Friday, February 24, 2017

Happy anniversary, movable type

A businessman intent on making money in a world dominated by the Catholic Church, Johannes Gutenberg created, instead, a revolution – and sowed the seeds for many more.

February 23, 1455 has been cited as the date Mr. Gutenberg began to print the first edition of his eponymous Bible. The idea for the printing blocks came from Asia, where the Chinese had invented a printing technique almost a millennium before. His ink was a concoction that blended traditional ink with oil, helping it flow and transfer from printing blocks to paper. The press itself, meanwhile, was the type of screw press familiar to farmers across the continent, more commonly used for pressing olives or grapes.

To this motley assortment of preexisting ideas, Gutenberg added an important innovation: movable type, the first in the Western world. He drew on the skills he had acquired growing up in a family of skilled craftsmen to produce letter molds from a metal alloy. The molds were durable, and could withstand hundreds of printings. Arranging and rearranging these letters in a type tray, he produced pages from the Bible and began to run off copies, far faster than previous scribes or publishers could do by hand or using full-page blocks of type.
He died broke, though.  Link.

1 comment:

not trampis said...

probably started the reformation