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THE EVOLUTION OF PRINTING - THE LAST 100 YEARS

Printing has come a long way since its invention back in 200AD. Back then, woodblock printing was the only option.

Things moved forward quickly over the next 1700 years, with the introduction of Movable Type, Etching, Rotary Press & Hectograph all making their stamp, and then eventually being replaced.  However, the advances in technology and the printing innovations that have taken place over the years are really quite astonishing.

Join us as we take you back in time to look at the evolution of printing over the last 100 years…

1910 – SCREEN PRINTING

Screen printing first appeared in a recognisable form in China way back in 960AD.

However it was early in the 1910’s that printers began experimenting with photo-reactive chemicals, thus revolutionising the screen printing industry.

Technique: Screen Printing involved a blade or squeegee moving across the screen (a piece of mesh stretched over a frame) to fill open areas with ink. Blocking stencils prevented ink from reaching certain places.

Fun Fact: World Famous artist, Andy Warhol is credited for popularising Screen Printing. His iconic 1962 depiction of Marilyn Monroe was screen printed in garish colours.

1923 – SPIRIT DUPLICATOR

The Spirit Duplicator was more commonly known as the Ditto Machine in America, or the Banda Machine in the UK.

Before photocopying technology was introduced, Spirit Duplicators were popular in the production of newsletters and fanzines.

Technique: This method used two sheets, called spirit masters. The top sheet was typed, written or drawn upon and the bottom one was covered in wax. The pressure placed on the waxed sheet then produced a mirror image of the desired marks.

Fun Fact: Because of its ability to produce multiple colours in a single pass, the spirit duplicator was popular with cartoonists.

1925 – DOT MATRIX PRINTING

German inventor, Rudolf Hell invented a dot matrix based device in 1925. It was called the Hellschreiber and was patented four years later in 1929.

Until the 1990’s, Dot Matrix printers were by far the most common form of printer used with personal and home computers.

Technique: Much like a typewriter,a print head moves back-and-forth or up-and-down and prints on impact, striking an ink-soaked cloth ribbon against the sheet paper or other material. However, unlike a typewriter, individual letters are drawn out by a Dot Matrix, allowing various fonts and graphics to be reproduced.

Fun Fact: Like Dot Matrix versions, nearly all inkjet, thermal and laser printers print closely spaced dots.

1938 - XEROGRAPHY

Originally named Electrophotography, Xerography was invented by Pal Selenyi, a Hungarian physicist in 1938.

Technique: A dry photocopying process where areas on a sheet of paper are sensitised by static electricity & sprinkled with a resin that is fused to the paper.

Fun Fact: This technology still exists in modern day photocopy machines & laser printers.

1951 – INKJET PRINTING

While similar technology was patented back in 1867, the first commercial inkjet product was released in 1951 by manufacturing giants, Siemens.

Although introduced in 1951, it wasn’t until the 1970’s that inkjet printers could reproduce images created by personal computers.

Technique: A high pressure pump directs liquid ink through a microscopic nozzle creating a continuous stream of ink droplets.

Fun Fact: One square meter of inkjet print contains around 20 billion droplets.

1957 – DYE SUBLIMATION

This method of printing focusses on the science of sublimation.

Sublimation is the transition of a substance directly from solid to gas – without passing through the intermediate liquid phase.

Technique: Sublimation dyes are transferred to sheets of transfer paper via liquid gel ink. The ink is then deposited on high-release inkjet papers. After the digital design is printed onto sublimation transfer sheets, it is placed on a heat press along with the substrate to be sublimated.

Fun Fact: Today, Dye Sublimation is a digital method of printing commonly used for decorating apparel, signs, banners and novelty items.

1969 – LASER PRINTING

Laser Printing was invented by then Xerox product developer, Gary Starkweather in 1969. Already working within the photocopying market, Starkweather had the idea of using a laser beam to draw an image on paper. He then adapted a Xerox copier, which became one of the first commercial laser printers on the planet.

