Meaning of PRINTING in English


process for reproducing text and illustrations, traditionally by applying ink to paper under pressure but in modern times including a variety of other methods. The earliest printing was probably done from painstakingly engraved woodblocks. Printed texts of this type are known from Japan and China from the 8th and 9th centuries. Movable type, consisting of individual elements from which texts could be composed and then printed, was devised in China in the 11th century, but the complexity of the Chinese ideographic language discouraged the further development of the technique. Printing from carved woodblocks (xylography) appeared in Europe in the 14th century. Various experimenters worked with movable wooden type and with metallographic printing, which involved successively impressing metal type dies into a clay or soft metal matrix to produce a printing plate. Johannes Gutenberg is generally credited with bringing together in about 1450 the two ideas that constituted the invention of modern printing: the use of dies to make individual pieces of type that could be assembled as required and then reused, and the use of a press by which sharp impressions could be made many times over, on both sides of a sheet of paper if desired. Over the next 500 years a great many improvements were made in the mechanics of printing, but the fundamental process remained essentially the same. In modern commercial printing, three basic techniques are used-letterpress, rotogravure, and offset (qq.v.). Friedrich Koenig's mechanical platen press, 1811. The letterpress system, the same in principle as that of Gutenberg, relies on mechanical pressure to transfer a raised inked image to the surface to be printed. The earliest machines consisted of a bed on which the type was placed and a means of applying pressure to the paper placed on the inked type. There are three main designs of letterpress machines: the platen press used for small-scale printing (see photograph); the sheetfed flatbed machine in which the printing surface, resting on the bed, moves backward and forward in contact with the paper gripped on the impression cylinder; and the webfed rotary press that prints on a continuous roll of paper and is usually equipped to deliver a folded product such as a newspaper. The printing surface for letterpress rotary presses is the curved stereotype plate made by a molding process from the original metal type. Letterpress flatbed and rotary presses may be designed to print one or more colours or to print both sides of the paper. Such machines were responsible for the enormous growth of popular newspapers in Europe and North America in the 19th century. In contrast to printing from a raised-relief-image area, the rotogravure method is an intaglio process that relies on the transfer of ink from recessed cells of varying depths. The cells are created in a coated copperplate cylinder by photographically producing resistant areas in the coating, consisting of pigmented gelatin, that permit differential etching of the cylinder with ferric chloride. Alternatively, the cells may be produced by the use of an electromechanical engraving machine or, more recently, by the engraving of a plastic-coated cylinder by laser beam. Rotogravure presses are generally fed from a roll of paper and usually include a folder that delivers the product as a series of pages in the required numerical sequence. The cylinder surface is sprayed with ink of low viscosity that contains a spirit solvent; the cylinder surface is then wiped clean by an oscillating steel blade, the "doctor," leaving the ink in the cells of the cylinder that is then transferred under pressure to the paper. The printed paper then passes through or over a dryer, where the volatile solvent is driven off, and thence passes into the folder. Multiunit rotogravure presses can produce magazines, complete or in sections, in one, two, or four colours at high speed. Rotogravure has the advantage of being able to transfer a greater density of pigment per unit area than other printing processes. Rotogravure is used mainly for long-run magazine production and by the packaging industry. In the offset system the printing and nonprinting areas of the plate differ not in height but in wettability by the ink. The plate is prepared by first coating it with a thin layer of a light-sensitive material; a photographic negative of the text is then placed on it, and the plate is illuminated through the film, thereby rendering the exposed areas insoluble in water and receptive to ink. The unexposed areas are washed free of the light-sensitive substance and left wetted with water and thus repellent to the ink. The essential components of an offset press are the printing plate, which is clamped around the plate cylinder; the wetting and inking systems; the offset or blanket cylinder; and the impression cylinder. The inked image is first transferred from the plate onto the rubber blanket on the offset cylinder and from there to the sheet of paper, which is gripped on the impression cylinder. Offset presses that are designed to print upon rolls of paper are known as web offset presses. Such presses usually print both sides of the paper, and it is commonly arranged that the web passes between the two blanket or offset cylinders, thus printing both sides simultaneously and eliminating the need for