Magazines Register

From Moveable Type to Perfecting Presses: The History and Future of Printing

Printing words on paper changed the world. It started with wooden stamps — and now, Sheridan prints books, journals, catalogs, and magazines on the world’s most technologically advanced web, sheetfed, and inkjet presses and state-of-the-art finishing systems. The journey of printing is a remarkable testament to human ingenuity.

Historical and modern printing innovations

Though Johannes Gutenberg is often credited with inventing moveable type and revolutionizing the world of printing in the 15th century, the first known moveable type was created in 1313 when a Chinese magistrate carved 60,000 characters on movable wooden blocks (to print a treatise on the history of technology). It was a groundbreaking innovation that allowed for the creation of multiple copies of a text.

Gutenberg did, however, invent the printing press as well as typographic printing, which set the stage for the mass production of books, newspapers, and other printed materials. Gutenberg’s invention was a game-changer that facilitated the spread of knowledge, culture, and ideas on an unprecedented scale.

The invention of off-set publishing in 1875 permitted faster, cheaper production and — incredibly, to readers of the time — the printing of photographs. Those innovations vastly increased the scale of readership and the transmission of information, so much so that in 1961, President John F. Kennedy said, “And so it is to the printing press — to the recorder of man’s deeds, the keeper of his conscience, the courier of his news — that we look for strength and assistance, confident that with your help man will be what he was born to be: free and independent.”

Fast forward to the present day and an era of cutting-edge printing technologies, where companies like Sheridan have played a pivotal role in advancing the field. Sheridan’s commitment to innovation is exemplified by the Komori Lithrone GX840P Eight-Unit Perfecting Press. This modern marvel incorporates artificial intelligence, advanced ink management, and numerous other features that push the boundaries of what printing can achieve.

Komori Lithrone GX840P+C

The future of printing: customization, digitalization, and sustainability

The future of printing promises to be an exciting blend of customization, digitalization, and sustainability.


One of the most significant developments in the industry is the rise of inkjet printing, which has opened up new possibilities for customization. Inkjet technology allows for high-quality, personalized printing on a scale once thought unimaginable. From customized packaging to personalized marketing materials, the potential applications are vast, offering publishers the opportunity to connect with their audiences in more meaningful ways.


Another notable trend is the shift from traditional lithographic printing to digital printing. Digital printing offers advantages like shorter turnaround times, lower setup costs, and the ability to print small quantities economically. As the demand for shorter print runs and quicker delivery times continues to grow, digital printing is poised to play a central role in the future of publishing.


In the era of climate change, there’s also an increasing emphasis on sustainability in printing practices. With a focus on reducing waste, using eco-friendly materials, and adopting energy-efficient technologies, the printing industry is striving to minimize its environmental footprint. Sustainability is no longer just a choice; it’s a necessity.

The spirit of innovation in printing

Innovation is the lifeblood of the printing industry, and companies like Sheridan are at the forefront of transformative change. Sheridan’s commitment to excellence has led to dramatic improvements in quality, performance, and capacity. Our intelligent presses, equipped with cutting-edge technology, exemplify the industry’s forward-thinking spirit.

The pursuit of innovation isn’t just about staying ahead of the competition; it’s about meeting the evolving needs of customers and the demands of a rapidly changing world. With a focus on customization and a sustainable vision, we’re not just shaping the present — we’re laying the foundation for an exciting future of printing. And we’re living up to the promise, and responsibility, of being the recorder of deeds, the keeper of conscience, and the courier of news.

Printing will continue to evolve

Printing has come a long way. From simple wooden blocks to super-smart presses, the way we put words on paper has always been changing. Thanks to companies like Sheridan, we can look forward to even better and greener ways of printing in the future. As we think about the past and get excited about what’s next, it’s clear that printing will never stop evolving. So let’s keep our eyes open and see what amazing things come next!

Contact your Sheridan representative for a consultation or visit our contact page to learn how Sheridan professionals can help you streamline your publishing processes, reduce costs, and keep up with changes in print and publishing strategies

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