The History of Screen Printing

EZ Corporate Clothing

As one of the most common types of customization, it's no wonder screen printing has been around for a long time. But just how long has it been since screen printing was invented? Where did it come from and how did it become such popular method of customization for uniforms?

Gildan Adult DryBlend T-Shirt with PocketThe earliest instance of screen printing is believed to have occurred in Asia. About 2000 years ago during the Song Dynasty, the Chinese used human hair stretched across a wooden frame to create screens for screen printing. They then used leaves as stencils to create designs, and that's how it's considered that screen printing was born. Later in Japan, silk was used to make the screen and lacquers were used to make stencils. Here is where screen printing got its alternate name "silk screening."

Bella Ladies 7.5oz. Full-Zip Raglan HoodieScreen printing didn't make its way over to Western Europe until the late 18th century. However, it wasn't immediately widely adopted because silk--required to make the screens at the time--wasn't readily available. During the early twentieth century, Roy Beck, Charles Peter and Edward Owens revolutionized the process by manipulating chromic acid salt sensitized emulsions to create photo-reactive stencils. This group revolutionized the screen printing process; however, it wasn't widely accepted due to how dangerous the chemical process was. Today, we use a similar process, but with chemicals that aren't as toxic.

Gildan Adult Dryblend Jersey Polo - PrintedBy the mid-twentieth century, screen printing became an art form. The National Serigraphic Society originated the term "Serigraphy" to distinguish between industrial use of screen printing and an artistic use of the process. The most notable serigraphy artist is arguably Andy Warhol whose most popular piece is his multicolored, multi-sectioned portrait of Marilyn Monroe.

The multi-armed screen printing machine that can print multiple colors that we use today came into play in 1960. Michael Vasilantone invented the machine to print logos on shirts for a bowling team--very similar to the logos we create at EZ Corporate Clothing today. And so was born the most common use of screen printing services today: t shirt screen printing.

Gildan Ladies Ultra Cotton Pique Polo - PrintedToday, we set up vellum screens on wooden frames and attach them to our multi-armed screen printing machine. A stencil is created for each color, and your garment rotates around the machine while one color is rolled onto the shirt at a time. Once each color has been applied, we send the garments through a very hot dryer. Then, we box them up and ship them off to you!

Have questions about the screen printing process? Give our screen printing clothing company a call at 1-877-304-1899, and we'd be happy to answer them!

-Michelle Giuseffi

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