Archive for the ‘03. Printing Press History’ Category

History of the Printing Press

November 21, 2007

It should be made clear that the Chinese had created movable type from tiny wood pieces in the first century AD – that’s 1350 years prior to Gutenberg!  Furthermore, the Chinese were printing books by approximately 850 AD.  However, there was one crucial factor that skewed the Chinese from utilizing movable type:  their alphabet.  The Chinese alphabet consists of over 4,000 characters.  To implement a printing press for the Chinese language, at that time, would be making their civilization take a step backwards.


Flash forward to the early fifteenth century.  By this time in Europe the demand for books could no longer be disregarded.  This is where Johannes Gutenberg comes in.  A goldsmith and a printer, Gutenberg is most prominently known as the inventor of movable type in Europe.  He did this in 1430s, and as such, changed civilization forever.  This took him over three years to create, implementing his skills as a craftsman and recounting his knowledge of metals.   It was at Strasbourg in 1440 that Gutenberg unveiled his mechanical marvel.  By 1450 though, works were being printed at a constant rate and in 1455 Gutenberg’s greatest written work, the Gutenberg Bible, was published.  The release of the Gutenberg Bible was a monumental event for civilization, one that initiated the “Age of the Printed Book” and the “Gutenberg Revolution.”


Simply, the printing press was responsible for all too many revolutions in western civilization. Gutenberg’s invention gave birth to the Protestant Reformation, the Industrial Revolution, the Scientific Revolution, and not to forget that it furnished the Renaissance with the Greek and Roman classics that beforehand were impossible to seek out.

The Printing Press had changed the world forever, advancing society like no other tool has done to this date.