history of screen printing

The History of Screen Printing

You see them every single day, maybe you’re even wearing one right now. Screen printed t-shirts are everywhere…. but where did they come from? Turns out, it’s been quite a ride from the origination of screen printing to where they are today – used on t-shirts all around Fort Collins.

Screen printing is an art form which first made its appearance in China during the era of Song Dynasty Art, or 960-1279 AD. Mesh was used to transfer ink to another surface. The finer the mesh, the more detail that was attainable. However, the method didn’t become popular until silk mesh became more accessible during the 1800s.

In 1907, Samuel Simon patented screen printing in England. The process was used to print fun colors and patterns on fabrics or wallpaper. Artists soon recognized the convenience of screen printing as a way to quickly reproduce their pieces. Arguably the most well-known of these artists is Andy Warhol, who frequently used silk screening for some of his most famous pieces.

Michael Vasilantone invented a screen-printing machine for clothing in 1960. It was most frequently used to print logos and team names onto bowling uniforms. Not long after, the t-shirt screen printing industry was born.

Today, screen printing on t-shirts accounts for about 50% of all printing activity in the US. The other half is made up of printing on DVDs, glass, paper, metal, and even wood! You can print on just about anything (check out our products page for proof!) The process has evolved quite a bit over the years, and printers now use different types of inks and methods for achieving different looks and patterns. If you have a unique idea in mind for your design, chances are we can make it a reality at your local northern Colorado printing shop! Give us a call at 970-484-7417 if you have any questions.

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