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Digital printing in Minnesota has been a door opener for many businesses. Because printers sell the same thing as everyone else, everyone tries to claim that their service, quality and price are better than others. For this reason, every printer has to find something that would separate them from everyone else. And some business owners find that they have increased productivity after using digital technology and short run processes. Somehow, these gains can be credited to a combination of better pricing and more efficient press performance. Let’s say you have greeting cards that need to be printed. Obsolete inventory through the use of short run digital press can be eliminated.
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This is because with this technology you can print only the needed cards, thus, resulting to orders printed in the exact quantity required. But just the same this kind of printing system is not for everyone. There are risks and changes that need to be dealt with. Nevertheless, the printing industry will continue to change and improve in the years to come. Thus, all business owners and companies have to do is to determine whether this certain printing technique is what they need.
The earliest surviving camera photograph, 1826 or 1827, known as View from the Window at Le Gras The history of photography has roots in remote antiquity with the discovery of two critical principles, that of the camera obscura (darkened or obscured room or chamber) and the fact that some substances are visibly altered by exposure to light, as discovered by observation. As far as is known, nobody thought of bringing these two phenomena together to capture camera images in permanent form until around 1800, when Thomas Wedgwood made the first reliably documented, although unsuccessful attempt. In the mid-1820s, Nicéphore Niépce succeeded, but several days of exposure in the camera were required and the earliest results were very crude. Niépce's associate Louis Daguerre went on to develop the daguerreotype process, the first publicly announced and commercially viable photographic process. The daguerreotype required only minutes of exposure in the camera, and produced clear, finely detailed results. It was commercially introduced in 1839, a date generally accepted as the birth year of practical photography. The metal-based daguerreotype process soon had some competition from the paper-based calotype negative and salt print processes invented by William Henry Fox Talbot. Subsequent innovations made photography easier and more versatile. New materials reduced the required camera exposure time from minutes to seconds, and eventually to a small fraction of a second; new photographic media were more economical, sensitive or convenient, including roll films for casual use by amateurs. In the mid-20th century, developments made it possible for amateurs to take pictures in natural color as well as in black-and-white. The commercial introduction of computer-based electronic digital cameras in the 1990s soon revolutionized photography. During the first decade of the 21st century, traditional film-based photochemical methods were increasingly marginalized as the practical advantages of the new technology became widely appreciated and the image quality of moderately priced digital cameras was continually improved. The coining of the word "photography" is usually attributed to Sir John Herschel in 1839. It is based on the Greek φῶς (phōs), (genitive: phōtós) meaning "light", and γραφή (graphê), meaning "drawing, writing", together meaning "drawing with light". A camera obscura used for drawing Photography is the result of combining several different technical discoveries. Long before the first photographs were made, Greek mathematicians Aristotle and Euclid described a pinhole camera in the 5th and 4th centuries BCE. In the 6th century CE, Byzantine mathematician Anthemius of Tralles used a type of camera obscura in his experiments Ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen) (965 in Basra – c. 1040 in Cairo) studied the camera obscura and pinhole camera, Albertus Magnus (1193/1206–80) discovered silver nitrate, and Georges Fabricius (1516–71) discovered silver chloride. Daniel Barbaro described a diaphragm in 1568. Wilhelm Homberg described how light darkened some chemicals (photochemical effect) in 1694. The novel Giphantie (by the French Tiphaigne de la Roche, 1729–74) described what could be interpreted as photography. The earliest known surviving heliographic engraving, made in 1825. It was printed from a metal plate made by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce with his "heliographic process". The plate was exposed under an ordinary engraving and copied it by photographic means. This was a step towards the first permanent photograph from nature taken with a camera obscura. In 1614, Angelo Sala demonstrated that "powdered silver nitrate is blackened by the sun", as was paper that was wrapped around it. This discovery of the sun's effect on powdered silver nitrate was not supported and was subsequently disregarded by then-respected scientists who said that his discovery "had no practical application." Around 1717,[n 1] Johann Heinrich Schulze, a German professor of anatomy and physics, set down a bottle containing silver nitrate and chalk by the window and unintentionally in the path of incoming light from the sun. The mixture, unsurprisingly, turned dark. But what he noticed and found to be strange was that part of it remained white and formed a line across the bottle. He then observed a cord hanging down and going across in front of the window, which he found out to be the cause. On further examination, he found that the entire mixture inevitably reverted to its original white color. Experimenting further, Schulze succeeded in transferring words he pasted on the bottle printed into the substance. Describing his achievement, Schulze wrote that “[t]he sun’s rays, where they hit the glass through the cut-out parts of the paper, wrote each word or sentence on the chalk precipitate so exactly and distinctly that many who were