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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…


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


In 2017, are we really as savvy about recycling, reusing and reducing our impact on the environment as we’d like to think? We can be confident about how to deal with most household waste for example, but there are items that you probably use on a daily basis at home, at school or in the office that could be recycled multiple times and benefit both your pocket as well as the environment.

One such example is laser toner cartridges. Approximately 60 million are sold in Europe alone each year, and yet only a small percentage (around 25%) of those cartridges actually go onto to be remanufactured.  The process of remanufacturing is one that many people may still not be fully aware of, but one that is worthwhile knowing a little about.

Once an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) toner cartridge is sent to be recycled, there are a number of processes it goes through before it can be given a new lease of life as a remanufactured product.

Firstly, the cartridge is tested to ensure that it is fully functional before any remnants of existing toner powder are removed and the cartridge is thoroughly cleaned.  Secondly, any worn or damaged parts are identified and then replaced to ensure that the finished product is as close to the original as possible.  Finally, the cartridge is refilled using a specially formulated toner powder and is subject to a number of quality and print performance tests before it can be packaged and sold.

Something else you may be interested to hear is that remanufactured toner cartridges – as well as being environmentally friendly – can be much cheaper than their original counterparts.  This isn’t to say that there has to be a compromise in quality though; remanufactured toners can match, and often exceed the page yield of an OEM, and they fit and function exactly the same way in your printer.

It sounds straight forward doesn’t it? It seems like a process that it quite transparent, and not only does it prevent toner cartridges ending up in landfill, but because remanufacturing companies such as Red Bus Cartridges only repair the elements of a cartridge that are damaged or worn, the creation of waste is reduced.  Furthermore, as they state that they produce everything in one place, under one roof, they not only have complete control over the production process, but it goes a long way in helping to reduce their carbon footprint too.

So, now you know how OEM toner cartridges can be recycled and given a renewed purpose in (office stationery) life through the process of remanufacturing. You also know that you can save money in comparison to buying an original cartridge, so should you be inclined to want to save money as well as the planet, a remanufactured cartridge would be the way to go.

Article written by Cassandra Brennan – Marketing Manager at Red Bus Cartridges


We all know someone who is loyal to a brand, who will not use an alternative product because what they use works well and anything that is cheaper or labelled an alternative just wouldn’t be good enough, right? Wrong!

There are alternative products out there that are cheaper to buy, don’t need to be replaced as often, and work just as well - if not better – than the ‘original’ product. 

A good example of this is remanufactured toner cartridges, so why do consumers still have their doubts? Perhaps they have had a bad experience with buying a cheaper alternative and the phrase ‘you get what you pay for’ is now permanently etched in their mind.

Similarly, they might believe that nothing can compare to the quality of what they have already, or, maybe it’s because the vast majority of people don’t really understand the difference between a remanufactured cartridge and a compatible one.  However, unless they work in an industry that produces, uses or sells these products, why should they know the difference?

Consumers are not asking for the world, they simply want a fully functional, good quality, reasonably priced toner cartridge that works in their printer.  So, now to the facts, what is the difference between remanufactured and compatible?

Remanufactured cartridges, like the ones sold through The Red Bus Cartridge Company, are original cartridges (from HP, Brother, Canon and Kodak for example), that are cleaned, any worn or damaged parts are replaced so that performance is not affected, and then refilled and tested before being sold.

They are environmentally friendly because of the way in which they are produced, and in some cases, can be up to 70% cheaper than most originals without quality or performance as the compromise.

Compatible cartridges are created as copies of an OEM (original equipment manufacturer). Companies will create a mould that mirrors the original cartridge. Often, they can be made from inferior materials and is this is one of the main reasons they are priced so cheaply. 

There can be other issues with compatible cartridges however, such as copyright infringement and poor print quality as well as a lack of information or support for the products once they are sold.

In summary, it really does come down to doing your research; if you have any doubts about remanufactured toner cartridges then ask questions, and ultimately don’t be afraid to try something different because ‘new’ can be good, for your pocket, for the environment, for your printer.

To buy remanufactured toner cartridges visit or call 0800 091 9090

Article written by Cassandra Brennan – Marketing Manager at Red Bus Cartridges



Here at The Red Bus Cartridge Company, we thoroughly test our entire range of remanufactured toner cartridges. We are confident in the quality of the products and if you do not find them to be at least as good as the original product, we will be happy to send you a replacement or a full refund.


Order our products before 6pm and your order will be dispatched the very same day!


Buying from us will save you money as our remanufactured products offer savings of up to 70% compared to an original cartridge.


Every year thousands of toner cartridges are disposed of ending up in landfill - this is hugely damaging to the environment as they take many years to decompose.

Buying a remanufactured printer cartridge from The Red Bus Cartridge Company will not only save you on printing costs, but you will also be contributing to a greener environment by using a recycled product.

