Press As An Industry In Britain



The printing press was essentially invented by Johannes Gutenberg enabling mass productions of books and the spread of rapid knowledge throughout Europe. However, this invention became a great industry in Britain. The printing press became a popular industry in the mid-19th century as the second industrial revolution commences a communication revolution. There were several factors that made printing press very popular and substantial such as during wars where it made people significantly strive for news. The following essay will discuss the developments and events that led to the press to become an industry in Britain.

During the 18th century there was a great growth of the London press and followed by 1760, there were eighty-nine newspapers published in the capital city only. In the 1920’s there was a circulation of the papers emerged with great expansions leading to the control over the provincial which later helped to double the copies being made by 1945. Two time frames that helped the press become an industry in Britain was during the Korean War.

The discovery of Gutenberg printing press culminated in rapid rise in the number of the print shops in Britain (Thorpe 1975, p. 49). However, with the increasing call for the printed equipment rose rapidly, the desire for printing press aimed at producing the higher quality print with faster augmented (Moran 1978, p. 67). The cast-iron printing press was the designed by Stanhope Earl from England in the year 1800. This invention had the ability to generate quality as well as glowing impressions. The Columbian press, rotary press, bed-and-platen press emerged thereafter. In addition, cylinder press, Bullock press, monotype machine as well as linotype machine were also invented. Currently, one can print of majorly through the utilization of various computers alongside contemporary devices. This combination of contemporary printing devices and computers can yield prints rapidly compared to the ones utilized in the past. Mass printing can be undertaken in a matter of seconds currently compared to the previous periods (Salman et al. 2011, p. 56). The modern technology has culminated to printing and delivering the printed materials in few hours. There is currently overnight printing that is widespread and used by those individual and organizations requiring fast business cars, overnight printing services and brochures. The first innovators from China have ensured that printing is a modernized and made affordable for users in Britain.   

In the morning of November 29, 194, a major announcing was made in London regarding the printing press development.  The Fleet Street of London became filled with the commerce cacophony. However, the rows of hand-pulled presses at London Times remained unchanged or barely changed following Gutenberg’s invention and hand for once halted their creaking as well as rumbling. The printers stood idle for quite good time and people wondered increasingly how the newspapers were going to be generated. Nonetheless, they wondering people were ask to wait for the significance foreign news to be communicated. John Walter II, the owner of London Times erupts into the pressroom and signaled the printers to gather around at dawn. He was holding up that morning’s issue of the London Times. This was the same newspaper that was being anticipated to be produced. People exchanged fearful glances around the room and the Times newspaper was already printed by steam as Walker announced happily. The newspaper was passed out to the printers who regarded Walker II with suspicion and anger. Through the Walker II, the printer learnt of a secret and major development in the printing press (Symes 2004, p.45).  A new kind of press had been designed by a mechanical engineer Friedrich Koenig. It was created and built under top secrecy by the Koenig’s colleagues in a well-guarded and secured warehouse down the street.  The stream engine led to mass job retrenchment and prompted tension in England. However, Walker II assured his workers of their job security and explained that there will never be a repeat of Luddite riots.       

The development of printing press resulted from the speed issues and increased demand of the printing services. Speed was so critical for the commerce cacophony and business that were on a constant increase. It is due to the fact that the earlier invention was not time saving and required many a crew of men on a hand press. The productivity was also in question since a crew of three men could only print 250 pages on one side in one hour but with the progressive inventions, a crew of six men, for example, in the news steam press could generate over 1,000 pages on both sides in an hour. Therefore, investments in emerging technology alongside treating its employees with decorum, the London Times acted rationally thereby scoring worldwide first. This invention alongside the earlier ones speeded up the revolution from the handcrafted to industrial printing production momentous. For example, the challenges that were earlier attached to cost of production reduced. In addition, as a result of mass circulation, the advertising support potentiality increased (Knox 2012, p. 39). This period became more significant towards the expansion of the press industry in Britain and the London Times dubbed it the, greatest improvement’ since the invention of printing. This invention ensured that the then journal presented to the citizens the real-world outcomes of the utmost development linked to printing since the discovery of art.   

The printing press also expanded as a result of the expensive production and publication of books and news. Before, this advancement, these publications were very expensive and could only serve or afforded by the elites. There was an increasing dissatisfaction from the public who could no access the expensive publication and since they were in darkness. These advancements were therefore required to ensure a reduction in the cost of publication to increase their accessibility by the public. This is why the new steam powered press was invented. It subsequently permitted the mass media to enter an industrial state (Hilmes 2014, p. 87). There were now mass readers of the news and other publications in Britain. Accordingly, the advertisers realized that more customers could be read alongside a further reduction in the cost of printing a newspaper. This progress facilitates the need to free the press from the financial reliance on the political parties. In addition, with escalated spread of information, the need to democratize politics was achieved.     


The printing press invention by Gutenberg is regarded as the source of the mass communication. This invention remains the Western culture’s initial feasible strategy of dispensing or dissemination of philosophies and ideas alongside single source information to an expansive as well as far-ranging readers and listeners (Happer & Philo 2013). The close screening of history of the print nonetheless indicates that the discovery of the printing press relied on a convergence of technological and cultural entities that had been unravelling for years (Schatz 2014, p. 47). The print technology and culture required to thrive centuries of alterations following the era of Gutenberg prior to the mass attraction of audience that had the capacity to completely crystalize. The story of print press is a long as well as complex and, hence, it would be irrational to argue that printing was only the solitary reason for immense social, political, as well as the psychological changes it is linked to. Nonetheless, the history of the print press wielded huge influence on particular aspect of the European culture.

The printing press remains instrumental towards the realization of all the key shifts in science, politics, and religion as well as other methods of thought usually linked to modern Western culture. The press was therefore required to handover a copy to the papers from type and the invention of Gutenberg remains useful and the turning point towards the current state of media (Eisenstein 1980, p. 67). In addition, the invention by Koenig was also fundamental in introducing people to mass media. From his invention of the steam print, a great step was made as there was a reduction of the cost and increased accessibility of the news and other publications.

This reversed the earlier orientation towards the elites by as the mass printing was introduced in Britain culminating into an expansive media industry. Consequently, mass advertisement became possible as many customners could then be reached. Also, the political democratization became possible alongside positive adjustments in economic and social frameworks (Thompson 2013, p. 40). The discovery of the printing press therefore accounts for the origin of the media industry in Britain.