curious about the experiment but ignorant of its nature took occasion to attribute the thing to some sort of trick.” He put the silver nitrate in an oven, which had no effect on its color. This proved to him, definitively, that heat had not facilitated the transformation, as popularly suspected. Rather, it was the light. In 1777, the chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele was studying the more intrinsically light-sensitive silver chloride and determined that light darkened it by disintegrating it into microscopic dark particles of metallic silver. Of greater potential usefulness, Scheele found that ammonia dissolved the silver chloride but not the dark particles. This discovery, which could have been used to stabilize or "fix" a camera image captured with silver chloride, was little-noticed at the time and unknown to the earliest photography experimenters. It was not until around the year 1800 that Thomas Wedgwood made the first known attempt to capture the image in a camera obscura by means of a light-sensitive substance. He used paper or white leather treated with silver nitrate. Although he succeeded in capturing the shadows of objects placed on the surface in direct sunlight, and even made shadow-copies of paintings on glass, it was reported in 1802 that "[t]he images formed by means of a camera obscura have been found too faint to produce, in any moderate time, an effect upon the nitrate of silver." The shadow images eventually darkened all over because "[n]o attempts that have been made to prevent the uncoloured part of the copy or profile from being acted upon by light have as yet been successful." Wedgwood may have prematurely abandoned his experiments due to frail and failing health; he died aged 34 in 1805. "Boulevard du Temple", a daguerreotype made by Louis Daguerre in 1838, is generally accepted as the earliest photograph to include people. It is a view of a busy street, but because the exposure lasted for several minutes the moving traffic left no trace. Only the two men near the bottom left corner, one of them apparently having his boots polished by the other, remained in one place long enough to be visible. In 1816 Nicéphore Niépce, using paper coated with silver chloride, succeeded in photographing the images formed in a small camera, but the photographs were negatives, darkest where the camera image was lightest and vice versa, and they were not permanent in the sense of being reasonably light-fast; like earlier experimenters, Niépce could find no way to prevent the coating from darkening all over when it was exposed to light for viewing. Disenchanted with silver salts, he turned his attention to light-sensitive organic substances. Robert Cornelius, self-portrait, October or November 1839, an approximately quarter plate size daguerreotype. On the back is written, "The first light picture ever taken". One of the oldest photographic portraits known, 1839 or 1840, made by John William Draper of his sister, Dorothy Catherine Draper Not all early portraits are stiff and grim-faced records of a posing ordeal. This pleasant expression was captured by Mary Dillwyn in Wales in 1853. The oldest surviving photograph of the image formed in a camera was created by Niépce in 1826 or 1827. It was made on a polished sheet of pewter and the light-sensitive substance was a thin coating of bitumen, a naturally occurring petroleum tar, which was dissolved in lavender oil, applied to the surface of the pewter and allowed to dry before use. After a very long exposure in the camera (traditionally said to be eight hours, but now believed to be several days), the bitumen was sufficiently hardened in proportion to its exposure to light that the unhardened part could be removed with a solvent, leaving a positive image with the light areas represented by hardened bitumen and the dark areas by bare pewter. To see the image plainly, the plate had to be lit and viewed in such a way that the bare metal appeared dark and the bitumen relatively light. In partnership, Niépce in Chalon-sur-Saône and Louis Daguerre in Paris refined the bitumen process, substituting a more sensitive resin and a very different post-exposure treatment that yielded higher-quality and more easily viewed images. Exposure times in the camera, although substantially reduced, were still measured in hours. Niépce died suddenly in 1833, leaving his notes to Daguerre. More interested in silver-based processes than Niépce had been, Daguerre experimented with photographing camera images directly onto a mirror-like silver-surfaced plate that had been fumed with iodine vapor, which reacted with the silver to form a coating of silver iodide. As with the bitumen process, the result appeared as a positive when it was suitably lit and viewed. Exposure times were still impractically long until Daguerre made the pivotal discovery that an invisibly slight or "latent" image produced on such a plate by a much shorter exposure could be "developed" to full visibility by mercury fumes. This brought the required exposure time down to a few minutes under optimum conditions. A strong hot solution of common salt served to stabilize or fix the image by removing the remaining silver iodide. On 7 January 1839, this first complete practical photographic process was announced at a meeting of the French Academy of Sciences, and the news quickly spread. At first, all details of the process were withheld and specimens were shown only at Daguerre's studio, under his close supervision, to Academy members and other distinguished guests. Arrangements were made for the French government to buy the rights in exchange for pensions for Niépce's son and Daguerre and present the invention to the world (with the exception of Great Britain, where an agent for Daguerre patented it) as a free gift. Complete instructions were made public on 19 August 1839. Known as the Daguerreotype process, it was the most common commercial process until the late 1850s. It was superseded by the collodion process. After reading early reports of Daguerre's invention, Henry Fox Talbot, who had succeeded in creating stabilized photographic negatives on paper in 1835, worked