Thursday, October 16, 2008

Inventions for Artists

I have composed a list of inventions during the late 1800s to early 1900s. I tried to find items that influenced the daily lives of graphic designers and artists. However, I also found some interesting inventions that influenced photography, construction, and art.

Web Offset Printing was invented by William Bullock in 1865. It is a process of printing that would feed paper onto a continuous roll into a press. The press printed on both sides of the paper.

Crayons were invented by Edwin Binney and Harold Smith in 1903. They were a mixture of paraffin wax and pigment. These little wax colored sticks are one of the first tools used by artists and individuals to express themselves.

The WirePhoto was first done by Western Union in 1921 but the idea was proposed by Alexander Bain. The WirePhoto was an electronically transmitted photograph. (see image to the right)

Masking tape was first made by Richard Drew in 1923. He worked for the well-known company 3M. The tape was first made to accommodate the needs of painters. It only had adhesive material on the edges of the tape, not in the middle.

Scotch tape was then made in 1930 by Richard Drew as well. The tape was clear with an all purpose adhesive on one side. The dispenser was first made in 1932 by John A. Borden, who also worked for 3M.

The Photocopier was invented by Chester Floyd Carlson in 1937. The process is known as xerography. The process includes making copies without the use of ink.

All of these inventions changed the way art and graphic design is produced and executed. It is interesting to think what we would have done without crayons as children, or without masking and scotch tape to ease our mounting and presentation.


Sources: Wikipedia, Encyclopedia Brittanica


April G. said...

One of my favorite childhood tv memories is the segment that they'd play during Sesame Street where they filmed the making of crayons at the crayon factory. What a great invention!

On another note, I was just reading about trademarks etc. in marketing. I learned that when branding an item you should try to choose a name that will not become synonymous with what the item is. If that happens the brand name or trademark can become public property. The text book gives the examples of cellophane, aspirin, and shredded wheat. It seems that this has probably happened with crayons as well.

gdhistory anderson becker carter said...

I completely agree. Many brands do lose their personality because their name become so linked to what they are. Just think of a tissue. Kleenex is often used more to identify a tissue no matter what the brand may be. For fun I think I'm going to start calling them a Puff just to see if anyone catches on.