Over the centuries, the printing trade has called for many different skills to produce a huge range of sizes and types of materials. In general those that survived from the earliest period were books which are protected by their bindings. However, with the technical innovations and improvements from the nineteenth century on, and the process of industrialisation, the demand for print grew enormously. As well as books of all shapes and sizes, and periodicals and newspapers, printed forms, posters, labels, tickets and invoices, together with all other varieties of ephemera poured from small local presses.
Branches of the printing trade became specialised, Label printing became a speciality of lithographic printers such J & J Murdoch of Glasgow, and firms known for their expertise as engravers, such as Kirkwoods, also printed maps.