on perfecting his own process. In early 1839, he acquired a key improvement, an effective fixer, from his friend John Herschel, a polymath scientist who had previously shown that hyposulfite of soda (commonly called "hypo" and now known formally as sodium thiosulfate) would dissolve silver salts. News of this solvent also benefited Daguerre, who soon adopted it as a more efficient alternative to his original hot salt water method. A calotype showing the American photographer Frederick Langenheim, circa 1849. Note that the caption on the photo calls the process "Talbotype". Talbot's early silver chloride "sensitive paper" experiments required camera exposures of an hour or more. In 1840, Talbot invented the calotype process, which, like Daguerre's process, used the principle of chemical development of a faint or invisible "latent" image to reduce the exposure time to a few minutes. Paper with a coating of silver iodide was exposed in the camera and developed into a translucent negative image. Unlike a daguerreotype, which could only be copied by rephotographing it with a camera, a calotype negative could be used to make a large number of positive prints by simple contact printing. The calotype had yet another distinction compared to other early photographic processes, in that the finished product lacked fine clarity due to its translucent paper negative. This was seen as a positive attribute for portraits because it softened the appearance of the human face. Talbot patented this process, which greatly limited its adoption, and spent many years pressing lawsuits against alleged infringers. He attempted to enforce a very broad interpretation of his patent, earning himself the ill will of photographers who were using the related glass-based processes later introduced by other inventors, but he was eventually defeated. Nonetheless, Talbot's developed-out silver halide negative process is the basic technology used by chemical film cameras today. Hippolyte Bayard had also developed a method of photography but delayed announcing it, and so was not recognized as its inventor. In 1839, John Herschel made the first glass negative, but his process was difficult to reproduce. Slovene Janez Puhar invented a process for making photographs on glass in 1841; it was recognized on June 17, 1852 in Paris by the Académie Nationale Agricole, Manufacturière et Commerciale. In 1847, Nicephore Niépce's cousin, the chemist Niépce St. Victor, published his invention of a process for making glass plates with an albumen emulsion; the Langenheim brothers of Philadelphia and John Whipple and William Breed Jones of Boston also invented workable negative-on-glass processes in the mid-1840s. In 1851 Frederick Scott Archer invented the collodion process. Photographer and children's author Lewis Carroll used this process. (Carroll refers to the process as "Tablotype" [sic] in the story "A Photographer's Day Out") Roger Fenton's assistant seated on Fenton's photographic van, Crimea, 1855 Herbert Bowyer Berkeley experimented with his own version of collodion emulsions after Samman[disambiguation needed] introduced the idea of adding dithionite to the pyrogallol developer. Berkeley discovered that with his own addition of sulfite, to absorb the sulfur dioxide given off by the chemical dithionite in the developer, that dithionite was not required in the developing process. In 1881 he published his discovery. Berkeley's formula contained pyrogallol, sulfite and citric acid. Ammonia was added just before use to make the formula alkaline. The new formula was sold by the Platinotype Company in London as Sulpho-Pyrogallol Developer. Nineteenth-century experimentation with photographic processes frequently became proprietary. The German-born, New Orleans photographer Theodore Lilienthal successfully sought legal redress in an 1881 infringement case involving his "Lambert Process" in the Eastern District of Louisiana. General view of The Crystal Palace at Sydenham by Philip Henry Delamotte, 1854 A mid-19th century "Brady stand" armrest table, used to help subjects keep still during long exposures. It was named for famous US photographer Mathew Brady. An 1855 cartoon satirized problems with posing for Daguerreotypes: slight movement during exposure resulted in blurred features, red-blindness made rosy complexions look dark. In this 1893 multiple-exposure trick photo, the photographer appears to be photographing himself. It satirizes studio equipment and procedures that were nearly obsolete by then. Note the clamp to hold the sitter's head still. A comparison of common print sizes used in photographic studios during the 19th century The daguerreotype proved popular in response to the demand for portraiture that emerged from the middle classes during the Industrial Revolution. This demand, which could not be met in volume and in cost by oil painting, added to the push for the development of photography. Roger Fenton and Philip Henry Delamotte helped popularize the new way of recording events, the first by his Crimean war pictures, the second by his record of the disassembly and reconstruction of The Crystal Palace in London. Other mid-nineteenth-century photographers established the medium as a more precise means than engraving or lithography of making a record of landscapes and architecture: for example, Robert Macpherson's broad range of photographs of Rome, the interior of the Vatican, and the surrounding countryside became a sophisticated tourist's visual record of his own travels. In America, by 1851 a broadside by daguerreotypist Augustus Washington was advertising prices ranging from 50 cents to $10. However, daguerreotypes were fragile and difficult to copy. Photographers encouraged chemists to refine the process of making many copies cheaply, which eventually led them back to Talbot's process. Ultimately, the photographic process came about from a series of refinements and improvements in the first 20 years. In 1884 George Eastman, of Rochester, New York, developed dry gel on paper, or film, to replace the photographic plate so that a photographer no longer needed to carry boxes of plates and toxic chemicals around. In July 1888 