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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Part of the series on the
History of printing
Woodblock printing 200
Movable type 1040
Printing press 1454
Lithography 1796
Laser printing 1969

Printing is a process for reproducing text and image, typically with ink on paper using a printing press. It is often carried out as a large-scale industrial process, and is an essential part of publishing and transaction printing.



The intricate frontispiece of the Diamond Sutra from Tang Dynasty China, AD 868 (British Museum)

Woodblock printing

Woodblock printing is a technique for printing text, images or patterns that was used widely throughout East Asia. It originated in China in antiquity as a method of printing on textiles and later on paper. As a method of printing on cloth, the earliest surviving examples from China date to before 220, and from Roman Egypt to the 4th century.

In East Asia

"Selected Teachings of Buddhist Sages and Son Masters", the earliest known book printed with movable metal type, 1377. Bibliothèque Nationale de Paris.

By AD 593, woodblock printing was in wide use in China, and the first printed periodical, the Kaiyuan Za Bao was made available in Beijing in AD 713. The Tianemmen scrolls, the earliest known complete example of a woodblock printed book with illustrations, was printed in China in AD 868.[citation needed]

In Middle East

Woodblock printing on cloth appeared in Roman Egypt by the 4th century. Block printing, called tarsh in Arabic was developed in Arabic Egypt during the 9th-10th centuries, mostly for prayers and amulets. There is some evidence to suggest that the print blocks were made from a variety of different materials besides wood, including metals such as tin, lead and cast iron, as well as stone, glass and clay. However, the techniques employed are uncertain and they appear to have had very little influence outside of the Muslim world. Though Europe adopted woodblock printing from the Muslim world, initially for fabric, the technique of metal block printing remained unknown in Europe. Block printing later went out of use in Islamic Central Asia after movable type printing was introduced from China.[1][2]

In Europe

Block printing first came to Christian Europe as a method for printing on cloth, where it was common by 1300. Images printed on cloth for religious purposes could be quite large and elaborate, and when paper became relatively easily available, around 1400, the medium transferred very quickly to small woodcut religious images and playing cards printed on paper. These prints were produced in very large numbers from about 1425 onwards.

Around the mid-century, block-books, woodcut books with both text and images, usually carved in the same block, emerged as a cheaper alternative to manuscripts and books printed with movable type. These were all short heavily illustrated works, the bestsellers of the day, repeated in many different block-book versions: the Ars moriendi and the Biblia pauperum were the most common. There is still some controversy among scholars as to whether their introduction preceded or, the majority view, followed the introduction of movable type, with the range of estimated dates being between about 1440 and 1460.[3]

Movable type printing

A case of cast metal type pieces and typeset matter in a composing stick.

Movable type is the system of printing and typography using movable pieces of metal type, made by casting from matrices struck by letterpunches. Movable type allowed for much more flexible processes than hand copying or block printing.

Around 1040, the first known movable type system was created in China by Bi Sheng out of porcelain.[4] Sheng used clay type, which broke easily, but Wang Zhen later carved a more durable type from wood by 1298 AD, and developed a complex system of revolving tables and number-association with written Chinese characters that made typesetting and printing more efficient. However, the main method in use there remained woodblock printing.

Around 1450, Johannes Gutenberg introduced what is regarded as an independent invention of movable type in Europe (see printing press), along with innovations in casting the type based on a matrix and hand mould. Gutenberg was the first to create his type pieces from an alloy of lead, tin and antimony – the same components still used today.[5]

Johannes Gutenberg's work on the printing press began in approximately 1436 when he partnered with Andreas Dritzehen — a man he had previously instructed in gem-cutting—and Andreas Heilmann, owner of a paper mill.[6] It was not until a 1439 lawsuit against Gutenberg that official record exists; witnesses testimony discussed type, an inventory of metals (including lead) and his type mold.[6]

Compared to woodblock printing, movable type page setting was quicker and more durable. The metal type pieces were sturdier and the lettering more uniform, leading to typography and fonts. The high quality and relatively low price of the Gutenberg Bible (1455) established the superiority of movable type, and printing presses rapidly spread across Europe, leading up to the Renaissance, and later all around the world. Today, practically all movable type printing ultimately derives from Gutenberg's movable type printing, which is often regarded as the most important invention of the second millennium.[7]

Rotary printing press

The rotary printing press was invented by Richard March Hoe in 1843. It uses impressions curved around a cylinder to print on long continuous rolls of paper or other substrates. Rotary drum printing was later significantly improved by William Bullock.

Modern printing technology

The folder of newspaper web offset printing press.

Across the world, over 45 trillion pages (2005 figure) are printed annually.[8] In 2006 there were approximately 30,700 printing companies in the United States, accounting for $112 billion, according to the 2006 U.S. Industry & Market Outlook by Barnes Reports. Print jobs that move through the Internet made up 12.5% of the total U.S. printing market last year, according to research firm InfoTrend/CAP Ventures.

Offset press

Offset printing is a widely used printing technique where the inked image is transferred (or "offset") from a plate to a rubber blanket, then to the printing surface. When used in combination with the lithographic process, which is based on the repulsion of oil and water, the offset technique employs a flat (planographic) image carrier on which the image to be printed obtains ink from ink rollers, while the non-printing area attracts a film of water, keeping the non-printing areas ink-free.

Currently, most books and newspapers are printed using the technique of offset lithography. Other common techniques include:

  • flexography used for packaging, labels, newspapers.
  • hot wax dye transfer
  • inkjet used typically to print a small number of books or packaging, and also to print a variety of materials from high quality papers simulate offset printing, to floor tiles; Inkjet is also used to apply mailing addresses to direct mail pieces.
  • laser printing mainly used in offices and for transactional printing (bills, bank documents). Laser printing is commonly used by direct mail companies to create variable data letters or coupons, for example.
  • pad printing popular for its unique ability to print on complex 3-dimensional surfaces.
  • relief print, (mainly used for catalogues).
  • rotogravure mainly used for magazines and packaging.
  • screen-printing from T-shirts to floor tiles.


Gravure printing is an intaglio printing technique, where the image to be printed is made up of small depressions in the surface of the printing plate. The cells are filled with ink and the excess is scraped off the surface with a doctor blade, then a rubber-covered roller presses paper onto the surface of the plate and into contact with the ink in the cells. The printing plates are usually made from copper and may be produced by digital engraving or laser etching.

Gravure printing is used for long, high-quality print runs such as magazines, mail-order catalogues, packaging, and printing onto fabric and wallpaper. It is also used for printing postage stamps and decorative plastic laminates, such as kitchen worktops.

Impact of the invention of printing

Religious impact

Samuel Hartlib, who was exiled in Britain and enthusiastic about social and cultural reforms, wrote in 1641 that "the art of printing will so spread knowledge that the common people, knowing their own rights and liberties, will not be governed by way of oppression".[9] For both churchmen and governments, it was concerning that print allowed readers, eventually including those from all classes of society, to study religious texts and politically sensitive issues by themselves, instead of thinking mediated by the religious and political authorities.

It took a long long time for print to penetrate Russia and the Orthodox Christian world, a region (including modern Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria) where reading ability was largely restricted to the clergy. In 1564, a White Russian brought a press to Moscow, and soon after that his workshop was destroyed by a mob.

In the Muslim world, printing, especially in Arabic or Turkish was strongly opposed throughout the early modern period (printing in Hebrew was sometimes permitted). Indeed, the Muslim countries have been regarded as a barrier to the passage of printing from China to the West. According to an imperial ambassador to Istanbul in the middle of the sixteenth century, it was a sin for the Turks to print religious books. In 1515, Sultan Selim I issued a decree under which the practice of printing would be punishable by death. At the end of the century, Sultan Murad III permitted the sale of non-religious printed books in Arabic characters, yet the majority were imported from Italy.

Jews were banned from German printing guilds; as a result Hebrew printing sprang up in Italy, beginning in 1470 in Rome, then spreading to other towns. Local rulers had the authority to grant or revoke licenses to publish Hebrew books.[10]

It was thought that the introduction of the printing medium 'would strengthen religion and enhance the power of monarchs.' [11] The majority of books were of religious nature with the church and crown regulating the content. The consequences of printing wrong material were extreme. Meyrowitz[11] used the example of William Carter who, in 1584, printed a pro-Catholic pamphlet in Protestant-dominated England. The consequence of his action was hanging.

The widespread distribution of the Bible 'had a revolutionary impact, because it decreased the power of the Catholic Church as the prime possessor and interpretor of God's word.'[11]

Social impact

Print gave a broader range of readers access to knowledge and enabled later generations to build on the intellectual achievements of earlier ones. Print, according to Acton in his lecture On the Study of History (1895), gave "assurance that the work of the Renaissance would last, that what was written would be accessible to all, that such an occultation of knowledge and ideas as had depressed the Middle Ages would never recur, that not an idea would be lost".[9]

Print was instrumental in changing the nature of reading within society.

Elizabeth Eisenstein identifies two long term effects of the invention of printing. She claims that print created a sustained and uniform reference for knowledge as well as allowing for comparison between incompatible views. (Eisenstein in Briggs and Burke, 2002: p21)

Asa Briggs and Peter Burke identify five kinds of reading that developed in relation to the introduction of print:

  1. Critical reading: due to the fact that texts finally became accessible to the general population, critical reading emerged because people were given the option to form their own opinions on texts.
  2. Dangerous Reading: reading was seen as a dangerous pursuit because it was considered rebellious and unsociable. This was especially in the case of women because reading could stir up dangerous emotions like love. There was also the concern that if women could read, they could read love notes.
  3. Creative reading: Printing allowed people to read texts and interpret them creatively, often in very different ways than the author intended.
  4. Extensive Reading: Print allowed for a wide range of texts to become available, thus, previous methods of intensive reading of texts from start to finish, began to change. With texts being readily available, people began reading on particular topics or chapters, allowing for much more extensive reading on a wider range of topics.
  5. Private reading: This is linked to the rise of individualism. Before print, reading was often a group event, where one person would read to a group of people. With print, literacy rose as did availability of texts, thus reading became a solitary pursuit.