Technique: Text and graphics are produced by repeatedly passing a laser beam over a negatively charged cylinder - called a drum. The drum selectively collects electrically charged toner (powdered ink) and transfers the image to paper.

Fun Fact: The first laser printer designed for office use was sold for the equivalent of £13,200.

1972 – THERMAL PRINTING

Traditionally light and small in size, Thermal Printers are ideal for portable retail applications such as point of sale systems.

During the 1990’s many fax machines also used thermal printing technology.

Technique: A printed image is produced by heating thermal paper when it passes over the thermal print head. The coating turns black in the heated area, thus producing an image.

Fun Fact: The 1998 Game Boy Printer was a small thermal printer used to print out elements from some games.

1981 – 3D PRINTING

This method is also known as additive manufacturing.

In 1981, Hideo Kodama of Nagoya Municipal Industrial Research Institute invented two additive methods for producing 3D plastic models.

Technique: When it comes to modern day versions, imagine an inkjet printer – but on steroids. Where an inkjet printer puts a single layer of ink on top of the page, a 3D printer adds new layers on top of each layer until the object is completed.

Fun Fact: 3D printers have been used to print a huge variety of different objects, including jewellery, clothing, medical prosthetics, food and houses.

1991 – DIGITAL PRINTING

Digital printing allows digital-based images to be printed directly from a personal computer or other electronic devices.

This method has revolutionised the printing world, allowing for shorter turnaround times and far greater flexibility.

Technique: Digital printers assemble images from a complex set of numbers and mathematical formulas. These images are captured from pixels – a process called digitising. The digitised image is used to control the deposition of ink or toner, which ultimately, reproduces the image.

Fun Fact: Digital printing uses a colour management system, which keeps images looking the same despite where they are printed.

BRITISH SANDWICH WEEK: 20 FUN FACTS ABOUT SANDWICHES

British Sandwich Week is underway, and everyone here at the Red Bus Cartridges HQ couldn’t be happier.

Sandwiches are without doubt the most popular lunch option for those living in the UK, so we thought it was time to share some wisdom through 20 fun facts, which you can find below…

And don’t forget, to celebrate British Sandwich Week, we have an amazing competition for you. To be in with a chance of winning a £15 M&S voucher, simply head to our Twitter page and enter.

1.The sandwich is named after John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, who frequently ordered meat between two slices of bread when he was too busy for lunch.

2. In fact, Hawaii also used to be named after him too. That’s right, Hawaii was formerly known as the Sandwich Islands.

3. Around 12 billion sandwiches are eaten every year in the UK, with Brits spending a whopping £7.5bn on sandwiches during those 12 months.

4. The average sandwich contains 400 calories, meaning it takes a four mile run just to burn one off.

5. The most expensive sandwich in history was sold for the equivalent of £17,000 back in 2004. Why was it so expensive? Because it appeared to have in image of the Virgin Mary on it.

6. In America, more than three million sandwiches are eaten every day.

7. The average American eats 1,500 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches by the time they graduate from High School.

8. However, when it comes to sandwich fillings in the US, peanut butter and jelly isn’t the most popular. That title goes to the plain ham sandwich.

9. There is a town in Kent named Sandwich. However, the town has no direct connection with its bready namesake.

10. The world has been eating bread, or some baked combination of flour and water since 10,000BC.

11. Along with British Sandwich Week, there is also a day, every year where the sandwiches are celebrated over in the America. In case you were wondering, November 3rd is National Sandwich Day across the pond.

12. There are 11 Guinness World Records relating to sandwiches. 

13. One of these is the fastest time to make a sandwich with your feet. Texan, Rob Williams currently holds the record after making one in under two minutes, using only his feet.

14. On average, men in the UK eat around 110 grams of bread every day.

15. Women in the UK eat slightly less bread on a daily basis – around 75 grams a day.

16. Amazingly, six chicken sandwiches are consumed in the UK every second.

17. A bacon sandwich can actually cure a hangover – that’s according to researchers at Newcastle University.

18. When it comes to national sandwiches, Portugal’s may just be the most indulgent. It contains steak, ham, cheese and two types of sausage. It is then covered in melted cheese and beer sauce just before being served. Yum.