Eastman's Kodak camera went on the market with the slogan "You press the button, we do the rest". Now anyone could take a photograph and leave the complex parts of the process to others, and photography became available for the mass-market in 1901 with the introduction of the Kodak Brownie. The first durable color photograph, taken by Thomas Sutton in 1861 A practical means of color photography was sought from the very beginning. Results were demonstrated by Edmond Becquerel as early as 1848, but exposures lasting for hours or days were required and the captured colors were so light-sensitive they would only bear very brief inspection in dim light. The first durable color photograph was a set of three black-and-white photographs taken through red, green, and blue color filters and shown superimposed by using three projectors with similar filters. It was taken by Thomas Sutton in 1861 for use in a lecture by the Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell, who had proposed the method in 1855. The photographic emulsions then in use were insensitive to most of the spectrum, so the result was very imperfect and the demonstration was soon forgotten. Maxwell's method is now most widely known through the early 20th century work of Sergei Prokudin-Gorskii. It was made practical by Hermann Wilhelm Vogel's 1873 discovery of a way to make emulsions sensitive to the rest of the spectrum, gradually introduced into commercial use beginning in the mid-1880s. Two French inventors, Louis Ducos du Hauron and Charles Cros, working unknown to each other during the 1860s, famously unveiled their nearly identical ideas on the same day in 1869. Included were methods for viewing a set of three color-filtered black-and-white photographs in color without having to project them, and for using them to make full-color prints on paper. The first widely used method of color photography was the Autochrome plate, a process inventors and brothers Auguste and Louis Lumière began working on in the 1890s and commercially introduced in 1907. It was based on one of Louis Ducos du Hauron's ideas: instead of taking three separate photographs through color filters, take one through a mosaic of tiny color filters overlaid on the emulsion and view the results through an identical mosaic. If the individual filter elements were small enough, the three primary colors of red, blue, and green would blend together in the eye and produce the same additive color synthesis as the filtered projection of three separate photographs. A color portrait of Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) by Alvin Langdon Coburn, 1908, made by the recently introduced Autochrome process Autochrome plates had an integral mosaic filter layer with roughly five million previously dyed potato grains per square inch added to the surface. Then through the use of a rolling press, five tons of pressure were used to flatten the grains, enabling every one of them to capture and absorb color and their microscopic size allowing the illusion that the colors are merged together. The final step was adding a coat of the light capturing substance silver bromide after which a color image could be imprinted and developed. In order to see it, reversal processing was used to develop each plate into a transparent positive that could be viewed directly or projected with an ordinary projector. One of the drawbacks of the technology is an exposure time of at least a second was required during the day in bright light and the worse the light is, the time required quickly goes up. An indoor portrait required a few minutes with the subject not being able to move or else the picture would come out blurry. This was because the grains absorbed the color fairly slowly and that a filter of a yellowish-orange color was added to the plate to keep the photograph from coming out excessively blue. Although necessary, the filter had the effect of reducing the amount of light that was absorbed. Another drawback was that the film could only be enlarged so much until the many dots that make up the image become apparent. Competing screen plate products soon appeared and film-based versions were eventually made. All were expensive and until the 1930s none was "fast" enough for hand-held snapshot-taking, so they mostly served a niche market of affluent advanced amateurs. A new era in color photography began with the introduction of Kodachrome film, available for 16 mm home movies in 1935 and 35 mm slides in 1936. It captured the red, green, and blue color components in three layers of emulsion. A complex processing operation produced complementary cyan, magenta, and yellow dye images in those layers, resulting in a subtractive color image. Maxwell's method of taking three separate filtered black-and-white photographs continued to serve special purposes into the 1950s and beyond, and Polachrome, an "instant" slide film that used the Autochrome's additive principle, was available until 2003, but the few color print and slide films still being made in 2015 all use the multilayer emulsion approach pioneered by Kodachrome. Main article: Digital photography Walden Kirsch as scanned into the SEAC computer in 1957 In 1957, a team led by Russell A. Kirsch at the National Institute of Standards and Technology developed a binary digital version of an existing technology, the wirephoto drum scanner, so that alphanumeric characters, diagrams, photographs and other graphics could be transferred into digital computer memory. One of the first photographs scanned was a picture of Kirsch's infant son Walden. The resolution was 176x176 pixels with only one bit per pixel, i.e., stark black and white with no intermediate gray tones, but by combining multiple scans of the photograph done with different black-white threshold settings, grayscale information could also be acquired. The charge-coupled device (CCD) is the image-capturing optoelectronic component in first-generation digital cameras. It was invented in 1969 by Willard Boyle and George E. Smith at AT&T Bell Labs as a memory device. The lab was working on the Picturephone and on the development of semiconductor bubble memory. Merging these two