Monday, January 31, 2011

MI Printing History of Typesetting: Monotype Machine

The Lanston Monotype Machine Company was founded by Tolbert Lanston in Washington D.C. in 1887. Lanston had a patented mechanical method of punching out metal types from cold strips of metal which were set into a matrix for the printing press. In 1896 Lanston patented the first hot metal typesetting machine and Monotype issued Modern Condensed, its first typeface.

In a search for funding, the company set up a branch in London in 1897 under the name Lanston Monotype Corporation Ltd. In 1899 a new factory was built in Salfords near Redhill in Surrey where it has been located for over a century. The company was of sufficient size to justify the construction of its own railway station.

The original Monotype machine used "hot metal" to form individual letters. Thus spelling mistakes could be corrected by adding or removing individual letters. This was particularly useful for "quality" printing - such as books. In contrast the Linotype machine formed a complete line of type in one bar. Editing these required replacing an entire line.  But Linotype slugs were easier to handle if moving a complete section of text around a page. This was more useful for "quick" printing - such as newspapers.

The typesetting machines were continually improved in the early years of the twentieth century, with a typewriter style keyboard for entering the type being introduced in 1906. This arrangement addressed the need to vary the space between words so that all lines were the same length.

The keyboard operator types the copy, each key punching holes in a roll of paper tape that will control the separate caster. A drum on the keyboard indicates to the operator the space required for each line. This information is also punched in the paper. Before fitting the tape to the caster it is turned over so that the first holes read on each line set the width of the variable space. The subsequent holes determine the position of a frame, or die case, that holds the set of matrices for the face being used. Each matrix is a rectangle of copper recessed with the shape of the letter. Once the matrix is positioned over the mould that forms the rest of the piece of type being cast, molten type metal is injected.

Many of the typefaces familiar today were introduced during the first half of the twentieth century, such as Times New Roman and Perpetua. The program of revivals of old typefaces and the commissioning of new ones was a major part of the typographic renaissance of the period. The licenses for the Lanston type library have been acquired by P22, a digital type foundry based in Buffalo, New York.  For much of that century the company ran a compositor (typesetter operator) training school in London.

Friday, January 28, 2011

MI Printing: History of Typesetting Linotype Machine

The invention of a machine to replace the labor-intensive task of setting type by hand was one that many inventors had tackled during the 19th Century. The Mergenthaler Linotype Company is a corporation founded in the United States in 1886 to market the linecaster invented by Ottmar Mergenthaler. The difficulty was not in creating the text, but in returning the characters to a proper position for future use. Mergenthaler solved this problem by placing type molds on the sides of specially keyed matrices. The matrices would be lined up and hot lead alloy forced to fill the matrices, creating the line of type. Then the matrices would progress through the machine, where a special keying system on one end of the matrix, unique for each character, would allow the matrix to drop only into the correct storage slot, ready for future use.

Another problem Mergenthaler solved was in justifying the type, giving flush margins on the left and right. Hand compositors did this by using spaces of different widths in a line, to ensure that the lines all ended at the same point. Mergenthaler adapted the "space band" (patented by J. W. Schuckers), a device consisting of two wedges of metal connected loosely. When a line of type was being justified, all the space band wedges would be pushed up in two passes to spread the line out to the full measure being cast. The space bands were stored for reuse in a different location from the matrices.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

MI Printing History of Typesetting: Gutenberg's Moveable Type

Johannes Gutenberg is generally credited with the invention of practical movable type. He made metal moulds, by the use of dies, into which he could pour hot liquid metal, in order to produce separate letters as the same shape as those written by hand. These letters were similar, more readable, and more durable than wooden blocks. Such letters could be arranged and rearranged many times as the printer wished to create different pages from the same letters.

