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Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg (; – 3 February 1468) was a German
inventor An invention is a unique or novel A novel is a relatively long work of narrative fiction, typically written in prose and published as a book. The present English word for a long work of prose fiction derives from the for "new", "news", or ...

inventor
,
printer Printers may be: Technology * Printer (publishing) In publishing, printers are both companies A company, abbreviated as co., is a legal entity In law, a legal person is any person A person (plural people or persons) is a being th ...
,
publisher Publishing is the activity of making information, literature, music, software and other content available to the public for sale or for free. Traditionally, the term refers to the creation and distribution of printed works, such as book A ...

publisher
, and
goldsmith A goldsmith is a Metalworking, metalworker who specializes in working with gold and other precious metals. Nowadays they mainly specialize in jewelry-making but historically, goldsmiths have also made cutlery, silverware, platter (dishware), pl ...

goldsmith
who introduced
printing Printing is a process for mass reproducing text and images An Synthetic aperture radar, SAR radar imaging, radar image acquired by the SIR-C/X-SAR radar on board the Space Shuttle Endeavour shows the Teide volcano. The city of Santa Cru ...

printing
to Europe with his mechanical movable-type
printing press A printing press is a mechanical device for applying pressure to an ink Ink is a gel, sol, or solution Image:SaltInWaterSolutionLiquid.jpg, Making a saline water solution by dissolving Salt, table salt (sodium chloride, NaCl) in wate ...
. His work started the
Printing Revolution Printing is a process for mass reproducing text and Printmaking, images using a master form or template. The earliest non-paper products involving printing include cylinder seals and objects such as the Cyrus Cylinder and the Cylinders of Nabon ...
in Europe and is regarded as a milestone of the second millennium, ushering in the
modern period Human history, or world history, is the narrative of Human, humanity's past. It is understood through archaeology, anthropology, genetics, and linguistics, and since the History of writing, advent of writing, from primary source, primary an ...
of human history. It played a key role in the development of the
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in ...

Renaissance
,
Reformation The Reformation (alternatively named the Protestant Reformation or the European Reformation) was a major movement within Western Christianity in Vatican City Vatican City (), officially the Vatican City State ( it, Stato della Cit ...

Reformation
,
Age of Enlightenment The Age of Enlightenment (also known as the Age of Reason or simply the Enlightenment); ger, Aufklärung, "Enlightenment"; it, L'Illuminismo, "Enlightenment"; pl, Oświecenie , "Enlightenment"; pt, Iluminismo, "Enlightenment"; es, link= ...
, and
Scientific Revolution The Scientific Revolution was a series of events that marked the emergence In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, ...

Scientific Revolution
, as well as laying the material basis for the modern
knowledge-based economy The knowledge economy (or the knowledge-based economy) is an economic system in which the production of goods and services is based principally on Knowledge intensive business services, knowledge-intensive activities that contribute to a rapid ...
and the spread of learning to the masses. While not the first to use movable type in the world, in 1439 Gutenberg was the first European to do so. His many contributions to printing include: the invention of a process for mass-producing movable type; the use of oil-based
ink Ink is a gel, Sol (colloid), sol, or Solution (chemistry), solution that contains at least one colourant, such as a dye or pigment, and is used to color a surface to produce an image, writing, text, or design. Ink is used for drawing or writing ...

ink
for printing books; adjustable molds; mechanical movable type; and the use of a wooden
printing press A printing press is a mechanical device for applying pressure to an ink Ink is a gel, sol, or solution Image:SaltInWaterSolutionLiquid.jpg, Making a saline water solution by dissolving Salt, table salt (sodium chloride, NaCl) in wate ...
similar to the agricultural
screw press A screw press is a type of machine press in which the ram is driven up and down by a screw. The screw shaft can be driven by a handle or a wheel. It works by using a coarse screw to convert the rotation of the handle or drive-wheel into a small ...

screw press
es of the period. His truly epochal invention was the combination of these elements into a practical system that allowed the mass production of printed books and was economically viable for printers and readers alike. Gutenberg's method for making type is traditionally considered to have included a
type metal In printing Printing is a process for mass reproducing text and images using a master form or template. The earliest non-paper products involving printing include cylinder seals and objects such as the Cyrus Cylinder and the Cylinders of N ...
alloy and a
hand mould A hand mold is a simple mold used for low quantity work. It is used in the injection molding Injection moulding (U.S. spelling: injection molding) is a manufacturing process for producing parts by injecting molten material into a mould, or m ...