"While the invention of printing has been discussed conventionally in terms of its value for spreading ideas, its even greater contribution is its furthering of the long-developing shift in the relationship between space and discourse".[9]

The proliferation of media that Ong is discussing in relation to the introduction of the printing press, to the death of an oral culture and that this new culture had more of an emphasis on the visual rather than in an auditory medium. As such the printing press gave birth to a more accessible and widely available source of knowledge in the sense that it broke down the boundaries between the possessors of knowledge and the masses. The narrative or discourse now existed in what would become indirectly through time, the global village.

The invention of printing also changed the occupational structure of European cities. Printers emerged as a new group of artisans for whom literacy was essential, although the much more labour-intensive occupation of the scribe naturally declined. Proof-correcting arose as a new occupation, while a rise in the amount of booksellers and librarians naturally followed the explosion in the numbers of books.

Environmental impact

Comparison of printing methods

Comparison of printing methods[12]
printing process transfer method pressure applied drop size dynamic viscosity thickness of ink on substrate notes cost-effective run length
Offset printing rollers 1 MPa 40–100 Pa·s 0.5–1.5 µm high print quality >5,000 (A3 trim size, sheet-fed)[13]

>30,000 (A3 trim size, web-fed)[13]

Rotogravure rollers 3 MPa 0.05–0.2 Pa·s 0.8–8 µm thick ink layers possible, excellent image reproduction, edges of letters and lines are jagged[14] >500,000[14]
Flexography rollers 0.3 MPa 0.05–0.5 Pa·s 0.8–2.5 µm moderate quality
Letterpress printing platen 10 MPa 50–150 Pa·s 0.5–1.5 µm slow drying
Screen-printing pressing ink through holes in screen <12 µm versatile method, low quality
Xerography electrostatics 5–10 µm thick ink
Inkjet printer thermal 5–30 pl 1–5 Pa·s <0.5 µm special paper required to reduce bleeding <350 (A3 trim size)[13]
Inkjet printer piezoelectric 4–30 pl 5–20 Pa·s <0.5 µm special paper required to reduce bleeding <350 (A3 trim size)[13]
Inkjet printer continuous 5–100 pl 1–5 Pa·s <0.5 µm special paper required to reduce bleeding <350 (A3 trim size)[13]

Digital printing

Digital printing accounts for approximately 9% of the 45 trillion pages printed annually (2005 figure) around the world.[8]

Printing at home or in an office or engineering environment is subdivided into:

  • small format (up to ledger size paper sheets), as used in business offices and libraries
  • wide format (up to 3' or 914mm wide rolls of paper), as used in drafting and design establishments.

Some of the more common printing technologies are:

  • blueprint—and related chemical technologies.
  • daisy wheel—where pre-formed characters are applied individually.
  • dot-matrix—which produces arbitrary patterns of dots with an array of printing studs.
  • line printing—where pre-formed characters are applied to the paper by lines.
  • heat transfer—like early fax machines or modern receipt printers that apply heat to special paper, which turns black to form the printed image.
  • inkjet—including bubble-jet—where ink is sprayed onto the paper to create the desired image.
  • xerography—where toner is attracted to a charged image and then developed.
  • laser—a type of xerography where the charged image is written pixel by pixel by a laser.
  • solid ink printer—where cubes of ink are melted to make ink or liquid toner.

Vendors typically stress the total cost to operate the equipment, involving complex calculations that include all cost factors involved in the operation as well as the capital equipment costs, amortization, etc. For the most part, toner systems beat inkjet in the long run, whereas inkjets are less expensive in the initial purchase price.

Professional digital printing (using toner) primarily uses an electrical charge to transfer toner or liquid ink to the substrate it is printed on. Digital print quality has steadily improved from early color and black & white copiers to sophisticated colour digital presses like the Xerox iGen3, the Kodak Nexpress, the HP Indigo Digital Press series and the InfoPrint 5000. The iGen3 and Nexpress use toner particles and the Indigo uses liquid ink. The InfoPrint 5000 is a full-color, continuous forms inkjet drop-on-demand printing system. All handle variable data and rival offset in quality. Digital offset presses are also called direct imaging presses, although these presses can receive computer files and automatically turn them into print-ready plates, they cannot insert variable data.

Small press and fanzines generally use digital printing. Prior to the introduction of cheap photocopying the use of machines such as the spirit duplicator, hectograph, and mimeograph was common.

See also


  1. ^ Richard W. Bulliet (1987), "Medieval Arabic Tarsh: A Forgotten Chapter in the History of Printing", Journal of the American Oriental Society 107 (3), p. 427-438.
  2. ^ Geoffrey Roper, Muslim Heritage
  3. ^ Master E.S., Alan Shestack, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1967
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved November 27, 2006, from Encyclopaedia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite DVD – entry 'printing'
  6. ^ a b Meggs, Philip B. A History of Graphic Design. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 1998. (pp 58–69)
  7. ^ In 1997, Time–Life magazine picked Gutenberg's invention to be the most important of the second millennium. In 1999, the A&E Network voted Johannes Gutenberg "Man of the Millennium". See also 1,000 Years, 1,000 People: Ranking The Men and Women Who Shaped The Millennium which was composed by four prominent US journalists in 1998.
  8. ^ a b "When 2% Leads to a Major Industry Shift" Patrick Scaglia, August 30, 2007.
  9. ^ a b c Ref: Briggs, Asa and Burke, Peter (2002) A Social History of the Media: from Gutenberg to the Internet, Polity, Cambridge, pp.15-23, 61-73.
  10. ^ "A Lifetime’s Collection of Texts in Hebrew, at Sotheby’s", Edward Rothstein, New York Times, February 11, 2009
  11. ^ a b c Meyrowitz: "Mediating Communication: What Happens?" in "Questioning the Media", p. 41.
  12. ^ Kipphan, Helmut (2001). Handbook of print media: technologies and production methods (Illustrated ed.). Springer. pp. 130–144. ISBN 3540673261. 
  13. ^ a b c d e Kipphan, Helmut (2001). Handbook of print media: technologies and production methods (Illustrated ed.). Springer. pp. 976–979. ISBN 3540673261. 
  14. ^ a b Kipphan, Helmut (2001). Handbook of print media: technologies and production methods (Illustrated ed.). Springer. pp. 48–52. ISBN 3540673261. 

Further reading

  • Saunders, Gill; Miles, Rosie (2006-05-01). Prints Now: Directions and Definitions. Victoria and Albert Museum. ISBN 1-85177-480-7. 
  • Nesbitt, Alexander (1957). The History and Technique of Lettering. Dover Books. 
  • Steinberg, S.H. (1996). Five Hundred Years of Printing. London and Newcastle: The British Library and Oak Knoll Press. 
  • Gaskell, Philip (1995). A New Introduction to Bibliography. Winchester and Newcastle: St Paul's Bibliographies and Oak Knoll Press. 
  • Elizabeth L. Eisenstein, The Printing Press as an Agent of Change, Cambridge University Press, September 1980, Paperback, 832 pages, ISBN 0-521-29955-1
  • Marshall McLuhan, The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man (1962) Univ. of Toronto Press (1st ed.); reissued by Routledge & Kegan Paul ISBN 0-7100-1818-5.
  • Tam, Pui-Wing The New Paper Trail, The Wall Street Journal Online, February 13, 2006 Pg.R8
  • Woong-Jin-Wee-In-Jun-Gi #11 Jang Young Sil by Baek Sauk Gi. Copyright 1987 Woongjin Publishing Co., Ltd. Pg. 61.

On the effects of Gutenberg's printing

Early printers manuals The classic manual of early hand-press technology is

  • Moxon, Joseph (1683-84), Mechanick Exercises on the Whole Art of Printing (ed. Herbert Davies & Harry Carter. New York: Dover Publications, 1962, reprint ed.) 
A somewhat later one, showing 18th century developments is
  • Stower, Caleb (1808), The Printer's Grammar (London: Gregg Press, 1965, reprint ed.) 

External links

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

PRINTING (from Lat. imprimere, O. Fr. empreindre), the art or practice of transferring by pressure, letters, characters or designs upon paper or other impressible surfaces, usually by means of ink or oily pigment. As thus defined, it includes three entirely different processes: copperplate printing, lithographic or chemical stone-printing, and letterpress printing. The difference between the three lies in the nature or conformation of the surface which is covered with the pigment and afterwards gives a reproduction in reverse on the material impressed. For the nature and method of preparing these surfaces see respectively Engraving (and allied articles), Lithography and Typography. In copperplate printing the whole of the plate is first inked, the flat surface is then cleaned, leaving ink in the incisions or trenches cut by the engraver, so that, when dampened paper is laid over the plate and pressure is brought to bear, the paper sinks into the incisions and takes up the ink, which makes an impression in line or lines on the paper. In lithographic printing the surface of the stone, which is practically level, is protected by dampening against taking the ink except where the design requires. In letterpress printing the printing surface is in relief, and alone receives the ink, the remainder being protected by its lower level. Before the invention of typography, pages of books, or anything of a broadside nature, were printed from woodcuts, i.e. blocks cut with a knife on wood plankwise, as distinct from wood engravings which are cut with a burin on the end grain, a more modern innovation. These woodcuts, like the lithographic or engraved surface, served one definite purpose only, but in typography the types can be distributed and used again in other combinations.

The term " printing " is often used to include all the various processes that go to make the finished product; but in this article it is properly confined to " press-work," i.e. to the work of the printing-press, by which the book, newspaper, or other printed article, when set up in type and ready as a surface to be actually impressed on the paper, is finally converted into the shape in which it is to be issued or published.

History of Printing-press. Before dealing with modern machinery it will be necessary to consider the historical evolution of the printing-press, especially since the middle of the 19th century, from which point printing machinery has developed in a most remarkable manner.

It is not clear how the first printers struck off their copies, but without doubt Gutenberg did use at an early period in his career a mechanical press of some kind, which was constructed of wood. In fact he could not have produced his famous forty-two line Bible without such aid.

