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I'd love to add timelines to the wiki, but don't want them to be incomplete or incorrect. I also realize that something like an history about something like posteres can be subjective as you first must answer the question, "What is a Poster?" But, I thought this would make a fun exercise. A test if you will.
This timeline was created in 2000 for an essay I was writing about that very question mentioned previously. Let's see how this goes.
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The History of the Printed Poster up to 1900.
10,000 B.C. -- The Birth of Visual Communication can be traced to the cave paintings done during the Paleolithic age in Lascaux, France
105 A.D. -- Paper was discovered in China by Ts’ai Lun
79 A.D. -- The “advertisements” over the baths at Pompeii.
1439 -- Johannes Gutenberg’s creates the hand-operated press in Mainz, Germany.
1461 -- Mainz, Germany. Leaflets and Posters were printed for both sides during a feud between bishops. Supposedly the beginning of political posters and leaflets.
1470 -- First Publisher’s catalogue printed as a poster by Peter Schöffer in Mainz.
1477 -- First advertisement printed by William Caxton. It announces an edition of Pyes of Salisbury.
1482 -- In Paris for Notre Dame in Rheims a message is posted promising that the faithful would all be forgiven their sins if they were to make an offering of money in church on the day of Pope Pius’s visit. This poster was a Gothic woodcut with the Madonna as the patron of the church, the papal insignia and the coat of arms of the town of Rheims–possibly the first specimen of a text supported by illustration.
1505 -- Etching was invented in Ausburg.
1517 -- Martin Luther posts his ninety-five theses for debate on the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg. Subsequently, his friends passed on copies to the printers to be reproduced, by December the whole of the continent knew of Luther’s beliefs.
1518 -- The first wood engraving poster was printed in Rostock
1518 -- The archibishop of Mainz set up the first board of censors to supervise printing.
1520 -- The first playbill from a wood engraving also printed in Rostock
1539 -- Frances I of France found it necessary to issue an order on putting up posters.
1653 -- A decree is sent out by the goverment in Paris forbidding, on pain of death, the printing and exhibition, or bill-posting, of posters without an official permit
1722 -- In Paris the goverment tries yet again to control the posters.
1742 -- A new edict is issued which requires two copies of every bill or poster to be delivered up to the Royal Library.
1760 -- The Industrial Revolution begins in England.
1780 -- James Watt introduces the ability of steam power.
1798 -- Lithography is discovered by Alois Senefelder.
1810 -- Frederick Koenig invents the powered printing machine thus enabling the truest form of mass production for man yet.
1838 -- Charles Dickens uses the word ‘poster’ in his book Nicholas Nickleby. Shortly thereafter it is accepted in the the English dictionary.
1845 -- Paul Gavarni produces the black and white lithographic poster Les Français. Together with Honoré Daumier, they attempt to produce posters with artistic merit.
1850 -- The power-operated press has been advanced enough to produce up to 10,000 sheets per hour
1867 -- Jules Chéret produces the color lithographic poster for the play La Biche au Bois starring Sarah Bernhardt
1868 -- Edouard Manet’s black on white lithographic poster for the book Les Chats by Champfleury.
1871 -- Fred Walker prints the first British pictorial poster for Wilkie Collins’ play and novel Woman in White. This is what is considered to be the first British poster with any artistic merit.
1895 -- Alphons Mucha prints his first poster for Sardou’s play Gismonda.