Who Invented The Printing Press – The history of the printing press is a fascinating one and ultimately led to our modern world.
Printing is one of the most important inventions of all time. Its development would destroy the hegemonic control of information in Europe and change history forever.
Who Invented The Printing Press
The rapid, cheap, and easy dissemination of information would eventually lead to the Protestant Reformation (more on this later), the Renaissance, scientific knowledge, and the Industrial Revolution.
Johannes Gutenberg: Cultural Impact Of The Printing Press
A printing press is any form of technology that applies pressure between an inked surface and a print medium (such as paper or fabric). In this sense, it is an inked surface and a means of transferring ink from a medium.
This was a vast improvement over older methods, such as copying by hand using “pen” and ink, or repeated brushing and rubbing to achieve ink transfer.
Historically, they have been used primarily, but not exclusively, for text, and their invention revolutionized publishing and distribution around the world. As the cost of producing books fell, the less affluent members of society suddenly had access to this unique and rare luxury item.
When one mentions the printing press, most will naturally think of Johannes Gutenberg and his revolutionary technology of the 15th century (1440 AD).
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While his invention was revolutionary in itself, it was not actually the first printing press developed. Far from it.
In fact, the history of the printing press dates back to the 3rd century (the technique of printing on wooden blocks but also on fabrics) with its adaptation to print texts in widespread use during the Chinese Tang Dynasty (6th–10th centuries AD).
Despite this, Gutenberg deserves his place in history for creating a machine that enabled the mass production of books for the first time in history.
Before its invention, books were copied by hand or “printed” using wooden blocks. Both were painstakingly slow and laborious processes, which effectively meant that access to the printed word was limited to those who could afford their high prices.
The Invention And History Of The Printing Press
600 years before Gutenberg’s printing press, Chinese monks were printing ink on paper using block printing. It was a very simple process and used carved wooden blocks to press ink onto sheets of paper.
A centuries-forgotten exemplary text of the era, the Diamond Sutra (composed around AD 868), was discovered in a cave near Dunhuang, China in 1907 by explorer Sir Marc Aurel Stein.
His discovery, in one step, completely rewrote what we thought we knew about the development of the printing press.
The text is now housed in the British Library in London and is described as “the earliest complete survival of a printed book of a single date”.
Johann Gensfleisch Gutenberg (1400 1468) German Printer, Born At Mainz, Credited With The Invention Of The Printing Press In Europe And The Introduction Of Movable Type Stock Photo
The same process is widely seen simultaneously in Japan and Korea. These early printed books were made using wooden or metal blocks and focused mainly on Buddhist and Taoist scriptures.
The process was greatly improved in the 11th century when a Chinese peasant, Bi(P) Sheng, developed a form of early movable character. Although little is known about the Si (Pi), its ingenious method of producing hundreds of individual letters was a major step forward for the modern printing press.
The ability to print Buddhist and Taoist texts quickly and in large quantities was very important to the Chinese (and surrounding nations). This went a long way in the spread of Buddhism in the region.
And we might not know about this man if it weren’t for a modern scholar and scholar named Shen Kuo. He documented Sheng’s movable type in his work essays on the Dream Pool and explained that the movable type was made of clay with a backing.
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Kuo also tells his readers about the type of ink used (pine resin, beeswax, and paper ash) and explains that it is a fairly efficient and quick method for copying documents.
Despite these advances, it would take several centuries before it was widely adopted in China. Further forms were developed in the 14th century by Wang Zhen (a Chinese official) during the Yuan Dynasty.
Zhen’s system greatly improved Sheng’s system, using rotary tables to help printers select and process carved wooden printing blocks with greater efficiency.
Despite progress in the development of the printing press in China, it has not caught on as quickly as in Europe. This is believed to be a result of the complexity of Asian writing systems compared to the short alphabet script used in Western languages.
A History Of Printing
It should be noted that relatively primitive forms of the printing press existed in Europe in the late 14th and early 15th centuries. They were apparently similar to Chinese woodcuts, called woodcuts, and were used in the same manner as those used for techniques.
But a German goldsmith and craftsman from Strasbourg was about to change the world. Initially experimenting with existing woodcutting methods, he came up with the idea of making the process more efficient (and profitable).
What distinguishes Gutenberg’s printing press from its predecessors is the integration of a mechanism for transferring ink from movable type to paper. He adapted the screw mechanism of wine presses, papermaking presses and linen presses to develop a system perfectly suited for printing.
His device enabled the creation of an early form of assembly line for the production of printed texts, allowing books to be mass-produced at a much cheaper cost than modern methods.
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As to his motives behind the development of the printing press, no one knows for sure, but making money is a likely motivation. His first production books were the now famous Gutenberg Bibles. More than 200 are believed to have been printed, but only 22 survive today.
There are few records of Gutenberg from this period, but his invention was first recorded in a court affidavit for repayment by a former financier, Johann Fust. This testimony described its appearance, inventory of metals and types of forms, and the case would eventually be lost to Gutenberg, its print seized as property by the First.
It is almost impossible to measure the impact of print. At first glance, this allowed accurate information to spread very quickly, but it had a more subtle impact on the countries and populations of Europe as a whole.
Thanks in large part to print, literacy began to increase, as people were exposed to a variety of information.
Christian History: Johannes Gutenberg
At the time, Europe was recovering from the devastating effects of the Black Death. This decimated the population and led to the rise of the church, the rise of the money economy, and the subsequent decline of the Renaissance.
In this context, the press was “in the right place at the right time” to help secularize Western culture. Of course, many of the early texts were religious in nature, but increasingly they took on a more secular nature.
Science was able to flourish at this time, giving early scientists an incredible tool to collaborate with each other across the continent.
It also wrested from the Church complete control over the content of religious texts. It will no longer be possible to centrally control and censor what is written on topics related to Christianity and other religions.
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By the 1600s, the Enlightenment Scientific Revolution was in full force, which would fundamentally change the way Europeans viewed the world and the universe forever. A thought process that would eventually culminate in the Industrial Revolution – thanks Gutenberg et al.!
As we have seen, printing had a huge impact on the dissemination of information in Europe after its invention by Gutenberg in 1448. Print technology and texts spread rapidly throughout Europe at this time.
Not surprisingly, it was also a time of great change in cultural and religious changes on the continent. They would eventually change the course of European history and culminate in the Protestant Reformation.
Never before had intellectuals and religious leaders had the means to spread their teachings beyond a small congregation at any given time. Martin Luther, the founder of the Protestant movement, soon took advantage of this.
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The British Library notes that “print means more access to information, more dissent, more informed discussion and a more widespread critique of authority”.
Mark W. According to Edwards (Harvard Divinity School), printing provided a means of “molding and channeling a mass movement [in ideas]”. Simply put, without the press, it’s not at all clear whether reform would have happened.
Between 1500 and 1530, Martin Luther published literally hundreds of tracts in German, totaling 20% of all pamphlets produced at the time.
By using the press in this way, the Catholic Church lost its grip on written materials and, more importantly, made it nearly impossible for them to prevent the spread of “heretical ideas.”
Who Invented The Printing Press
This is significant for several reasons, but ultimately can be seen as a major shift in political thinking that would shape the subsequent technological and social development of European nations. It was on loan