The evolution of screen printing

Putting a particular design on a fabric represents the main activity of many companies, since personalized garments are extremely fashionable and technology allows the use of performing devices that make everything much easier. When it comes to customizing clothes, there are many methods that you can choose from, and all of them deliver similar results. Among these, embroidery and screen printing are the most popular, each of them being used for certain material and fabrics. While the first one can be applied to almost any surface and object, the second one is used exclusively for clothes. However, it seems that the most popular choice is screen printing: the process through which color is print on a certain object through a fine mesh. Besides being the most common, this method is also the oldest used in the industry – it has a tradition of thousands of years, which dates back to ancient times. In case you are wondering how it all began and where the idea of putting designs on clothes came from, then you should continue reading this article, which presents a short history of the technique.

Which were the first forms of screen printing?

Although things are not particularly clear, there are records saying that the origins of printing date back at least twelve centuries before the birth of Jesus Christ. On the one hand, it seems that the process has initially started in China and the first embellishments were made on silk, due to the extensive use of this fabric in that region. On the other hand, there are certain historical facts that claim that silk printing was first performed in the areas between Mesopotamia and Phoenicia, near the Mediterranean Sea. This is due to the fact that scientist have discovered multiple signs proving that the Phoenicians knew how to reproduce patterns on fabrics, through techniques different from those used nowadays by screen printing Toronto companies.


How did the method evolved?

After the technique became known all over the world, the Japanese people took it over and started to improve it. The method developed into becoming a printmaking technique that got the name of ‘screen printing’ or ‘serigraphy. The main tools used back then were a stencil and a porous fabric, through which one could obtain a sharp edged image. The mechanism used was actually rudimentary, and consisted in a series of simple stencils glued onto a screen, which was made of human hair, in order to be as delicate as possible.


How did it became widespread?

During the Middle Ages, the technique reached Europe, but it was not until the early 1990s that it took the form we know and use nowadays. It was launched by Samuel Simon, a man from Manchester, United Kingdom, who also received a patent for the method. The machine he used had rubber blades (or squeegees), which pushed ink through the mesh, and the system has not been changed until today. In America, screen printing appeared after the First World War and was mainly used for flags and banners. Later on, it started to expand, becoming a common customization method.