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15th century printing press

A Brief History of Printers and Printing Technology as early as the 15th Century.

Printing technology was brought about by the quest for knowledge thus resulting in the need for books. Early authors and knowledge seekers had a hard time finding and distributing different kinds of literature across the globe due to the fact that mass printing was non-existent. However, in the 15th century, an innovative mind, Johann Gutenberg, invented the first-ever printing press that was the corner stone for printers. 

Source: Glencairn Museum

A native of Mainz, Germany, Gutenberg grew up in a wine-rich environment where sophisticated machines were common in the wineries. Being ambitious and innovative, he learned how the machines worked, and over a couple of years, he built a precision machine that set the stage for printing technology. Just like the internet continues to revolutionize the world economy and how people live, printing has had a phenomenal impact on the world economy.

Early Years of Printing Technology

For over 5 centuries, the blueprint used by Gutenberg remained the same. All other printing technology that came later was based on the basics Gutenberg came up with. The technology brought about typography and fonts. The uniformity of written text played a crucial role during the renaissance. The poor and rich could now access books. Given the fact that books are important in opening people’s minds to the world as well as improving intelligence and memory, printing technology leveled the playing field for the world population. Literacy rates rose immensely. 

Cities that had printing press agencies had a turnaround in their economies. Commerce and trade were enhanced with the industry impacting the communities directly and indirectly. In the coming decades, printing evolution resulted in more efficient and economical printers.

Xenography

Source: eLearning Inside

The next breakthrough in printing is xenography/xerox. It was developed by Chester Carlson in the 20th century. This printing technology is behind how photocopiers work. The invention uses dry ink which is basically the toner. Using electrophotography, the powdered toner sticks to the drum which rolls over a paper thus printing text or image. Now, this invention ushered in a new era of high-speed printers that was compatible with the computer. This was in the early 1950s. If you thought printers are a modern invention, you are wrong.

Laser Printer

In the 1960s, a guy by the name of Gary Starkweather combined the previous xerox technology with laser technology to come up with what you know today as the laser printer. Major printing companies such as HP, Canon, and Apple jumped on the technology to start producing printers that could be used in offices. The HP LaserJet printer was in fact the very first laser desktop printer but by then it was so expensive retailing for over $3000. Over time, HP upped its game and went on to become a mass producer of printers.

Source: Forbes

Inkjet Printer

As for the inkjet printer, there is no person who can be credited with the invention. The different printing companies came together to make what we know today as the inkjet printer. However, we cannot talk about them without recognizing John Vaught who spear-headed how ink could be heated and applied in a material just as how coffee machines work.

Source: Gadget Moods

3D Printer

These printers seem like they are from the future. What is interesting is that they have been in existence since the 1980s. 3D printers are used to print three-dimensional objects using different materials, with plastic being the most common. However, with growth in technology, materials such as graphite, metal, and carbon fiber are also used. They use computer software to create a figure. Today, it is used in a number of industries ranging from aviation, motoring to food packaging. With time I am sure I will be printing new cups when I need to take a cup of coffee.

Source: Forbes

Conclusion

The history of printers is not only fascinating but inspiring as well. Next time you are looking for a printer or photocopier, Etech has everything you need. We will walk with you as you shop for a printer that will meet your needs.

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