impression cylinders. Both sheet and web presses may be designed to print one or more colours. Because offset platemaking costs are lower and press speeds higher, offset replaced letterpress as the most widely used printing process. For many years the text to be printed was cast in metal, using Monotype (q.v.) to set single characters or Linotype (q.v.) to set text line by line. More recently, typesetting has moved away from hot metal to computerized typesetting (q.v.), utilizing very high speed optical methods. Before type matter can be used for printing, it must be made up into pages with any illustrations incorporated. For offset and rotogravure, which require an image on film this may be done by computer in a process known as an electronic page makeup system. For illustrations, the representation of a full tone range is achieved in letterpress and offset by photographing the artwork through a halftone screen, which breaks up the image into dots of different sizes that will transfer different amounts of ink. In rotogravure the effect is achieved by varying the volume of the cells etched into the cylinder. Full-colour illustrations are produced by analyzing the subject into its yellow, red, blue, and black components; separate plates or cylinders are made for each colour that, when superimposed in register in the printing operation, render a full-colour reproduction of the original. traditionally, a technique for applying under pressure a certain quantity of colouring agent onto a specified surface to form a body of text or an illustration. Certain modern processes for reproducing texts and illustrations, however, are no longer dependent on the mechanical concept of pressure or even on the material concept of colouring agent. Because these processes represent an important development that may ultimately replace the other processes, printing should probably now be defined as any of several techniques for reproducing texts and illustrations, in black and in colour, on a durable surface and in a desired number of identical copies. There is no reason why this broad definition should not be retained, for the whole history of printing is a progression away from those things that originally characterized it: lead, ink, and the press. It is also true that, after five centuries during which printing has maintained a quasi-monopoly of the transmission or storage of information, this role is being seriously challenged by new audiovisual and information media. Printing, by the very magnitude of its contribution to the multiplication of knowledge, has helped engender radio, television, film, microfilm, tape recording, and other rival techniques. Nevertheless, its own field remains immense. Printing is used not merely for books and newspapers but also for textiles, plates, wallpaper, packaging, and billboards. It has even been used to manufacture miniature electronic circuits. The invention of printing at the dawn of the age of the great discoveries was in part a response and in part a stimulus to the movement that, by transforming the economic, social, and ideological relations of civilization, would usher in the modern world. The economic world was marked by the high level of production and exchange attained by the Italian republics, as well as by the commercial upsurge of the Hanseatic League and the Flemish cities; social relations were marked by the decline of the landed aristocracy and the rise of the urban mercantile bourgeoisie; and the world of ideas reflected the aspirations of this bourgeoisie for a political role that would allow it to fulfill its economic ambitions. Ideas were affected by the religious crisis that would lead to the Protestant Reformation. The first major role of the printed book was to spread literacy and then general knowledge among the new economic powers of society. In the beginning it was scorned by the princes. It is significant that the contents of the first books were often devoted to literary and scientific works as well as to religious texts, though printing was used to ensure the broad dissemination of religious material, first Catholic and, shortly, Protestant. There is a material explanation for the fact that printing developed in Europe in the 15th century rather than in the Far East, even though the principle on which it is based had been known in the Orient long before. European writing was based on an alphabet composed of a limited number of abstract symbols. This simplifies the problems involved in developing techniques for the use of movable type manufactured in series. Chinese handwriting, with its vast number of ideograms requiring some 80,000 symbols, lends itself only poorly to the requirements of a typography. Partly for this reason, the unquestionably advanced Oriental civilization, of which the richness of their writing was evidence, underwent a slowing down of its evolution in comparison with the formerly more backward Western civilizations. Printing participated in and gave impetus to the growth and accumulation of knowledge. In each succeeding era there were more people who were able to assimilate the knowledge handed to them and to augment it with their own contribution. From Diderot's encyclopaedia to the present profusion of publications printed throughout the world, there has been a constant acceleration of change, a process highlighted by the Industrial Revolution