The earliest picture of a press shows roughly the construction to have been that of an upright frame, the power exerted by a movable handle, placed in a screw which was tightened up to secure the requisite impression, and was loosened again after the impression was obtained. The type pages were placed on a fiat bed of solid wood or stone, and it was quite a labour to run this bed into its proper position FIG. i. - Blaeu's Wooden Hand-press.

under the hanging but fixed horizontal plane, called the platen, which gave the necessary impress when screwed down by the aid of the movable bar. This labour had to be repeated in order to release the printed sheet and before another copy could be struck off. This same press, with a few modifications, was apparently still in general use till the early part of the 17th century, when Willem Janszon Blaeu (1J71-1638) of Amsterdam, who was appointed map maker to the Dutch Republic in 1633, made some substantial improvements in it. Our first authority on printing, Joseph Moxon, in his Mechanick Exercises, as Applied to the Art of Printing (vol. i., 168 3), says, " There are two sorts of presses in use, viz. the old fashion and the new fashion," and he gives credit to Blaeu for the invention of the new and decidedly improved press (fig. 1).

Blaeu's improvement consisted of putting the spindle of the screw through a square block which was guided in the wooden frame, and from this block the platen was suspended by wires or cords. This block gave a more rigid platen, and at the same time ensured a more equal motion to the screw when actuated by the bar-handle. He also invented a device which allowed the bed on which the type pages were placed to run in and out more readily, thus reducing the great labour involved in that part of the work of the older form of press, and he also used a new kind of iron lever or handle to turn the screw which applied the necessary pressure. The value of these various improvements, which were in details rather than in principles, was speedily recognized, and the press was introduced into England and became known as the " new fashion." From this it will be observed that in a general way there had only been two kinds of wooden presses in use for a period of no less than three hundred and fifty years, and when the work of some of the early printers is studied, it is marvellous how often good results were obtained from such crude appliances.

The iron press (fig. 2) invented by Charles, 3rd earl Stanhope (1753-1816), at the end of the 18th century was a decided advance on those made of wood. Greater power was obtained at a smaller expenditure of labour, and it allowed of larger and heavier surfaces being printed. The chief points of the iron press consisted of an improved application of the power to the spindle. The main part of it was FIG. 2. - The Stanhope Iron Hand-press.

complete press to stand upon. The staple was united at the top and bottom, but the neck and body were left open, the former for the mechanism and the latter for the platen and the bed when run in preparatory to taking the impression. The upper part of the staple, called the nut, answered the same purpose as the head in the older kind of wooden press, and was in fact a box with a female screw in which the screw of the spindle worked. The lower portion of the neck was occupied by a piston and cup, in and on which the toe of the spindle worked. On the near side of the staple was a vertical pillar, termed the arbor, the lower end of which was inserted into the staple at the top of the shoulder - the upper end passing through a top-plate, which being screwed on to the upper part of the staple held it firmly. The extreme upper end of the arbor, which was hexagonal, received a head, which was really a lever of some length; this head was connected by a coupling-bar to a similar lever or head, into which the upper end of the spindle was inserted. The bar by which the power was applied by the pressman was fixed into the arbor, and not into the spindle, so that the lever was the whole width of the press, instead of half, as in Blaeu's wooden press, and it was better placed for the application of the worker's strength. There was also another lever to the arbor head in addition to that of the spindle head; and lastly, the screw itself was so enlarged that it greatly increased the power. The platen was screwed on to the under surface of the spindle; the table or bed had slides underneath which moved in, and not on, ribs as in the older form of press, and was run in and out by means of strips of webbing fastened to each end and passed round a drum or wheel. As the platen was very heavy the operator was assisted in raising it from the type-forme by a balance weight suspended upon a hooked lever at the back of the press. This somewhat counterbalanced the weight of the platen, raised it after the impression had been taken, and brought the barhandle back again to its original position, ready for another pull.

The Stanhope press, which is still in use, was soon followed by other hand-presses made of iron, with varying changes of details. The most successful of these were the Albion and Columbian presses, the former of English manufacture, and the latter invented (1816) by an American, George Clymer (1754-1834), of Philadelphia.

The Albion press (fig. 3), which was designed by Richard Whittaker Cope, was afterwards much improved upon by John Hopkinson (1849-1898). It is still used where hand printing prevails, and it was this form of press which was employed by William Morris at his famous, but short-lived, Kelmscott Press, the upright frame or staple, of iron; the feet of this staple rested upon two pieces of substantial timber dovetailed into a cross, which formed a base or foundation for the in the production of many sumptuous books, the most celebrated of which was the Chaucer, a large folio volume, illustrated by Sir Edward Burne-Jones. The chief characteristics of the Albion are its lightness of build and its ease in running; the pull is short, the power great, and the means whereby it is attained so simple that the press does not readily get out of order. It is easily taken to pieces for cleaning, and readily re-erected. The power is obtained by pulling the bar-handle across, which causes FIG. 3. - Payne & Sons' Albion Hand-press.

an inclined piece of wedge-shaped steel, called the chill, to become perpendicular; in so doing the platen is forced down, and the impression takes place at the moment the chill is brought into a vertical position. On the return of the bar the platen is raised by a spiral spring, placed in a box and fixed at the head of the press. The larger sizes of these presses usually print a sheet of double crown, measuring 30X20 in.

Although the Columbian is not so much in demand as the Albion, it is still employed for heavy hand-work because of its greater stability and power. This power is acquired by a very massive lever, moving on a pivot bolt in the top of the near side of the staple, and passing across the press to the further side of the frame, at which end the power is applied through the coupling-bar by a bar-handle working from the near side. The platen is attached to the centre of the lever by a square bar of iron, and its vertical descent is assured by two projecting guides, one from each cheek; it is then raised from the type-forme, and the iron bar carried back by two levers - the one attached to and above the head and weighted with the eagle; the other behind the press, attached to the arm to which the coupling-bar is fixed, and which also has a weight at the end. The great power of this press adapts it to the working of large and solid formes in printing, but it is somewhat slower in action than the Albion press, which is both lighter in construction and quicker in working.

The average output of the modern hand-press, when all is made ready for running, is about two hundred and fifty impressions per hour. This number, it should be said, is the product of two men who work together as " partners." One inks the type-forme and keeps a sharp look-out for any inequality of inking, and sees generally that the work is being turned out in a workmanlike manner. The other lays on the sheet to certain marks, runs the carriage in under the platen, and pulls the barhandle across to give the necessary impression. He then runs back the carriage and takes out the printed sheet, which he replaces by another sheet, and repeats the different operations for the next impression. During the interval between taking off the printed sheet and laying on the next one his partner inks the type surface with a roller which carries just sufficient ink properly distributed to preserve uniformity of " colour." Having dealt with hand-presses, we must now go back to the end of the 18th century, when the first experiments were made to devise some mechanical means of producing larger printed sheets, and at a quicker rate. In England the broad distinction between " presses " and " machines " is generally considered to rest in the fact that the former are worked by hand, and the latter by steam, gas or electricity; and the men who work by these two methods are called respectively " pressmen " and " machine minders " or " machine managers." But in America the terms " presses " and " pressmen " are universally applied to machines and the men who operate them. For the purposes of this article presses and machines are used as synonymous terms.

Various schemes had been propounded with a view of increasing the output of the hand-press, and in 1790 William Nicholson (1753-1815) evolved his ideas on the subject, which were suggestions rather than definite Cylinder inventions. Nicholson was not a printer, but, as he was an author and editor, it is presumed that he had some knowledge of printing. His proposals were to print from type placed either on a flat bed or a cylinder, and the impression was to be given by another cylinder covered with some suitable material, the paper being fed in between the type and the impression cylinder, and the ink applied by rollers covered with cloth or leather, or both. While Nicholson's schemes did not bear any practical result they certainly helped others later on. His suggestion to print from type made wedge-shaped (that is, smaller at the foot and wider at the top) to allow of its being so fixed on a cylinder that it would radiate from the centre and thus present an even printing surface, was adopted later by Applegath and others, and really was the first conception of printing on the rotary principle which has now been brought to such perfection.

It was left to Friedrich Ktinig (1774-1833), a German, to produce the first really practical printing machine. His invention was to print type placed on a flat bed, the impression being given by a large cylinder, under which the type passed, but his inking appliances were not satisfactory. He induced the proprietor of The Times (London) to take two of these machines, and in 1814 that newspaper was printed with steam power at the rate of i roo impressions per hour, a great advance on the number produced up to that time. Both Nicholson's and Kijnig's machines printed only one side at a time - the second or backing printing being a separate and distinct operation - but they really embodied the general principles on which all other machines have been constructed or modelled.

It will be understood that Nicholson's theories were to print both from the flat and from type arranged in circular or cylinder form. These two principles are defined as reciprocating, for the flat bed which travels backwards and forwards; and rotary, for that which continuously revolves or rotates. Konig's invention was a reciprocating one.

Two other classes of presses of somewhat different design were largely in operation in the middle of the r9th century - the " double platen," which still printed only one side at each impression from each end, and the " perfecting machine," which was made with two large cylinders and printed from two typeformes placed on separate beds. Although the latter machine turned out sheets printed on both sides before it delivered them (hence its name), the second impression was still a distinct operation. The double platen press was somewhat analogous to the hand-press, both the type beds and impressions being flat. A machine of this kind, if it printed a sheet of double demy, which measures 35 X 221 in., was about 13 ft. in length, and the platen itself, of very massive construction, was placed in the centre. This platen had a perpendicular motion, being guided in grooves and worked by a connecting rod fixed to a cross beam and crank, which acquired its motion from the main shaft. There were two type beds and two inking tables, which travelled backwards and forwards, and one platen only, situated in the middle of the machine, which in turn gave the needful impression as the type-formes passed underneath. The sheets were laid or fed to certain marks between the frisket and tympan, and when these were closed together the carriage was propelled under the platen and the impression was given to that portion of the machine, while at the other end another sheet was being fed in ready to receive its impression in due course.

