Who Invented The Printing Press And Its Origin?

The creation of the printing press, was a revolution so that knowledge could be accessible to all we explain who invented the printing press, its history, what its origin is, and how it has evolved.

Who invented the printing press?

The inventor of the printing press is the German Johannes Gutenberg in the year 1440, in the city of Mainz (Germany).

This German goldsmith changed the course of humanity since with his invention, the printing press, now knowledge could reach almost everyone.

When Was The Printing Press Invented

But this is not that simple. So that you can get an idea of ​​everything that this ingenuity involved to be able to print books quickly, cheaply, and in large quantities, think about the following:

Today, we are still in awe of the possibilities that the Internet offers us.

The new generations have already grown up with the Internet, but, for those of us of an age, this having access to such a huge amount of information seems almost magic.

A total revolution that affects all aspects of life.

Who Invented The Printing Press

  • A few centuries ago the same thing happened with another invention.
  • The printing press made it possible to generate a hitherto unimaginable quantity of books, printed paper and knowledge.
  • A knowledge that, suddenly, could leave the four walls of the monasteries and spread everywhere.
  • Until Gutenberg invented the printing press, books and the knowledge they carry were enclosed within the four walls of monasteries.
  • These were basically the only places in the western world where a minimal part of the culture that humans generated was kept.
  • Of each book, there were only a few hand-made copies that reached very few.

Where was the printing press born?

But Johann Gutenberg came along, and in 1440, he invented the printing press. Although being strict, he did not invent anything.

Despite the fact that Gutenberg is always spoken of as the inventor of the printing press, in 1200, there were already books printed thanks to pieces that had the letters engraved. And in the 10th century, the Chinese already printed texts with letters made of clay suitably inked.

But all the systems were limited or not working well. The letters were quickly damaged or did not fit together correctly.

They could print stamps or even Cartesian fights. But books were hard to make, and when they did they could only print a few copies.

The undisputed merit of Gutenberg was to invent a printing press that was functional, that allowed printing large quantities of books quickly and efficiently, at least by the parameters of that time.

Why Was The Printing Press Invented?

He used metal letterpress pieces, much stronger and better quality, found the system of pressing the paper so that the printing was of quality, he chose the type of ink of the right quality to use everything.

Almost all of this was already invented, but it was Gutenberg who grouped it together although it was useful.

That was a revolution. It is said that in fifty years more books were generated than in the previous thousand years. And that was just the beginning. Suddenly, knowledge began to spread throughout society.

The powerful ones, although they maintained control for a while, of course, the information began to flow and it could no longer be stopped.

Gutenberg began by printing a bible. Now those books are priceless copies, but the printer got a lot of headaches. He could not deliver them on time, mainly because of the drawings and bindings, and all this ended in court.

He lost and his creditors kept the printing press and continued with the business. Gutenberg was able to continue printing a few books years later in a small workshop and never earn much money.

But his printing press opened the door of knowledge to all mankind, a priceless legacy.

Biography Of Johanness Gutenberg

The German Johannes Gutenberg was born in Mainz, into a family of goldsmiths. As a boy, the family moved to Strasbourg, where Johannes learned to carve wood and came up with the idea of ​​making letters out of pieces of wood to compose words.

In 1447, he already had his idea ready and printed a psalter with capital letters and, the following year, a calendar.

Two years later, he teamed up with the Jewish banker Johannes Fust and set up his first printing workshop, where he developed the first movable type with an alloy of lead, tin, and antimony.

Peter Schöeffer helps you with ink and paper, as it must be possible to print on both sides.

According to some authors, the first book printed with movable characters was the 1449 Missal of Constance, of which three copies are preserved, but, in general, the so-called Gutenberg Bible, printed between 1452 and 1455, is considered to be the first typographic work of history.

Also called the 42-line Bible, it has two columns of 42 lines each in its more than a thousand pages. Some sources attribute the invention of the printing press to the Dutch Laurens Janszoon Coster, in the 1420s.

Legend has it that at that time, Johannes Fust was working with him as an apprentice, stole the idea, and took it to Gutenberg in Germany, but this idea has been denied by most historians.

Origin Of The Printing Press

If we are to be fair, woodblock printing was first used in China in 593 by Buddhist monks who printed silk and colored fabrics. Before 900, prayer books were already being printed.

The system of using movable characters for printing texts was invented in China, between the years 1041 and 1048, by someone named Pi Cheng (Bi Zeng).

The characters were made with baked earth, in a manner analogous to that used by current typographers, since the entire text composed in this way was enclosed in an iron box.

In 1297-1298, Wang Chen (Wang he n), perfected this system and made letters in hardwood with which he printed, in 1313, his Treatise on agriculture. He had a catalog of 60,000 characters, which allowed him to print a hundred copies of a local gazette in a month.

Importance Of Printing

It is assumed that the Chinese mobile characters could reach Europe with the Mongol troops who invaded Russia in 1240. Poland in 1259 and Hungary in 1283. But there is no official proof.

The invention, which spread over vast Asian territories, undoubtedly reached Europe. Either it was described by travelers, or perhaps Chinese characters were made available on wood thanks to commercial exchange, which was then quite frequent.

The truth is that, between 1423 and 1437, the Dutch Laurens Janzsoon, better known by the name of Coster, tried to adapt it to Latin characters. These being clearly smaller than the Chinese, Coster ran into difficulties that did not allow him to finish.

Meanwhile, Dutch and German artisans abandoned wooden characters in favor of metallic characters, using them in the following way: the characters were made in relief on brass or copper, then applied on a surface of ductile material, such as clay or clay. hot lead, letter by letter, to reconstruct the text; finally lead was melted on the matrix that was thus obtained, ready for printing.

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Jaqueline, Stanford-educated author, bridges science, history, and DIY with insightful 'how-to' literature. A former teacher and product designer, she transforms complex topics into engaging, accessible content, promoting creativity, lifelong learning, and enlightened discussions on various social issues.