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The History And Impact Of The Printing Press

2308 words - 9 pages

Everyday people read newspapers and books, but where did printing begin? The movable type printing press by Johannes Gutenberg made this all possible. Johannes first conceived of this idea of the printing press in the 15th century in order to speed up the slow process of producing books (Bantwal). The movable type printing press, the first real technology of its kind, helped to solve problems, but in turn also caused problems. This technology did influence many areas of life in its lifespan. This includes challenging the church and poisoning people with the increased toxins from mass products of materials. Depending on one’s point of view, this invention could be the best or worst thing to happen during the 15th century. Regardless of that, the printing press’s influence was widespread and therefore, was a great invention for the machine’s time. Despite the negative repercussions of Gutenberg’s movable printing press, the machine is a positive technology.
Johannes Gutenberg created the printing press in the year 1452. Four other technologies that were more or less common to different parts of the world, made the printing press possible. The first technology was a wine/olive in the screw-press, which areas of Asia and Europe used to obtain oils and create wines. The second invention was block-print technology that Marco Polo originally brought to Europe. A third technology is oil-based ink that was invented in the eleven hundreds. Since this ink smears on vellum, printing did not use this ink. Vellum was costly, but durable so books that took awhile to make utilized this material. Finally, the fourth material was paper, which many process make different forms of all over the globe (Bantwal). Gutenberg used these old technologies to make the movable printing press by combining their uses. Yet, the movable printing press was not completely refined. Therefore, Gutenberg invented a punch and mold system in order to produce the movable type for the masses. Over the next five centuries the punch and mold system was refined, so a type tray contained the letters. In addition, the type tray allowed for easier replacement of broken letters. The following books or pages used the same type, which allowed for faster printing (Bantwal). Johannes Gutenberg’s genius lies within utilizing the current 15th century technology and then inventing the leftover part to complete the movable printing press.
The printing press was an interesting and world changing machine that was used for the mass production of written works for distribution. Such a revolutionary process actually worked through an easy process that included only a few steps. First, every letter had to have been carved into a steel object known as a punch. These punches were eventually hammered into a piece of copper otherwise known as a blank. The blank was used as a mold for a mixture of molten alloys created by Gutenberg who was once a stonecutter and a goldsmith; the mixture consisted of lead,...

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