Gutenberg: Founding father of Printing Revolution

  • Johannes Gutenberg (c. 1400-February 3, 1468) was a German inventor and printer, best known for introducing Europe to the printing press and as the founding father of the Printing Revolution.
  • Gutenberg in 1439 was the first European to use movable type. Among his many contributions to printing are: the invention of a process for mass-producing movable type; the use of oil-based ink for printing books; adjustable moulds; mechanical movable type; and the use of a wooden printing press similar to the agricultural screw presses of the period.
  • Through his machine, which used mechanical movable type, he gave rise to what many consider to be one of the defining forces of modern history, serving as the dynamo for the ideas that fueled the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Enlightenment by spreading knowledge and information on a massive scale and in an efficient and timely manner.
  • The first major work to issue from his press was the first printed edition of the Bible – known as the Gutenberg Bible, the 42-line Bible or the Mazarin Bible.
  • Gutenberg, determined to speed up the printing process, cast the movable blocks of letters and symbols out of various metals, including lead, antimony and tin. He also created his own ink using linseed oil and soot — a development that represented a major improvement over the water-based inks used in China.
  • What really set Gutenberg apart from his predecessors in Asia was his development of a press that mechanized the transfer of ink from movable type to paper. Adapting the screw mechanisms found in wine presses, papermakers’ presses and linen presses, Gutenberg developed a press perfectly suited for printing. The first printing press allowed for an assembly line-style production process that was much more efficient than pressing paper to ink by hand. For the first time in history, books could be mass-produced — and at a fraction of the cost of conventional printing methods.
  • Though, Gutenberg didn’t live to see the immense impact of his invention, including global news network, retrieving and publishing the long-lost classic texts of figures like Plato and Aristotle, spread of literacy and opinions, and scientific revolution.



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