Printing Press – Wikipedia
Image from www.britannica.com
A printing press is a device for applying pressure to an inked surface resting upon a print medium (such as paper or cloth), thereby transferring the ink. It marked a dramatic improvement on earlier printing methods in which the cloth, paper or other medium was brushed or rubbed repeatedly to achieve the transfer of ink, and accelerated the process. Typically used for texts, the invention and global spread of the printing press was one of the most influential events in the second millennium.
The method used is the one created by the german Johannes Gutenberg for mass printing. He didn't invent the printing process, the Chinese printed from centuries ago, but he adapted the printing system to the western writing model whose characters with different widths are more difficult to align in a print form than the Chinese square characters.
Gutenberg created or adapted:
- A process to mass-produce mobile types of different width
- An oil based ink
- The use of a wooden printing press
There are millions of books about the Gutenberg printing process, but this is the base:
A casting metal (an alloy of lead, tin, and antimony) was poured into the mold to produce the individual sorts that could be arranged into a galley (a wooden tray) to make up the pages. The type surface was then inked with leather covered ink balls and paper carefully placed on top by hand. It then slid under a padded surface with pressure applied from above by a large threaded screw press. A number of additions were made to the screw style press to make it suitable for printing and ensure even pressure along the entire page. Gutenberg’s printing process needed a slightly sticky and deeper black ink to produce a good print. Unlike the water-based ink for wood block printing, Gutenberg combined linseed oil, resin, and soot for his ink.
Extracted from http://www.intellectualventureslab.com/invent/inventor-in-history-johannes-gutenberg
Even Fausto's famous story, repeated on countless occasions in movies, comes from the real story of Gutenberg's assistants when they tried to betray him with his discovery.