hand mould
for casting type. The alloy was a mixture of lead, tin, and
antimony Antimony is a chemical element In chemistry Chemistry is the study of the properties and behavior of . It is a that covers the that make up matter to the composed of s, s and s: their composition, structure, properties, be ...

antimony
that melted at a relatively low temperature for faster and more economical casting, cast well, and created a durable type. The use of movable type was a marked improvement on the handwritten manuscript, which was the existing method of book production in Europe, and upon
woodblock printing Woodblock printing or block printing is a technique for printing text, images or patterns used widely throughout East Asia and originating in China in antiquity as a method of textile printing, printing on textiles and later paper. As a Woodbl ...
, and revolutionized European book-making. Gutenberg's printing technology spread rapidly throughout Europe and later the world. His major work, the
Gutenberg Bible The Gutenberg Bible (also known as the 42-line Bible, the Mazarin Bible or the B42) was the earliest major book printed using mass-produced movable metal type in Europe. It marked the start of the " Gutenberg Revolution" and the age of printed ...

Gutenberg Bible
(also known as the 42-line Bible), was the first printed version of the Bible and has been acclaimed for its high aesthetic and technical quality. In Renaissance Europe, the arrival of mechanical movable type printing introduced the era of
mass communication Mass communication is the process of imparting and exchanging information through mass media to large segments of the population. It is usually understood for relating to various forms of media, as its technologies are used for the dissemination ...
which permanently altered the structure of society. The relatively unrestricted circulation of information—including revolutionary ideas—transcended borders, captured the masses in the Reformation, and threatened the power of political and religious authorities; the sharp increase in
literacy Literacy is popularly understood as an ability to read and write Writing is a medium of human communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is the act of developing Semantics, meaning among Subject (p ...
broke the monopoly of the literate elite on education and learning and bolstered the emerging
middle class The middle class is a class Class or The Class may refer to: Common uses not otherwise categorized * Class (biology), a taxonomic rank * Class (knowledge representation), a collection of individuals or objects * Class (philosophy), an an ...
. Across Europe, the increasing cultural self-awareness of its people led to the rise of proto-
nationalism Nationalism is an idea and movement that holds that the nation A nation is a community A community is a social unitThe term "level of analysis" is used in the social sciences to point to the location, size, or scale of a research target ...
, accelerated by the flowering of the European
vernacular languages A vernacular, or vernacular language is a term for a type of speech variety, generally used to refer to a local language or dialect, as distinct from what is seen as a standard language. The vernacular is contrasted with higher-prestige forms ...
to the detriment of
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
's status as ''
lingua franca A lingua franca (; ; for plurals see ), also known as a bridge language, common language, trade language, auxiliary language, vehicular language, or link language, is a language or dialect The term dialect (from , , from the word , 'disco ...
''. In the 19th century, the replacement of the hand-operated Gutenberg-style press by
steam-powered from Stott Park Bobbin Mill, Cumbria, England A steam engine is a heat engine In thermodynamics Thermodynamics is a branch of physics that deals with heat, Work (thermodynamics), work, and temperature, and their relation to energy ...
rotary press A rotary printing press is a printing press in which the images to be printed are curved around a cylinder. Printing can be done on various substrates, including paper, cardboard, and plastic. Substrates can be sheet feed or unwound on a continuo ...
es allowed printing on an industrial scale, while Western-style printing was adopted all over the world, becoming practically the sole medium for modern bulk printing. An overview of the wide acclaim of Gutenberg’s accomplishments is found in several sources: In 1999, the
A&E Network A&E is an American pay television network, the flagship television property of A&E Networks. The network was originally founded in 1984 as the Arts & Entertainment Network, initially focusing on fine arts, documentaries, and television drama, dram ...
ranked Gutenberg no. 1 on their "People of the Millennium" countdown. In 1997,
Time–Life Time Life is, along with sister subsidiaries StarVista Live and Lifestyle Products Group, a holding of Direct Holdings Global LLC, an American production company and direct marketer conglomerate, that is known for selling books, music, video/DV ...
magazine picked Gutenberg's invention as the most important of the second millennium. Four prominent US journalists did the same in their 1998 resume, ranking his impact high in shaping the millennium. The ''
Catholic Encyclopedia The ''Catholic Encyclopedia: An International Work of Reference on the Constitution, Doctrine, Discipline, and History of the Catholic Church'' (also referred to as the ''Old Catholic Encyclopedia'' and the ''Original Catholic Encyclopedia'') i ...
'' describes Gutenberg’s invention as having made a practically unparalleled cultural impact in the
Christian era The terms (AD) and before Christ (BC) are used to label or number years in the Julian and Gregorian calendar The Gregorian calendar is the calendar used in most of the world. It was introduced in October 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII as a ...
.


