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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 water. The salt is the solute and the water the solvent. In chemistry, a solution ...

ink
ed surface resting upon a
print
print
medium (such as paper or cloth), thereby transferring the ink. It marked a dramatic improvement on earlier printing methods in which the cloth, paper or other medium was brushed or rubbed repeatedly to achieve the transfer of ink, and accelerated the process. Typically used for texts, the invention and
global spread of the printing press The global spread of the printing press began with the invention of the printing press A printing press is a mechanical device for applying pressure to an inked surface resting upon a printing, print medium (such as paper or cloth), thereb ...
was one of the most influential events in the second millennium. In Germany, around 1440, goldsmith
Johannes Gutenberg 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. ...

Johannes Gutenberg
invented the printing press, which 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 ...
. Modelled on the design of existing
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, a single
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 m ...

Renaissance
printing press could produce up to 3600 pages per workday, compared to forty by hand-printing and a few by . Gutenberg's newly devised
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 ...
made possible the precise and rapid creation of metal
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 any ...
in large quantities. His two inventions, the hand mould and the printing press, together drastically reduced the cost of printing books and other documents in Europe, particularly for shorter print runs. From
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
the printing press spread within several decades to over two hundred cities in a dozen European countries.Febvre, Lucien; Martin, Henri-Jean (1976). ''The Coming of the Book: The Impact of Printing 1450–1800''. London: New Left Books. Quoted in: Anderson, Benedict. ''Comunidades Imaginadas. Reflexiones sobre el origen y la difusión del nacionalismo''. Fondo de cultura económica, Mexico, 1993. . pp. 58f. By 1500, printing presses in operation throughout
Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical r ...

Western Europe
had already produced more than twenty million volumes. In the 16th century, with presses spreading further afield, their output rose tenfold to an estimated 150 to 200 million copies. The operation of a press became synonymous with the enterprise of printing, and lent its name to a new medium of expression and communication, "
the press ''The Press'' is a daily newspaper published in Christchurch Christchurch ( ; mi, Ōtautahi) is the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand and the seat of the Canterbury, New Zealand, Canterbury Region. Christchurch lies on the S ...

the press
". The arrival of mechanical movable type printing in Europe in 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 m ...

Renaissance
introduced the era of
mass communication Mass communication is the process of imparting and exchanging information Information can be thought of as the resolution of uncertainty; it answers the question of "What an entity is" and thus defines both its essence and the nature of it ...
, which permanently altered the structure of society. The relatively unrestricted circulation of information and (revolutionary) ideas transcended borders, captured the masses in the
Reformation The Reformation (alternatively named the Protestant Reformation or the European Reformation) was a major movement within Western Christianity in 16th-century Europe that posed a religious and political challenge to the Catholic Church and in ...

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 (ph ...
broke the monopoly of the literate elite on education and learning and bolstered the emerging middle class. Across Europe, the increasing cultural self-awareness of its peoples led to the rise of proto-
nationalism Nationalism is an idea and movement that holds that the nation A nation is a community of people formed on the basis of a common language, history, ethnicity, or a common culture, and, in many cases, a shared territory. A nation is more ove ...
, and accelerated the development of European vernaculars, 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
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.


History


Economic conditions and intellectual climate

The rapid economic and socio-cultural development of late medieval society in Europe created favorable intellectual and technological conditions for Gutenberg's improved version of the printing press: the entrepreneurial spirit of emerging capitalism increasingly made its impact on medieval modes of production, fostering economic thinking and improving the efficiency of traditional work-processes. The sharp rise of medieval learning and literacy amongst the
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 ...
led to an increased demand for books which the time-consuming hand-copying method fell far short of accommodating.


Technological factors

Technologies preceding the press that led to the press's invention included: manufacturing of paper, development of ink, woodblock printing, and distribution of eyeglasses. At the same time, a number of medieval products and technological processes had reached a level of maturity which allowed their potential use for printing purposes. Gutenberg took up these far-flung strands, combined them into one complete and functioning system, and perfected the printing process through all its stages by adding a number of inventions and innovations of his own: The
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
which allowed direct pressure to be applied on flat-plane was already of great antiquity in Gutenberg's time and was used for a wide range of tasks. Introduced in the 1st century AD by the
Romans Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, ...
, it was commonly employed in agricultural production for pressing
wine grapes This list of grape varieties includes cultivated grape A grape is a fruit In botany, a fruit is the seed-bearing structure in flowering plants (also known as angiosperms) formed from the ovary after flowering. Fruits are the means b ...