Gutenberg greatly improved the process by treating typesetting and printing as two separate work steps. A goldsmith by profession, he created his type pieces from a lead-based alloy which suited printing purposes so well that it is still used today. The mass production of metal letters was achieved by his key invention of a special hand mould, the matrix. The Latin alphabet proved to be an enormous advantage in the process because, in contrast to logographic writing systems, it allowed the type-setter to represent any text with a theoretical minimum of only around two dozen different letters.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

MI Printing Recommends Door Hangers

Door hangers are the one of the least expensive of the print media, Paula and I believe that they are one of the most effective. The key to an effective door hanger promotion is the right design and the right call to action. Your design must reflect your company’s personality and your message has to induce the customer to take action now.

“On Door” AdvertisingBecause your advertising message is displayed on your prospect’s door, it is likely to be carried into your prospect’s home. The door hanger typically stands alone without competition. With a correct design, your message is very likely to be read.

Buy Now & LaterMost door hangers include a call to action such as a special promotion, limited time offer or coupon. Because they are printed on a heavier weight stock, they are perceived as less disposable than a text-weight flyer. Not only is the customer prompted to buy now, he will keep the door hanger to take advantage of your offer later. Your message will be on-hand the next time your prospect is in need of your product.

Neighborly EffectDoor hangers also act as a personal calling card. To leave a door hanger on your prospect’s door, you had to have visited them first. Door hangers demonstrate your knowledge of the prospect’s presence while making him aware of your presence in his neighborhood as well.

Additional UsesDoor hangers are not limited to promotional advertising. They can be used to spread information, build name recognition, service reminders, even to let your customer know you paid them a visit. As a direct marketing tool, door hangers also offer a unique opportunity at very personalized messages. Some of our customers have directed their messages to specific neighborhoods and apartment complexes, calling them out by name on the door hanger. The customer reached their target and created the perception that the offer was special and exclusive to their target.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

MI Printing History of Typesetting in Asia

Compared to woodblock printing, movable-type page-setting was quicker and more durable for alphabetic scripts.  Individual type pieces, letters or characters, were first made from carved wood. Later ceramic and copper were also used to make early type elements.

Movable type is the system of printing and typography that uses movable components to reproduce the elements of a document (usually individual letters or punctuation). The world's first known movable-type (made from wood) system for printing was created in China around 1040 AD by Pi Sheng (990–1051) during the Song Dynasty.

The first metal (copper alloy) movable-type system for printing was made in Korea during the Goryeo Dynasty (around 1230). This led to the printing of the Jikji (the abbreviated title of a Korean Buddhist document,) in 1377, today the oldest extant movable metal print book.

The metal type pieces were more durable and the lettering was more uniform, eventually leading to today's modern typography and fonts.

The distinct disadvantage that Asian cultures had with type elements was the basic structure of their written language.  In the middle ages a person working in Latin had just 23 characters to reproduce in type.  Chinese characters are also known as sinographs, and the Chinese writing system as sinography. Chinese characters are the oldest continuously used system of writing in the world.  The number of Chinese characters contained in the Kangxi dictionary is approximately 47,035, although a large number of these are rarely used variants accumulated throughout history. Studies carried out in China have shown that full literacy in the Chinese language requires a knowledge of between three and four thousand characters.

In the Chinese writing system, the characters are monosyllabic, each usually corresponding to a spoken syllable with a basic meaning. However, although Chinese words may be formed by characters with basic meanings, a majority of words in Mandarin Chinese require two or more characters to write (thus are polysyllabic) but have meaning that is distinct from but dependent on the characters they are made from. Cognates in the various Chinese languages and dialects which have the same or similar meaning but different pronunciations can be written with the same character.

Monday, January 24, 2011

MI Printing History of Typesetting from Wood Blocks

Now that we have taken printing from the 1041 when a Chinese alchemist named Pi Sheng invented the earliest printing press to a modern offset printing press we are going to look at the other side of printing and that is the actual type.

The earliest known printing of notices, legal documents, inventories (for tax records) and books were produced using wooden blocks with the text carved on them which was then used as the actual printing plate. These "plates" were produced in much the same manner as those for wood engravings -- except instead of an "picture" carved into them, the actual text of a page of the document was carved into them.