Early life

Gutenberg was born in the German city of
Mainz Mainz (; ) is the capital and largest city of Rhineland-Palatinate Rhineland-Palatinate (german: Rheinland-Pfalz, ) is a western state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine ...

Mainz
, Rhine-Main area, the youngest son of the
patrician Patrician may refer to: * Patrician (ancient Rome), the original aristocratic families of ancient Rome, and a synonym for "aristocratic" in modern English usage * Patrician (post-Roman Europe), the governing elites of cities in parts of medieval a ...
merchant Friele Gensfleisch zur Laden, and his second wife, Else Wyrich, who was the daughter of a shopkeeper. It is assumed that he was baptized in the area close to his birthplace of St. Christoph. According to some accounts, Friele was a goldsmith for the bishop at Mainz, but most likely, he was involved in the cloth trade. Gutenberg's year of birth is not precisely known, but it was sometime between the years of 1394 and 1404. In the 1890s the city of Mainz declared his official and symbolic date of birth to be 24 June 1400. John Lienhard, technology historian, says "Most of Gutenberg's early life is a mystery. His father worked with the
ecclesiastic In Christian theology Christian theology is the theology of Christianity, Christian belief and practice. * help them better understand Christian tenets * make comparative religion, comparisons between Christianity and other traditions * Chris ...
mint. Gutenberg grew up knowing the trade of
goldsmithing A goldsmith is a metalworker Metalworking is the process of shaping and reshaping metals to create useful objects, parts, assemblies, and large scale structures. As a term it covers a wide and diverse range of processes, skills, and tools for ...
." This is supported by historian Heinrich Wallau, who adds, "In the 14th and 15th centuries his ncestorsclaimed a hereditary position as ... retainers of the household of the master of the archiepiscopal mint. In this capacity, they doubtless acquired considerable knowledge and technical skill in metal working. They supplied the mint with the metal to be coined, changed the various species of coins, and had a seat at the
assizes The courts of assize, or assizes (), were periodic courts held around England and Wales until 1972, when together with the quarter sessions they were abolished by the Courts Act 1971 and replaced by a single permanent Crown Court. The assizes exerc ...
in forgery cases." Wallau adds, "His surname was derived from the house inhabited by his father and his paternal ancestors 'zu Laden, zu Gutenberg'. The house of Gänsfleisch was one of the patrician families of the town, tracing its lineage back to the thirteenth century."
Patricians The patricians (from la, patriciusPatricius may refer to: People * Patricius (consul 500), prominent East Roman general and consul *Patricius (jurist), 5th-century Roman jurist * Patricius (usurper) (died 352), leader of the Jewish revolt aga ...
(the wealthy and political elite) in Mainz were often named after houses they owned. Around 1427, the name ''zu Gutenberg'', after the family house in Mainz, is documented to have been used for the first time. In 1411, there was an uprising in Mainz against the patricians, and more than a hundred families were forced to leave. As a result, the Gutenbergs are thought to have moved to
Eltville am Rhein Eltville am Rhein (from ''Alta Villa'', Latin for "high estate, high town", corrupted to ''Eldeville'', ''Elfeld'' and later Eltville, ) is a town in the Rheingau-Taunus-Kreis in the ''Regierungsbezirk'' of Darmstadt (region), Darmstadt in Hesse, ...

Eltville am Rhein
(Alta Villa), where his mother had an inherited estate. According to historian Heinrich Wallau, "All that is known of his youth is that he was not in Mainz in 1430. It is presumed that he migrated for political reasons to
Strasbourg Strasbourg (, , ; german: Straßburg ; gsw, label=Bas Rhin Bas-Rhin (; Alsatian: ''Unterelsàss'', ' or '; traditional german: links=no, Niederrhein; en, Lower Rhine) is a department Department may refer to: * Departmentalization, divi ...

Strasbourg
, where the family probably had connections." He is assumed to have studied at the
University of Erfurt The University of Erfurt (german: Universität Erfurt) is a public university located in Erfurt Erfurt ( , ; ) is the capital and largest city in the state of Thuringia, central Germany. It is located in the southern part of the Thuringia ...
, where there is a record of the enrolment of a student called Johannes de Altavilla in 1418—Altavilla is the Latin form of Eltville am Rhein. Nothing is now known of Gutenberg's life for the next fifteen years, but in March 1434, a letter by him indicates that he was living in Strasbourg, where he had some relatives on his mother's side. He also appears to have been a goldsmith member enrolled in the Strasbourg
militia A militia () is generally an army An army (from Latin ''arma'' "arms, weapons" via Old French ''armée'', "armed" eminine, ground force or land force is a fighting force that fights primarily on land. In the broadest sense, it is the land-b ...
. In 1437, there is evidence that he was instructing a wealthy tradesman on polishing gems, but where he had acquired this knowledge is unknown. In 1436/37 his name also comes up in court in connection with a broken promise of marriage to a woman from Strasbourg, Ennelin. Whether the marriage actually took place is not recorded. Following his father's death in 1419, he is mentioned in the inheritance proceedings.


