The History of Printing

Printing can be traced all the way back to 3000 BCE when civilizations such as the Sumerian and Proto-Elamite used to seal documents with cylinder seals. Printing on clothes and silk, as well as paper can be traced back to the Tank dynasty in the 7th century. Thus, creating woodblock and book printing all over Korea, Japan and Asia. The earliest known book, printed on woodblock, was the Chinese Buddhist Diamond Sutra, which was printed on the 11th of May 868. Until the mid-15th century, around Europe, the method of woodblock printing was still being used. A German inventor, named Johannes Gutenberg, developed the first-ever printing press. Named the Gutenberg Bible, the printing press was widely spread all over the world by the end of the 15th century. 


Asia and Europe were home to hand stencils, that were found to be more than 35,000 years old. These were made by crushing pigment and keeping your hand on a wall, while blowing the pigment over the area. Stenciling was also found to be used on silk clothing in order to create patterns. 


Seal stamps were used in China and by the 3rd century the seal stamps were also being used to print on pottery. 

Woodblock printing

The first method of printing that was applied to paper was the method of woodblock printing. 

Movable typing

Using individual pieces of "type" for the purpose of printing or typography is called Movable typing. Throughout history, ceramic, wood and metal was used to create the movable types. 


The method of Lithography was invented in 1796 by an author named Aloys Senefelder. This method of printing uses a chemical process in order to create an image. 

Color printing

Although there have been examples of color printing from the Qing and Ming Dynasty's, the most successful and popular method of color printing was developed by the 19th century, it was called Chromolithography. 

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