initiatives, Boyle and Smith conceived of the design of what they termed "Charge 'Bubble' Devices". The essence of the design was the ability to transfer charge along the surface of a semiconductor. It was Dr. Michael Tompsett from Bell Labs however, who discovered that the CCD could be used as an imaging sensor. The CCD has increasingly been replaced by the active pixel sensor (APS), commonly used in cell phone cameras. These mobile phone cameras are used by billions of people worldwide, dramatically increasing photographic activity and material and also fueling citizen journalism. The web has been a popular medium for storing and sharing photos ever since the first photograph was published on the web by Tim Berners-Lee in 1992 (an image of the CERN house band Les Horribles Cernettes). Today sites and apps such as Flickr, Picasa, Instagram, Imgur and PhotoBucket are used by many millions of people to share their pictures. ^ This date is commonly misreported as 1725 or 1727, an error deriving from the belief that a 1727 publication of Schulze's account of experiments he says he undertook about two years earlier is the original source. In fact, it is a reprint of a 1719 publication and the date of the experiments is therefore circa 1717. The dated contents page of the true original can be seen here (retrieved 21 February 2015)
Digital Printing: A Better Avenue For Quality Four Color PrintingHP LaserJet 5 printer The Game Boy Pocket Printer, a thermal printer released as a peripheral for the Nintendo Game Boy This is an example of a wide-carriage dot matrix printer, designed for 14-inch (360 mm) wide paper, shown with 8.5-by-14-inch (220 mm × 360 mm) legal paper. Wide carriage printers were often used in the field of businesses, to print accounting records on 11-by-14-inch (280 mm × 360 mm) tractor-feed paper. They were also called "132-column printers". Play media A video showing an inkjet printer while printing a page. In computing, a printer is a peripheral which makes a persistent human-readable representation of graphics or text on paper or similar physical media. The first computer printer design was a mechanically driven apparatus by Charles Babbage for his difference engine in the 19th century; his mechanical printer design was not built until 2000. The first electronic printer was the EP-101, invented by Japanese company Epson and released in 1968. The first commercial printers generally used mechanisms from electric typewriters and Teletype machines The demand for higher speed led to the development of new systems specifically for computer use. In the 1980s were daisy wheel systems similar to typewriters, line printers that produced similar output but at much higher speed, and dot matrix systems that could mix text and graphics but produced relatively low-quality output. The plotter was used for those requiring high quality line art like blueprints. The introduction of the low-cost laser printer in 1984 with the first HP LaserJet, and the addition of PostScript in next year's Apple LaserWriter, set off a revolution in printing known as desktop publishing. Laser printers using PostScript mixed text and graphics, like dot-matrix printers, but at quality levels formerly available only from commercial typesetting systems. By 1990, most simple printing tasks like fliers and brochures were now created on personal computers and then laser printed; expensive offset printing systems were being dumped as scrap. The HP Deskjet of 1988 offered the same advantages as laser printer in terms of flexibility, but produced somewhat lower quality output (depending on the paper) from much less expensive mechanisms. Inkjet systems rapidly displaced dot matrix and daisy wheel printers from the market. By the 2000s high-quality printers of this sort had fallen under the $100 price point and became commonplace. The rapid update of internet email through the 1990s and into the 2000s has largely displaced the need for printing as a means of moving documents, and a wide variety of reliable storage systems means that a "physical backup" is of little benefit today. Even the desire for printed output for "offline reading" while on mass transit or aircraft has been displaced by e-book readers and tablet computers. Today, traditional printers are being used more for special purposes, like printing photographs or artwork, and are no longer a must-have peripheral. Starting around 2010, 3D printing became an area of intense interest, allowing the creation of physical objects with the same sort of effort as an early laser printer required to produce a brochure. These devices are in their earliest stages of development and have not yet become commonplace. Personal printers are primarily designed to support individual users, and may be connected to only a single computer. These printers are designed for low-volume, short-turnaround print jobs, requiring minimal setup time to produce a hard copy of a given document. However, they are generally slow devices ranging from 6 to around 25 pages per minute (ppm), and the cost per page is relatively high. However, this is offset by the on-demand convenience. Some printers can print documents stored on memory cards or from digital cameras and scanners. Networked or shared printers are "designed for high-volume, high-speed printing." They are usually shared by many users on a network and can print at speeds of 45 to around 100 ppm. The Xerox 9700 could achieve 120 ppm. A virtual printer is a piece of computer software whose user interface and API resembles that of a printer driver, but which is not connected with a physical computer printer. A virtual printer can be used to create a file which is an image of the data which would be printed, for archival purposes or as input to another program, for example to create a PDF or to transmit to another system or user. A 3D printer is a device for making a three-dimensional object from a 3D model or other electronic data source through additive processes in which successive layers of material ( including plastics, metals, food, cement, wood, and other materials) are laid down under computer control. It is called a printer by analogy