The Printing Press, a very important invention, initiated an “information revolution” on par with the Internet today. In fact, the Printing Press changed the world.
In the 13th century, paper money reached the western part of the world for the first time. This money was produced through a technique called “block printing,” which included carving characters or pictures onto wooden blocks, inking the blocks, and pressing them on paper. Because each word, picture, or phrase was printed on a separate piece of paper, this method of printing was expensive, environmentally unfriendly, and time-consuming.
Around the middle of the 15th century, print masters began to experiment with different types of printing. Many wanted to master the technique of printing with movable type. The first man to do so successfully was Johannes Gutenberg. He devised an alloy of lead, tin, and antinomy that melted at a low temperature. Then he cast this mixture into a die, which was durable in the press. After that, it became possible to use and reuse the separate pieces of type. This ultimately made printing a book much faster and easier than earlier methods allowed.
Gutenberg tried to keep his technique a secret because it brought him great success. However, the printing press spread rapidly. Its development made more information available to the general public. The printing press also enabled libraries to store more books at a much lower cost.
Around 1452, Gutenberg started his “Bible project” with borrowed money. He produced 200 copies of the Bible using his printing press. Unfortunately, only 50 of these copies have been preserved to this day.
Though it was invented centuries ago, the printing press remains one of the most important inventions for the human race. Imagine if Gutenberg had never invented the printing press. Would we still be block printing? Or would we have come up with a different printing method? Thoughts like these reveal just how important the printing press really is.
[Source: The History Guide]