Printing and recording underwent many changes over centuries. Mankind has always wanted to retain what they experience. Habitually, the human being has always wished to record events a trait that was even practiced by the troglodyte. The Paleolithic age saw carvings that remind us of our originality and the need to not just memorize, write and learn but more than that spread knowledge. They willfully dissipated their cognizance to communicate better and develop an ameliorated understanding to what lay around them.
The earliest form of printing was the IClay – it is deemed as the world’s oldest and first tablet reproduced by the Sumerians. The Sumerians, the first urban civilization, flourished in the historical arena of Southern Mesopotamia (present day Southern Iraq). Their purpose to ‘document’ data was to invent writing for the advancement of language. Round cylinder seals were made to roll impressions on to clay tablets. By AD 868 the Diamond Sutra was the earliest and first printed book to be published in the world. Dated back to May 11, 868, and belonging to the to the T’ang dynasty the scroll is about 16 feet in length and a foot in height and was accidentally discovered in a cave at Dunhuang in the early 19th century.
Type characters using cast metal were being used for printing in Japan and China in the year 1397 AD. The American mainstay Bed & Platen printing was invented by Daniel Treadwell, who obtained a patent for the model. Subsequently, in 1832 Hoe’s Cylindrical-Bed Press was invented by Richard Hoe that was faster than its predecessors. A patent had already been filed by William Nicholson in 1790 for a rotary press for which in 1844 Richard Hoe invented the drum that replaced all the earlier designs. William Bullock, also an American inventor, improvised Richard Hoe’s Rotary Printing Press and revolutionized the printing industry. He combined speed and efficiency into print production by placing continuous and large rolls of paper into curved stereotype plates built for the purpose.
Johannes Gutenberg’s invention changed the face of mass communication, which took a turn for the better marking the Western Culture’s need to distribute views, ideas and information obtained from a single source to large sets of audiences. It was a meticulous combination of culture, social, psychological, political and technological forces that had unraveled over several centuries giving birth to mass communication. Gutenberg was a goldsmith and a business man who even borrowed money to address the printing gridlock. A wave of change swept across Europe swiftly, beginning in the 1450s that led to a strong desire of documentation with the rapid the expansion of trade and economy. In 1889, a Linotype/Monotype machine was invented in Gutenberg’s workshop that could easily print complete set of lines. Between 1906 and 1911 the Monotype and Linotype designs were integrated into the keyboard of a typewriter. Chester Carlson in 1938 invented a process that could print images by using a dry toner powder combined with an electrically-charged drum. Xerox’s originally known as ‘xerography’, adopted the dry printing technology. Remington-Rand developed the first high-speed printer in 1953 that was used on the Univac or Universal Automatic Computer. Around the same time, Daisy S. Lee of Diablo Data invented the Daisy Wheel Printer, which was a form of impact printing technology. It worked on the same fundamentals as the ball-head typewriter.
By 1970, print technology gained predominance and the LA30, one of the first Dot Matrix printers was manufactured by Digital Equipment Corporation. Dots replaced whole keys to print characters on paper. In 1971, Gary Starkweather invented the first laser printer EARS (Ethernet Alto Research Character generator Scanned laser output terminal) within just a few months that he had joined PARC. It worked on the same lines of the Xerox Copier Technology but additionally utilized a laser beam. In 1984, the first HP LaserJet entered the market to be the first desktop laser printer ever. In 1988, the first inkjet printer was invented that provided high-quality and continuous plain-paper printing. Smart inkjet printers revolutionized printing as we know it today.
Between 2003 and 2009, the digital era unfolded bringing along with it a rapid progress in printing technology. Zoho Corp bestowed the world with 3D printing also known as Additive Manufacturing. In the same year, The Eastman Kodak Company (popularly known to the world as Kodak) introduced the first Printer-And-Camera-Dock and the Easy Share Printer. Users could insert their cameras into a device provided to them and that could enable printing of photos. Epson went a step ahead in the same year by granting humanity the freedom of portability by introducing wireless printers. Finally, in the year 2009, color print outputs were produced by Xerox with the help of the Colorqube Technology that made the world colorful. The future is definitely bright for printing technology with the advent of a range of devices that turn digital 3D models into solid objects.
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