The Invention of Industrial Printing Presses

Early in the Industrial Revolution, the basic mechanics of the hand-operated Gutenberg type of printing press was relatively unchanged. Although new materials were used which improved its printing efficiency, it was still based upon the original Gutenberg press.
By the year 1800, Lord Stanhope had built a printing press made from cast iron. This reduced the hand-operated force required to operate the press by 90%. It also doubled the size of the printed area. It had a capacity of 480 pages per hour which was double the output of the older style presses.
Even so, the limitations of the older presses became obvious. Being manually operated, the idea of using steam power for running the machinery was devised. The second factor that needed improvement was the printing flatbed itself. Instead of using the flatbed, the idea of using a rotary motion of cylinders was thought about. Both of these ideas were implemented successfully by the German printer Friedrich Koenig in a series of designs devised between 1802 and 1818.
Patented in 1810, Koenig designed a new steam printing press that operated “much like a hand press connected to a Cottage Industries Definition steam engine.” His first production model was produced with the help of German engineer Andreas Friedrich Bauer.
Koenig and Bauer sold their first two models to The Times in London in 1814. These machines were capable of producing 1,100 impressions per hour. The first edition was printed on November 28, 1814. They even went on to improve the models so that they were capable of printing on both sides of a sheet of paper at once.
Richard M. Hoe of the United States went on to invent the steam powered rotary printing press in 1843. This invention allowed millions of copies of a page in a single day. Mass Manufactured Products Definition produced printed works flourished with the invention coupled with the transition to continuous feed rolled paper. This allowed the presses to run at an even faster rate.
By the late 1930’s and early into the 1940’s, printing presses improved substantially in efficiency. A model created by Platan Printing Press was able to perform 2,500 to 3,000 impressions per hour. These same style presses are continued to be in use today.

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