a printing screen, known as silk screening.

-In 1914, John Pilsworth developed screen printing, which is the multicolor process of silk screening.

-In 1928, F.E. Gannett of Rochester, NY, W.W. Morey of East Orange, NY, and Morkrum-Kleinschmidt Company of Chicago, Ill create the teletypesetter. The Teletypesetter is an apparatus used for the automatic operation of a keyboard.

-In 1947, Rene Alphonse Higonnet and Louise Marius Moyroud developed the phototypesetter, which used a strobe light and series of optics to project characters onto photographic paper.

-In 1954, there were more radios than newspapers.

-In the 1960s, the photo copier was introduced by Xerox, shifting the entire industry forever.

-In 1969, the laser printer was invented at Xerox by Gary Starkweather.

-In 1971, the use of offset presses became more common.

-In 1973, Village Copier opened its doors, becoming one of the first printing centers in New York City.

-In 1984, Chuck Hull of 3D Systems Corp invented stereolithography, among other common 3D printing practices, such as digital slicing.

-In 1990, 3D printing was commercialized by Stratasys under the name ‘fused deposition modeling’.

-In 1995, Z Corporation commercialized the 3D printing process, originally an MIT additive process, under the trademark 3D Printing.

-In 2007, there were 1,456 newspapers in the US alone.