We hear the word woodcut and we think of just an image but it is both the text and any graphic that was part of the printed page.

Setting a page was a time consuming and difficult process.  The first typesetters were actually carving artists.  This made “printed” documents very expensive.

We will follow the changes in typesetting that lead up to today’s modern methods.

Friday, January 21, 2011

MI Printing History of Offset Lithography

Although digital printing is becoming more and more prevalent, offset (short for offset lithography)  is the type of printing most people think of when talking about commercial printing.

The offset lithographic process works by first transferring an image photographically to thin metal, paper, or plastic printing plates. Unlike other forms of printing, in offset lithography the image on the printing plate is not recessed or raised. Rollers apply oil-based ink and water to the plates. Since oil and water don't mix, the oil-based ink won't adhere to the non-image areas. Only the inked image portion is then transferred to a rubber blanket (cylinder) that then transfers the image onto the paper as it passes between it and another cylinder beneath the paper.

The term offset refers to the fact that the image isn't printed directly to the paper from the plates, but is offset or transferred to another surface that then makes contact with the paper.

The printing plates used depends on the type of press, the printing method, and quantity of the print run. A plate is prepared for each color used, or four plates in the case of 4-color (CMYK) process printing. In general, metal plates are more expensive but last longer and have greater accuracy. Paper plates are usually more suitable for shorter runs without close or touching colors.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Flexography Printing Process

Flexography (often abbreviated to flexo) is a form of printing process which utilizes a flexible relief plate. It is basically an updated version of letterpress that can be used for printing on almost any type of substrate including plastic, metallic films, cellophane, and paper. It is widely used for printing on the non-porous substrates required for various types of food packaging (it is also well suited for printing large areas of solid color).

In 1890, the first such patented press was built in Liverpool, England by Bibby, Baron and Sons. The water-based ink smeared easily, leading the device to be known as "Bibby's Folly". In the early 1900s, other European presses using rubber printing plates and aniline oil-based ink were developed. This led to the process being called "aniline printing". By the 1920s, most presses were made in Germany, where the process was called "gummidruck".

During the early part of the 20th century, the technique was used extensively in food packaging in the United States. However, in the 1940s, the Food and Drug Administration classified aniline dyes as unsuitable for food packaging. Printing sales plummeted. Individual firms tried using new names for the process, such as "Lustro Printing" and "Transglo Printing," but met with limited success. Even after the Food and Drug Administration approved the aniline process in 1949 using new, safe inks, sales continued to decline as some food manufacturers still refused to consider aniline printing. Worried about the image of the industry, packaging representatives decided the process needed to be renamed. 

In 1951 Franklin Moss, then the president of the Mosstype Corporation, conducted a poll among the readers of his journal The Mosstyper to submit new names for the printing process. Over 200 names were submitted, and a subcommittee of the Packaging Institute's Printed Packaging Committee narrowed the selection to three possibilities: "permatone process", "rotopake process", and "flexographic process". Postal ballots from readers of The Mosstyper overwhelmingly chose the latter, and "flexographic process" was chosen.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Looking for a Short Run Post Card Deal?

Wednesday January 19th 2011 and it is time again for a message from our sponsor.  Well from Paula and Matt at MI Printing.

This week let's take a moment and talk about "Post Cards!" Direct mail is a very effective way to reach your customer and let them know about your latest products, newest services, up-coming events or your website. There are so many ways to use post cards in today's marketing environment.

With our new digital printing we can even make short-run post cards a very cost effective tool.  You can target a smaller group of potential customers and get out your sale notices even faster.

We can also do your long runs in many popular size Post Cards.  If you have a motel / hotel or tourist attraction we can help you with Post Cards that promote your location and even sell to your customers.

Post cards for sales and For Sale!

If you need help from start to finish MI Printing is here to help meet your Post Card needs.

We are known for our fair prices and quick turn arounds.

