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Printing about 200 Sheets per Hour (Circa 1750)


In the mid-18th century printing by hand on wooden printing presses remained a very laborious process, the output of which had not improved dramatically from the mid-15th century when Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press.

"There seems to be agreement among the authorities on the wooden press concerning its speed of operation. The Frankfurt printing ordinances of 1573 laid this down as at about 240 sheets an hour, while Moxon writes of the 'token'— 250 sheets an hour, printed on one side by two pressmen. It seems clear, however, that towards the end of a twelve-hour working day the rate would drop, and a more reasonable average figure would be in the region of 200 sheets an hour" (Moran, Printing Presses, History and Development [1973] 32).