19. A fan of mayonnaise in your sandwich? It might alarm you to hear that the mayonnaise alone is accountable for 30-60% of the calories in that sandwich.

20. To eat the amount of bread produced from just one bushel of wheat, you would need to eat a sandwich for breakfast, lunch and dinner for 168 days.

REMANUFACTURED OR COMPATIBLE – WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

Printer manufacturers spend a huge amount of time and money ensuring that their cartridges perform faultlessly with their own printing hardware. Hence, original equipment manufacturer (OEM) toner cartridges contain components of the highest quality and are often extremely expensive for consumers.

But what if you don’t have the funds to splash out on an OEM version every time your toner cartridge is running low? Are there any alternatives available?

Well, the answer is yes, and ultimately you have the choice between remanufactured or compatible toner cartridges.

Below, is a comparison between the two alternatives to OEM toner cartridges. As ever, please feel free to share your opinions over on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

WHAT IS A REMANUFACTURED TONER?

Well, the clue is in the title – they are OEM toner cartridges that have been recycled and then remanufactured, as shown in the video below.

To begin with, the original, newly recycled cartridge is cleaned and examined. If any parts are worn or broken, they are replaced before being filled with brand new toner powder. Finally, the newly remanufactured cartridge is sent for lengthy print testing before being sold.

WHAT IS A COMPATIBLE TONER?

Essentially, a compatible toner cartridge is a ‘mimic’ or ‘copy’ of an OEM version.

Unlike remanufactured versions, a compatible cartridge is made entirely from new parts, which are generally of poor quality in comparison to those used in OEM toner cartridges.

IS THERE A DIFFERENCE IN QUALITY?

OEM toner cartridges are made with the highest quality and components to minimise any issues and ultimately, produce the highest quality print.

As remanufactured toner cartridges retain as many of these components as possible, they naturally preserve that high standard of printing.

Compatible cartridges are generally manufactured by those who have one goal – to produce them as cheaply as they physically can.

Naturally, this has a negative effect on quality as no components from an original cartridge are used. Instead, components are created, which mimic the functionality of those found in an original.

CAN EITHER DAMAGE MY PRINTER?

To say that you are much less likely to get damage to your printer when using remanufactured toners is a real understatement.  

Remanufactured toner cartridges are made directly from original versions, meaning they preserve the original specifications. They are also tested vigorously (pictured) before being released to the consumer – reducing the chance of damage even further.

However, compatible toner cartridges are made to closely match the original and because of varying degrees of quality, some simply don’t meet (or come close to meeting) the OEM specifications.

In short, this means some compatible cartridges won’t fit your printer correctly, which can cause ink spills, and physically damage your printer.

WHAT ARE THE ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS OF EACH?

45 million printer cartridges are sent to landfill in the UK every year – with a high volume of these being toners.

Recycling cartridges undoubtedly helps this figure, and plays a massive role when it comes to remanufacturing.

Typically, toner cartridges can be remanufactured between three and seven times. Also, 97% of the components within them can be recycled. Thus, when a recycled cartridge is remanufactured, there is a very small impact on the environment in comparison to originals or compatibles.

It is worth noting that remanufactured cartridges use half the amount of oil in their manufacture in comparison to compatibles and that when plastic is remanufactured, 80% less energy is used in comparison to original production.

On the other hand, brand new parts and components are used every time a compatible cartridge is manufactured – even if they are of a lower quality than those used in originals.

No prizes for guessing which is kinder to the environment, right?

CONCLUSION

The main thing for you to remember, is that at one stage of their existence, remanufactured toners were original versions.

There is absolutely no guess work or copying involved in their manufacture – as we’ve explained, the same simply cannot be said for compatibles.

If you want to avoid damage to your printer and the environment, whilst achieving a print quality which stands up to OEM versions, then remanufactured toners are without doubt, your best bet.

Looking to save money on your printing costs? Head to our site and check out the remanufactured toner cartridges: theredbuscartridgecompany.com