38,000 BCE             A red dot painted on the El Castillo cave in Northern Spain is thought to be the oldest image drawn by man.

3500 BCE                Oldest writing ever found in Mesopotamia on limestone.

3300 BCE                Oldest writing on clay tablet found in Uruk, southern Babylonia (Iraq), the beginning of cuneiform.

3000 BCE                Date of oldest papyrus, a blank scroll in the tomb of Saqqara, near Cairo.

3000 BCE                Beginning of Egyptian Hieroglyphic writing.

2500 BCE                First script in the Indus valley.

2400 BCE                Oldest known Egyptian book, written on woven linen.

2200 BCE                Writing on copper and pottery in the Indus valley.

2100 BCE                Date of the oldest piece of tapa, a fragment found in Peru.

1850 BCE                Date of the oldest-known document written on leather, an Egyptian scroll.

1400 BCE                Writing on bones in China.

1300 BCE                Writing on bronze, jade, and tortoise shell in China.

1200 BCE                Characters for Chinese language developed.

1100 BCE                Egyptians begin exporting papyrus, first to Phoenicians.

1000 BCE                Phoenician alphabet begins.

600 BCE                  Zapotec/Mixtec writing in Mexico.

600 BCE                  Accounts written on wooden tablets in China and Greece.

400 BCE                  The Ionian alphabet becomes standard in Greece.

400 BCE                  True ink from lampblack invented in China.

300 BCE                  King Eumenes Il of Pergamum, barred from importing papyrus, builds a library of 200,000 volumes in parchment.

255 BCE                  First mention of seals in China but used without ink in clay.

252 BCE                  The dating of the oldest piece of paper ever found in Lu Lan, China.

250 BCE                  In China Meng Tian invents the camel’s hair brush for calligraphy.

250 BCE                  Mayan hieroglyphic writing.

207 BCE                  Beginning of the Chinese Han dynasty, in which paper is developed.

63 BCE                     Strabo, the Greek geographer, writes of marveling at a watermill in the palace of Mithridates, King of Pontus, along the Black Sea.

31 BCE                    The earliest known Olmec glyph writing.

30 BCE                    Romans conquer Egypt and spread papyrus in the Mediterranean world.

75 CE                       The last inscription written in cuneiform.

105 CE                     The eunuch Cai Lun of the Chinese Han court is credited with inventing paper.

250—300                  Approximate date of paper found in Turkestan.

256                          First known book on paper, the Phi Yu Ching, produced in Chin

297                          Earliest known Mayan calendar, carved in stone.

394                          Last inscription written in Egyptian hieroglyphics.

450                          Date of earliest known writing on palm-leaf fragments of a manuscript found in northwestern China.

476                          Official end of classical antiquity as the last Western Roman emperor, Romulus Augustus, is overthrown.

500                          Mayans begin writing on amate.

500—600                  Mayans develop bark paper.

548                          The king of Paekche (Korea) sends sutra and statues made of paper to Japan.

610                          Korean monk Dancho takes papermaking to Japan.

630                          Muhammad conquers Mecca.

673                          Monks at the temple of Kawahara begin copying Buddhist scriptures, which soon became a major activity in Japan.

706                          Arabs bring paper to Mecca

  • An Arab-led Berber army crosses the Straits of Gibraltar from Morocco into Spain.
  • Earliest known piece of Japanese literature, Kojiki, is written in Chinese.

720                          Use of paper in Japan greatly expands as Japan becomes Buddhist.

751                          Papermaking in Samarkand begins.

762—66                   Baghdad founded.

770                          Japanese empress Shötoku orders the first known printing on paper, I million copies of a prayer to drive away disease.

795                           Rag paper mill opened in Baghdad.

800                           Paper first used in Egypt.

832                           Muslim conquest of Sicily.

848                           Date of the oldest-known complete book in Arabic on paper.

850                           Estimated date of earliest known version of One Thousand and One Nights.

868                           The Diamond Sutra, the oldest printed book ever, is found.

889                           Mayans begin writing all their records on amate rather than stone.

900                           Egyptians begin making paper.

969                           Earliest known use of playing cards in China.

1041—48                  Date of earliest known moveable type in China made of earthenware set in an iron form.

900—1100                Mayans write the Dresden Codex.

1140                         Papermaking begins in Muslim Spain in Xåtiva.

1143                         The Qur’an is translated into Latin.

1264                         First record of papermaking in Fabriano, Italy.

1282                         First watermarks, in Fabriano, Italy. 1308 Dante begins writing The Divine Comedy.

1307                         Paper first used in England.

1332                         Paper first used in Holland.

1338                         Papermaking starts in Troyes.

1353                         Boccaccio writes The Decameron.

1387                         Chaucer starts writing Canterbury Tales.

1389                         German papermaking begins in Nuremberg.

1403                         King Taejong of Korea orders bronze type.

1411                         Papermaking begins in Switzerland.

1423                         Earliest known European block prints.

1440—50                   First European block books.

1456                         Gutenberg completes printing his first Bible with moveable type.

  • Mainz is destroyed and its printers disperse.