with an inkjet printer which produces a two-dimensional document by a similar process of depositing a layer of ink on paper. The choice of print technology has a great effect on the cost of the printer and cost of operation, speed, quality and permanence of documents, and noise. Some printer technologies don't work with certain types of physical media, such as carbon paper or transparencies. A second aspect of printer technology that is often forgotten is resistance to alteration: liquid ink, such as from an inkjet head or fabric ribbon, becomes absorbed by the paper fibers, so documents printed with liquid ink are more difficult to alter than documents printed with toner or solid inks, which do not penetrate below the paper surface. Cheques can be printed with liquid ink or on special cheque paper with toner anchorage so that alterations may be detected. The machine-readable lower portion of a cheque must be printed using MICR toner or ink. Banks and other clearing houses employ automation equipment that relies on the magnetic flux from these specially printed characters to function properly. The following printing technologies are routinely found in modern printers: Main article: Laser printer A laser printer rapidly produces high quality text and graphics. As with digital photocopiers and multifunction printers (MFPs), laser printers employ a xerographic printing process but differ from analog photocopiers in that the image is produced by the direct scanning of a laser beam across the printer's photoreceptor. Another toner-based printer is the LED printer which uses an array of LEDs instead of a laser to cause toner adhesion to the print drum. Liquid ink cartridge from Hewlett-Packard HP 845C inkjet printer Inkjet printers operate by propelling variably sized droplets of liquid ink onto almost any sized page. They are the most common type of computer printer used by consumers. Main article: Solid ink Solid ink printers, also known as phase-change printers, are a type of thermal transfer printer. They use solid sticks of CMYK-coloured ink, similar in consistency to candle wax, which are melted and fed into a piezo crystal operated print-head. The printhead sprays the ink on a rotating, oil coated drum. The paper then passes over the print drum, at which time the image is immediately transferred, or transfixed, to the page. Solid ink printers are most commonly used as colour office printers, and are excellent at printing on transparencies and other non-porous media. Solid ink printers can produce excellent results. Acquisition and operating costs are similar to laser printers. Drawbacks of the technology include high energy consumption and long warm-up times from a cold state. Also, some users complain that the resulting prints are difficult to write on, as the wax tends to repel inks from pens, and are difficult to feed through automatic document feeders, but these traits have been significantly reduced in later models. In addition, this type of printer is only available from one manufacturer, Xerox, manufactured as part of their Xerox Phaser office printer line. Previously, solid ink printers were manufactured by Tektronix, but Tek sold the printing business to Xerox in 2001. Main article: Dye-sublimation printer A disassembled dye sublimation cartridge A dye-sublimation printer (or dye-sub printer) is a printer which employs a printing process that uses heat to transfer dye to a medium such as a plastic card, paper or canvas. The process is usually to lay one colour at a time using a ribbon that has colour panels. Dye-sub printers are intended primarily for high-quality colour applications, including colour photography; and are less well-suited for text. While once the province of high-end print shops, dye-sublimation printers are now increasingly used as dedicated consumer photo printers. Receipt printer printing a Twitter timeline Thermal printers work by selectively heating regions of special heat-sensitive paper. Monochrome thermal printers are used in cash registers, ATMs, gasoline dispensers and some older inexpensive fax machines. Colours can be achieved with special papers and different temperatures and heating rates for different colours; these coloured sheets are not required in black-and-white output. One example is Zink (a portmanteau of "zero ink"). Epson MX-80, a popular model of dot-matrix printer in use for many years The following technologies are either obsolete, or limited to special applications though most were, at one time, in widespread use. Impact printers rely on a forcible impact to transfer ink to the media. The impact printer uses a print head that either hits the surface of the ink ribbon, pressing the ink ribbon against the paper (similar to the action of a typewriter), or, less commonly, hits the back of the paper, pressing the paper against the ink ribbon (the IBM 1403 for example). All but the dot matrix printer rely on the use of fully formed characters, letterforms that represent each of the characters that the printer was capable of printing. In addition, most of these printers were limited to monochrome, or sometimes two-color, printing in a single typeface at one time, although bolding and underlining of text could be done by "overstriking", that is, printing two or more impressions either in the same character position or slightly offset. Impact printers varieties include typewriter-derived printers, teletypewriter-derived printers, daisywheel printers, dot matrix printers and line printers. Dot matrix printers remain in common use in businesses where multi-part forms are printed. An overview of impact printing contains a detailed description of many of the technologies used. typeball print element from IBM Selectric-type printer Main articles: Friden Flexowriter and IBM Selectric typewriter Several different computer printers were simply computer-controllable versions of existing electric typewriters. The Friden Flexowriter and IBM Selectric-based printers were the most-common examples. The Flexowriter printed with a conventional typebar mechanism while the Selectric used IBM's well-known "golf ball" printing mechanism. In either case, the letter