It was once thought that the finest work could not be produced by a cylinder impressing a surface in the progress of its reciprocating motion, but that it was likely to give a slurred or blurred impression. This is why machines of flat construction were so long employed for the best class of work. But cylinder presses are now made so truly turned, and geared to such nicety, that this idea no longer prevails. The cylinder press is able to produce generally quite as good work as the double platen, its speed is much greater, and it requires a smaller amount of power to drive it.

The perfecting machine has had a great vogue, and has been much improved from time to time, especially in America, though the two-revolution machine in recent years superseded it, whether temporarily or not being still uncertain. We shall deal with it more fully below in relation to the modern and more complicated class of machinery; and this also applies to the ordinary stop or single cylinder, and small platen machines, both of which have been in use many years, and are still in demand.

Before the general introduction of rotary machines which print from curved stereotype plates from an endless web or reel Type of paper (see below), several other presses of a revol- Revolving ving character were made, to some extent based on Nicholson's ideas. The first printing surface used was ordinary type, because the difficulty of curving the stereotype plates had not been surmounted. This type was fixed, both in vertical and in perpendicular positions, upon a cylinder, round which rotated other cylinders, which held and compressed the sheets against the larger one, which also revolved and carried the printing surface. These machines were made to print several sheets at a time, and were called four-, six-, eightor ten-feeders, according to the number of sheets fed in and printed. They necessitated a great deal of labour, because each feed required a separate layer-on and taker-off besides the superintending printer, and other hands to carry away the sheets as fast as they accumulated at the different taking-off boards. Besides, these sheets all had to be folded by hand. In this class of machine various improvements were made from time to time by different manufacturers, each profiting by the experiences of the others, and two kinds of such revolving presses may now be given as examples.

After many experiments Augustus Applegath (1789-1871) in 1848 constructed for The Times (London), a machine which was an eight-feeder, built entirely on the cylindrical principle, the cylinders placed not in a horizontal but in a vertical position. The type was fixed on a large cylinder, and instead of the printing surface presenting a complete circle, the different columns were each arranged so as to form a polygon. Around this large type cylinder were eight smaller ones, all upright, for taking the impression for each of the eight sheets fed in separately, and rollers were so arranged as to apply the ink to the type as it passed alternately from one impression cylinder to the other. The sheets were laid in from eight different feed-boards, placed horizontally, and they passed through tapes, when they were seized by another series of tapes and then turned sideways between their corresponding impression and type cylinder, thus obtaining sheets printed on one side only. The impression cylinder then delivered the sheets separately (still in a vertical position) into the hands of the boys employed as takers-off. The results from this press were, at the time, considered fairly satisfactory, the number of copies (about 8000) printed per hour from one type-forme having been materially increased by the employing of the eight different stations to feed the sheets in, all of which in turn were printed from the same single type surface.

About 1845 Robert Hoe & Co. of New York, and subsequently of London, had constructed, to meet the increased demands of newspapers, the " Hoe Type Revolving Machine," one good point of which was an apparatus for securely fastening in the type on a large central cylinder fixed horizontally. This was accomplished by the construction of cast-iron beds, one for each separate page (not column, as in Applegath's machine). The column rules were made tapering towards the feet of the type, and the type was securely locked in on these beds so that it could be held firmly in the required position to form a complete circle, thus allowing the cylinder to revolve at a greater speed than Applegath's, which was polygonal. Around the large type cylinders were placed the smaller impression cylinders, the number of these being governed by the output required. Hoe's first presses were four-feeders, but as many as ten feeds were supplied, as in the case of the two presses built to replace the Applegath machine for The Times, each of which produced about 2000 impressions from each feed, making a total of 20,000 per hour, printed on one side, or from two machines 20,000 sheets printed on both sides. As will be observed, the only differences in principle between these two type revolving machines were in the positions of the respective cylinders, and the fixing of the type to form a printing surface.

It was Sir Rowland Hill who first suggested the possibilities of a press which should print both sides at once, from a roll or reel of paper. This was about 1825, but it was William A. Bullock (1813-1867) of Philadelphia who in 1865 invented the first machine to print from a continuous web of paper. This machine had two pairs of cylinders, that is, two type or stereotype cylinders, and two others which gave the impression as the web passed between. The second impression cylinder was made somewhat larger so as to give a greater tympan surface, to lessen the off-set from the side first printed. In his machine the stereotype plates were not made to fill the whole periphery of the forme cylinders so as to allow of the sheets being cut before printing, a difficulty w'iich the first machines did not satisfactorily overcome. The sheets were severed by knives placed on the cylinders, and when cut were carried by grippers and tapes; and delivery was made by means of automatic metal fingers fixed upon endless belts at such distances apart as to seize each sheet in succession as it left the last printing cylinder. These presses were not at first reliable in working, especially in the cutting and delivery of the sheets after printing, but were finally so far improved that the Bullock press came into quite general use. The inventor was killed by being caught in the driving belt of one of his own presses.

Modern Presses. The machines invented during the second half of the 19th century and still in general use, are best classified as follows: - I. The iron hand-press, such as the Albion or the Columbian, used for the pulling of proofs, or for the printing of limited editions de luxe. 2. Small platen machines (worked by foot or tion power) used for the printing of cards, circulars and small jobbing or commercial work.

3. Single cylinder machines (in England generally called " Wharfedales "), usually built on the " stop " cylinder principle, and printing one side of the sheet only.

4. Perfecting machines, usually with two cylinders, and printing or " perfecting " both sides of a sheet before it leaves the machine, but with two distinct operations.

5. Two-revolution machines, which, although with but one cylinder, have largely superseded perfecting machines, as their output has been increased and the quality of their work compares favourably with that of the average two-cylinder.

6. Two-colour machines, usually made with one feed, that is, with only one cylinder, but with two printing surfaces, and two sets of inking apparatus one at each end of the machine. Occasionally these machines are made with two cylinders.

7. Rotary machines, printing from an endless web of paper from curved stereotype or electrotype plates, principally used XXII. 12 for newspaper or periodical work. They are made to print upon a single reel, or upon two, four, six or even eight reels, in both single or double widths, i.e. two or four pages wide.

The hand-press has already been sufficiently described, and we may proceed to deal with the other classes.

The small but useful platen machine (fig. 4) is very largely employed in those printing-houses that make commercial work a speciality. The smaller machines can be worked with the foot, but if the establishment is equipped with power it is customary to gear them for driving. The larger machines require power. As its name implies, the type bed and impression platen are both flat surfaces as in the hand-press, but as they are self-inking and are easily driven, the average output is about moo copies per hour, and but one operator is required, whereas two men at a handpress can produce only 250 copies in the same time. In design these platen presses usually consist of a square frame with a driving shaft fixed horizontally across the centre of it. This shaft is attached to a large fly-wheel which gives impetus to the press when started and assists in carrying over the impression when the platen is in contact with the printing surface. The type-forme is usually fixed in an almost vertical and stationary position, and it is the platen on which the sheet is laid which rises from the horizontal position to the vertical in order to give the necessary impact to produce a printed impression from the typeforme. Practically this platen is, as it were, hinged at the off side, nearest the type bed, and its rise and fall is effected by the use of FIG. 4. - The Golding Jobber Platen two arms, one on each side Machi, of the platen, which derive ne an eccentric motion from cams geared in connexion with the shaft. When the sheet is printed and the platen falls back to the horizontal the operator removes it with one hand and with the other lays on a fresh sheet. Generally the larger of these machines will print a sheet up to 21 X 16 in.

The modern single or " stop " cylinder, quite different in construc- Wharfe= tion from the old single cylinder machines, largely suc dale" ceeded the double platen machine. The principle of the cl . stop cylinder was really a French invention, but it has Machines been more commonly adopted in Great Britain, where the machines are known as " Wharfedales " (fig. 5). They are much used for the printing of books and commercial work. The average production is about woo copies per hour. The type bed travels with a reciprocating motion upon rollers or runners made of steel, the bed being driven by a simple crank motion, starting and stopping without much noise or vibration. All the running parts are made of hard steel. The cylinder is " stopped " by a cam motion while the bed is travelling backward, and during this interval the sheet to be printed is laid against the " marks," and the gripper closes on it before the cylinder is released, thus ensuring great accuracy of lay, and consequent good register. After the impression is made the sheet is seized by another set of fingers and is transferred to a second and smaller cylinder over the larger one, and this smaller cylinder or drum delivers the sheet to the " flyer," or delivery apparatus, which in turn deposits it upon the table. The inking arrangements are usually very good, for, by a system of racks and cogs which may be regulated to a nicety, the necessary distribution of ink and rolling of the printing surface runs in gear with the travelling type bed or coffin. All the accessories for inking are placed at the end of the machine, the ink itself being supplied from a ductor, which can be so regulated by the keys attached to it as to let out the precise amount of pigment required. The ink passes to a small solid metal roller, and is then conveyed by a vibrating roller made of composition to a larger and hollow metal cylinder or drum which distributes the ink for the first time. This revolves with the run of the machine and at the same time has a slight reciprocating action which helps the distribution. A second vibrating composition roller conveys the ink from this drum to the distributing table or ink slab, on which other rollers, called distributors, still further thin out the ink. As the type bed travels, larger composition rollers, called inkers, placed near the cylinder, adjusted to the requisite pressure on the type, pick up the necessary amount of ink for each impression and convey it to the type as it passes under them. Usually three or four such rollers are required to ink the forme.

The perfecting machine is so named because it produces sheets printed on both sides or, in technical language, " perfected." This operation is performed by two distinct printings. This perfecting class of machine has been in use a great many years, Machines. although both the stop-cylinder and the two-revolution press have to some extent superseded it. It is perhaps best adapted for the printing of newspapers or magazines having circulations that do not require rotary machines intended for long runs. Although some perfecting machines have been made with one cylinder only, which reverses itself on the old " tumbler " principle, they now are made with two cylinders, and it is with this class that we are particularly concerned. There are various makes of perfecting machines of which the Dryden & Foord is shown in fig. 6; among the best recent typed is the Huber Perfecter.

