Invention of the Printing Press
Posted on February 2, 2010 by Jamie Slaughter, with 32767 views
The invention of the printing press took place in approximately 1450 AD, by a German inventor by the name of Johannes Gutenburg. During this time, there were many cultural changes in Europe which sparked the requirement of a quick, inexpensive method of producing large amounts of documents. Gutenberg received investment from banks and local business in order to work on a viable solution.
Gutenberg's original concept remained relatively unchanged until the 19th century. In the early 1800's, the advancements in technologies meant that the printing press had to be amended to cope with the modern world and growing demand. Iron materials replaced wooden materials for printing, which added to the efficiency of the invention of the printing press.
In 1884, Linotype was introduced, a way in which a machine produces movable type, as opposed to hand versions, which greatly improved productions speeds. Prior to this advancement, each letter had to be applied to an iron tray, an extremely slow and laborious process. This update again kept the printing press modern, and the efficiency at the highest possible level.
The invention of the printing press relied heavily on Chinese paper merchants. The Chinese have a long history of knowing the best ways to create paper, thought to precede Egyptians. The Chinese had also begun experimenting with inks, movable clay, and block printing long before Gutenberg embarked on his own invention. Gutenberg basically took all the assets of the Chinese invention and applied them to a more sophisticated machine.
The printing press functions as follows. Initially, each and every letter of the alphabet was carved into a steel punch, which was subsequently hammered onto a piece of copper, known as a blank. This copper was then inserted into a mould, and an alloy consisting of lead, bismuth and antimony was poured inside. This alloy cools very quickly, allowing the reverse image of any letter to be handled within minutes. Each letter were pieced together, and arranged within a frame. Once this stage was reached, the printer could press, ink and print them as many times as necessary. As you can imagine this was a relatively slow process, so was reserved for books and newspapers which were high in demand.
Without the invention of the printing press, both the cultural and industrial revolutions would not have taken place. The printing press also redefined the operations within the church. The bible was published in an array of different languages for the first time, leading to a reduced number of church followers. Many began questioning the authenticity of the church, since there was no mention in the bible of a requirement to pay church taxes, which existed at the time.
The broadcasting of words and ideas began to spread much more quickly and more widespread with the invention of the printing press. The availability of books and documents also increased. The invention of the printing press allowed ideas and documents to reach wider audiences, and improve the sharing of information and literature, on a global scale.