Printing press

Around 1439, Gutenberg was involved in a financial misadventure making polished metal mirrors (which were believed to capture holy light from religious relics) for sale to pilgrims to
Aachen Aachen ( ; Aachen dialect Aachen dialect (natively ''Öcher Platt'') is a dialect of Ripuarian language, Ripuarian Franconian spoken in the German Rhineland city of Aachen. This dialect, as part of the large West Germanic languages, West Ger ...

Aachen
: in 1439 the city was planning to exhibit its collection of relics from
Emperor Charlemagne Charlemagne ( , ) or Charles the Great ( la, Carolus Magnus; 2 April 748 – 28 January 814) was King of the Franks The Franks—Germanic-speaking peoples that invaded the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century—were first led by i ...

Emperor Charlemagne
but the event was delayed by one year due to a severe flood and the capital already spent could not be repaid. Until at least 1444 Gutenberg lived in
Strasbourg Strasbourg (, , ; german: Straßburg ; gsw, label=Bas Rhin Bas-Rhin (; Alsatian: ''Unterelsàss'', ' or '; traditional german: links=no, Niederrhein; en, Lower Rhine) is a department Department may refer to: * Departmentalization, divi ...

Strasbourg
, most likely in the St. Arbogast parish. It was in Strasbourg in 1440 that he is said to have perfected and unveiled the secret of printing based on his research, mysteriously entitled ''Aventur und Kunst'' (enterprise and art). It is not clear what work he was engaged in, or whether some early trials with printing from movable type were conducted there. After this, there is a gap of four years in the record. In 1448, he was back in Mainz, where he took out a loan from his brother-in-law Arnold Gelthus, quite possibly for a printing press or related paraphernalia. By this date, Gutenberg may have been familiar with Intaglio (printmaking), intaglio printing; it is claimed that he had worked on copper
engraving Engraving is the practice of incising a design onto a hard, usually flat surface by cutting grooves into it with a burin Burin may refer to: Tools * Burin (engraving), a tool with a narrow sharp face at the tip used for engraving and other pu ...

engraving
s with an artist known as the Master of Playing Cards. By 1450, the press was in operation, and a
German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language The German la ...

German
poem Poetry (derived from the Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its popula ...

poem
had been printed, possibly the first item to be printed there. Gutenberg was able to convince the wealthy moneylender
Johann Fust Johann Fust or Faust (c. 1400 – October 30, 1466) was an early Germany, German printer (publisher), printer. Family background Fust was born to Bourgeoisie, burgher family of Mainz, traceable back to the early thirteenth century. Members ...
for a loan of 800
guilder Guilder is the English language, English translation of the Dutch language, Dutch and German language, German ''gulden'', originally shortened from Middle High German ''guldin pfenninc'' "gold penny". This was the term that became current in the ...
s. Peter Schöffer, who became Fust's son-in-law, also joined the enterprise. Schöffer had worked as a scribe in
Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, most populous city of France, with an estimated population of 2,175,601 residents , in an area of more than . Since the 17th century, Paris ha ...

Paris
and is believed to have designed some of the first
typeface A typeface is the design of lettering Lettering is an umbrella term In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying ...

typeface
s. Gutenberg's workshop was set up at Humbrechthof, a property belonging to a distant relative. It is not clear when Gutenberg conceived the Bible project, but for this he borrowed another 800 guilders from Fust, and work commenced in 1452. At the same time, the press was also printing other, more lucrative texts (possibly Latin grammars). There is also some speculation that there were two presses: one for the pedestrian texts and one for the Bible. One of the profit-making enterprises of the new press was the printing of thousands of
indulgence In the teaching of the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ...

indulgence
s for the church, documented from 1454 to 1455. In 1455 Gutenberg completed his ''42-line Bible'', known as the
Gutenberg Bible The Gutenberg Bible (also known as the 42-line Bible, the Mazarin Bible or the B42) was the earliest major book printed using mass-produced movable metal type in Europe. It marked the start of the " Gutenberg Revolution" and the age of printed ...

