When did Printers get so fiery? - Strategic Flow Management

When did Printers get so fiery?

Published on 18th August 2021

Since humankind started painting on walls to tell stories, printed words and images have been behind some of the greatest advances in society, whether political, philosophical, technological or economical. You may not have realised it, but printers have been a part of nearly every stage. Perhaps the fiery reputation of old printers may have some basis in history.

So who are some of these world changing heroes of print?

Johannes Gutenberg (1398-1468)


In a list of historical printers of note, Johannes Gutenberg is always going to be the first mentioned. His invention was the basis of all printing technology and remained relatively unchanged until the introduction of computers.

Inspired by wine presses of the day (wine being involved in many great ideas of era), he built the first moveable type press and opened the minds of the masses.

His invention made books available to many who would never have been able to afford the money or time the scribes of the day demanded, thus raising literacy numbers. Soon his presses not only delivered literature, theology and science to the general public, but allowed people to quickly distribute political literature and thus effect vast change across both Europe and the world.

Today, his invention not only delivers intellectual information, but ensures you know the Aldi weekly specials and is crucial to our consumer based economy.

Charlotte Guillard (circa 1480 to 1557)


Charlotte Guillard is the first acknowledged woman printer and a bit of a ‘sister’ centuries before the Suffrage Movement.

As a young bride, Charlotte began working with her first husband Berthold Rembolt in 1502 in Paris. Their business was hugely successful for the time. After his death, although women were not allowed by the Guilds of the day to own businesses, they allowed her to continue to run her husband’s business.

She became famous for the beauty and accuracy of her work, with the Bishop of Verona himself commissioning her to print his books.

Later in life, she married another bookseller and printer – Claude Chevallon and as Madame Chevallon ran his successful presses for him printing mainly theological texts.

There are many coveted copies of her books in collections around the world.

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)


Not a man you would normally associate with stodgy old printers, but a print-man nonetheless. Old Ben himself wrote for and ran the presses of the Pennsylvania Gazette, a widely circulated paper of the day.

With his wit and intelligence he loaded the pages of his highly influential newspaper with political gunfire that lit a flame across the USA and is still felt today.

Louisa Lawson (1848-1920)


Suffragist, Feminist, printer, poet and all round badass Australian female, Louisa Lawson worked hard to run a successful newspaper and print house despite much vocal opposition from the men of the day.

Her policy of employing women only to run her presses was both radical and inflammatory at the time. Her tireless work in advancing the position and opportunities of working women led to much social change and is globally recognised.

The Dawn, a progressive newspaper was highly influential in the Women’s Movement and some of her insights are still pertinent today.

Louisa was the mother of Henry Lawson, but her work and achievements should always be noted as hers alone.

Chuck Hull (1939-Current)


If there is someone who’s very cool work is changing the world as we know it, it is Chuck Hull. Whilst not exactly in the list of ‘fiery old printers’… who doesn’t get fired-up with excitement talking about about his achievements?

Chuck is the inventor of the very exciting 3D printing technology. Very simply, his software slices up an image into 3D crosshatched drawing sections of an item and then repetitively layers photopolymer to create the object.

Recently, many other substances have been used – including food, medical and manufacturing textiles.

His invention is fast progressing advances in commercial manufacturing, fashion, science and medicine. The International Space Station itself has a 3D printer on board to print spare parts.

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