The History of the Printing Press

The art of printing is believed to have originated from China 1000’s of years ago, although the first recorded history credits it to Caxton then Guttenberg. Much of the styling found on many later printing machines, traced its roots returning to many of the Victorian presses which had a really heavy and gothic influence. This led to Engineers designing printing machines for artists not artists designing printing presses for themselves.

Artist were, for quite a while restricted and only able to print their work at print houses. Machines were revered and never used to their full potential. believe it or not, the artwork wasn’t the focal point, it was the printing machines themselves.

Things stayed pretty consistent before the late nineteen eighties, when Dave Gunning introduced printing presses that were more hands on. Although they were an immediate success inside the printing industry, Dave has spent the past 20 years perfecting the machines. Daves on-going adventure is to educate, to ensure the art of etching and printing never dies. Born amongst the steel works in Bilston West Midlands 55 years ago Dave has a long family pedigree of steel bashing. His own art is featured in many private and public collections including National Museum of Wales, The Palace of Westminster as well as the Royal Collection.

Unlike any other printing machines available on the market, every press is handmade in Ironbridge, Shropshire. Sutiable for printing anything from woodcuts to etchings. Dave offers a life time warranty with all of his presses, such is the quality of both the workmanship and also the prints themselves.To date Dave Gunning has made over 1000 printing presses, many of which reside in schools, colleges and artists studios, making printing a lot easier for all.Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery even have one on permanent exhibition as a testament to the excellence of the machines quality of manufacture and Versatility.

‘I saw a press in a museum in Paris that was Picasso’s, I never dreamed I would have a press I hade made in a museum as an exhibit!’ Dave Gunning 2009

This informative article is a guest blog post written on behlaf of Ironbridge Fine Arts & Framing, Suppliers of Gunningarts Etching Printing Presses and specialists in Bespoke Framing. To get more detailed information about Etching Printing Press, please visit

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