Gutenberg Bible
. About 180 copies were printed, most on paper and some on
vellum Vellum is prepared animal skin or "membrane", typically used as a material for writing on. Parchment Parchment is a writing material Writing material refers to the materials that provide the surfaces on which humans use writing instrume ...

vellum
.


Court case

Some time in 1456, there was a dispute between Gutenberg and Fust, and Fust demanded his money back, accusing Gutenberg of misusing the funds. Gutenberg's two rounds of financing from Fust, a total of 1,600 guilders at 6% interest, now amounted to 2,026 guilders. Fust sued at the archbishop's court. A November 1455 legal document records that there was a partnership for a "project of the books," the funds for which Gutenberg had used for other purposes, according to Fust. The court decided in favor of Fust, giving him control over the Bible printing workshop and half of all printed Bibles. Thus Gutenberg was effectively bankrupt, but it appears he retained (or restarted) a small printing shop, and participated in the printing of a Bible in the town of
Bamberg Bamberg (, , ) is a town in Upper Franconia Upper Franconia (german: Oberfranken) is a ''Regierungsbezirk A ' () means "governmental district" and is a type of administrative division in Germany. Four of sixteen ' (states of Germany) are s ...

Bamberg
around 1459, for which he seems at least to have supplied the type. But since his printed books never carry his name or a date, it is difficult to be certain, and there is consequently a considerable scholarly debate on this subject. It is also possible that the large ''Catholicon'' dictionary, 300 copies of 754 pages, printed in Mainz in 1460, was executed in his workshop. Meanwhile, the Fust–Schöffer shop was the first in Europe to bring out a book with the printer's name and date, the ''
Mainz Psalter The ''Mainz Psalter'' was the second major book printed with movable type in the West; the first was the Gutenberg Bible. It is a psalter commissioned by the Archbishopric of Mainz, Mainz archbishop in 1457. The Psalter introduced several inno ...
'' of August 1457, and while proudly proclaiming the mechanical process by which it had been produced, it made no mention of Gutenberg.


Later life

In 1462, during the devastating
Mainz Diocesan Feud The Mainz Diocesan Feud (german: Mainzer Erzstiftsfehde), also known as the Baden-Palatine War (''Badisch-Pfälzischer Krieg''), took place in 1461/1462 and was a warlike conflict for the throne of the Electorate of Mainz. Background In 1459 the ...
, Mainz was sacked by
Archbishop In many Christian Denominations Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus Christ. The words ''Christ (title), Christ'' an ...
Adolph von Nassau. On 18 January 1465, Gutenberg's achievements were recognized by Archbishop von Nassau. He was given the title ''Hofmann'' (gentleman of the court). This honor included a
stipend A stipend is a regular fixed sum of money paid for services or to defray expenses, such as for scholarship, internship, or apprenticeship. It is often distinct from an income or a salary because it does not necessarily represent payment for work pe ...
and an annual court outfit, as well as 2,180 litres of grain and 2,000 litres of wine tax-free. Gutenberg died in 1468 and was buried likely as a
tertiary Tertiary ( ) is a widely used but obsolete term for the geologic period The geologic time scale (GTS) is a system of chronological dating that classifies Geology, geological strata (stratigraphy) in time. It is used by geologists, paleontology ...
in the
Franciscan , image = FrancescoCoA PioM.svg , image_size = 250px , caption = A cross, Christ's arm and Saint Francis's arm, a universal symbol of the Franciscans , abbreviation = OFM , predecessor = , ...
church at Mainz. This church and the cemetery were later destroyed, and Gutenberg's grave is now lost. In 1504, he was mentioned as the inventor of
typography Typography is the art and technique of arranging type to make written language A written language is the representation of a spoken or gestural language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including ...

typography
in a book by Professor Ivo Wittig. It was not until 1567 that the first portrait of Gutenberg, almost certainly an imaginary reconstruction, appeared in Heinrich Pantaleon's biography of famous Germans.


Printed books

Between 1450 and 1455, Gutenberg printed several texts, some of which remain unidentified; his texts did not bear the printer's name or date, so attribution is possible only from typographical evidence and external references. Certainly several church documents including a papal letter and two indulgences were printed, one of which was issued in Mainz. In view of the value of printing in quantity, seven editions in two styles were ordered, resulting in several thousand copies being printed. Some printed editions of ''Ars Minor'', a schoolbook on Latin grammar by
Aelius Donatus Aelius Donatus (; fl. mid-fourth century AD) was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened to ''Romans'', a ...
, may have been printed by Gutenberg; these have been dated either 1451–52 or 1455. In 1455, Gutenberg completed copies of a beautifully executed folio
Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. "Common Greek"), also known as Alexandrian dialect, common Attic, Hellenistic or Biblical Greek, was the koiné language, common supra-regional form of Gree ...

