Johannes Gutenberg and the Printing Press

Johannes Gutenberg is known for the invention of the Gutenberg press

Gutenberg Bible Open to Beginning of New Testament
Gutenberg Bible open to beginning of New Testament. Bettman/Contributor/Getty Images

The earliest dated printed book known is the "Diamond Sutra", printed in China in 868 CE. However, it is suspected that book printing may have occurred long before this date.

In 1041, movable clay type was first invented in China. Johannes Gutenberg, a goldsmith, and businessman from the mining town of Mainz in southern Germany, borrowed money to invent a technology that changed the world of printing.

Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press with replaceable/moveable wooden or metal letters in 1436 (completed by 1440). This method of printing can be credited not only for a revolution in the production of books but also for fostering rapid development in the sciences, arts, and religion through the transmission of texts.

Gutenberg Press

The Gutenberg press with its wooden and later metal movable type printing brought down the price of printed materials and made such materials available for the masses. It remained the standard until the 20th century. The Gutenberg printing press developed from the technology of the screw-type wine presses of the Rhine Valley. It was there in 1440 that Johannes Gutenberg created his printing press, a hand press, in which ink was rolled over the raised surfaces of movable handset block letters held within a wooden form and the form was then pressed against a sheet of paper.

Gutenberg Bible

Johannes Gutenberg is also accredited with printing the world's first book using movable type, the 42-line (the number of lines per page) Gutenberg Bible.

During the centuries, many newer printing technologies were developed based on Gutenberg's printing machine e.g. offset printing.

Brief Biography of Johannes Gutenberg

Johannes Gutenberg was a German goldsmith and inventor best known for the Gutenberg press, an innovative printing machine that used movable type.

Gutenberg was born between 1394 and 1400 and died in 1468.

In 1438, Gutenberg began a business arrangement with Andreas Dritzehn, who funded his experiments in printing. In 1450, Gutenberg began a second arrangement with German businessman Johannes Fust. Fust lent Gutenberg the money to start a printing business and build a large Gutenberg Press, their printing projects included the now famous Gutenberg Bible. On September 30, 1452, Johann Guttenberg's Bible was published becoming the first book to be published in a volume.

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Bellis, Mary. "Johannes Gutenberg and the Printing Press." ThoughtCo, Apr. 17, 2017, Bellis, Mary. (2017, April 17). Johannes Gutenberg and the Printing Press. Retrieved from Bellis, Mary. "Johannes Gutenberg and the Printing Press." ThoughtCo. (accessed February 22, 2018).