Culture and Recreation

Printing Methods

Who developed printing?

If printing is defined as the process of transferring repeatable designs onto a surface, then the first known printing was done by the Mesopotamians, who as early as 3000 b. C. used stamps to impress designs onto wet clay.

Printing on paper developed much later; Chinese inventor Ts’ai Lun (A.D. c. 50–118) is credited with producing the first paper in A.D. 105. During the T’ang dynasty (618–906) Chinese books were printed with inked wood blocks, and it was the Chinese—not German printer Johannes Gutenberg (c. 1390–1468), as is widely believed—who developed movable type, allowing printers to compose a master page from permanent, raised characters. However, movable-type printing did not catch on in medieval China because the Chinese language has some 80,000 characters; printers found it more convenient to use carved blocks.


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