Call us for your post card solutions at 623-582-1302

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Rotogravure, the Second Variation of the Rotary Printing Press

Rotogravure (roto or gravure for short) is a type of intaglio printing process, that is, it involves engraving the image onto an image carrier. In gravure printing, the image is engraved onto a copper cylinder because, like offset and flexography, it uses a rotary printing press. The vast majority of gravure presses print on rolls (also known as webs) of paper, rather than sheets of paper. (Sheetfed gravure is a small, specialty market.) Rotary gravure presses are the fastest and widest presses in operation. Additional operations may be in-line with a gravure press, such as saddle stitching facilities for magazine / brochure work. Once a staple of newspaper photo features, the rotogravure process is still used for commercial printing of magazines, postcards, and corrugated (cardboard) product packaging.

In the last quarter of the 19th century, the method of image photo transfer onto carbon tissue covered with light-sensitive gelatin was discovered, and was the beginning of rotogravure. In the 1930s – 1960s, newspapers published relatively few photographs and instead many newspapers published separate rotogravure sections in their Sunday editions. These sections were devoted to photographs and identifying captions, not news stories. Irving Berlin's song Easter Parade specifically refers to these sections in the lines "the photographers will snap us, and you'll find that you're in the rotogravure." And the song Hooray for Hollywood contains the line "... armed with photos from local rotos" referring to young actresses hoping to make it in the movie industry.

In 1932 a George Gallup "Survey of Reader Interest in Various Sections of Sunday Newspapers to Determine the Relative Value of Rotogravure as an Advertising Medium" found that these special rotogravures were the most widely read sections of the paper and that advertisements there were three times more likely to be seen by readers than in any other section.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Printing History Moves on to Web Offset

Development of the offset press came in two versions: in 1875 by Robert Barclay of England for printing on tin, and in 1903 by Ira Washington Rubel of the United States for printing on paper.

Offset printing is a commonly used printing technique where the inked image is transferred (or "offset") from a plate to a rubber blanket, then to the printing surface. When used in combination with the lithographic process, which is based on the repulsion of oil and water, the offset technique employs a flat (planographic) image carrier on which the image to be printed obtains ink from ink rollers, while the non-printing area attracts a water-based film (called "fountain solution"), keeping the non-printing areas ink-free.

Web offset, a high run, speed printing press that uses rolls of paper rather than individual sheets. Web Offset Presses are beneficial in long run printing jobs, typically press runs that exceed 10 or 20 thousand impressions. Speed is a huge factor when considering turn around time for press production; some web presses print at speeds of 3,000 feet per minute or faster. In addition to the benefits of speed and possible faster turn around times, some web presses have the inline ability to print, but also cut, perforate, and fold.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Speeding Up the Production of the Printed Word

The rotary press was made by Richard M. Hoe, a prolific New York City inventor of presses and press components in the early 1800s. Hoe's company began making hand presses in 1822 before switching to the production of faster-printing cylinder presses nine years later. The speed of the cylinder press was limited, however. It printed just one page with each back-and-forth motion of its bed. Hoe hit upon the idea of fastening lead type around the circumference of a very large cylinder in the center of the press. By rotating the cylinder, he thus created a rotary press that turned constantly in one direction. The number of pages printed per hour now depended on how fast this large cylinder turned and on how many impression cylinders were fitted around its circumference. The Hoe rotary press had four.

A rotary printing press is a printing press in which the images to be printed are curved around a cylinder. Printing can be done on large number of substrates, including paper, cardboard, and plastic. Substrates can be sheet feed or unwound on a continuous roll through the press to be printed and further modified if required (e.g. die cut, overprint varnished, embossed). Printing presses that use continuous rolls are sometimes referred to as "web presses". Rotary drum printing was invented by Richard March Hoe in 1843, perfected in 1846 and patented in 1847.

