You may be surprised to know that print technology has roots going back as far as 1,400 years ago. It was first practiced by the people of the T’ang Dynasty in China with their use of ink on wooden blocks to transfer images to paper. That was how it all began, and in the intervening centuries, printing has evolved substantially.
It was during the 14th century that the first paper mills in Europe were opened, while Johannes Gutenberg made history in 1440 with the invention of the printing press. The world’s first weekly newspaper arrived in the early 17th century and, in 1824, print technology took another revolutionary step when French student Louis Braille created an entire new language specifically for the blind, a code that bears his name and has made the lives of those with visual impairments far less difficult.
Even in the last 50 years, printing has seen a number of significant breakthroughs, including laser, digital, and 3D printing, concepts that previously seemed like something out of a science fiction movie. As of today, it is impossible to imagine where print technology will lead to next, but it is a near-certainty that within the next few years, it will have reached new horizons and the concepts which seem extraordinary now will eventually be seen as standard or even outdated.
Explore the history of print technology thanks to this interactive storymap from international plastic card printer Colourfast Printing.