5 Unusual Facts You Might Not Know About Print

For as long as time has begun, print has existed in the world around us in one format or another. But how much do you know about its progression throughout history? Some of these facts may surprise you!

The printing industry is gigantic. From having a phenomenal presence throughout the world, it also accounts for a huge amount of the world’s economyA market report conducted by Smithers Pira states that the global printing market is set to top $980 billion dollars (roughly £756 billion pounds) by the year 2018. It’s interesting to note that print has gone through several strange advancements which have transformed it into the mega industry it currently stands as. Read on for 5 unusual facts you might not know about the world of print!

Shakespeare’s First Book Took 2 Years to Be Printed

Shakespeare’s first ever book printed, The First Folio, contains 36 plays within it and is 630 pages in total. As printing processes were much more laborious during the Tudor era that Shakespeare was part of, it took almost 2 years to print it! Although scholars refer to it as The First Folio, it was published in 1623 with the title of Mr. William Shakespeare’s Comedies, History & Tragedies. It would go on to forge a huge step in people’s perceptions of playwriting and culture.


FMS Blog The First Folio


Johannes Gutenberg Passed Away With Very Little of His Wealth

Known as being responsible for inventing the world’s first printing press, many assumed that Johannes Gutenberg would be able to pass on his wealth as he wished before he passed away. This unfortunately was not the case as Johannes Gutenberg was sued in 1455 by one of his working partners. Gutenberg lost the lawsuit, meaning that he had to shut down Iconic Printer from his business empire and was deep in financial debt before he died in the year of 1468.


FMS Blog Johannes Gutenberg


The Smallest Reproduced Book in the World Was Created In Canada

Containing a fable about a character’s victory at a fictional turnip contest, Teeny Ted from Turnip Town is certified in the Guinness World Records as being the world’s smallest reproduction of a printed book. Measuring 70 micrometers by 100 micrometers in size, it costs $15,000 dollars (around £10,000 pounds) to buy. The book has been etched using a special ion beam at the Simon Fraser University in Canada and also requires a scanning electron microscope to be read.


FMS Blog Teeny Ted From Turnip Town


The Terms Upper Case and Lower Case Are Named After a Storage Solution

Something that we often may gloss over when thinking about print is where the terms Upper Case and Lower Case originated from. According to recent history, the terms were used during the very early days of using printing presses. During this period, letter blocks would be kept in organized drawers or storage boxes which were known as cases. The terms were given as cases that contained capital letters were usually stored much higher than those that contained smaller letters. This made it easier for compositors to identify and distinguish between the different letter sets.


FMS Blog Upper Case and Lower Case


Black Printing Ink is the Seventh Most Expensive Liquid in the World

Yes you heard right, black printing ink ranks as the seventh most expensive liquid in the world. Costing a staggering $2,700 (£2,084 pounds roughly) per gallon, its cost comes from the complex methods of mixing used to create it in a large capacity. According to HP, ink cartridges can take on average three to five years in order to correctly mix and produce ready for consumer use. Knowing the reasoning behind the cost of printing ink makes the price of modern ink cartridges not as expensive as once thought in comparison!


FMS Blog Black Ink




British Library – Shakespeare’s First Folio: https://www.bl.uk/collection-items/shakespeares-first-folio

Biography – Johannes Gutenberg: https://www.biography.com/people/johannes-gutenberg-9323828

Guinness World Records – Smallest reproduction of a printed book: http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/smallest-reproduction-of-a-printed-book/

Today I Found Out – Where “Upper Case” And “Lower Case” Came From: http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2011/02/where-upper-case-and-lower-case-came-from/

Higgypop – Top 10 Most Expensive Liquids on Earth: https://www.higgypop.com/news/top-10-most-expensive-liquids-on-earth/

Sam Rose