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Along with the evolution of the printing press, other printing methods were developed. At the end of the 14th century, the technique of wood engraving was widely used in Europe, and during the 15th century, copper engraving was invented. In the late 18th century lithography was invented, which then evolved into (photo)lithography or offset, dominating as a printing method for both text and images.

In the late 18th century, a new technique for reproducing images, lithography was invented, the main method of printing. The new technique was based on chemistry and was also called planographic printing, precisely because it did not require parts of the printing surface to be engraved or protrude to be imprinted on paper, but made use of a type of Bavarian, porous limestone on which the image was engraved with oily chalk. The method of lithography, which has since evolved considerably, makes it possible to print images with great precision, in larger dimensions than was previously the case, at low cost. However, the practical difficulties of the technique, mainly the weight, the wear of the stones and the complexity of the presses, led to the invention of cylindrical indirect lithography (offset). By 1890, another printing method, flexography, was also known, and in 1947 photogravure was introduced. This method replaced the matrix of typesetting machines with transparent, 'negative' images of the characters to be printed and the foundry with a phototypesetting unit. In the 1970s this method was further developed into digital phototypesetting, whereby the element matrices are now a stored digital copy of the element in question, displayed on a computer screen and, at the touch of a button, stored or printed on photographic paper or film.

Updated: 29-03-2023
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