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Although the two-type beds have a reciprocating motion, as in the ordinary one-sided press, the two cylinders rotate towards each other. The frame of the machine, owing to the fact that it contains two carriages and a double inking apparatus, is long, the exact size depending on the size of the sheet to be printed. Close to the large cylinders are the inking rollers, which take the necessary amount of ink, each set from its own slab as it passes under, and these rollers convey the requisite ink to the printing surface as the forme-carriage runs under its own cylinder. The distinctive feature is the ingenious manner in which the sheets are printed first on one side, and then on the other. This is performed by carrying them over a series of smaller cylinders or drums by means of tapes. The pile of sheets ?

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:Zan! ' '?  ?l"?????W Platen Jobbing Machines. to be fed in stands on a high board at one end. The sheet is laid to its mark and is conveyed round an entry drum; thence it is carried round the first impression cylinder, and under this, moving at the same speed as the cylinder, is the type bed containing the inner of broad tapes which lie on the laying-on board and are fastened to a small drum underneath it. This drum has a series of small cogs which move the web or tapes in the same direction. The sheet is laid to a back mark on the tapes, and is propelled between two rollers s FIG. 6. - Dryden & Foord's Perfecting (two-cylinders) Machine.

forme already inked. The paper then receives its impression on the first side. In the older type of machine it 'is next led up to the right- ' hand one of the two reversing drums, which are placed above the large printing cylinders, and over which it passes with the printed side downwards. It is then brought under the second or left-hand drum, and so on to the other large impression cylinder, with the blank side of the sheet exposed to the type of the outer forme on the table underneath. Thus it will be seen that the sheet is reversed in its travel between the first and second large cylinders which give the impression. The sheet is then finally run out and delivered in the space between the two large cylinders, and laid on the delivery board - usually with the aid of flyers. In the more recent type of direct into the machine. Another variety employs grippers somewhat after the manner of the ordinary single cylinder. The AngloFrench perfecting machine is one of that class. As a rule most double-cylinder presses produce on an average about moo copies per hour, printed both sides.

The two-revolution machine is another one-cylinder machine built on the reciprocating principle. Its speed is greater than the stop cylinder (it may be geared to produce from 1500 to Two copies per hour, printed one side only). The Revolution Miehle (fig. 7), which is of American design but now made Machines. also in Great Britain, is a good example of this kind of machine and is much used, especially for illustrated work. It has FIG. 7. - The Miehle Two-revolution Cylinder Machine.

perfecting machines the sheet is fed directly into grippers, change taking place when grippers on each cylinder meet, the outer forme grippers taking the sheet from the inner forme grippers.

This is a general description of the principles on which these machines are built, but, as in other classes, there are many variations in details. For example, there are the drop-bar, the web and the gripper methods of feeding these presses. In the first case a bar descends upon the paper after it is laid to point marks, and this bar, having a rotary motion, runs the sheet between a roller and a small drum into the machine. The web arrangement consists of a series the high over-feedboard, and the taking-off apparatus is automatic but on a different plan from that of the ordinary Wharfedale, the sheets being carried over tapes with the freshly-printed side uppermost, thus preventing smearing; they are then carried on to the heap or pile by the frame or long arms placed at the end of the machine. A recent feature of this machine is the tandem equipment, whereby two, three or even four machines may be coupled together for colour work. Only one layer-on is required and register is obtained automatically throughout.

The principle of the two-revolution press is that the cylinder always rotates in the same direction, and twice for each copy given, once for the actual impression, and again to allow of the return of the forme-carriage in its reciprocating action. This also allows time for the feeding in of the next sheet to be printed. Among other advantages claimed for this press one is that the movement which governs the action of the type bed in reversing is so arranged that the strain which sometimes occurs in other reciprocating machines is considerably reduced; another is that the registering or correct backing of the pages on the second side in printing is uncommonly good; but this depends much upon the layer-on. In many of the old kinds of two-revolution machines, owing to the cylinder being geared separately from the type bed, it was apt to be occasionally thrown out, but in the Miehle, for instance, it is only out of gear in reversing, and in gear while printing. Great strength is imparted to the frame, and the type bed is particularly rigid. These points, together with a truly turned and polished cylinder, with carefully planned means of adjustment, much simplify the preparation of making-ready of any kind of type-forme or blocks for printing, which is carried out much in the same way as on the ordinary single cylinder, but in a more convenient manner. Many of these machines are made to print four double crowns, 60 X 40 in., or even larger.

continuously rotate, the web of paper travelling in and out, in a serpentine manner, between various cylinders of two aharactersone (the type cylinders) carrying the surface to be impressed, usually curved stereotype plates, and the other (the impression cylinders) giving the desired impression. Such a press, if driven by electric power, is set in motion by merely pushing a button or small switch, a bell first giving warning of the press being about to move. The number of duplicate sets of stereotype plates to be worked from by these presses is determined by the size and number of the pages to be printed, and this in turn is regulated by the capacity of the machine.

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As already explained, the forerunners of the rotary presses of the present day were the type-revolving printing-machines, and, whilst they were still being used, experiments were being made to cast curved stereotype plates which would facilitate and simplify the work of producing newspapers. This was successfully accomplished by the use of flexible paper matrices, from which metal plates could be cast in shaped moulds to any desired curve. These plates were then fixed on the beds of the Hoe type revolving machine, which were adapted to receive them instead of the movable typeformes previously used. This new method enabled the printers IIIC3'?ui:"'??N i i !4? ???;h l ' '? ? ? ? ? ? 1..? ? ? // ' >?/??pa??ji?g?fi??,?????'1a?1 1? ? W? I ? J ? C ? - ?r'? ' 0 ?? ?; 0Pn? - Vrar .r_?r r?r?elri ,?? I FIG. 8. - Payne & Sons' Two-colour Single_ Cylinder_l/Iachine.

The two-colour machine is generally a single cylinder (fig..8) with one feed only, and the bed motion reciprocating. The two colours are printed each at one revolution from the two Two-Colour type-formesas they pass under the cylinder, which rotates twice in its travel. A double inking apparatus is of course necessary, and the inking arrangements are placed at the two extreme ends of the machine. In comparison with the ordinary single cylinder the two-colour machine is built with a longer frame, as is necessary to allow the two type-formes to pass under the cylinder, both in its travel forward and on its return. This cylinder on its return is stationary, in fact it might be called a double or rather an alternative stop-cylinder machine, with the inking facilities arranged somewhat on the same plan as on either a two-feeder or a perfecting machine. These two-colour presses are intended only for long runs, short runs may be worked to advantage separately on the ordinary single-colour machine. Generally, with the exception just mentioned, the machine is much the same as the ordinary stop or Wharfedale.

Before leaving the subject of printing with the reciprocating bedmotion, it may be mentioned that although in all modern machines of that kind the printed sheet is self-delivered, the imprinted paper has generally been fed in by hand, and for some classes of work this is still done. But many automatic feeders have been invented from time to time, which for the many purposes for which they are suitable must be reckoned part of a modern printing establishment.

As distinct from flat bed printing with a reciprocating motion, printing on rotary principles is a most interesting study, and it is Rotary this department of printing mechanics which has developed so very much in recent years. It seems almost as though this branch had reached its limit, and as though any further developments can only be a question of duplication of the existing facilities so as to print from a greater number of cylinders than, say, an octuple machine. This would be merely a matter of building a higher machine so as to take a larger number of reels arranged in decks. As the name implies, these presses are so constructed that both printing surfaces and paper to duplicate the type pages and to run several machines at the same time, thus producing copies with far greater rapidity. In some large offices as many as five machines were in constant use. About this period the English stamp duty on printed matter was repealed, and this materially aided the development of the newspaper press.

Subsequently the proprietors of The Times made various experiments with a view to making a rotary perfecting press, and as a result started the first one about 1868. It was somewhat similar in design to the Bullock press, so far as the printing apparatus was concerned, except that the cylinders were all of one size and placed one above the other. The sheets were severed after printing, brought up by tapes, and carried down to a sheet flyer, which moved backwards and forwards, and the sheets were alternately " flown " into the hands of two boys seated opposite each other on either side of the flyers. Hippolyte Marinoni (1823-1904), of Paris, also devised a machine on a somewhat similar principle, making the impression and type cylinders of one size and placing them one over the other. About 1870 an English rotary machine called the " Victory " was invented by Messrs Duncan & Wilson. It printed from the web, and had a folder attached. An improved form of this machine is still in use. This machine had separate fly-boards for the delivery of the sheets. In 1871 Messrs Hoe & Co. again turned their attention to the construction of a rotary perfecting press to print from the reel or continuous web of paper, and from stereotype plates fastened to the cylinder.

The rotary presses in use at the present time are indeed wonderful specimens of mechanical ingenuity, all the various operations of damping (when necessary), feeding, printing (both sides), cutting, folding, pasting, wrapping (when required) and counting being purely automatic. These machines are of various kinds, and are specially made to order so as to cope with the particular class of work in view. They may be built on the " deck " principle of two, three, four, or even more reels of paper, and either in single width (two pages wide), or double width (four pages wide). Single and two-reel machines are generally constructed on the " straight line " principle, i.e. arranged with the paper at one end of the machine, and passing through the cylinders to the folder at the other end where the copies are delivered. Threeand four-reel machines have also been constructed on the same principle, but the more usual arrangement of the four-reel press is to place two reels at either end, with the folders and delivery boards in the centre. This makes it possible to operate them as independent machines, or to run in combination with each other.