Bible
(''Biblia Sacra''), with 42 lines on each page. Copies sold for 30
florins The Florentine Florentine most commonly refers to: * a person or thing from Florence, a city in Italy * the Florentine dialect Florentine may also refer to: Places * Florentin, Tel Aviv, a neighborhood in the southern part of Tel Aviv, Is ...
each, which was roughly three years' wages for an average clerk. Nonetheless, it was much cheaper than a manuscript Bible that could take a single scribe over a year to prepare. After printing, some copies were rubricated or hand-illuminated in the same elegant way as manuscript Bibles from the same period. 48 substantially complete copies are known to survive, including two at the
British Library The British Library is the national library A national library is a library established by a government as a country's preeminent repository of information. Unlike public library, public libraries, these rarely allow citizens to borrow book ...

British Library
that can be viewed and compared online. The text lacks modern features such as page numbers, indentations, and paragraph breaks. An undated was printed, probably in
Bamberg Bamberg (, , ) is a town in Upper Franconia Upper Franconia (german: Oberfranken) is a ''Regierungsbezirk A ' () means "governmental district" and is a type of administrative division in Germany. Four of sixteen ' (states of Germany) are s ...

Bamberg
in 1458–60, possibly by Gutenberg. A large part of it was shown to have been set from a copy of Gutenberg's Bible, thus disproving earlier speculation that it was the earlier of the two.


Printing method with movable type

Gutenberg's early printing process, and what texts he printed with
movable type Movable type (US English; moveable type in British English) is the system and technology Technology ("science of craft", from Ancient Greek, Greek , ''techne'', "art, skill, cunning of hand"; and , ''wikt:-logia, -logia'') is the sum of a ...
, are not known in great detail. His later Bibles were printed in such a way as to have required large quantities of type, some estimates suggesting as many as 100,000 individual sorts. Setting each page would take, perhaps, half a day, and considering all the work in loading the press, inking the type, pulling the impressions, hanging up the sheets, distributing the type, etc., it is thought that the Gutenberg–Fust shop might have employed as many as 25 craftsmen. Gutenberg's technique of making movable type remains unclear. In the following decades, punches and copper matrices became standardized in the rapidly disseminating printing presses across Europe. Whether Gutenberg used this sophisticated technique or a somewhat primitive version has been the subject of considerable debate. In the standard process of making type, a hard metal punch (made by
punchcutting Punchcutting is a craft used in traditional typography File:metal movable type.jpg, 225px, Movable type being assembled on a composing stick using pieces that are stored in the type case shown below it Typography is the art and technique of ...
, with the letter carved back to front) is hammered into a softer copper bar, creating a ''
matrix Matrix or MATRIX may refer to: Science and mathematics * Matrix (mathematics), a rectangular array of numbers, symbols, or expressions * Matrix (logic), part of a formula in prenex normal form * Matrix (biology), the material in between a eukaryoti ...
''. This is then placed into a hand-held mould and a piece of type, or "sort", is cast by filling the mould with molten type-metal; this cools almost at once, and the resulting piece of type can be removed from the mould. The matrix can be reused to create hundreds, or thousands, of identical sorts so that the same character appearing anywhere within the book will appear very uniform, giving rise, over time, to the development of distinct styles of typefaces or
font In metal A metal (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxim ...

font
s. After casting, the sorts are arranged into type cases, and used to make up pages which are inked and printed, a procedure which can be repeated hundreds, or thousands, of times. The sorts can be reused in any combination, earning the process the name of "movable type". (For details, see
Typography Typography is the art and technique of arranging type to make written language A written language is the representation of a spoken or gestural language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including ...

Typography
.) The invention of the making of types with punch, matrix and mold has been widely attributed to Gutenberg. However, recent evidence suggests that Gutenberg's process was somewhat different. If he used the punch and matrix approach, all his letters should have been nearly identical, with some variation due to miscasting and inking. However, the type used in Gutenberg's earliest work shows other variations. In 2001, the physicist Blaise Agüera y Arcas and
Princeton Princeton University is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearly tw ...

