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One of the household items that we tend to forget about being a massive technological advancement is the printer. Written text and hieroglyphics have been around for centuries, back to the B.C. era, with writing and drawing on the cave walls. The process then developed into markings on clay tablets in Sumer (modern day Iraq), and eventually into writing on Papyrus (the first paper-like substance) in China. It was not until 868 A.D. do we have known evidence of the first printed text, The Diamond Sutra. About 100 years later the Chinese created woodblock printing, essentially using giant stamps to mass-produce classical books. In the year 1041 the first moveable type was created out of clay. Moveable type is turning your giant stamp into a scrabble board with raised letter pieces, and continuing the stamp technique. The major difference was that the letters could simply be readjusted to print the next thing, instead of having to create an entire new wood block. The next large technological advancement was by Johannes Gutenberg. He created the first adjustable type mold in Germany. The Gutenberg press is one of the most common known starting points to the printing process. He had refined the moveable type process by casting the letters out of metal, allowing for precise strokes and impressive clarity. This precision and clarity redefined what a book looked like.
1473 brought the ability to print music, allowing for the sheet music to be shared and played by others on a larger scale for the first time. The world then moved on from printing symbols and letters to printing maps, becoming a historical advancement in navigation. Before this, a cartographer would hand draw each individual map – making them imprecise and scarce. Printed maps allowed for reproduction of a perfected image, making maps more accurate and widely available.
The next big step was printing images and words in sequence together, which the media utilized by starting to print newspapers. In 1690 the papermaking process started in America and soon after, newspapers were printed right here at home. In 1698 the first public library opened in Charleston, South Carolina with the production of books ramping up. From that point on, the printing and papermaking processes progressed rapidly. The focus was on improving consistency, developing longer lasting machines, and even creating better materials for clearer print using wood-based paper. The printing process moved on from the iron hand press to a steam powered cylinder printing press to automate the printing process. In 1837, the first multicolor printer was developed, pushing the first successful photography into light.
Then, in 1902, the air conditioner was created. I know what you’re thinking, that this doesn’t sound relevant to printing, but it is!. Willis Carrier was working on a dehumidifier for a New York printing company. While trying to print, the magazine pages were wrinkling and Willis Carrier was tasked with solving this issue. During this process, he mistakenly created what we know today as an air conditioner.
In 1906 we start to develop the modern-day print, with CMYK wet-process inks. The CMYK process is an acronym for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and K for black as to not confuse it with blue. Each specific combination of these colors could create any color that we know today, making it one of the most common printing processes still widely used. Photocopying was then developed in 1938, and Inkjet printing in 1951. It wasn’t until 1959 that office photocopying was introduced, inverting the photography being inspired by print process.
Only four years later, in 1963, the Pantone Color Matching System was developed. This allowed for the same exact colors to be used over and over with an exact measurement of color mixtures that became widely used and also still used today.
Finally, the laser printer was developed by Xerox in 1969. This is the printer we all use today, but more importantly, this revolutionized the at home printer in 1985 by Apple, shortly after their Macintosh personal computer was introduced in 1984. From here on out they have been perfecting, fine-tuning, and increasing the productivity of printers to one of the newest products on the market with the Epson EcoTank giving a year plus supply of ink in one CMYK set of inks. Today, we all know that the biggest issue of printing is the price of ink, and as they streamline this process it will only get better and better.
One of the processes that I intentionally skipped in the above timeline is UV printing – that was invented in 1968 by a Swedish scientist named Hertz. The reason why I saved this process for last is because it is the one that can be done on a rolling steel door. UV printing works by multiple printer heads printing on a track, going side to side moving down the paper, or door in this case, line by line with a trailing UV light, curing the ink almost instantaneously as it is laid down.
We recognized the possibilities that UV printing could open up for our rolling doors. For years, architects had asked us what we could to do allow them to have doors compliment, highlight, or even blend into a building’s design aesthetic. Moving beyond RAL color chips and even custom color matching, the UV printing process goes a step further – it can turn rolling doors into rolling pieces of art. Pictures, graphics, logos – all can now be printed directly on a rolling door to enhance a façade or promote a brand. Whether you want to use your door as a piece of marketing material by adding a logo or brighten up the workplace by adding a snazzy mural, (or even a Chihuahua riding an armadillo at a fruit rodeo) it gives you a humongous canvas to let your creative side run wild. And, to protect your creative investment, a durable powder coated topcoat is added after the printing process is complete to protect the ink from chipping, fading, or cracking cycle after cycle.
This exciting new finish option is called ImageMatch™ Finish. Learn more here.