Meaning of Printing

What is Printing:

The technique of reproducing texts and images on paper, cloth or other materials, in large quantities, is known as printing, which makes use of type and printing plates.

The workshop where the prints are made is also called the printing press.

Printing is a technique that has been developed and has been used since Ancient Rome, around 440 BC, when prints were made on pieces of clay. Later, in China, between the years 1041 and 1048, the first type of printing press on rice paper was invented, which used movable porcelain types.

However, in the year 1450, 15th century, the invention of the modern printing press is attributed to the German Johannes Gutenberg, who in turn developed the trade of typography, which refers to the selection and use of types.

However, it is worth mentioning that, although no records have been found with Gutenberg's name regarding his authorship in the invention of the modern printing press, his creation is also assigned thanks to his interest and effort to perfect this technique that , simplifies the text reproduction system and saves work time.

Gutenberg modern printing house

The printing press created by Gutenberg arose from the adaptation of a press that was used to squeeze the juice of the grapes with which, later, wine was made.

Hence, the printing began as a craft, which consisted of placing two metal plates in which the types were carefully placed, molds of the alphabet letters made of wood and iron that were impregnated with oily ink.

Only the spaces of the capital letters and of the drawings were left blank, which were later made through the woodcut technique or by hand in each printed copy.

Once the plates and fonts were in the correct order and held in the press holder, the paper was placed and the plates were pressed so that the text would be printed.

In this way, Gutenberg modified the reproduction of texts and the possibility of placing knowledge on the rise of a significant number of people, which generated a great cultural impact.

With Gutenberg's printing press, the working time and the years it took to reproduce a copy of a book made by hand were reduced, even by individuals who could not read or write. The reproduction of texts began to be carried out in a mechanized way and faster to obtain a greater number of copies.

The process of inventing the printing press began when Gutenberg bet that he could make a greater number of copies of the Bible at one time in less time than handwritten reproduction.

However, Gutenberg was unable to complete his project due to lack of time and money. Whoever his moneylender was, Johannes Fust, loaned him money once. Then, after a second request for money, Fust refused but proposed the creation of a company that was left under the responsibility of Peter Schöffer, his son-in-law.

Two years later Gutenberg needed money again and his partner Fust refused to give it to him, so he had to withdraw from his printing press when he was close to completing the 150 proposed copies of the Bible. Therefore, Shöffer was in charge of the press and finished the prints, which were quickly sold.

However, it is Gutenberg who is credited with the printed work of the first copies of the Bible, although it is said that in the year 1450, he had already made the Missal of Constance.

Evolution of the printing press

At present, the printing technique ceased to be an artisan process to become a technique that uses technological developments to print and reproduce content through mechanisms such as screen printing, lithography and other digital printing methods.

Among the most used printing techniques are the following:

  • Offset: it is the most widely used printing process, it works from letterpress plates and enables color printing.
  • Rotating: refers to the printing houses of newspapers and more printed media. These printers are characterized by moving rollers and hundreds of printed sheets are reproduced.
  • Digital: Refers to inkjet or laser printing common to portable printers.

In this sense, the printing press has been one of the most important inventions in the history of man, since it has allowed the spread of knowledge and the sharing of countless literary works.

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