When presses are made in double width a two-reel machine is known as a quadruple, a three-reel as a sextuple, and a four-reel as an octuple machine. Double sextuple and double octuple machines are made, having six and eight reels respectively. The quadruple machine is a favourite one and is perhaps most in demand for newspaper work. This press prints from two reels of the double width. The first reel is placed to the right of the machine near the floor, and the second at the back of the machine and at right angles to it. A quadruple machine will produce 48,000 copies per hour of four, six or eight pages; and proportionately less of a greater number of pages; all folded, counted and pasted if required. The four cylinders, which are on the right-hand side of the press, are respectively the plates, four pages on each type cylinder, making a total of thirty-two pages in all. Each press produces of that number of pages 50,000 copies per hour, printed both sides, cut, folded and counted off in quires complete; by increasing the sets of Rotary stereotype pages the same machine will produce 100,000 Machines. copies per hour of sixteen pages, and by duplicating the folding and delivery apparatus, 200,000 copies of eight pages of the same size. This mammoth press measures 54 ft. in length, 19 ft. in height and 12 ft. across; its dead weight is about I io tons, and roughly Ioo,000 different pieces of metal were used in its construction. The rough cost of such a machine is probably about £18,000. Such a press requires two 55 h.p. motors, one at each end, to drive it. The press is practically four quadruple machines built together, each of which can be worked independently of the other. The paper is fed from reels placed at the two ends in decks, one above the other, each reel containing about five miles of paper, and weighing about fourteen hundredweight. The process of unwinding these long reels of paper in the course of printing takes only half an hour; they are arranged on a revolving stand so that directly they are FIG. 9. - Hoe's Double Octuple Rotary Machine.

printing and impression cylinders - the two inside ones being those giving the impression, and the two outer ones bearing the printing surfaces. The inking arrangements are placed at the two extreme ends of these four drums or cylinders, thus being near the type surfaces in each case. As the paper is unwound from the reel below it travels between the first two cylinders when it is printed on the first side; it then passes to the third and fourth cylinders, which give it the second backing side, thus " perfecting " the printed sheet. From this point the long sheet is carried overhead to the left-hand side of the machine, where it is cut longitudinally and divided, and then associated with the other web similarly printed by the other half of the press. They then descend into the two different folders, where they are folded and cut - the copies being discharged on to the delivery boards situated at the two sides of the left-hand portion of the machine, and each quire is counted or told off by being jogged forward. This description applies to one half of the machine only, for while this is in operation the same thing is being repeated;by the other half situated at the back.

Another machine, somewhat complex but quite complete in itself, is that constructed by Messrs Robert Hoe & Co. in London from drawings and patterns sent over from New York, for weekly papers of large circulation. Double sets of plates are placed on the main machine, which is capable of taking twenty-four pages, but by using narrower rolls the number of pages may be reduced to either sixteen or twenty if a smaller paper is desired. In addition to the body of the paper it prints a cover, and is capable of producing 24,000 complete copies per hour, folded, insetted, cut, pasted and covered. That portion of the machine which prints the cover is fed from a narrower reel of a different colour of paper from that used for the inside pages. The printing surface for one side of the cover is placed at one end of the cylinder and the reverse side is placed at the other end. This ingenious combination results in the printing of one cover for every copy of the paper.

The double octuple machines (fig. 9) erected by the same firm for the printing of Lloyd's Weekly News were probably, in 1908, the latest development in rotary printing. These presses print from eight different reels of the double width, four placed at each end ,of the machine, the delivery being in the centre, and from eight sets of spent the stand is turned half way round, and four other full reels already in position are presented ready to be run into the press. This ingenious arrangement, whereby the reels can be changed in about three minutes, obviates the loss of time previously incurred by the press being kept standing while the empty spindles were removed and replaced with four full reels.

Having described some representative types of the different classes of printing-presses in use, we may now treat of the methods employed by the workmen in securing The pre_ the best results in printing. The real art of printing, paration or as far as presswork is concerned, lies in the careful Making- preparation of the printing surface for printing before ready for era ling. running off any number of impressions. This preparation is technically called " making-ready," and is an operation requiring much time and care, especially in the case of illustrated work, where artistic appreciation and skill on the part of the workman is of great assistance in obtaining satisfactory and delicate results. Theoretically, if both type and press were new, little or no preparation should be necessary, but practical experience proves that this need of preparation has not yet been entirely obviated and still remains an important factor. Single proofs of type, stereotype, electrotype or blocks of any description can often be struck off without making-ready with fairly good results, but if precision of " colour " (that is, inking) and uniformity of impression throughout a volume are desired, it is necessary to put the forme, whether type or blocks or both, into a proper condition before starting the printing of an edition, whatever its number. And this applies to all good work produced from whatever presses or machines other than those built on the rotary principle. In these, even if time permitted, little can be done in the way of making-ready; nor is it really necessary for newspapers, printed and read one day, and then generally thrown away the next. But for finely printed works this preparation is essential; the actual results vary with the operator, both as regards quality and, what is very important to the employer, in the length of time taken. Some men labour more at it than others, and it is considered that a press is only really paying while it is actually running.

The system of making-ready employed now is quite different from that in use when it was necessary to dampen paper before it could be satisfactorily printed. It was then customary to print with a good deal of packing, usually consisting of a thick blanket together with several thicknesses of paper, all of which intervened between the printing and the impression surface, whether the latter was flat or cylindrical. There was much in favour of this system, because a good firm impression could be obtained, and the " nutmeg-grater " effect on the reverse, when the impression was too heavy, could, after the sheets were dry, be removed by cold-pressing in a hydraulic press. It is still the best method for obtaining first-rate results in fine work, where hand-made or other rough paper is used. But the demand for cheap literature required quicker means of production, and the introduction of process blocks, especially those made by the half-tone process, necessitated the use of smooth paper and a faster drying ink, both of which are to be deplored, because to calender the paper to the degree requisite for this kind of printing practically means destroying its natural surface, and in rendering the ink quicker in drying the pigment undoubtedly suffers. On the other hand, there has been a compensating advantage in the fact that improved machinery has been demanded for this class of work, and the British manufacturer has been stimulated by the American manufacturers, who have taken the initiative in the change of methods in printing. Cylinders are now turned so truly and ground to such a nicety that very little packing is required between type and sheet to be impressed, so that a new system of making-ready, termed " hard-packing," has been resorted to. The fact that the iron impression cylinder was nearer the type forbade the large amount of soft-packing formerly used, besides which process blocks, whether line or half-tone, could not be rendered properly by a soft impression. Although less packing is necessary, greater care is required in preparing type or blocks for printing by this new method.

The method in making-ready ordinary plain formes is as follows. The type-forme is placed on the coffin or bed of the press and fixed into its proper position - the precise position being regulated by the exact size of the sheet of paper on which the work is to be printed. The cylinder is first dressed with a fine and thin calico drawn tightly over and fastened securely, which serves as a base on which to fasten sheets. A sheet of some hard paper, such as manila, is then placed over it to form, as it were, a foundation.

The printer next proceeds to pull a sheet, without ink, to test the impression. We take it that the machine has already been regulated by means of the impression screws at the respective ends of the cylinder for all-round or average work, and that any inequality of impression can be remedied by adding or taking away from the sheets on the cylinder. Now, supposing the forme to be dealt with consists of thirty-two pages to be printed on quad crown paper, measuring 40X30 in., on a suitable size of single cylinder machine of the Wharfedale class, it would be found, although both the machine and type were fairly new (that is, not much worn), that there was some amount of inequality in the impression given to the whole sheet. This is easily detected by examining the sheet the reversed side in a strong side-light. Although the greater part may be fairly even, some pages, or portions of pages, would show up too strongly, the impress almost cutting through the paper, while in other portions the impression would be so faint that it could hardly be seen. These differences of impression are called respectively " high " and " low." All these difficulties have to be rectified by the printer either overlaying or cutting away pieces in this first trial sheet. If the " set " of the cylinder is about correct, and the impression sheet has been taken with neither too many nor too few sheets on the cylinder, it will be a matter rather of overlaying, or " patching up," than of cutting away from this trial sheet. As soon as this first sheet has been levelled up it is fixed on to the cylinder to its exact position, so that it will register or correspond with the type when the press is running, and another trial sheet is struck off, which is treated precisely in the same manner, and is then fastened up on the cylinder on top of the first sheet. It may even be necessary for fine printing to repeat this a third time, especially if the forme includes blocks of any kind. When this preparation is completed, the whole is covered up by a somewhat stouter sheet, which forms a protection to the whole making-ready, but which can easily he lifted should it be necessary to give any finishing touches to it before beginning to run.

If the forme to be printed consists of both type and blocks mixed, a somewhat different treatment has to he employed in order to put the blocks into a relative position with the type for printing. This is done by the usual trial impression sheet, and, as blocks are found to vary much in height and are generally low as compared with type, this deficiency has to be remedied by underlaying the blocks so that they are brought to the height of the type, or a shade higher. This is usually done by pasting layers of thickish paper, or even thin cards, underneath the blocks. This must be carefully done so as to make them stand squarely and firmly on their Lase, in order that they may not rock and give a slur in printing. After underlaying, and to emphasize the respective degrees of light and shade in the illustrations, a separate and careful overlaying is required for the blocks before anything is done to the main forme. This is particularly necessary if the blocks are woodcuts, or electrotypes of woodcuts, which require a different cutting of perhaps three different thicknesses, all on thin hard paper, to give their full effect. But with half-tone process illustrations very little overlaying is required, provided the blocks have been brought up to the proper height by underlaying in the first instance - the various tones being already in the block itself - and it is little more than a matter of sharp, hard impression to give full effect to these, if both paper and ink are suitable. For line process blocks a still different treatment in making-ready is desirable, so as to get rid of the hard edges which are nearly always found in this kind of block. Here too it is essential that the preliminary underlaying be done with extreme care if good work is desired. The originals and the engraver's proofs are of great assistance to the workman in bringing out the details of an illustration when he is preparing it for printing. In rotary printing from the curved stereotype plate and from the endless web of paper much can be done to assist the printer if good stereotype plates are supplied to him, and, if the forme contains any illustrations, both the artist and the engraver can help him if they keep in mind the particular character of illustration which they are preparing for the press. The artist can accentuate the high lights or solids in the original drawing or photograph, and the stereotyper can emphasize points in the picture by thickening the plate in the parts necessary to stand out.

The past generation has seen many improvements in printing machinery, all tending to an increased production, and generally to the betterment of the work turned out. This is particularly true of three-colour printing (see Process), which for commercial purposes has been brought to a high degree of perfection. Only what may be fairly considered as representative presses have been dealt with in this article, but there are many others, some of which have been most ingeniously constructed for special purposes. Process engraving has practically superseded wood engraving, and the new processes have brought new conditions, requiring a different making-ready, paper and ink. Some of these altered conditions are to be regretted. For instance, it is unfortunate that the quality and surface of papers have to Le sacrificed to the demands for cheap literature, and this especially applies to illustrated work.