form then struck a ribbon which was pressed against the paper, printing one character at a time. The maximum speed of the Selectric printer (the faster of the two) was 15.5 characters per second. Main article: Teleprinter The common teleprinter could easily be interfaced to the computer and became very popular except for those computers manufactured by IBM. Some models used a "typebox" that was positioned, in the X- and Y-axes, by a mechanism and the selected letter form was struck by a hammer. Others used a type cylinder in a similar way as the Selectric typewriters used their type ball. In either case, the letter form then struck a ribbon to print the letterform. Most teleprinters operated at ten characters per second although a few achieved 15 CPS. "daisy wheel" print element Main article: Daisy wheel printer Daisy wheel printers operate in much the same fashion as a typewriter. A hammer strikes a wheel with petals, the "daisy wheel", each petal containing a letter form at its tip. The letter form strikes a ribbon of ink, depositing the ink on the page and thus printing a character. By rotating the daisy wheel, different characters are selected for printing. These printers were also referred to as letter-quality printers because they could produce text which was as clear and crisp as a typewriter. The fastest letter-quality printers printed at 30 characters per second. Main article: Dot matrix printer Sample output from 9-pin dot matrix printer (one character expanded to show detail) The term dot matrix printer is used for impact printers that use a matrix of small pins to transfer ink to the page. The advantage of dot matrix over other impact printers is that they can produce graphical images in addition to text; however the text is generally of poorer quality than impact printers that use letterforms (type). Dot-matrix printers can be broadly divided into two major classes: Dot matrix printers can either be character-based or line-based (that is, a single horizontal series of pixels across the page), referring to the configuration of the print head. In the 1970s & 80s, dot matrix printers were one of the more common types of printers used for general use, such as for home and small office use. Such printers normally had either 9 or 24 pins on the print head (early 7 pin printers also existed, which did not print descenders). There was a period during the early home computer era when a range of printers were manufactured under many brands such as the Commodore VIC-1525 using the Seikosha Uni-Hammer system. This used a single solenoid with an oblique striker that would be actuated 7 times for each column of 7 vertical pixels while the head was moving at a constant speed. The angle of the striker would align the dots vertically even though the head had moved one dot spacing in the time. The vertical dot position was controlled by a synchronised longitudinally ribbed platen behind the paper that rotated rapidly with a rib moving vertically seven dot spacings in the time it took to print one pixel column. 24-pin print heads were able to print at a higher quality and started to offer additional type styles and were marketed as Near Letter Quality by some vendors. Once the price of inkjet printers dropped to the point where they were competitive with dot matrix printers, dot matrix printers began to fall out of favour for general use. Some dot matrix printers, such as the NEC P6300, can be upgraded to print in colour. This is achieved through the use of a four-colour ribbon mounted on a mechanism (provided in an upgrade kit that replaces the standard black ribbon mechanism after installation) that raises and lowers the ribbons as needed. Colour graphics are generally printed in four passes at standard resolution, thus slowing down printing considerably. As a result, colour graphics can take up to four times longer to print than standard monochrome graphics, or up to 8-16 times as long at high resolution mode. Dot matrix printers are still commonly used in low-cost, low-quality applications such as cash registers, or in demanding, very high volume applications like invoice printing. Impact printing, unlike laser printing, allows the pressure of the print head to be applied to a stack of two or more forms to print multi-part documents such as sales invoices and credit card receipts using continuous stationery with carbonless copy paper. Dot-matrix printers were being superseded even as receipt printers after the end of the twentieth century. Main article: Line printer Line printers print an entire line of text at a time. Four principal designs exist. Print drum from drum printer IBM 1403 line printer In each case, to print a line, precisely timed hammers strike against the back of the paper at the exact moment that the correct character to be printed is passing in front of the paper. The paper presses forward against a ribbon which then presses against the character form and the impression of the character form is printed onto the paper. Line printers are the fastest of all impact printers and are used for bulk printing in large computer centres. A line printer can print at 1100 lines per minute or faster, frequently printing pages more rapidly than many current laser printers. On the other hand, the mechanical components of line printers operat with tight tolerances and require regular preventive maintenance (PM) to produce top quality print. They are virtually never used with personal computers and have now been replaced by high-speed laser printers. The legacy of line printers lives on in many computer operating systems, which use the abbreviations "lp", "lpr", or "LPT" to refer to printers. Liquid ink electrostatic printers use a chemical coated paper, which is charged by the print head according to the image of the document. The paper is passed near a pool of liquid ink with the opposite charge. The charged areas of the paper attract the ink and thus form the image. This process was developed from the process of electrostatic copying. Color reproduction is very accurate, and because there is no heating the scale distortion is less than ±0.1%. (All laser printers have an accuracy of ±1%.) Worldwide, most survey offices used this printer before color inkjet plotters become popular. Liquid ink electrostatic printers were mostly available in 36 to 54 inches (910 to 1,370 mm) width and also 6 color printing. These were also used to print large billboards. It was first introduced by Versatec, which was later bought by Xerox. 