The history of screen printing; where did it all begin? Earliest known appearance on the human timeline has been traced back to the Song Dynasty in China, circa 960-1279 CE. The crude methods were adopted and refined by Japan and other asian countries but would not be introduced to Europe until the late 1700’s. It still would take quite a bit of time before being largely accepted. In 1907 an English man by the name of Samuel Simon officially patented the screen-printing technique. Originally Simon’s method was used to print high quality custom wall paper or to print on silk or linen material, it was for the rich folks.
Around the early 1910’s screen printing techniques would undergo further adjustments as several printers experimenting with photo-reactive chemicals used the well-known actinic light activated cross linking or hardening traits of potassium, sodium or ammonium bichromate chemicals with glues and gelatin compounds. Roy Beck, Charles Peter and Edward Owens studied and experimented with chromic acid salt sensitized emulsions for photo-reactive stencils. This trio of developers would prove to revolutionize the commercial screen printing industry by introducing photo-imaged stencils to the industry, though the acceptance of this method would take many years. Commercial screen printing now uses sensitizers that are safer and less toxic than bichromates, currently there are large selections of pre-sensitized and “user mixed” sensitized emulsion chemicals for creating photo-reactive stencils.
Most screen printing techniques were kept confidential and protected as “trade secrets” for much of the twentieth century. It wasn’t until the early 1960’s that techniques would come into mainstream. We can now credit Andy Warhol for bringing screen printing into the public eye with his famously gaudy screen printed depiction of Marilyn Monroe. But there was still another issue to address; the screen printing process was slow to execute.
Enter American entrepreneur, artist and inventor Michael Vasilantone. Vasilantone would develop and patent a rotary multicolor garment screen printing machine in 1960. The original rotary machine was manufactured to print logos and team information on bowling garments but soon directed to the new fad of printing on t-shirts. The Vasilantone patent was soon licensed by multiple manufacturers, the resulting production and boom in printed t-shirts made the rotary garment screen printing machine the most popular device for screen printing in the industry. Screen printing on garments currently accounts for over half of the screen printing activity in the United States.
Screen printing has come a long way. At EDC we utilize the most advanced screen printing technologies to provide you with the highest quality and fastest production possible. Keep watching our website, facebook or twitter for coming promotions that can save you money with your screen printing. If you would like to know more about what we offer, visit our website at www.edcmktg.com or call Rick at 800-445-2946.