Princeton
librarian Paul Needham, used digital scans of a Papal bull in the Scheide Library, Princeton, to carefully compare the same letters (types) appearing in different parts of the printed text. The irregularities in Gutenberg's type, particularly in simple characters such as the hyphen, suggested that the variations could not have come either from ink smear or from wear and damage on the pieces of metal on the types themselves. Although some identical types are clearly used on other pages, other variations, subjected to detailed image analysis, suggested that they could not have been produced from the same matrix. Transmitted light pictures of the page also appeared to reveal substructures in the type that could not arise from traditional
punchcutting Punchcutting is a craft used in traditional typography File:metal movable type.jpg, 225px, Movable type being assembled on a composing stick using pieces that are stored in the type case shown below it Typography is the art and technique of ...
techniques. They hypothesized that the method involved impressing simple shapes to create alphabets in "cuneiform" style in a matrix made of some soft material, perhaps sand. Casting the type would destroy the mould, and the matrix would need to be recreated to make each additional sort. This could explain the variations in the type, as well as the substructures observed in the printed images. Thus, they speculated that "the decisive factor for the birth of typography", the use of reusable moulds for casting type, was a more progressive process than was previously thought. They suggested that the additional step of using the punch to create a mould that could be reused many times was not taken until twenty years later, in the 1470s. Others have not accepted some or all of their suggestions, and have interpreted the evidence in other ways, and the truth of the matter remains uncertain. A 1568 book ''Batavia'' by
Hadrianus Junius Hadrianus Junius (1511–1575), also known as Adriaen de Jonghe, was a Dutch physician, classical scholar, translator, lexicographer, antiquarian, historiographer, emblematist, school rector, and Latin poet. He is not to be confused with several ...
from Holland claims that the idea of the movable type came to Gutenberg from
Laurens Janszoon Coster Laurens Janszoon Coster (c. 1370, Haarlem – c. 1440), or Laurens Jansz Koster, is the purported inventor of a printing press from Haarlem. He allegedly Multiple discovery, invented printing simultaneously with Johannes Gutenberg and was rega ...
via Fust, who was apprenticed to Coster in the 1430s and may have brought some of his equipment from
Haarlem Haarlem (; predecessor of ''Harlem'' in ) is a and in the . It is the of the of . Haarlem is situated at the northern edge of the , one of the s in Europe; it is also part of the . Haarlem had a population of in . Haarlem was granted cit ...

Haarlem
to Mainz. While Coster appears to have experimented with moulds and castable metal type, there is no evidence that he had actually printed anything with this technology. He was an inventor and a goldsmith. However, there is one indirect supporter of the claim that Coster might be the inventor. The author of the Cologne Chronicle of 1499 quotes
Ulrich Zell Ulrich Zell (died c.1507) was an early Printer (publisher), printer in Cologne, Germany. Biography Zell was born at Hanau, Hanau am Main, date unknown. He learned the art of printing before 1462 in the printing establishment of Johann Fust and P ...
, the first printer of
Cologne Cologne ( ; german: Köln ; ksh, Kölle ) is the largest city of Germany, Germany's most populous States of Germany, state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) and the List of cities in Germany by population, fourth-most populous city and one of t ...

Cologne
, that printing was performed in
Mainz Mainz (; ) is the capital and largest city of Rhineland-Palatinate Rhineland-Palatinate (german: Rheinland-Pfalz, ) is a western state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine ...

Mainz
in 1450, but that some type of printing of lower quality had previously occurred in the Netherlands. However, the chronicle does not mention the name of Coster, while it actually credits Gutenberg as the "first inventor of printing" in the very same passage (fol. 312). The first securely dated book by Dutch printers is from 1471, and the Coster connection is today regarded as a mere legend. The 19th-century printer and typefounder Fournier Le Jeune suggested that Gutenberg was not using type cast with a reusable matrix, but wooden types that were carved individually. A similar suggestion was made by Nash in 2004. This remains possible, albeit entirely unproven.


Legacy

Although Gutenberg was financially unsuccessful in his lifetime, the printing technologies spread quickly, and news and books began to travel across Europe much faster than before. It fed the growing
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in ...

Renaissance
, and since it greatly facilitated scientific publishing, it was a major catalyst for the later
scientific revolution The Scientific Revolution was a series of events that marked the emergence In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, ...

scientific revolution
. The capital of printing in Europe shifted to
Venice Venice ( ; it, Venezia ; vec, Venesia or ) is a city in northeastern Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of delimited by the and surrounding ...

Venice
, where visionary printers like
Aldus Manutius Aldus Pius Manutius (; it, Aldo Pio Manuzio; 1449/14526 February 1515) was an Italian humanist Humanism is a philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, ...