The introduction of the autoplate is of great advantage to those using rotary presses, because it allows the production of a large number of duplicate stereotype plates of satisfactory quality speedily. This is all important in a newspaper office, where the margin of time between the caseroom and machine department is usually so limited, for it permits several machines being quickly equipped with duplicate sets of the same pages.

Power is another matter that is changing fast. Electricity is supplanting both steam and gas, and is being installed in most large printing-houses, including newspaper offices. Suction gas is being tried in some offices as a supplanter of electricity and is said to be much cheaper as a power producer. The independent system of motors is generally adopted, because it is found more economical and better for driving purposes, besides dispensing with the overhead shafting and belting, always unsightly, and dangerous to the workpeople. Speeds can be regulated to a nicety for each separate machine, and any machine can be set in motion by pressing a button.

A printing-house of average size, which makes book printing a speciality, consists of many departments under the supreme control of a general manager. His deputy may be said to be the works manager, who is responsible for all work being produced in a proper manner by the different departments. The progress of the work is as follows. a Printing The MS., or " copy " as it is called, is handed, with all e instructions, to the overseer of the caseroom, who gives it out to the compositors in instalments as they finish the work already in hand. Formerly the greater bulk of composition was done on the piece-work system, but as machine composition has largely superseded hand labour for the more ordinary class of work, piece-work is declining, and there is a greater tendency to have the work done on " establishment " (" 'stab "), i.e. fixed weekly wages. When the copy is in type a proof is struck off and sent to the reading closet, where the corrector of the press (see Proof-Reading), with the aid of a reading-boy, will compare it with the original MS. or copy, and mark all errors on the proof, so that they may be amended by the compositor at his own cost before it is despatched to the author or customer, who in turn revises or corrects it for the general improvement of the work. The proof is then returned to the printer, and if these corrections are at all heavy, another proof, called the " revise," is submitted, together with the first marked one, so that the author may see that his emendations have been made. This may even be repeated, but when finally corrected the proof is marked " press " and is sent to the printer with the necessary instructions as to printing. After another reading or revision in the reading closet it is sent to the compositors, who make the final corrections in the type and hand the forme to the printing department to deal with. It is this department which contributes most to the success of any printing firm, and it requires a really good man at its head. He must be a thoroughly practical printer familiar with the different kinds of printing machinery. To make the department pay, the machines must be kept fully employed with the many classes of work that a large concern has to deal with; the wheels must be kept running as much as possible, and the time for making-ready curtailed as far as is consistent with the proper preparation of the forme. Here again it is most important that a sharp eye be kept on the materials used. Ink forms a large item in the total expenses of this department, besides which there are: oil for lubricating, turpentine and other solvents for cleaning, paper for proofs and making-ready, &c. When the work is printed it is handed to the warehousemen, who are responsible both for unprinted and printed paper. astly, the counting-house deals with all accounts, both departmen s' and customers'.


The following books and periodicals may be specially referred to: Books - J. Southward (and subsequently A. Powell), Practical Printing, a handbook of the art of typography (2 vols. 8vo, London, 1900); J. Southward, Modern Printing, a treatise on the principles and practice of typography, &c. (large 8vo, London, 1900); C. T. Jacobi, Printing, a practical treatise on the art of printing, &c. (8vo, 4th ed., London, 1908); W. J. Kelly, Presswork, a practical handbook for the use of pressmen and their apprentices (8vo, znd ed., Chicago, 1902); C. T. Jacobi, The Printer's Handbook of Trade Recipes, &c. (8vo, 3rd ed., London, 1905); F. J. F. Wilson and D. Grey, Modern Printing Machinery and Letterpress Printing (large 8vo, London, 1888); Robert Hoe, A Short History of the Printing Press (4to, New York, 1902); T. L. de Vinne, The Invention of Printing (New York, 1876). Periodicals - The British and Colonial Printer and Stationer (London, bi-weekly); The British Printer (Leicester, alternate months); The Printer's Register (London, monthly); The Printing World (London, monthly); The Caxton Magazine (London, monthl y); The Printing Art (Cambridge, Mass., U.S.A., monthly) The Inland Printer (Chicago, monthly); The American Printer (New York, monthly); The International Printer (Philadelphia, monthly). See also the bibliography attached to the article TYPOGRAPHY. (C. T. J.)

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Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikibooks, the open-content textbooks collection



A printing broker is in charge of coordinating projects. A graphic designer creates designs and artwork for a project.


According to intellectual property laws, software (including fonts) isn't actually owned by the person who buys it. The purchaser is paying for a license to use the software.

Choose contracts carefully. Make sure that printers "work for hire" so that you retain copyright to the work. If you would like to retain work products from a designer or printer for later use, negotiate this point before work begins. "Work for hire" is work that is created by, for example, a designer, but done so with the express understanding that it is exclusively the property of the client. Paying for work to be performed does not constitute "work for hire." A job cannon be "declared" as a "work for hire." This is a specific legal definition and the terms of "work for hire" cannot be assumed unless:

  1. the job performed fits within a narrow range of possibilities, such as work by a full-time employee or similar or
  2. the worker creating the work is supplied with the "materials and methods" to perform the work as well as specific directions on how to do the job and (typically) the location to work or
  3. the worker signs a contract agreeing to create material on a "work for hire" basis.

Obviously, given the large number of factors involved, a contract is the safest way to assure that work that you hire performed is yours and yours alone.


Questions to ask during a project's planning phase:

  1. What is the project's purpose?
  2. Who is your audience?
  3. How will it look?
  4. How will it be used?
  5. How will your audience be reached?
  6. When do you need it done?
  7. What quantity and quality do you need?

One popular strategy is to start at the end of a project, and work backwards. In other words, conceptualize what you want the end product to be, and then figure out the steps to get there.

Prepress is the "creation" to "production" stage. It involves word processing, illustration, and image-editing programs (raster or vector-based).



One of the most important steps to a successful print job is determining the right grade for your job. The determining factors are quality, money, and type of job. For instance, items that have a short "lifespan" (such as a promotional poster or flyer) are typically printed on basic or good grade. Everything in a package should be the same quality.

Remember to save all project files for future use.


Basic grade uses toner, not ink. It is usually only one or two colors, for cheap, throwaway items like flyers. It is inexpensive and low quality.


This grade can be made at a print shop (not a copy shop). It may use toner or ink. Used by magazines like Time and Newsweek.


This is the grade for "perfect" prints, used for publications that depend on high-quality color (ie, National Geographic).


Showcase is top-of-the-line printing, suitable for high-quality art books.

Legibility is the contrast between print and background.

Halftone art causes fine lines to disappear.


Resolution is measured in various ways, depending on the device. Printers use lpi (lines per inch) and dpi (dots per inch), while computer monitors use ppi (pixels per inch) according to the paper size.

Using color printing

The cheapest type of printing remains black ink on a white or colored paper stock. However, four-color process printing has become more affordable in recent years. Specifically, if your color printing job is fairly typical in size, paper stock and quantity, you can take advantage of economies of scale by using a "gang printer" who specializes in printing with process inks on large format presses, combining several print jobs onto a single sheet. This sheet is later cut to produce different jobs for separate clients. This type of process printing is often cheaper than printing a job with solid color inks (say black, maroon and yellow solid ink colors).

Color Models

The RGB (Red Green Blue) color model is an "additive" color model. All colors are a mixture of these three hues, mixing 100% of all three colors produces white light and the absence of light leaves black (darkness). The term "additive" refers to the fact that adding color (light) produces a result (a specific color or image). Monitors and most scanners are RGB devices. Most inkjet printers are also RGB devices (despite some having ink sets that may resemble CMYK inks.)

The CMYK (Cyan Magenta Yellow blacK) process color model is used by professional printers. This is subtractive color method. In this system, black is theoretically composed of all colors, and white is the absence of color (paper-color). Cyan, magenta and yellow, mixed at full strength, do not produce black. This is a limitation of the pigments used. The closest result is a dirty brown, so black is added as a fourth "color" to allow for a full range of colors to be expressed and to bolster sharpness and contrast of the image.

Image setters are specialized printers that produce very high resolution output. Typically they are CMYK devices. They can print separations on film which are then used to produce printing plates.

Color Tips

Since color is dependent on light, an object which is one color under one type of light will be a different color when viewed under a different type of light. This phenomenon is metamerism. Some types of light are fluorescent (which is greenish), incandescent (yellowish-orange), and natural (which has a 5000 Kelvin color temperature).

Neutral grey is the best background to view another color.

Color quality, like print quality, depends on the type of publication. "Pleasing" color is used for newspapers, and is the standard for desktop publishing. The next levels are "match" color (used for magazines) and "match original" (used for calendars).


The gamut is the color range available to a device. A palette is a set of colors. Chroma refers to the saturation of a color. Value is the tint or shade of a color.

Temperature is the warmth or coolness of a color. Relatively cool colors are violet, blue and green, relatively warm colors are red, yellow, and orange. Grey or beige are "neutrals", and are considered neither warm nor cool.

Printing techniques

The two major ways to print color are process printing and spot color printing. Process creates colors by printing very small colored dots. Spot color printing uses solid color inks that are either purchased premixed or mixed from base color inks using specific formulas to match the desired spot or solid color. Spot color printing is also used when a job calls for unusual colors like fluorescent or metallic inks. A spot color is usually specified to print a company logos or proprietary material, although it often will be combined with standard four-color process printing, making the spot color a "fifth" color. This combination can be expensive to produce, although it is common in jobs created for corporate clients.


When testing prints, view under "standard conditions" (that is, the type of lighting, etc. you expect to be in the environment where your finished project will be viewed).

