25 Remarkable Events in the History of Printing

June 22, 2015

This month marks PsPrint’s 25th anniversary, so we thought it would be cool to list 25 of the most remarkable events in the history of printing. How many of these do you already know?

1. The world’s oldest dated printed book is printed: 868 CE

A woodblock printing of the Diamond Sutra, dated to 868 CE, was discovered in 1907 – making it the oldest dated printed book.3410304964_05d32fde85-Optimizedphoto credit: from the 1585 via photopin (license)

2. Moveable type is invented: 1041 AD

Moveable type was invented in China; however, woodblock printing remained the dominant technique.

3. Marco Polo reports the printing of paper money in China: 1298 AD

It might seem trivial now, but stories about the ability to carry large amounts of such lightweight cash in a coin-dominated world shocked those who heard Polo’s tales. They were even more amazed by the idea that paper money could actually have value.

4. The first business cards are printed: 1401-1500

Calling cards, or visiting cards, were first introduced in China.

5. Johannes Gutenberg invents mechanical moveable type: circa 1450

The first modern printing press with mechanical moveable type was put in operation, but Gutenberg ultimately lose his shop due to debt.3992888250_c21d4dd299photo credit: 1001037 via photopin (license)

6. William Caxton prints the first poster: 1472

He printed a poster and hung it from church doors to promote a book. This is considered the first modern print advertisement in Europe.

7. The printing press is introduced to North America: 1539

Juan Pablo set up his print shop in Mexico City; the building still stands.

8. The first printing press is set up in the colonies: 1639

Joseph Glover died at sea before he could bring the press to North America, but his widow carried on his work.4578325924_452204dc8ephoto credit: Williamsburg - Cabinetmaker's Home via photopin (license)

9. The first paper mill is opened in America: 1690

The Rittenhouse Mill opened near Germantown, Pennsylvania.

10. The first daily newspaper is published: 1702

England’s “The Daily Courant” holds that title, though it came after “The London Gazette,” which was not a daily.

11. Stereotype printing is perfected: 1728

Stereotype printing paves the way for today’s modern presses.

12, Benjamin Franklin prints paper money: 1729

It’s the beginning of a paper money economy in the colonies.1595097208_4da3929a36photo credit: Ben via photopin (license)

13. Lithography is invented: 1796

Alois Senefelder’s new process made it easier to reproduce practically unlimited copies of text and drawings.

14. The first cloth-bound book is printed: 1821

William Pickering’s binding revolutionized book printing; prior to this printed materials had to be taken from the printer to a book binder to be bound.

15. The “New York Tribute” begins using the linotype machine: 1886

Thomas Edison calls the linotype the Eight Wonder of the World for its mass production capabilities.

16. The mimeograph is introduced: 1890

The mimeograph made it cheap and easy to make duplicate copies.3091978889_0f6b72d719photo credit: POWER DUPLICATING at only MANUAL COST via photopin (license)

17. The first phototypesetting machine is invented: 1949

Phototype represents the first use of electronics in creating printed materials.

18. The Xerox 914 is introduced: 1959

The first commercially-successful copy machine revolutionized the workplace despite its notoriety for spontaneous combustion.

19. Ghostbuster Egon declares “print is dead”: 1984

Perhaps the scientist wasn’t so smart after all.6857749637_0a0aa69152photo credit: via photopin (license)

20. Laser printers flood the market: 1985

Laser printers introduced high-quality office printing, but still couldn’t match the quality of commercial offset presses.

21. Photoshop, Illustrator, PageMaker and Quark Express hit the market: 1985-1990

For the first time, in-office and at-home Mac users could compete with graphics houses.5053274141_128eb6226ephoto credit: Pussyminou via photopin (license)

22. Soy ink is invented: 1988

Soy-based inks provide an eco-friendly printing alternative.

23. Commercial digital printing presses are introduced: 1990s

Faster, cheaper turnaround times became possible with the advent of commercial digital printing presses, which do not require plates to be created (as in offset printing).

24. PsPrint is founded: 1990

PsPrint is an early-adapter on the web and grows to offer more than 70 products from multiple locations serving the entire U.S. and nearly 500,000 small business marketers and graphic designers; PsPrint backs every order by its 100 percent customer satisfaction guarantee.our-facility

25. Print is a $640 billion industry: 2015

That’s bigger than the music, video game, and online advertising industries – combined. What did Egon say in 1984? Print is bigger than ever – start your print marketing campaign now!

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About Brian Morris

Brian Morris serves in various capacities as a freelance writer, content developer and public relations specialist for growing small businesses. When he’s not writing, he can be found on the racquetball court - usually getting his tail kicked by guys 20 years older.

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The PsPrint Blog is a resource for graphic designers, freelancers, small business owners and fans of print marketing. You'll find helpful techniques on printing everything there is to print, including business cards, postcards, brochures, stickers, invitations, greeting cards, door hangers, magnets and more. The PsPrint Blog shares creative ways to improve your design and layout skills, and useful tips for marketing your business in any medium. We also like to have a little fun, sharing design inspiration and spotlighting some our favorite customers' printed pieces in our "Hot Off the Press" series.