at the beginning of the 19th century and the scientific and technical revolution of the 20th. At the same time, printing has facilitated the spread of ideas that have helped to shape alterations in social relations made possible by industrial development and economic transformations. By means of books, pamphlets, and the press, information of all kinds has reached all levels of society in most countries. In view of the contemporary competition over some of its traditional functions, it has been suggested by some observers that printing is destined to disappear. On the other hand, this point of view has been condemned as unrealistic by those who argue that information in printed form offers particular advantages different from those of other audio or visual media. Radio scripts and television pictures report facts immediately but only fleetingly, while printed texts and documents, though they require a longer time to be produced, are permanently available and so permit reflection. Though films, microfilms, punch cards, punch tapes, tape recordings, holograms, and other devices preserve a large volume of information in small space, the information on them is available to human senses only through apparatus such as enlargers, readers, and amplifiers. Print, on the other hand, is directly accessible, a fact that may explain why the most common accessory to electronic calculators is a mechanism to print out the results of their operations in plain language. Far from being fated to disappear, printing seems more likely to experience an evolution marked by its increasingly close association with these various other means by which information is placed at the disposal of humankind. Additional reading The history of printing has been the subject of many volumes. See D.C. McMurtrie (ed.), The Invention of Printing: A Bibliography (1962). Books retracing the origins of typography include: L.P.V. Febvre and H.J. Martin (eds.), L'Apparition du livre (1958); P. Butler, The Origin of Printing in Europe (1966); E.G. Duff, Early Printed Books (1893, reprinted 1968); and T.L. De Vinne, The Invention of Printing (1876, reprinted 1969). Biographical works on contributors to the invention of printing are: S. Jennett, Pioneers in Printing (1958); J. Guignard, Gutenberg et son oeuvre (1963); G.P. Winship, Gutenberg to Plantin (1968); and A. van der Linde, De Haarlemsche Costerlegende (Eng. trans., The Haarlem Legend of the Invention of Printing, by Lourens Janszoon Coster, 1871, reprinted 1968). The subject of an entire family devoted to the typographic art is treated by A.J. George in The Didot Family and the Progress of Printing (1961). The various stages of evolution of the techniques of printing are developed in: S.H. Steinberg, Five Hundred Years of Printing, 2nd ed. rev. (1962); M. Audin in M. Daumas (ed.), Histoire gnrale des techniques, 3 vol. (1962-68; Eng. trans. of vol. 1-2, A History of Technology and Invention, 1965-69); I.B. Simon, The Story of Printing from Wood Blocks to Electronics (1965); J. Watson, The History of the Art of Printing (1713, reprinted 1965); C.A. Clair, Chronology of Printing (1969); and I. Thomas, The History of Printing in America, with a Biography of Printers (1874; 2nd ed., 2 vol., reprinted 1967). One particular aspect of the history of printing is treated in C.H. Bloy, A History of Printing Ink: Balls, and Rollers, 1440-1850 (1967). Both history and technology are covered in P. Luckombe, The History and Art of Printing (1771, reprinted 1965); G. Baudry and R. Marange, Comment on imprime, 3rd ed. (1966), and also in G.A. Stevenson, Graphic Arts Encyclopedia (1968). Later sources include Benjamin Franklin V (ed.), Boston Printers, Publishers, and Booksellers, 1640-1800 (1980); Stanley Morison, Selected Essays on the History of Letter-Forms in Manuscript and Print, 2 vol., ed. by David McKitterick (1981); and Miriam Usher Chrisman, Lay Culture, Learned Culture (1982), all three covering different aspects of printing history.The specialized language of the profession and the technical terms that are appropriate to it are collected in the following dictionaries: Pocket Encyclopedia of Paper and Graphic Arts Terms (1960); W.M. Pepper, Dictionary of Newspaper and Printing Terms: English-Spanish, Spanish-English (1959); E.M. Allen, Harper's Dictionary of the Graphic Arts (1963); W.A. Savage, Dictionary of the Art of Printing (1841, reprinted 1966); W.W. Pasko (ed.), American Dictionary of Printing and Bookmaking (1894; reprinted with new introduction, 1967); C.T. Jacobi, The Printer's Vocabulary (1888, reprinted 1969); and R. Hostettler, Technical Terms of the Printing Industry, 5th rev. ed. (1969), which gives the equivalents of the words in five languages. In addition to general technical works on printing, such as F. Pateman and L.C. Young, Printing Science (1963); and R.R. Coupe, Science of Printing Technology (1966); there are numerous treatises for professionals, such as: C.A. Hurst and F.R. Lawrence, Letterpress, Composition and Machine Work (1963); E.A.D. Hutchings, Printing by Letterpress (1964); V.S. Ganderton and H. Copeland, Cylinder Presses, 2nd ed. (1965); L. Heitner, Introduction to Offset (1964); R.R. Karch and E.J. Buber, Graphic Arts Procedures: The Offset Processes (1967); J.E. Cogoli, Photo-Offset Fundamentals, 2nd ed. (1967); A. Kinsey, Introducing Screen Printing (1967); A. Kosloff, Photographic Screen Process Printing, 3rd ed. (1968); A.H. Phillips, Computer Peripherals and Typesetting (1968); E.A. Apps, Printing Ink Technology (1958), and Ink Technology for Printers and Students (1963). On the economics of the printing industry, see Printing Industry in Britain, U.S.A. and Japan (1964), ed. by the National Productivity Council, New Delhi. Some philosophical and social elements are discussed in Marshall McLuhan, The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man (1962); J. Carter, Printing and the Mind of Man (1967); and W.M. Ivins, Prints and Visual Communication (1969). See also Geoffrey A. Glaister, Glaister's Glossary of the Book, 2nd ed. (1979); Janet N. Field (ed.), Graphic Arts Manual (1980); Patricia B. Mintz, Dictionary of Graphic Arts Terms (1981); and Edward Booth-Clibborn and Daniele Baroni, The Language of Graphics, trans. from Italian (1980). Modern printing techniques Composition and typesetting Mechanical composition and typesetting In the first decades of the 20th century all type was set and composed into columns and pages by hand or by mechanical means. These methods are still widely used. Letterpress composition by hand The font, which constitutes a complete set of characters of a given typeface, with duplicate numbers of each letter in proportion to the frequency with which each is used, is stored in the compartments of a case; capital letters, proportionately less frequently called for, are in the upper compartments, whence their name, uppercase, and the small letters in the lower compartments, which are more easily accessible and whence their name, lowercase. The typographer works standing in front of the case. His principal tools are the composing stick, a metal angle iron with one fixed end and a "knee" with a screw or lever for locking; the line gauge, a ruler graduated in units of typographic measurement; and tweezers. He locks the knee of the composing stick at the justification; that is, at the length of the line to be composed. Against the inside edge of the stick he places a lead, a strip of nonprinting lead alloy that later enables him, using a second lead, to grip the finished line in order to remove it from the composing stick. Holding the composing stick in one hand, he uses the other to select the individual type characters from the case. He can tell by touching which way up they should go, thanks to a nick indicating the top or bottom of the body (the bottom in English-speaking countries and Germany; elsewhere, the top), and he places them side by side in the composing stick. Having completed the proper number of characters to fill the length of the line with a whole word or at the correct division in a word, he adds as necessary to the nonprinting pieces already in place to mark the spaces between the words until the exact justification is obtained. Having composed and justified the line, the typographer takes it, gripped by its two leads between the thumb and forefinger of both hands, to place it in a galley, a wooden or metal tray with a raised edge on two or three of its sides. Modern printing techniques Printing (press operation) Printing in the second sense of the word-that is, press operation-is the technique by which ink or other colouring agent, transferred to paper or any other material, is localized on printing surfaces delimited by the composition of texts or the making of illustration material. Colour printing Juxtaposition of colours is achieved by submitting each sheet to successive impressions by typeforms each of which prints only on areas designed to carry a single colour and inked only in that colour. There are sufficient wavelengths in the three primary colours, blue, red, and green, to reconstitute all the colours of the spectrum. The colour perceived from an inked impression results from the fact that the ink reflects some waves of the range of colours of the spectrum and absorbs the others-that is, prevents them from being seen. Thus, three colours of ink can reconstitute the visual effect of all the range of colours by combining them appropriately. Yellow totally absorbs all waves of colour that are basically blue and reflects waves of colour that are basically red and green; magenta (deep crimson) totally absorbs green and reflects red and blue; cyan (close to turquoise) absorbs red and reflects blue and green. When two of these inks combine, each annuls in the other the capacity to reflect that one of the two primary colours that it cannot itself reflect; the eye then perceives only the one primary colour that both inks reflect; for example, red, by combining yellow and magenta inks. All three inks combined no longer reflect any of the three primary colours but appear as black. In trichromatic printing the screened plates necessary for each of the three colours of ink are prepared by selecting the colours through filters. A fourth plate is usually used for making a print in black ink to accentuate the contours and modelling in the picture, making the process quadrichromatic. Printing colours by superposition requires the exact positioning on top of one another of the successively printed constituent parts of the picture (usually printed in this order: magenta, yellow, cyan, black). The finer the definition of the screen, the more precise this positioning must be.

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