Interpolation is a technique that computers use to increase the resolution of a photo. For example, if a digital image happens to have a resolution of 100 pixels per inch, interpolation can be used to increase the resolution to 200 pixels per inch. However, in doing so, four pixels are generated with the data from a single pixel, causing serious image degradation. Some advanced processing technologies, available, for example, in commercial plug-ins for use in Photoshop, can help mitigate the damage to the image. However, the results will not equal starting with an image with sufficient resolution in the first place. In short, interpolation produces sub-standard results in professional terms. Avoid it when you can.



This technique is used for black-and-white photos. It uses one screen.


This technique uses two screens for two colors (typically, black and a color). One screen is used for highlights, and the other for shadows.


This technique uses four screens (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) to create a wide variety of colors. If the registration of any of the screens is off, the photo will get a cast.

High fidelty

A method using 5-8 halftones.

File Types

  • PICT -native Apple Macintosh image format until the advent of Mac OSX when it was replaced with PNG and PDF formats
  • TIFF -(Tagged Image File Format) - Contains bitmap images, and supports color separations.
  • EPS -(Encapsulated PostScript) - may contain both bitmap & vector images; can only be cropped or scaled. This format is often used for color separations.
  • JPEG - Joint Photographic Experts Group (lossy)
  • DCS - Desktop Color Separations
  • PDF - Portable Document Format
  • GIF - 8-bit



Scanner quality is measured in spots per inch (spi). (Digicams use the same measurement.) To ensure a good quality, make sure that pictures are scanned at 1.5 to 2 times the lpi of the finished product.

A scanner's density' (DMax) ranges from 0-5 (with 0 being low density). Most models are between 0 and 3 DMax.


Paper is usually made from trees. After a tree is cut, debarked and chipped, it can be processed many different ways to make different kinds of paper. It is pulped for newsprint and bag paper. To make writing paper, it must be processed with chemicals. It is calendared (pressed) to make it smooth.

Categories of paper are defined by use (fine, industrial, or sanitary paper), printing method (sheet or web), or pulp content (groundwood, used for newsprint and paper bags, or free sheet, used for writing paper).


Bond is the most common writing paper. It is standard printing paper, and is more transparent than book or text paper.

Uncoated book is used for books and newsletters.

Coated book is used for textbooks.

Text paper (short for "texture") is used for brochures.

Cover is very thick paper used for paperback book covers and postcards.


Paper is rated from I-5 (coated) to A-E (uncoated).

The rest of choosing the right paper depends on aesthetics. Does it have the right look and feel? What kind of texture is good? What level of whiteness do you want? Paper comes in many off-whites, and there are no standards for color. Colored paper is more expensive, and the price goes up the darker the shade is.

Brightness of paper is a measure of its reflectance. Brighter paper creates contrast, but may contribute to eyestrain. Opacity ranges from 1-100%. Most papers are 80-98%.

The grain of a piece of paper can be determined by getting the paper wet and seeing which way it curls. If the sheet curls along the long edges, the paper is "grain long"; if along the short edges, it is "grain short." This is denoted by marking a line under the dimension that the grain follows (for example, 8.5 x 11 would be grain long letter paper).

The paper's weght determines cost. It is sold by "basis weight", which is how much one ream (500 sheets) weighs, in pounds, when cut to 8.5 x 11 inches (21.6 x 27.9 cm). For example, bond paper is 20# weight, since one ream of letter-sized bond weighs 20 pounds.

Caliper is paper thickness, and is measured in points. One point = .001 inch. (This is a different point than the measurement used in typesetting. A typesetting point = 1/72 inch.)

Dot gain is caused by the matte quality of paper. Dots spread as they are absorbed by the paper. The less absorbent the paper is, the less the dots will spread. Glossy paper has low dot gain; this is why higher quality photos are printed on it. (Another factor in dot gain is the ink used. Soy ink has lower dot gain than petroleum-based inks, but takes longer to dry.)


The three types of ink are printing ink (a solid), writing ink (a solution of dye), and toner (a mixture of liquid and solid).

Printing ink, like paint, is made of pigment and binder. It may also contain agents to speed drying and prevent scuffing.

The four ways ink can dry are by absorption, oxidation (exposure to air), evaporation (exposure to heat), and from exposure to light.

Two important attributes of ink are viscosity and tack. Viscosity is a measure of flow. Ink that flows easily has a low viscosity. Tack is a measure of stickiness. Inks that have higher viscosity have greater tack. The faster a press is, the higher the tack should be.


Once the job has been fully planned, a proof can be made up for evaluation. This is a preview of the final product, and a vital step in the project.

Plates are used for some types of printing. Light is passed through a film negative to make an impression on the light-sensitive plate material, such as aluminum or plastic.


Planographic printing uses a flat surface. It uses areas marked off by oil and water to transfer an image. The most popular usage of this process is lithography. The term comes from two Greek words---litho (stone) and graph (writing). (Originally, the plates used were made of limestone.)

Anti-offset powder is used to hasten drying. The ink has a high viscosity and tack. Since it's oil-based, it takes about four hours to dry, and the machine's rollers have to be cleaned after printing. Only uncoated paper can be used.

Problems that arise in planographic printing include moire patterns (from misalignment), ghosting (not enough ink), hickies (particles stuck in the rollers), setoff (ink's too wet), scumming (not enough water), and picking (ink's too tacky,or high print pressure.).


Intaglio is an expensive process using an engraved plate (such as a rotogravure).

Gravure is the process used to make US dollar bills. It uses quick-drying, low viscosity ink.


Relief is the opposite of intaglio: the printing area is raised. Simple examples of relief printing are rubber stamps and typewriter keys.

Flexography is one method of relief printing. It uses rubber plates wrapped around a revolving cylinder to create the impression. An anilox roller picks up ink and transfers it to the printing roller. This method is often used to for package printing, such as food bags and boxes, owing to the processe's ablilty to deal with difficult materials such as flexible roll plastics (think of heavy plastic wrap). Common problems with flexographic printing are halos (caused by too much pressure between the plate and the substrate) and voids (not enough pressure). Art meant to be printed on a flexographic press must be mechanically stretched in the direction of the material feed to counteract the distortion of the printing plate as it wraps around the cylinder.


Letterpress printing is an intaglio method of printing in which the printing areas are lower than the surface of the printing plate. The plate is coated with ink and the flat surfaces are scraped clean, leaving ink in the recesses of the plate. The press then uses high pressure to force the paper into the recesses which pull out the ink and leave a surface that can be felt with the hand in the areas which contain printed image. One type of letterpress in common use was created by the German company Heidelberg and, due to the pinwheeling arms that both loaded and unloaded the paper stock from the press, was often called a "windmill" press.


Stencil printing is a method in which ink is forced through a surface with positive spaces (solid material) and negative spaces (openings) which form the image. A simple example would be using a cardboard mask to spray-paint words on a crate or box.

Screenprinting, a form of stencil printing, is the most versatile method of printing. It uses a squeegee to force ink through a fabric screen with the non-printing areas masked with a resist or film. It is often employed to print on shirts, sportswear and wallpaper,but other uses range from glass bottles to metal plates to printing on flexible plastics and complex shapes. Screenprinting can be used to print the resists that form the circuits (traces) of electronic circuit boards. This resist keeps the metal that is meant to carry current from being etched away by the acid bath that removes the unwanted metal from the surface of the board.


Electrostatic printing is used by machines such as laser printers.


The two types of inkjet are CIJ (Continuous InkJet) and DOD (Drop On Demand).

CIJ prints with a series of ink drops. Since the ink is continuous, a switch is used to either drop a dot or deflect the drop back into the ink reservoir. This is the method used to print address labels.

DOD sprays ink when it receives a signal.

Imposition is pagination on a large sheet press. This large sheet is then cut and bound. This is the process used to print books.

Simple English

Printing is putting words and images on paper, most of the time using ink. Books and newspapers are made by printing.

Printing is one of the technologies which has changed the world. It is an efficient way to multiply writing, so that copies may be made available to all people. Printing is therefore the continuation of writing by mechanical means.



Writing originated after people had settled in permanent dwellings. It dates from 3,300BC, which is over 5000 years ago. A variety of writing systems were invented, long before paper was invented. Clay, papyrus, wood, slate and parchment (prepared animal skins) have all been used. The invention of paper by the Chinese was a step forward.[1][2][3][4]

Early printing

The earlist printing known was in 8th century China and Korea. Whole pages carved on flat wooden blocks were used. Covered with a carbon-based ink, they were pressed onto sheets of paper.

The second stage was to use separate characters by carving or casting. This was done in 11th century China and Korea. It failed to be really successful, because of the structure of the Chinese written language, shared at the time by Korea, which had thousands of characters. Because of this, the method was not significantly better that copying by scribes.[5]

Printing was reinvented in 15th century Europe. Though slow to develop at first, print became the main means of communication between people who wished to record knowledge. It was hugely successful, largely because, with an alphabetic system of writing, print was much more economical than copying, and permitted many times as many copies to be available for readers. It was a revolution which helped all aspects of life in Europe, at a time when Europe was becoming the dominant region of the world.[6][7]

Along with a technology for printing words, there were various means for printing graphics. Carving on blocks of wood, engraving on copper were used up until about 1800. After that, a bewildering array of inventions arrived, including ways to print photographs.[8]

Machines to speed printing, cheaper paper, automatic stitching and binding all arrived in the 19th century during the industrial revolution. What had once been done by a few men by hand was now done by limited companies on huge machines. The result was much lower prices, and a much wider readership.


  1. Robinson. Andrew 1995. The story of writing. Thames & Hudson, London.
  2. Christin, Anne-Marie (ed) A history of writing. Flammarion, Paris.
  3. Gaur, Albertine 1992. A history of writing. 3rd ed.
  4. Diringer, David 1968. The alphabet: a key to the history of mankind.
  5. The earliest printed book with movable type was published in Korea and is known as the Jikji.Memory of the World,, accessed November 2009
  6. Lefebre L & Martin H-J. 1990. The coming of the book. new ed, London.
  7. Martin H-J. 1994. The history and power of writing. Chicago.
  8. Bland, David 1958. A history of book illustration: the illuminated manuscript and the printed book. Faber & Faber, London.

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