1463                         Ulrich Zell starts the Cologne printing industry.

1464                         The Subiaco Monastery near Rome becomes the first print house in Italy.

1469                         Epistolae ad Familiares by Cicero is the first book printed in Venice.

1473                         Lucas Brandis establishes first printing press in Lübeck.

1475 OR 1476            Le livre de merveilles du monde becomes the first book printed in the French language.

1477                         William Caxton opens Britain’s first printing press

1494                         Aldus Manutius starts the Aldine Press in Venice.

1495                         John Tate establishes the first paper mill in England in Hertfordshire.

1515                         Albrecht Dürer starts etching.

  • Hernån Cortés lands near Vera Cruz and begins the destruction of Aztec culture.
  • Martin Luther’s To the Christian Nobility ofthe German Nation is printed and 50,000 copies are distributed in two years.

1528                         Fr. Juan de Zumårraga arrives in Mexico as protector of the Indians, and burns books.

1539                         Spanish begin first printing press in Mexico to make books for the indigenous people.

1549                         Mayan library burned by the Spanish. 1575 Spanish build the first paper mill in Mexico.

1576                         Russians begin papermaking.

1586                         A decree authorizing papermaking in Dordrecht is earliest record of Dutch papermaking.

1605                         Publication of Cervantes’s Don Quixote.

1609                         The world’s first newspaper, Avisa Relation Oder Zeitung, published in Strasbourg.

1627                         The Catholic siege of La Rochelle in France drives Huguenot papermakers to England.

1635                         Papermaking begins in Denmark.

1638                         First English printing press is brought to America.

1672                         With invention of the Hollander beater, Holland becomes a net exporter rather than importer                                    of fine white paper.

1690                         William Rittenhouse establishes first paper mill in America.

1690                         America’s first newspaper, Publick Occurrences Both Forreign and Domestick, published in                                       Boston.

1690                         First paper money in the American colonies issued in Massachusetts.

1698                         Thomas Savery designs the first steam engine to pump out mines.

1702                         The Daily Courant in London, the first daily newspaper, begins publishing.

1719                         René Antoine Ferchault de Réaumur describes how wasps make paper from wood.

1728                         Papermaking in Massachusetts begins.

1744                         A Little Pretty Pocket Book, the first illustrated children’s book, is published in England

  • Papermaking in Virginia begins.

1767                         Papermaking in Connecticut commences.

1768                         Abel Buell is the first to cut and cast type in the American colonies.

1769                         First manufacturer of printing presses in the British American colonies, Isaac Doolittle begins                                   in New Haven.

1773                         Papermaking in New York begins.

1774                         The Swedish apothecary Carl Scheel discovers chlorine, which eventually leads to bleach.

1785                         An independent London newspaper, The Daily Universal Register, begins publishing. Three                                       years later it changes its name to The Times.

1790                         Thomas Bewick becomes the most sought-after illustrator in Britain. Artist J. M. W. Turner                                       begins his experiments with watercolors.

1796                         Alois Senefelder invents the lithograph.

1798                         Nicolas-Louis Robert applies for a patent for his continuous paper machine.

1800                         Lord Stanhope invents a cast iron printer.

1803                         World’s first mechanised paper machine installed at Frogmore Mill, Apsley, UK

1804                         Joseph-Marie Jacquard invents the automatic loom, operated by punch cards.

1809                         John Dickinson patents his cylinder mould papermaking machine.

1810                         Friedrich Koenig invents a steam-powered printer.

1811                         The Luddites start smashing automatic looms in England.

1814                         The Times of London uses Koenig’s steam-powered printer.

1818                         Joshua Gilpin builds the first continuous-paper machine in America.

1820                         More than 29 million newspapers are sold in Britain this year.

1825                         Joseph Nicéphore Niépce makes the first photograph.

1830                         New bleaching process makes white paper from coloured rags possible.

1833                         An English patent is granted for making paper from wood.

1840                         William Henry Fox Talbot makes first permanent photo on paper.

1841                         Ebenezer Landells starts the London satirical magazine Punch.

1843                         American Richard M. Hoe invents the steam-powered rotary printing press.

1863                         American papermakers start using wood pulp.

1867                         English wood pulp grinder exhibited in Paris.

1867                         Wood pulp for paper first ground in the United States in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

1867                         Typewriter invented.

1872                         United States surpasses Britain and Germany to become the largest paper producer in the                                       world.

1874                         Yukosha Company begins making machine-made paper in Tokyo, and six other companies                                      follow in Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe.

1890                         US census tabulated by punch-card machines.

1899                         Swedish explorer Sven Hedin, while excavating the ruins of the vanished city of Lu Lan, finds                                  paper from 252 BCE, completely upsetting the history of paper.

1931                         Vannevar Bush builds an analog electromechanical computer.

1945                         John von Neumann publishes a paper on using binary numbers to program electronic memory.

1947                         Transistor invented at Bell Labs.

1951                         Remington Rand produces forty-six UNIVAC I computers with memory storage and output on                                   magnetic tape.

1958                         Microchip invented.

Go to Top