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  • 28 Nov 2014

KBA celebrates its 200-year-old roots

Nearly three years later, on August 9, 1817, Koenig (left) and Bauer (right) founded the world’s first printing press factory Schnellpressenfabrik Koenig & Bauer in a secularized monastery in Oberzell, near Würzburg, GermanyUnder the guidance of Friedrich Koenig Jr, KBA delivered its first web rotary press to Magdeburgische Zeitung in 1876, and then, in 1888, shipped the first 4-color web press to St. Petersburg, RussiaToday KBA’s main production facility can be found on the opposite side of the river Main from where the company was founded

On November 29, 1814, a new steam-powered double-cylinder printing press from Friedrich Koenig and Andreas Bauer was used for the first time to print The Times in London.

Nearly three years later, on August 9, 1817, Koenig and Bauer founded the world’s first printing press factory Schnellpressenfabrik Koenig & Bauer in a secularized monastery in Oberzell, near Würzburg. Today KBA’s main production facility can be found on the opposite side of the river Main.

KBA said the double-cylinder press for The Times in 1814 was an important landmark in the 500-year-plus history of printing, as its hourly output of 1,100 printed sheets compared to 240 by Gutenberg’s hand press increased productivity by almost five times.

The technology initially only concerned newspaper printing, however, books, magazines, catalogs and much more were printed mechanically shortly afterwards.

The fundamental of the technology to guide paper, and later also many other substrates as individual sheets or as a web from a roll, over a rotating cylinder and to print directly or indirectly (over a blanket cylinder in offset) using a mechanically inked printing form is still used in analog printing today. Digital printing is also involves rotating cylinders and drums for the paper run, KBA said.

In addition, the press for The Times printed sheets on just one side, although Friedrich Koenig applied to patent the perfecting press at almost the same time.

Presses became increasingly more refined and more powerful, and print quality improved, and in 1832 Friedrich Koenig documented his vision of a web rotary press, although he was not able to implement it as he passed away in 1833.

Under the guidance of Friedrich Koenig Jr, the company delivered its first web rotary press to Magdeburgische Zeitung in 1876, and then, in 1888, shipped the first 4-color web press to St. Petersburg, Russia.

KBA’s modern press portfolio includes sheet-fed and wed-fed offset presses, and digital technology. It has also moved into new product categories, including flexible packaging and direct decoration.

David Pittman

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David Pittman is former deputy editor of Labels & Labeling.

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