7 Little-Known Facts about Johannes Gutenberg and the Gutenberg Press

The Printing Revolution

If you’re familiar with the history of the printing press, then you know we’ve come a long way from placing ink on wooden blocks and slapping them on paper or a piece of stone. Fast-forward a millennium later and we find ourselves at the beginning of the printing revolution, when a German goldsmith invented the first moveable type printing press the 15th century.

Ring any bells? We’re talking about Johannes Gutenberg; he made history by creating moveable type metal pieces that enabled him to produce pages of text at a faster speed than handwritten copies. His press marked the beginning of the Printing Revolution, “a colossal moment in the history of information and learning” and shaped the printing industry as we know it today.

Gutenberg pressWe located a few fun facts about the birth of the Gutenberg press that we felt were worthy of sharing.

  •  Gutenberg borrowed 800 guilders from a local financier, Johan Fust, to purchase specific tools and equipment, Source.
  •  Each metal block contained one character: letters, numbers, and punctuation, Source
  •  Gutenberg actually created the printing press in an attempt to offset losses from a failed attempt selling metal mirrors, Source.
  •  Gutenberg printed the first book by moveable type printing press, known as the Gutenberg Bible, or the 42-Line Bible, Source.
  • Gutenberg also created an oil-based ink, which was more effective than the water based inks other printers in the era used, Source.
  • Gutenberg was in debt and unable to pay back his loan to Johan Fust. Fust sued and won the suit and took over Gutenberg’s printing business, Source.
  • Not only is Gutenberg’s method of printing credited with revolutionizing the production of books, but also for promoting the development of sciences, arts and religion through text, Source.

Modern Technology

Fast forward to today’s printing presses and you have machines that are electronic and digital. These presses are no longer operated by hand or by steam, and it is a lot cheaper and faster to print mass copies. In fact, technology has advanced so much that more printing is done in one second today than in an entire year during the 15th and 16th centuries.

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