Today, there are three main types of rotary presses; offset commonly known as web offset, rotogravure, and flexo (short for flexography). While the three types use cylinders to print, they vary in their method.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

First Powered Printing Machines 1803 - 1818

In 1802 Koenig first began to devise ways and means for improving the art of printing by eliminating some of the "horse-work".
His first effort, produced in 1803-04, known as the Suhl(er) press, was basically a powered, wooden hand press with moveable carriage, reciprocating platen, self-opening frisket and self-inking 'cylinders' (wooden rollers wrapped with layers of felt and covered with leather). Whether an actual machine was constructed is not known but it was considered too complicated and costly by German printers.  He resolved then to try his luck abroad. In the meantime the Russian Government, having heard of his inventive ability, offered him the position to organise the State printing office at St. Petersburg. The invitation was accepted and he proceeded there in 1806. But 'officialdom' so discouraged him that he resolved, 'after two lost years of fruitless applications in Germany and Russia' to try his luck in England.

After arriving in London, Koenig had difficulty finding printers interested in his ideas, eventually however, he was introduced to Thomas Bensley, a book printer of Bolt Court, Fleet Street. Bensley was receptive to the ideas of Koenig and, on the 30th November, 1807  they put their signatures to a business agreement.

Koenig's original plan was confined to his 'improved' powered hand press, where the operation of applying the ink to the type was performed by rollers connected to the motions of the bed, thereby saving the labour of one person, known as the dabber or beater. With the continuing refinement, versatility and availability of the steam engine - particularly in England, it was decided this rotary motion could be best used to power the machine. Whilst Koenig was thus engaged, he was joined by fellow countryman and good friend, Andreas F. Bauer (1783-1860), a clever mechanician (some sources say watchmaker) and eventual partner. Together, these two proceeded to pool their ideas, and to construct the first actual printing machine powered by steam.

A patent was taken out 29th March, 1810. The specifications stated in part: 'A machine with impression by a platen, in which the printing was produced by two plain plates just like in the common press.' The machine was finally set to work in April, 1811 and printed off 3,000 copies of sheet of the Annual Register for 1810, 'Principal Occur-rences.' This was, in Koenig's words 'no doubt, the first part of a book ever printed with a machine'. The press is said to have worked at the rate of 400 impressions per hour, a modest improvement on the hand press; he continued to make improve-ments until he finally realized that it could advance no further technically. Somewhat incorrectly , as his methods were used several years later by other like-minded press builders, culminating in the successful Bed & Platen powered book printing mach-ines of Treadwell, Adams, Hoe and others.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wooden Press Gives Way to the Iron Press

By the end of the eighteenth century the time was ripe for a major step forward in printing press construction. The reason this was possible in England was the advances which had been made in the techniques of casting metal. That the man who grasped these facts and used them to produce the first all-metal press was not a tradesman but a peer of the realm is not surprising. Earl Stanhope (1753-1816) was devoted to scientific enquiry, was free from the conservatism of the average printer and had greater resources at his disposal.

When Charles, the third Earl Stanhope, invented the press which bears his name about 1800, he retained the conventional screw but separated it from the spindle and bar, inserting a system of compound levers between them. The effect of several levers acting upon each other was to increase considerably the power applied resulting in sharper impressions.

The Stanhope press consists of a massive cast-iron frame formed in one piece, in the upper part of which a nut is fixed for the reception of the screw, the point of which operates on the upper end of a slider. This has a heavy platen attached to its lower end which is counterbalanced by a heavy weight behind the press, suspended on a lever. The iron carriage is moved in the same way as the wooden press which it gradually replaced.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Why Your Business Should have a Brochure

Here at MI Printing we hope you have been enjoying our "History of Printing" series.  It will be back tomorrow but now it is time for a word from our sponsor.  Well, we are the sponsor.

Do you ever have a customer ask for more information that they can take home and think about?  The average customer doesn't usually make snap buying decisions. They want to compare and think over any large purchase. What makes "it" a large purchase?  That answer varies from customer to customer. But the needs for product (or service) brochures are there.

