Printing is the art of transferring an image to a surface. Traditionally, the surface is a block of stone or a metal plate. But printing is also used for wallpaper and textiles. In the 21st century, it has evolved into digital and audiovisual forms, with the introduction of inkjet printers and lasers.
In the 15th century, the process of printing was largely a mechanical one. Gutenberg used lead types to create printed texts. This technology was used for printing encyclopedias, textbooks, mathematics texts and Confucian classics. However, the invention of the movable type in the Song Dynasty of China provided a more scalable method of producing text.
By the late 17th century, the use of two-color printing became common. The CMNgame emergence of printing has helped facilitate the accumulation of knowledge, the assimilation of ideas, and the dissemination of information. It has also helped to shape the social changes that have occurred as a result of industrial development.
In the Middle Ages, printed texts were often available only from private dealers. This was thought to enhance the power of monarchs and religion. At the same time, the accessibility of texts contributed to critical reading. Information of all kinds had been made available to all levels of society in most countries.
While some observers have suggested that the advent of printing is destined to go the way of the telephone, there are still a number of technical advances that are helping the industry continue to evolve. These innovations include the dot matrix printer, a device that offers basic print quality, as well as laser and inkjet printing, which have both improved the efficiency of the industry.
Printing has played a part in the development of television, film, and radio. It has also allowed for the preservation of large amounts of information in small spaces. Various techniques for the mass production of these objects include punch tapes, holograms, and microfilm.
Other methods for mass reproduction of images are gravure and intaglio. Gravure prints are used for postage stamps, packaging, and wallpaper. Lithography is another technique that involves drawing an image directly on a paper or metal plate.
A cylinder seal is the earliest example of a non-paper product with printing. In this case, a cylindrical shape is etched with greasy ink on a flat surface. The resulting relief has printing areas on the plane surface and non-printing areas beneath.
The invention of movable type in the mid-15th century changed the nature of printing. Instead of a master form, the type could be broken up and assembled on a flat iron plate. When the pressure was applied on the plate, the ink would adhere to the greasy areas of the image, producing a mirror image.
Other forms of printing include flexography, letterpress, and photo printing. Laser printing is commonly used by direct mail companies for variable data letters, while thermal printing is used in airline baggage tags and fax printing. Some printers are designed to produce high-quality photographs.