David Ream was one of the early innovators of the screenprinting process as we know it today.
Screenprinting did not exist until frames with wire mesh attached were first used, albeit with the ink transferred by brush or a roller (see Patent 106874, H.W. Rudolf, 1870) through the open areas of the stencil. It was not until the end of the 19th century that in North America and Europe silk gauze, or bolting cloth as it was known was first used. The bolting material was manufactured mostly in Switzerland and France and was imported to North America.
On 02 September 1884, David Ream and Benjamin Walker received a patent (see Patent No. 304,476) that included the following description: “Cut out stencils parts should be mounted on a wire mesh, the color should be applied by brush on the substrate.”
This date is the official birthdate of the screenprinting process as we know it today. Although they used a brush to transfer the ink through the mesh and onto the substrate. Prior to that, there was stenciling and pochoir. The squeegee and photo-reactive stencils would not become part of the process until 1910, 26 years later.