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History of Printing Press

Updated on March 21, 2011

The printing press is an innovative mechanism introduced by Johann Gutenberg printed together with movable type.

It is a mechanism to support a sheet of paper on a matrix obtained by constructing a form of movable type printing. The system remembers the press woodcut or it could be inspired by many other applications such as press vat. The printing press was formed by a screw (in the image on the right is replaced by a crankshaft) operated by a lever or bar. The screw pushes down the metal plate above said platen or platen which is lowered on a wooden frame (the eardrum, consisting of a frame holding a sheet of parchment that is interposed between the paper and the platen) that keeps locked the paper. The drum is mounted on a rail that allows you to move forward, right up to the plate in or out, to extract the printed page. The form is located under the plate inked with the characters facing up. After each shot the Torcolato raised the bar and, using a system of ropes attached to a swivel, he slipped back "wagon" that held the "treasure chest" containing the eardrum. This was raised and the paper allowed to dry before receiving the second impression. Meanwhile, the new ink drum shape, surrounded with a lightweight said "flirt" holding up a paper frame to prevent soiling of the sheets of paper with the edges of the form. The eardrum received a new sheet of paper and it was closed, the chest was placed back into position under the platen and the Torcolato pulled the bar.

Like all machinery printing press underwent an evolution from the primitive and cumbersome wood machinery of pre-industrial times (see picture left) arrived in smaller systems, but considerably more robust all metal period of the industrial revolution. In some images dear to bibliophiles is not uncommon to see pressmen contracts with the effort. In fact in modern specimens shot had to be well calibrated because of the risk of moving the whole structure in case of excessive force. Although there are numerous examples of these machines, they are generally out of use for the low productivity compared to modern machines. However, I am occasionally used in the case of short runs of special editions for amateurs.


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    • Ddraigcoch profile image

      Emma 6 years ago from UK

      The old printing press looked so painfully tiresome. We have a lot to be thankful for as writers to those that paved the way.