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Eight hundred years ago medieval masons built Gothic cathedrals without
working drawings. They translated mental visions into glorious structures
without them ever touching paper - much less a computer screen.

Technical drawing, also known as Drafting, is usually regarded as the
technique of creating engineering drawings, although it encompasses
architectural drawings as well

A skilled practitioner of the art is known as a draftsperson.

Today the mechanics of the drafting task has been largely automated, and greatly
accelerated, through the use of CAD systems.
The first half of the 19th century might well be called a
formative period in the development of technical drawing.
MORE .....

Drawing instruments were being manufactured by the 1850s
example) and the blueprint process* was introduced. Up
to this time "draftsmanship" was more or less an art
expressing itself in fine lines, shading both by lines and by
washes, ornate borders, fancy lettering and the use of
colors. These techniques became unnecessary after the
introduction of blueprinting. The art of "drafting" was
completely lost and the technology of "drafting" was
discovered. This was the beginning of modern engineering
and technical drawing.

The first half of the 20th century could be characterized as
the golden age of drafting.
The modern technology of
drafting was firmly recognized, and the applications of the
graphic technology was found in engineering, design,
manufacturing, production, architecture, etc. Engineering,
technical and vocational training in the area of drafting was
greatly increased.
Blueprint Process
Discovered in France, perfected in England, use began in the
1870's. The photo-reproductive process involves putting
sensitized paper in contact with a translucent original and
exposing this package to light. Relatively stable image,
permanence/stability depends on processing. Some processing
may make paper brittle.
'Why are blueprints blue?'

The development of the "blueprint machine" eliminated the
need to trace drawings, which was estimated to cost 10 times
more than blueprinting early on its history.

One of the most important innovations of the postwar era was
the introduction of the diazo process, which used ammonia,
heat, and moisture to develop prints, instead of the slow and
costly wet bath needed for blueprinting. Because of its speed,
convenience and low cost, diazo printing quickly supplanted
blueprinting - although the reproductions are sometimes referred
to as 'blueprints' (
click here)

Today, the long reign of diazo is over (
'Diazo at Death's Door?').
In the commercial environment, wide format xerography made
its appearance with the Xerox 2080 in 1980. Its ability to copy
and change the scale of opaque documents on demand and at
extremely low cost immediately impacted traditional
photographic services. The subsequent introduction of
xerographic printers operating at speeds comparable to
commercial diazo printers resulted in the gradual displacement
of commercial diazo printing by plain paper imaging. (
xerography works)

However, analog plain paper printing then rapidly yielded ground
to fast digital printers, driven by high volume file servers where
scanned and CAD-generated files are stored. Digital printing
means using an electronic file (on a disk or similar medium) to
produce hard-copy originals of your document, rather than
placing your original on the copier and making reproductions
(the latter is called analog printing).

Reprographic firms were quick to grasp the growing importance
of short run color imaging as their clients migrated toward
computer-based design. The use of color to better communicate
information (
example 1 example 2) began with the use of
different colors in multi-pen plotters to better distinguish
elements of architectural and mechanical designs. The
introduction of the first Canon Color Laser Copier in 1987
brought affordable photorealistic copy technology to market.

The universal use of color - especially digital color - has blurred
the once sharp distinction between the technical design worlds of
architecture and engineering and the graphic arts professions.

The certainty we face is that technology will continue to fuel
profound and frequent changes in the way that information is
created, managed, and distributed.

Click image for larger view