Silk Screen printing first appeared in a recognizable form in China during the Song Dynasty (960–1279 AD). Japan plus other Asian countries adopted this technique of printing and advanced the craft using it in conjunction with block printing and hand applied paints.
Silk Screen printing was largely introduced to Western Europe from Asia a little bit in the late 18th century, but did not gain large receipt or use in Europe until silk screen mesh was more available for trade from the east and a profitable outlet for the medium discovered.
Patented in England by Samuel Simon in 1907
Silk Screen printing was primary patented in England by Samuel Simon in 1907. It was originally used as a popular technique to print expensive wall paper, printed on linen, silk, and other fine materials. Western silk screen printers developed reclusive, defensive and exclusionary business policies intended to stay secret their workshops’ knowledge and methods.
Early in the 1910s, several printers experiment with photo-reactive chemicals used the well-known actinic light activated cross connecting or hardening traits of potassium, sodium or ammonium Chromate and dichromate chemicals with glues and gelatin compounds. Roy Beck, Charles Peter and Edward Owens studied and experimented with chromic acid salt sensitized emulsions for photo-reactive stencils. This trio of developers would prove to revolutionize the commercial silk screen printing business by introducing photo-imaged stencils to the business, though the acceptance of this way would take a lot of years. Commercial silk screen printing now uses sensitizers far safer and less toxic than dichromate’s. Currently there are large selections of pre-sensitized and “user mixed” sensitized emulsion substances for creating photo-reactive stencils.
Joseph Ulano founded the manufacturing chemical supplier Ulano and in 1928 created a technique of applying a lacquer soluble stencil material to a removable base. This stencil material was cut into shapes, the print areas removed and the remaining material adhered to mesh to create a sharp edged screen stencil.
Originally a profitable industrial technology, silk screen printing was eventually adopted by artists as an expressive and conveniently repeatable medium for duplication well before the 20th century. It is currently popular together in fine arts and in commercial screen printing, where it is commonly used to print images on Posters, T-shirts, hats, CDs, DVDs, ceramics, glass, polyethylene, polypropylene, paper, metals, and wood.
A group of artists who later on formed the state Serigraphic Society coined the word Serigraphy in the 1930s to differentiate the artistic application of silk screen printing from the manufacturing use of the process. “Serigraphy” is a combination word from the Latin word “Seri” (silk) and the Greek word “graphing” (to write or draw).
The screen Printer’s National Environmental Assistance Center says “Screen-printing is arguably the most versatile of all printing processes.” Since rudimentary screen-printing resources are so affordable and readily available, it has been used frequently in underground settings and subcultures, and the non-professional look of such DIY culture screen-prints have become a significant cultural aesthetic seen on movie posters, record album covers, flyers, shirts, commercial fonts in advertising, in artwork and elsewhere.