Our cartridges offer an environmentally friendly alternative as they’re remanufactured in the England which enables us to keep our carbon footprint to a minimum and create a closed loop recycling system as they can be refurbished again and again.


The Red Bus Cartridge Company are extremely proud to be selling a British remanufactured product.

Our purpose built factory in Boston, Lincolnshire is where all of the remanufactured toner cartridges are made and is home to a team of dedicated employees with a wealth of diverse skills. Everything from research & development to packaging design is completed in Boston.

As a proud British online seller we continue to support the British economy and remanufacturing industry.


The internet is flooded with companies that offer compatible cartridges at rock bottom prices and, following extensive research of copy compatible products we have found that the old adage, ‘you get what you pay for’ certainly applies.

Only the best components are used in the remanufactured cartridges that we sell and guarantees you will be purchasing a robust product that will perform exactly the same as an original cartridge.

Many ‘copy’ compatible cartridges do not meet British manufacturing standards and are produced with stolen designs and a quality that cannot always be trusted. The toner cartridges we sell meet British remanufacturing case law, replacing parts only when necessary, this is why we call ourselves ‘cartridge safe’. 


Customer feedback is vital to us, which is why we have a Feefo facility built into our website. At the time of writing, we have a Feefo rating of 4.5 out of five, with over 85% of all our reviews containing the maximum score available.

To purchase your remanufactured printer cartridges, visit or call 0800 091 9090.

Article written by Calum Chinchen – Social Media Executive at Red Bus Cartridges163, Beaconside, South Shields, Tyne and Wear, NE34 7PT163, Beaconside, South Shields, Tyne and Wear, NE34 7PT


Great news for the thousands of Max Colour fans out there…

Part Two of Max's mission to prevent his beloved cartridges from going to landfill is now live on our YouTube channel – it can also be watched by clicking below!

Remember, if you want to help our office hero in his fight then visit or call 0800 091 9090.

Article written by Calum Chinchen – Social Media Executive at Red Bus Cartridges163, Beaconside, South Shields, Tyne and Wear, NE34 7PT163, Beaconside, South Shields, Tyne and Wear, NE34 7PT


 If so, you are luck! Head to our YouTube channel today for a wealth of installation videos for a number of different remanufactured cartridges.

 Below is an installation video for remanufactured CF360A, CF361A, CF362A and CF363A Toners toner cartridge.



Also, if you’re ever in need of any additional assistance then don’t hesitate to contact our HQ.

Article written by Calum Chinchen – Social Media Executive at Red Bus Cartridges163, Beaconside, South Shields, Tyne and Wear, NE34 7PT163, Beaconside, South Shields, Tyne and Wear, NE34 7PT

10 things you didn’t know about Toners

Believe it or not, the history of print and printing technologies is an interesting one, and the development of toner cartridges has been revolutionary - from the first dry-ink printer through to the chemically modified precision inks and processes that many of us use today in the office today.  We have put together 10 things you may or may not have known about toners, prepared to be enlightened...


  1. The process of Xerography or electrophotography was invented in the late 1930s, and is the technology that pre-empted laser printing and photo copying. In the 1950s a fully automated process was put into place using a cylindrical drum instead of a flat plate.  


  1. In contrast to the liquid within inkjet cartridges, toner is made from solid particles (toner powder). These particles are melted to the page with the heat and pressure of a fuser. 


  1. In the early days of laser printing, toner was made of simple carbon powder. However, plastic or wax polymers were eventually introduced in order to improve quality, and made printing with toners more affordable as well as allowing customers to use them on a wide range of print media. 


  1. Toner particles move between the components, within the cartridge, through static electricity. Each toner particle is engineered to hold a specific charge and travel with extreme precision.


  1. Toner powder is manufactured in one of two ways, by grounding or by growing. In conventional toner, the ingredients are compounded into a slab, then ground or pulverized into a fine powder, resulting in toner granules of varying size and shape. In a chemically produced toner (CPT), particles are grown through a chemical process to the desired size and shape.   This consistent size and shape enables improved toner charging, toner placement, and wear characteristics and ultimately provides improved print quality, optimised toner usage, and lower energy use. 


  1. When it comes to toner particles, getting a uniform size and shape is most desirable. This enables consistency in the placement of the toner, wear characteristics and toner charge, which lead to optimised print quality.


  1. The first Laserjet desktop printer (that used toner cartridges) was launched by HP in 1984 with a price tag of $3,495 (£2,838 sterling).


  1. HP toner formulations vary from printer to printer because toners must meet specific performance requirements of each printing system, which is why there is not a universal toner that fits all devices.


  1. At The Red Bus Cartridge Company, our toner cartridges are remanufactured. This means that original cartridges are refilled and any worn or damaged parts are replaced. They are tested thoroughly to ensure that the highest standards of quality are met.


  1. There is a misconception about remanufactured toner cartridges being produced cheaply. An enormous amount of research and development goes into the remanufacturing process. In fact, it takes approximately 150 million toner particles just to cover about 5 percent of a page!