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Timeline of Printing Technology

From the T’ang Dynasty to the Advent of Phototypesetting


Yi Munsun Chip (1241).

The collected works of Yi Munsun (the literary name of Yi Kyu-bo), the great poet, scholar, and statesman of Korea's Koryo Dynasty (918-1392), were edited and printed with metal movable type by his son Yi Ham in about 1241.


  • 618 to 906: T’ang Dynasty - the first printing is done in China using ink on carved wooden blocks begins to make multiple transfers of an image to paper.
  • 868: The Diamond Sutra is printed.
  • 1241: Koreans print books using movable type.
  • 1300: The first use of wooden type in China.
  • 1309: Europeans first make paper. However, the Chinese and Egyptians had started making paper centuries previous.
  • 1338: First papermill opened in France.
  • 1390: First papermill opened in Germany.
  • 1392: Foundries that can produce bronze type are opened in Korea.
  • 1423: In Europe block printing is used to print books.
  • 1452: In Europe, metal plates are first used in printing. Gutenberg begins printing the Bible which he finishes in 1456.
  • 1457: First color printing by Fust and Schoeffer.
  • 1465: Drypoint engravings invented by Germans.
  • 1476: William Caxton begins using a Gutenberg printing press in England.
  • 1477: Intaglio is first used for book illustration for a Flemish book called Il Monte Sancto di Dio.
  • 1495: First papermill opened in England.
  • 1501: Italic type first used.
  • 1550: Wallpaper introduced in Europe.
  • 1605: First weekly newspaper published in Antwerp.
  • 1611: King James Bible published.
  • 1660: Mezzotint invented in Germany.
  • 1691: First papermill opened in the American colonies.
  • 1702: Multi-colored engraving invented by German Jakob Le Blon. The first English language daily newspaper is published called the Daily Courant.
  • 1725: In Scotland stereotyping invented by William Ged.
  • 1800: Iron printing presses invented.
  • 1819: Rotary printing press invented by Napier.
  • 1829: Embossed printing invented by Louis Braille.
  • 1841: Type-composing machine invented.
  • 1844: Electrotyping invented.
  • 1846: Cylinder press invented by Richard Hoe. Cylinder press can print 8,000 sheets an hour.
  • 1863: Rotary web-fed letterpress invented by William Bullock.
  • 1865: Web offset press can print on both sides of paper at once.
  • 1886: Linotype composing machineinvented by Ottmar Mergenthaler.
  • 1870: Paper is now mass-manufactured from wood pulp.
  • 1878: Photogravure printing invented by Karl Klic.
  • 1890: Mimeograph machine introduced.
  • 1891: Printing presses can now print and fold 90,000 4-page papers an hour. Diazotype invented (print photographs on fabric).
  • 1892: 4-color rotary press invented.
  • 1904: Offset lithography becomes common. The first comic book is published.
  • 1907: Commercial silk screening invented.
  • 1947: Phototypesetting made practical

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