wine grapes
and
olive The olive, botanical name ''Olea europaea'', meaning "European olive", is a species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodivers ...

olive
s (for
olive oil Olive oil is a liquid fat obtained from olive The olive, known by the botanical name ''Olea europaea'', meaning "European olive", is a species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and ...

olive oil
), both of which formed an integral part of the Mediterranean and medieval diet. The device was also used from very early on in urban contexts as a
cloth A textile is a flexible material made by creating an interlocking bundle of yarn Yarn is a long continuous length of interlocked fibres, suitable for use in the production of textiles, sewing, crocheting, knitting, weaving, embroidery, ...

cloth
press for printing patterns. Gutenberg may have also been inspired by the
paper Paper is a thin sheet material Material is a substance Substance may refer to: * Substance (Jainism), a term in Jain ontology to denote the base or owner of attributes * Chemical substance, a material with a definite chemical composition ...

paper
presses which had spread through the German lands since the late 14th century and which worked on the same mechanical principles. During the
Islamic Golden Age The Islamic Golden Age was a period of cultural, economic, and scientific flourishing in the history of Islam The history of Islam concerns the political, social, economic, and cultural developments of Muslim world, Islamic civilization. M ...
, Arab Muslims were printing texts, including passages from the
Qur’an The Quran (, ; ar, القرآن, translit=al-Qurʼān, lit=the recitation, ), also romanized Qur'an or Koran, is the central religious text Religious texts are texts related to a religious tradition. They differ from literary texts by be ...
, embracing the Chinese craft of paper making, developed it and adopted it widely in the
Muslim world The terms Muslim world and Islamic world commonly refer to the Islamic Islam (;There are ten pronunciations of ''Islam'' in English, differing in whether the first or second syllable has the stress, whether the ''s'' is or , and whether ...

Muslim world
, which led to a major increase in the production of manuscript texts. In
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identi ...

Egypt
during the
Fatimid The Fatimid Caliphate ( ar, ٱلْخِلَافَة ٱلْفَاطِمِيَّة , al-Ḫilāfa al-Fāṭimiyya) was an Ismaili Shia Ismāʿīlism ( ar, الإسماعيلية, ''al-ʾIsmāʿīlīyah''; fa, اسماعیلیان, ''E ...

Fatimid
era, the printing technique was adopted reproducing texts on paper strips and supplying them in various copies to meet the demand. Gutenberg adopted the basic design, thereby mechanizing the printing process. Printing, however, put a demand on the machine quite different from pressing. Gutenberg adapted the construction so that the pressing power exerted by the
platen A platen (or platten) is a flat platform with a variety of roles in printing or manufacturing. It can be a flat metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a material that, when freshl ...

platen
on the paper was now applied both evenly and with the required sudden elasticity. To speed up the printing process, he introduced a movable undertable with a plane surface on which the sheets could be swiftly changed. The concept of movable type existed prior to 15th century Europe; sporadic evidence that the typographical principle, the idea of creating a text by reusing individual characters, was known and had been cropping up since the 12th century and possibly before (the oldest known application dating back as far as the
Phaistos disc The Phaistos Disc (also spelled Phaistos Disk, Phaestos Disc) is a disk of fired clay from the Minoan palace of Phaistos on the island of Crete, possibly dating to the middle or late Minoan Bronze Age (second millennium B.C.). The disk is ab ...

Phaistos disc
). The known examples range from movable type printing in China during the
Song dynasty The Song dynasty (; ; 960–1279) was an imperial dynasty of China that began in 960 and lasted until 1279. The dynasty was founded by Emperor Taizu of Song Emperor Taizu of Song (21 March 927 – 14 November 976), personal name Zhao Kua ...
, in
Korea Korea is a region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics (physical geography), human impact characteristics (human geography), and the interaction of humanity and the environment (environmental ...