3M also used to make these printers. Main article: Plotter A Calcomp 565 drum plotter Pen-based plotters were an alternate printing technology once common in engineering and architectural firms. Pen-based plotters rely on contact with the paper (but not impact, per se) and special purpose pens that are mechanically run over the paper to create text and images. Since the pens output continuous lines, they were able to produce technical drawings of higher resolution than was achievable with dot-matrix technology. Some plotters used roll-fed paper, and therefore had minimal restriction on the size of the output in one dimension. These plotters were capable of producing quite sizable drawings. A number of other sorts of printers are important for historical reasons, or for special purpose uses: Most printers other than line printers accept control characters or unique character sequences to control various printer functions. These may range from shifting from lower to upper case or from black to red ribbon on typewriter printers to switching fonts and changing character sizes and colors on raster printers. Early printer controls were not standardized, with each manufacturer's equipment having its own set. The IBM Personal Printer Data Stream (PPDS) became a commonly used command set for dot-matrix printers. Today, most printers accept one or more page description languages (PDLs). Laser printers with greater processing power frequently offer support for variants of Hewlett-Packard's Printer Command Language (PCL), PostScript or XML Paper Specification. Most inkjet devices support manufacturer proprietary PDLs such as ESC/P. The diversity in mobile platforms have led to various standardization efforts around device PDLs such as the Printer Working Group (PWG's) PWG Raster. The speed of early printers was measured in units of characters per minute (cpm) for character printers, or lines per minute (lpm) for line printers. Modern printers are measured in pages per minute (ppm). These measures are used primarily as a marketing tool, and are not as well standardised as toner yields. Usually pages per minute refers to sparse monochrome office documents, rather than dense pictures which usually print much more slowly, especially colour images. PPM are most of the time referring to A4 paper in Europe and letter paper in the United States, resulting in a 5-10% difference. The data received by a printer may be: Some printers can process all four types of data, others not. Today it is possible to print everything (even plain text) by sending ready bitmapped images to the printer. This allows better control over formatting, especially among machines from different vendors. Many printer drivers do not use the text mode at all, even if the printer is capable of it. A monochrome printer can only produce an image consisting of one colour, usually black. A monochrome printer may also be able to produce various tones of that color, such as a grey-scale. A colour printer can produce images of multiple colours. A photo printer is a colour printer that can produce images that mimic the colour range (gamut) and resolution of prints made from photographic film. Many can be used on a standalone basis without a computer, using a memory card or USB connector. The page yield is number of pages that can be printed from a toner cartridge or ink cartridge—before the cartridge needs to be refilled or replaced. The actual number of pages yielded by a specific cartridge depends on a number of factors. For a fair comparison, many laser printer manufacturers use the ISO/IEC 19752 process to measure the toner cartridge yield. In order to fairly compare operating expenses of printers with a relatively small ink cartridge to printers with a larger, more expensive toner cartridge that typically holds more toner and so prints more pages before the cartridge needs to be replaced, many people prefer to estimate operating expenses in terms of cost per page (CPP).  Often the "razor and blades" business model is applied. That is, a company may sell a printer at cost, and make profits on the ink cartridge, paper, or some other replacement part. This has caused legal disputes regarding the right of companies other than the printer manufacturer to sell compatible ink cartridges. To protect their business model, several manufacturers invest heavily in developing new cartridge technology and patenting it. Other manufacturers, in reaction to the challenges from using this business model, choose to make more money on printers and less on the ink, promoting the latter through their advertising campaigns. Finally, this generates two clearly different proposals: "cheap printer – expensive ink" or "expensive printer – cheap ink". Ultimately, the consumer decision depends on their reference interest rate or their time preference. From an economics viewpoint, there is a clear trade-off between cost per copy and cost of the printer. An illustration showing small yellow tracking dots on white paper, generated by a color laser printer Main article: Printer steganography Printer steganography is a type of steganography – "hiding data within data" – produced by color printers, including Brother, Canon, Dell, Epson, HP, IBM, Konica Minolta, Kyocera, Lanier, Lexmark, Ricoh, Toshiba and Xerox brand color laser printers, where tiny yellow dots are added to each page. The dots are barely visible and contain encoded printer serial numbers, as well as date and time stamps. Main article: Wireless printer More than half of all printers sold at U.S. retail in 2010 were wireless-capable, but nearly three-quarters of consumers who have access to those printers weren't taking advantage of the increased access to print from multiple devices according to the new Wireless Printing Study.
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