When you talk about a printing press, you must know that it includes several components that make up the complete printing mechanism. These include a printing head, a printing drum, a printing roll and various other feed devices. Let’s take a deeper look into each of these components and their functions.
A printing press is any type of device that applies force between a printing media and an ink’s surface. As you probably already know, there are many different types of inks out there today, ranging from permanent black to dark pink to milky yellow, to even bright red. So, it was a huge technological improvement on previous printing methodologies, such as transcribing manually with a pen and ink, or by rubbing and scraping repeatedly to create impressions on a flat piece of wood. But, if you’ll recall, none of those systems were more efficient than the printing press. Therefore, the invention of the printing press made possible the mass production of numerous products including business cards, letterheads, pamphlets and other print materials.
Presses consist of several separate parts such as the head, which is the part that holds the ink in place; the rollers that push the ink through the rollers and the platform, which holds the print head. Platforms come in many forms: flexible, hard plastic, metal plates, wood, fiberglass and even ceramic tiles. Depending on the purpose and function, a printing block can be made of various materials. However, the most common and popular types of platforms are hard plastic, metal and wood. They are all movable type devices that are usually coupled with a spring mechanism to allow for easy operation.
Some examples of movable printing blocks are card stocks and woodblock printing. Card stocks are used for normal everyday printing, like making addresses, mailing letters and creating notes. Woodblock printing, on the other hand, is reserved for thicker, more durable documents that require thick paper and ink. Woodblock printing can either be used single block or in groupings. The type of groupings depends on the final printed message. For instance, a message composed of several horizontal cards would require a different approach than one composed of two vertical cards.
In 1486, during the Ming Dynasty, a printing press was invented in China. The wang paper that was used contained ink that consisted of rice starch, water and carbon. The wang paper was created to be used for mass printing and therefore, was not very successful because only a few people could read the messages that had been produced. However, improvements to the printing press led to more widespread use and printing became more accessible to the masses.
Subsequent generations of printers in Europe made printing more accessible to the working class by offering color printing. The first time that color printers appeared in Europe was in the 18th century in London, England. Prior to this, the majority of printers in Europe used black and white printing. Improvements to the printing press, however, enabled printers to produce color images in black and white.
The printing process called flexography involved using a plate to transfer a flat design onto an ink foundation. Flexography, which used the same ink base, was a huge success and helped to revolutionize the way that many professional artists printed the art form for the first time. The most common ink used in this method was a gum ball and there were a number of different ways that artists transferred their artwork. One of the most commonly practiced technique was called the hand. This involved taking a piece of thin paper, wetting it and drawing a series of zigzags in place of traditional Chinese characters.
The printing process has continued to evolve over the centuries and new technologies have been introduced that help to make the process faster and more efficient. One of the most popular examples of a printing press that is still in use today is the vertical roll press. Invented in the 1890s, this machine uses individual metal plates that are heated up and rolled over various shapes to form lettering and images on the pages. Today, you can still find some of these old machines around and some of the products that they formed have been handed down to modern generations. Another example of a printing press that was developed in the early days of the church is the taffeta screen or the taffeta fold.