Just in Time: Artistic Celebration of the History of Production

Print production technology has moved along at an incredible clip for several hundred years now, from the very first screw presses to the tiny and exceptionally advanced printers that are in nearly every home today. Artist Xavier Antin has created a neat project that not only shows the physical evolution of printing technology since the 19th century, but that also resulted in a book printed with these various technologies.

“Just In Time, or A Short History of Production” is a chain of four different desktop printers spanning nearly a century of technology. Each supplies a different color in the printing process: the stencil duplicator (1880) prints magenta; the spirit duplicator (1923) prints cyan; the laser printer (1969) prints black and the inkjet printer (1976) prints yellow.

The book printed with this unusual array is a retrospective of production techniques over the years. Although the strange method of printing results in a not-quite-flawless product, the artistic value of this concept is delicious. Production methods, both large and small, are celebrated in a way that has probably never before been tried.

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See more in History of Tech or under Vintage & Retro. January, 2011.