The quick answer "It's on my website" doesn't satisfy everyone. Some customers don't use computers.  Others feel that a brochure you can hold in your hand is better than a website.

You should always have enough information in your brochure as is necessary to inform your customer about the product 9or service) and your business.

When a prospect requests your brochure, keep in mind, that they are interested in reading about your product or service.

They want to know about your product, service, website, price, ordering information, and you must be fully descriptive. Still keep the information simple by breaking the content into easy to read sections.

Make sure the customers knows you have the product or service to meet their needs.
Remember your brochure should inform your customer and close the sale!

If you need help from start to finish MI Printing is here to help meet your needs.

Call us at 623-582-1302

Monday, January 10, 2011

Printing Press Improvements after Gutenberg

Many small improvements were made in the screw printing press over the next 350 years.  The following were of significance.

About 1550 the wooden screw was replaced by iron.

Twenty years later, innovators added a double-hinged chase consisting of a frisket, a piece of parchment cut out to expose only the actual text itself and so to prevent ink spotting the nonprinted areas of the paper.

Next came the tympan, a layer of a soft, thick fabric to improve the regularity of the pressure despite irregularities in the height of the type.

Around 1620 Willem Janszoon Blaeu in Amsterdam added a counterweight to the pressure bar which made the platen rise automatically; this was the "Dutch press", a copy of which was to be the first press introduced into North America, by Stephen Daye at Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1638.  That press began printing in early 1639.

About 1790 an English scientist and inventor William Nicholson, devised a method of inking using a leather covered cylinder (later in conjunction with a composition of gelatin, glue, and molasses). This was the first introduction of rotary movement into the printing process.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Historic Advances in Printing - Gutenberg Era

Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg  was a15th century German goldsmith, printer and publisher who introduced modern book printing. His invention of mechanical movable type printing started the Printing Revolution and is widely regarded as the most important event of the modern period. It played a key role in the development of the Renaissance, Reformation and the Scientific Revolution laying the basis for the modern knowledge-based economy and the spread of learning to the masses.

Gutenberg was among the first Europeans to use movable type printing, in around 1439, and the global inventor of the printing press. Among his many contributions to printing are: the invention of a process for mass-producing movable type; the use of oil-based ink; and the use of a wooden printing press similar to the agricultural screw presses of the period. His truly significant invention was the combination of these elements into a practical system which allowed the mass production of printed books and was economically viable for printers and readers alike. Gutenberg's method for making type is considered to have included a type metal alloy and a hand mould for casting type.

The use of movable type was a marked improvement on the handwritten manuscript, which was the existing method of book production in Europe, and upon woodblock printing, and revolutionized European book-making. Gutenberg's printing technology spread rapidly throughout Europe and later the world.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Printing in the pre-Gutenberg World

In 1040 a Chinese alchemist named Pi Sheng invented the earliest printing press.

A printing press is a device for applying pressure to an inked surface resting upon a print medium (such as paper or cloth), thereby transferring the ink. Typically used for texts, the invention and spread of the printing press are widely regarded as the most influential events in the second millennium AD, revolutionizing the way people conceive and describe the world they live in, and ushering in the period of modernity.

The typographical principle, the idea of creating a text by reusing individual characters, was well understood and had been cropping up since the 12th century and possibly before.  The known examples range from Germany (Prüfening inscription) to England (letter tiles) to Italy.  However, the various techniques employed (imprinting, punching and assembling individual letters) did not have the refinement and efficiency needed to become widely accepted.

A development that was needed was the early success of medieval papermakers at mechanizing paper manufacture. The introduction of water-powered paper mills, the first certain evidence of which dates to 1282, allowed for a massive expansion of production and replaced the laborious handcraft characteristic of both Chinese and Muslim papermaking. Papermaking centres began to multiply in the late 13th century in Italy, reducing the price of paper to one sixth of parchment and then falling further; papermaking centers reached Germany in the late 1300s or the very early 1400s.