Korea
during the
Goryeo Dynasty Goryeo (; ) was a Korea Korea (officially the "Korean Peninsula") is a region in East Asia. Since 1945 it has been Division of Korea, divided into the two parts which soon became the two sovereign states: North Korea (officially the "Dem ...
, where
metal A metal (from 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 population is appro ...

metal
movable-type printing technology was developed in 1234, to Germany ( Prüfening inscription) and England ( letter tiles) and Italy ( Altarpiece of Pellegrino II). However, the various techniques employed (imprinting, punching and assembling individual letters) did not have the refinement and efficiency needed to become widely accepted. Tsuen-Hsuin and Needham, and Briggs and Burke suggest that the movable type printing in
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

China
and
Korea Korea is a region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics (physical geography), human impact characteristics (human geography), and the interaction of humanity and the environment (environmental ...

Korea
was rarely employed.Briggs, Asa and Burke, Peter (2002). ''A Social History of the Media: From Gutenberg to the Internet'', Polity, Cambridge, pp.15–23, 61–73. Gutenberg greatly improved the process by treating
typesetting on a composing stick on a type case. , letter founder, from the 1728 edition of '' Cyclopaedia, or an Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences, Cyclopaedia''. . Typesetting is the composition of Written language, text by means of arranging ph ...
and
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
as two separate work steps. A goldsmith by profession, he created his type pieces from a
lead Lead is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, chemical elements ...

lead
-based
alloy An alloy is an admixture of metal A metal (from 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 ...
which suited printing purposes so well that it is still used today.''
Encyclopædia Britannica The (Latin for "British Encyclopaedia") is a general knowledge English-language encyclopaedia which is now published exclusively as an online encyclopedia, online encyclopaedia. It was formerly published by Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., ...
'' 2006: "Printing", retrieved 27 November 2006
The mass production of metal letters was achieved by his key invention of a special
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 ...
, the
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 ...
. The
Latin alphabet The Latin alphabet or Roman alphabet is the collection of letters originally used by the ancient Romans In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived ...

Latin alphabet
proved to be an enormous advantage in the process because, in contrast to logographic writing systems, it allowed the type-setter to represent any text with a theoretical minimum of only around two dozen different
letters Letter, letters, or literature may refer to: Characters typeface * Letter (alphabet) A letter is a segmental symbol A symbol is a mark, sign, or word that indicates, signifies, or is understood as representing an idea, Object (philosophy ...
. Another factor conducive to printing arose from the book existing in the format of the
codex The codex (plural codices ()) was the historical ancestor of the modern book A book is a medium for recording information Information is processed, organised and structured data Data (; ) are individual facts, statistics, or i ...

codex
, which had originated in the . Considered the most important advance in the history of the book prior to printing itself, the codex had completely replaced the
ancient Ancient history is the aggregate of past eventsWordNet Search – 3.0
"History"
from ...
scroll A scroll (from the Old French ''escroe'' or ''escroue''), also known as a roll, is a roll of papyrus Papyrus ( ) is a material similar to thick paper that was used in ancient times as a writing surface. It was made from the pith of the ...

scroll
at the onset of the Middle Ages (AD500). The codex holds considerable practical advantages over the scroll format; it is more convenient to read (by turning pages), more compact, and less costly, and both
recto and verso ''Recto'' is the "right" or "front" side and ''verso'' is the "left" or "back" side when text is written or printed on a leaf of paper () in a bound item such as a codex, book, broadsheet, or pamphlet. Etymology The terms are shortened from ...

recto and verso
sides could be used for writing or printing, unlike the scroll. A fourth development was the early success of medieval papermakers at mechanizing
paper Paper is a thin sheet material Material is a substance Substance may refer to: * Substance (Jainism), a term in Jain ontology to denote the base or owner of attributes * Chemical substance, a material with a definite chemical composition ...

paper
manufacture. The introduction of water-powered
paper mill A paper mill is a factory A factory, manufacturing plant or a production plant is an industrial Industrial may also refer to: Industry * Industrial archaeology, the study of the history of the industry * Industrial engineering, engineering ...
s, the first certain evidence of which dates to 1282, allowed for a massive expansion of production and replaced the laborious handcraft characteristic of both Chinese and Muslim papermaking. Papermaking centres began to multiply in the late 13th century in Italy, reducing the price of paper to one sixth of
parchment Parchment is a writing material Writing material refers to the materials that provide the surfaces on which humans use writing instruments A writing implement or writing instrument is an object used to produce writing Writing is a mediu ...

parchment
and then falling further; papermaking centers reached Germany a century later. Despite this it appears that the final breakthrough of paper depended just as much on the rapid spread of movable-type printing. It is notable that codices of parchment, which in terms of quality is superior to any other writing material, still had a substantial share in Gutenberg's edition of the
42-line Bible The Gutenberg Bible (also known as the 42-line Bible, the Mazarin Bible or the B42) was among the earliest major books printed using mass-produced movable metal type in Europe. It marked the start of the " Gutenberg Revolution" and the age of pr ...
. After much experimentation, Gutenberg managed to overcome the difficulties which traditional water-based inks caused by soaking the paper, and found the formula for an oil-based ink suitable for high-quality printing with metal type.


