The History of the Printing Press

Imagine a world where the only means of communication is word of mouth. Prior to the invention of the printing press, this was the main means of communication between people. In addition, any writings needed to be done long hand. However, the invention of the printing press was one of the key elements of the printing revolution where communication became much easier.

The world prior to the invention of the printing press was a different world than the one we know. Any books that were written had to be hand written and not easily re-created. This made the spread of information, news and knowledge to go very slowly. Any news of events in the world was very slow to go from region to region.

In 1436, a goldsmith named Johannes Gutenberg began working on a mechanical device that would press letters on to paper. Gutenberg used metal to create the type that would be covered with the ink to make the printed page. Gutenberg revolutionized the printing industry by creating a way to create the page using type and also developed an oil based ink which was more durable.

The Gutenberg press began to open doors for people to be able to share information easier and quicker. Book s and newspapers began to be printed quickly and distributed easier. One of the earliest creations was the Gutenberg Bible. The Gutenberg Bible, also called the 42 line bible, was printed by Johannes Gutenberg in the 1450’s, and was one of the most famous works of printed material.

Over the course of time, improvements have been made to the press which allowed the type to be moved easily, and printing has become easier. Now with computers, the printing business has entered the digital age and has greatly improved the efficiency in which books and newspapers are printed…

To learn more about Johannes Gutenberg and the development of the printing press, here is a collection of resources on the origin of the printing press:

The History of Printing
Literacy and the Printing Press
The Atlas of Early Printing
The Invention of Printing
History Guide: The Printing Press
Printing and Thinking
Johannes Gutenberg
Gutenberg and the Printed Book
Johannes Gutenberg Biography
Gutenberg’s Version of the Bible
The Gutenberg Bible
Gutenberg and Moveable Type
Gutenberg Printing Information
History of the Printed Book
The Print Revolution
Technologies of Writing and the Print Revolution
The Gutenberg Printing Press
Printing Revolution in Europe