The History of Ink Production, Part 1

the history of ink production

What is the history of ink production?

What is the history of ink production? Printer ink, no matter its format, had to start somewhere. The modern incarnations of the printed word and all of its associated technology owe a great deal to history. Without all of the prior advances in methodology, infrastructure, and sheer ingenuity, the printing industry as we know it, and indeed, printing itself would either not exist or would be radically different. In or out of the office, we rely on printing so frequently in our daily lives we often take it for granted.

This blog will serve as the beginning of an ongoing series about the history of ink production. Please read on to learn more!

The Early History of Ink Production

Ink needs two primary components: a vehicle and a colorant. The most common form of this combination would be either a pen or an ink cartridge. But where did ink even come from? Two ancient cultures innovated the use of ink: the Egyptians and the Chinese. At around 2500 BCE, they both already utilized materials such gums, saps or glues for the vehicle and lampblack for the colorant. Lampblack is a material created from finely crushed particles of carbon.

Between the eighth century and the eleventh century CE, another type of ink emerged. This new type of ink was called iron gall ink, created through the clever combination of tannic acid and iron salt. As it was only a colorant, it needed a vehicle, which in this case was resin. Did you know that iron gall inks also provided the basis for the standard blue and black inks seen today?

To an extent, the history of ink production has always been plagued by certain problems. These persistent issues, which continue in the present day, include durability, fading, and inconsistent absorption rate depending on the type of paper or other material the ink is printed on.

Atlantic Graphic Systems Is Your Premier Printing and Binding Equipment Supplier

Established in 1976, Atlantic Graphic Systems has been a premier equipment sales and service provider for forty years. The technology of printing has been integral to the communication of ideas and information for hundreds of years. We’re proud to work in this historic and dynamic field. If you’d like to order equipment or services, call us at 410-290-8200 or visit our Contact Page. Want to keep up with the latest news and information? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and Linkedin!

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