Function and approach

A printing press, in its classical form, is a standing mechanism, ranging from long, wide, and tall. The small individual metal letters known as type would be set up by a compositor into the desired lines of text. Several lines of text would be arranged at once and were placed in a wooden frame known as a galley. Once the correct number of pages were composed, the galleys would be laid face up in a frame, also known as a forme, which itself is placed onto a flat stone, 'bed,' or 'coffin.' The text is inked using two balls, pads mounted on handles. The balls were made of dog skin leather, because it has no pores, and stuffed with sheep's wool and were inked. This ink was then applied to the text evenly. One damp piece of paper was then taken from a heap of paper and placed on the tympan. The paper was damp as this lets the type 'bite' into the paper better. Small pins hold the paper in place. The paper is now held between a
frisket A frisket is any material that protects areas of a work from unintended change. Letterpress On a sheet-fed letterpress printing machine, a frisket is a sheet of oiled paper that covers the space between the type or ''cuts'' (illustrations) and t ...
and
tympan Tympan means skin, and is used in a variety of technical meanings. Astrolabes In an astrolabe, a tympan is a metal plate (metal), plate on which the coordinates of the celestial sphere (azimuth and altitude) are engraved in a stereographic project ...

tympan
(two frames covered with paper or parchment). These are folded down, so that the paper lies on the surface of the inked type. The bed is rolled under the
platen A platen (or platten) is a flat platform with a variety of roles in printing or manufacturing. It can be a flat metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a material that, when freshl ...

platen
, using a windlass mechanism. A small rotating handle is used called the 'rounce' to do this, and the impression is made with a screw that transmits pressure through the platen. To turn the screw the long handle attached to it is turned. This is known as the bar or 'Devil's Tail.' In a well-set-up press, the springiness of the paper, frisket, and tympan caused the bar to spring back and raise the platen, the windlass turned again to move the bed back to its original position, the tympan and frisket raised and opened, and the printed sheet removed. Such presses were always worked by hand. After around 1800, iron presses were developed, some of which could be operated by steam power. The function of the press in the image on the left was described by William Skeen in 1872,


Gutenberg's press

Johannes Gutenberg 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. ...

Johannes Gutenberg
's work on the printing press began in approximately 1436 when he partnered with Andreas Dritzehn—a man who had previously instructed in gem-cutting—and Andreas Heilmann, owner of a paper mill. However, it was not until a 1439
lawsuit A lawsuit is a proceeding by a party or parties against another in the civil Civil may refer to: *Civic virtue, or civility *Civil action, or lawsuit *Civil affairs *Civil and political rights *Civil disobedience *Civil engineering *Civil ...
against Gutenberg that an official record existed; witnesses' testimony discussed Gutenberg's types, an inventory of metals (including lead), and his type molds. Having previously worked as a professional goldsmith, Gutenberg made skillful use of the knowledge of metals he had learned as a craftsman. He was the first to make type from an
alloy An alloy is an admixture of metal A metal (from 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 ...
of
lead Lead is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, chemical elements ...

lead
,
tin Tin is a with the Sn (from la, ) and  50. Tin is a silvery-colored metal that characteristically has a faint yellow hue. Tin is soft enough to be cut with little force and a bar of tin can be bent by hand with little effort. When bent ...

tin
, and
antimony Antimony is a chemical element upright=1.0, 500px, The chemical elements ordered by link=Periodic table In chemistry Chemistry is the science, scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science t ...

antimony
, which was critical for producing durable type that produced high-quality printed books and proved to be much better suited for printing than all other known materials. To create these lead types, Gutenberg used what is considered one of his most ingenious inventions,Meggs, Philip B. A History of Graphic Design. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 1998. (pp 58–69) a special
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 ...
enabling the quick and precise molding of new type blocks from a uniform template. His
type case A type case is a compartmentalized wooden box used to store 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'', "ar ...
is estimated to have contained around 290 separate letter boxes, most of which were required for special characters, ligatures, punctuation marks, and so forth. Gutenberg is also credited with the introduction of an oil-based
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 water. The salt is the solute and the water the solvent. In chemistry, a solution ...

