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Free «Technological Advances and Visual Communication» Essay Sample

Visual communication is one of essential evolutions that took place in the 18th and 19th centuries. People have been using machines, but it is hard to realize how essential these inventions are, until one gets back to early times. Before the 18th century, people lived without realizing the importance of machines, and they never saw printings and photographs. Even after the first inventions, only well off families were able to have access to printings and photos. The main reason for this late realization is that machines were extremely expensive, and people could not afford purchasing them. Early paintings that were made by artists were also quite expensive to purchase. The revolution brought socioeconomic, cultural and technological changes. Human efforts were replaced by machines for the first time (Arnheim 4). This is the time when evolution in the visual industry also developed. Revolution in the visual industry was influenced by the evolution of machines. The first machine to be invented was the steam engine by James Watt. This machine was then used by Friedrich Koenig in the press. This made it easier for the evolution of other machines. The steam engine also increased the speed of printing. Ottmar Mergenthaler later invented Linotype, which was a typesetting machine. These machines were essential in the revolution of the printing industry. Printings before the 18th century were either intaglio or engraved copper plate processes. These were tedious and a limited number of printings .

The first evolution was the emergence of the visual industry, which was a wood engraving followed by lithography. Wood engraving had been used in the 15th century and involved shaping wood to an image one wanted to make. Wood wears out the first, and a limited number of printings could be made. Thomas Bewick in 1798 ended the use of wood by engraving the wood to grain. He utilized a particular type of tree called boxwood. This technique was utilized for 20 years, and ink was now getting into use in wood printings and materials, such as grains, could be recycled (Jim 2).

Lithography was invented by Alois Senefelder in 1797. This is a printing technique in which stone plates were used together with chemical processes to create images. This was a cheap and easy to use the technique. Thus, it spread quickly throughout the world. This method allowed the use of flat plates, which encouraged longer runs at an instant time. This reduced cost and increased efficiency of printing. The initial 18th century invention involved the use of chemicals to create pictures on stone plates. Chemicals used were hydrophobic and formed the positive part of the image. The negative part of the image was made using water. This method was improved during the 19th century to produce multicolored printings. These complicated printings like chromolithography were developed in 1860s. Plates printed in different colors went round the media, and could be viewed separately. Most works of chromolithography were produced in Europe and America. Mass production of these paintings was made possible by steam machines (Jayshree 7).

Printing evolved fast with some companies producing extremely several products within a year. For example, Joseph Hoover & Co. was able to produce between 600,000 and 700,000 products of lithographic printings in a year. Although these developments were remarkable, they were not exceeding achievements that came with the invention of photography. Photography was invented in the early18th century. The first photograph taken was 1826 by Nicéphore Niépce. He produced an image on a polished pewter plate with a camera. Production of this image required eight hours of exposure in bright sunshine. Niépce and Louis Daguerre in partnership refined the photography process (Jim 5). Later in1839, Daguerre invented Daguerreotype process. William Fox Talbot had already discovered means to fix a silver process image, but did not announce the discovery. Talbot used Daguerre's knowledge to expand his discovery to improve the speed of photo taking. In 1884, George Eastman developed a film that replaced plates. This eased the need to carry plates and chemicals around while taking photos. Later in July 1888, George Eastman's Kodak camera was brought to the market. This made it easier to take photos and leave complex processes to the company to produce. Photography was made available to the common market in 1901 with Kodak Brownie introduction. Kodak has been the world's largest photography company up to date.

Revolution of visual communication could not have been possible, if not for the invention of an extensive transport system. Transport system enabled an easy transfer of machines and products from one place to another. Railway transport was the first to be evolved and was useful in transporting machines, people and products to the market. This allowed producers to sell their products, thus, making money to help them purchase raw materials (Larry 5).

New inventions are made in life every day. However, these inventions depend on the impact they have on people living on the earth. For instance, visual communication is the essence of expression in all forms of communication. From the basics of printings to videos that people watch every day, all express the usefulness of visual communication. Technological advances played a significant role in what people have today. Early printings were not portable and could not be transported from one area to another. Also, record keeping was difficult because of bulkiness. Therefore, it was hard to arrange materials in criteria that were preferred by owners. Industrialization brought a remarkable change that has transformed the world in several ways.


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