Post: A History of Screen Printing

A History of Screen Printing

Today, screening printing takes advantage of modern technology, but it is actually a very old technique that has been around for centuries. Screen printing as we know it today, however, has its roots in 20th-century America. But no matter how you decide to date it, sheet metal silk screen manufacturers like Northeast Silk Screen are part of an industry with a fascinating history.

Let’s take a look at the various origins of screen printing and how sheet metal silk screen manufacturers use these techniques today.

Silk Screening Throughout History

Although some historians dispute the claim, others trace the beginning of screen printing to China, about 1,800 years ago. It started out as a way of transferring complex and intricate designs onto fabric. Later, the Japanese used a similar method that involved paper stencils and mesh screens woven from human hair. To force the ink through the screens and onto the fabric, they used brushes with stiff bristles. By the 17th century, the French were still using the same techniques, though, by this time, silk screens replaced those made of human hair. The real revolution in silk screening would come in the early 20th century when squeegees replaced the stiff brushes.

The Move Away from Fabric

At the start of the 20th century, felt pennants were very popular throughout the United States. As far as we can tell, these were some of the earliest items to be made with the modern methods of screen printing. In 1912, some innovative printers in San Francisco realized that they could use screen printing to make signs and posters on various materials, including metal and glass.

Sheet Metal and World War II

Sheet metal silk screen manufacturers came into their own during the Second World War. The US military needed the ability to transfer text and images to the outside of aircraft. Screen printers were also instrumental in making propaganda posters as well as more routine jobs like producing first aid kits. Many military personnel learned the techniques of screen printing and then joined the growing industry after the end of the war.

Sheet Metal Silk Screening by Northeast Silk Screen

At Northeast Silk Screen, we continue to work with the US military as a sheet metal silk screen manufacturer. We also stay connected to the artistic roots of silk screening with our in-house design team. We are proud to be a part of the history of an art form that is both practical and beautiful.

Contact us at (603) 883-6933 to learn more about our services.