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Johannes Gutenberg And The Printing Press

1654 words - 7 pages

The printing press was invented in 1453. The movable printing technology was invented in China in 1040 but Johannes Gutenberg was able to perfect this technology by creating the Gutenberg printer in 1440. The printer was a movable type. A movable type was where individual blocks could be set up in order to print almost anything. Before this, wooden blocks, carved by hand were used to print things. These blocks would have consisted of what the individual wanted to print which would take an incredible amount of time. Gutenberg’s invention of a movable type printer established the ability for mass communication.
The Gutenberg printer consisted of a base that was constructed out of wood that provided a stable platform for the printing process. This required pressing paper onto ink typed heads. A holder, which was also constructed of wood, was there to hold the paper in place for use to be pressed against the ink types. The paper was sandwiched between two frames and was placed on a wedge so that the paper could be easily removed and the ink types could be replaced. Once solid, letters were affixed on the top of rectangular stalks, which themselves were slotted into a rectangular container in order. Individual letters were made by pouring a lead-tin alloy into a copper mold. The paper was then placed on top of the rectangular container and pressed upon the inked type with a heavy screw clamp.
The printer was created by Gutenberg in 1450. Before this, however, Gutenberg was in financial trouble. He had lost a lot of money by investing in creating items for an exhibit that presented religious artifacts but before he could sell anything, the exhibit was closed. In order to keep the investors happy Gutenberg supposedly unveiled that he had a secret invention that he would unveil. By borrowing money from his brother-in-law, Gutenberg was able to build his first printer. Gutenberg was then able to borrow money from a wealthy moneylender, which allowed Gutenberg to keep the printing press in operation and also to create a second press. Gutenberg had supposedly created two printing presses because street books for the individual populations were used on one, and printing the Bible was used on the other.
Gutenberg settled in his hometown of Mainz where he was able to build his printing press and continue his work. Gutenberg created a workshop in Hof Humbrecht that actually belonged to a relative of Gutenberg’s who lived in Frankfurt. In Hof Humbrecht, Gutenberg kept his printing presses and also printed documents such as the Bible and other important documents. The Gutenberg printing press sparked the beginning of mass communication. Before Gutenberg’s printing press, people would have to create blocks of wood that consisted of a sole document. This new method of individual metal blocks allowed multiple documents to be printed from one machine. This process was less expensive and much more lucrative.
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