Aldus Manutius
ensured widespread availability of the major Greek and Latin texts. The claims of an Italian origin for movable type have also focused on this rapid rise of Italy in movable-type printing. This may perhaps be explained by the prior eminence of Italy in the paper and printing trade. Additionally, Italy's economy was growing rapidly at the time, facilitating the spread of literacy.
Christopher Columbus Christopher Columbus * lij, Cristoffa C(or)ombo * es, Cristóbal Colón * pt, Cristóvão Colombo * ca, Cristòfor (or ) * la, Christophorus Columbus. (; born between 25 August and 31 October 1451, died 20 May 1506) was an Italian ...

Christopher Columbus
had a geography book (printed with movable type) bought by his father. That book is in a Spanish museum, the Biblioteca Colombina in Seville. Finally, the city of Mainz was sacked in 1462, driving many (including a number of printers and punch cutters) into exile. Printing was also a factor in the Protestant Reformation, Reformation. Martin Luther's ''Ninety-five Theses'' were printed and circulated widely; subsequently he issued broadsheets outlining his anti-indulgences position (certificates of indulgences were one of the first items Gutenberg had printed). The broadsheet contributed to development of the newspaper. In the decades after Gutenberg, many conservative patrons looked down on cheap printed books; books produced by hand were considered more desirable. Today there is a large antique market for the earliest printed objects. Books printed prior to 1500 are known as ''incunabula''. There are many statues of Gutenberg in Germany, including the famous one by Bertel Thorvaldsen (1837) at Gutenbergplatz (Mainz), Gutenbergplatz in Mainz, home to the eponymous Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz and the Gutenberg Museum on the history of early printing. The latter publishes the ''Gutenberg-Jahrbuch'', the leading periodical in the field. Project Gutenberg, the oldest digital library, commemorates Gutenberg's name. The Johannisnacht, Mainz, Mainzer Johannisnacht commemorates the person Johannes Gutenberg in his native city since 1968. In 1952, the United States Postal Service issued a five hundredth anniversary stamp commemorating Johannes Gutenberg invention of the movable-type printing press. In 1961 the Canadian philosopher and scholar Marshall McLuhan entitled his pioneering study in the fields of print culture, cultural studies, and media ecology, ''The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man''. Regarded as one of the most influential people in human history, Gutenberg remains a towering figure in the popular image. In a 1978 book by a historian that purports to rank the 100 most influential persons in history, Gutenberg comes in at number 8, after T'sai Lun and before Christopher Columbus. In 1999, the
A&E Network A&E is an American pay television network, the flagship television property of A&E Networks. The network was originally founded in 1984 as the Arts & Entertainment Network, initially focusing on fine arts, documentaries, and television drama, dram ...
ranked Gutenberg the No. 1 most influential person of the second millennium on their "Biographies of the Millennium" countdown. In 1997,
Time–Life Time Life is, along with sister subsidiaries StarVista Live and Lifestyle Products Group, a holding of Direct Holdings Global LLC, an American production company and direct marketer conglomerate, that is known for selling books, music, video/DV ...
magazine picked Gutenberg's invention as the most important of the second millennium. In space, he is commemorated in the name of the asteroid 777 Gutemberga. Two operas based on Gutenberg are ''G, Being the Confession and Last Testament of Johannes Gensfleisch, also known as Gutenberg, Master Printer, formerly of Strasbourg and Mainz'', from 2001 with music by Gavin Bryars; and ''La Nuit de Gutenberg'', with music by Philippe Manoury, premiered in 2011 in Strasbourg. In 2018, WordPress named its new editing system Gutenberg in tribute to him.


Notes


References


Citations


Sources

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Further reading

* [More recent, abridged version] * Describes the social and technical aspects of the invention of printing. *


External links


English homepage of the Gutenberg-Museum Mainz
Germany.
The Digital Gutenberg Project
the
Gutenberg Bible The Gutenberg Bible (also known as the 42-line Bible, the Mazarin Bible or the B42) was the earliest major book printed using mass-produced movable metal type in Europe. It marked the start of the " Gutenberg Revolution" and the age of printed ...

Gutenberg Bible
in 1,300 digital images, every page of the University of Texas at Austin copy.
Treasures in Full – Gutenberg Bible
View the British Library's Digital Versions Online
Giovanni Balbi. ''Catholicon.'' Mainz: Printed by Johann Gutenberg? 1460, at The Library of Congress.
* {{DEFAULTSORT:Gutenberg, Johannes Johannes Gutenberg, 1398 births 1468 deaths 15th-century German businesspeople 15th-century printers German goldsmiths 15th-century German inventors German printers German Roman Catholics German typographers and type designers History of printing Businesspeople from Mainz Printers of incunabula University of Erfurt alumni