ink
which was more durable than the previously used water-based inks. As printing material he used both paper and
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
(high-quality parchment). In 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
, Gutenberg made a trial of colour printing for a few of the page headings, present only in some copies. A later work, 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 1453, presumably designed by Gutenberg but published under the imprint of his successors
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 ...
and Peter Schöffer, had elaborate red and blue printed initials.


The Printing Revolution

The Printing Revolution occurred when the spread of the printing press facilitated the wide circulation of information and ideas, acting as an "agent of change" through the societies that it reached.


Mass production and spread of printed books

The invention of mechanical movable type printing led to a huge increase of printing activities across Europe within only a few decades. From a single print shop 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
, Germany, printing had spread to no less than around 270 cities in Central, Western and Eastern Europe by the end of the 15th century. As early as 1480, there were printers active in 110 different places in Germany, Italy, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, England,
Bohemia Bohemia ( ; cs, Čechy ; ; hsb, Čěska; szl, Czechy) is the westernmost and largest historical region Historical regions (or historical areas) are geographical Geography (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, ...

Bohemia
and Poland. From that time on, it is assumed that "the printed book was in universal use in Europe". In Italy, a center of early printing, print shops had been established in 77 cities and towns by 1500. At the end of the following century, 151 locations in Italy had seen at one time printing activities, with a total of nearly three thousand printers known to be active. Despite this proliferation, printing centres soon emerged; thus, one third of the Italian printers published in
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
. By 1500, the printing presses in operation throughout Western Europe had already produced more than twenty million copies. In the following century, their output rose tenfold to an estimated 150 to 200 million copies. European printing presses of around 1600 were capable of producing between 1,500 and 3,600 impressions per workday.: By comparison,
Far Eastern The Far East is a geographical region that includes East Asia, East and Southeast Asia as well as the Russian Far East. South Asia is sometimes also included for economic and cultural reasons. The term "Far East" came into use in European geopoli ...
printing, where the back of the paper was manually rubbed to the page, did not exceed an output of forty pages per day.Ch'on Hye-bong 1993, p. 12: Of
Erasmus Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus (; English: Erasmus of Rotterdam;''Erasmus'' was his baptismal name, given after St. Erasmus of Formiae. ''Desiderius'' was a self-adopted additional name, which he used from 1496. The ''Roterodamus'' was a schol ...

Erasmus
's work, at least 750,000 copies were sold during his lifetime alone (1469–1536). In the early days of the Reformation, the revolutionary potential of bulk printing took princes and
papacy The pope ( la, papa, from el, πάππας, translit=pappas, "father"), also known as the supreme pontiff () or the Roman pontiff (), is the bishop of Diocese of Rome, Rome, chief pastor of the worldwide Catholic Church, and head of state o ...
alike by surprise. In the period from 1518 to 1524, the publication of books in Germany alone skyrocketed sevenfold; between 1518 and 1520,
Luther Luther may refer to: People * Martin Luther Martin Luther, (; ; 10 November 1483 – 18 February 1546) was a German professor of theology Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the Divinity, divine and, more broadl ...

Luther
's tracts were distributed in 300,000 printed copies. The rapidity of typographical text production, as well as the sharp fall in unit costs, led to the issuing of the first
newspaper A newspaper is a periodical Periodical literature (also called a periodical publication or simply a periodical) is a category of serial Serial may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media The presentation of works in sequential segments ...

newspaper
s (see '' Relation'') which opened up an entirely new field for conveying up-to-date information to the public.
Incunable File:Prohemium..JPG, Illumination with doodles and drawings (marginalia), including an open-mouthed human profile, with multiple tongues sticking out. Copulata, "De Anima", f. 2a. HMD Collection, WZ 230 M772c 1485 An incunable or incunabulum (p ...

Incunable
are surviving pre-16th century print works which are collected by many of the libraries in Europe and North America.


Circulation of information and ideas

The printing press was also a factor in the establishment of a community of
scientists A scientist is a person who conducts scientific research The scientific method is an Empirical evidence, empirical method of acquiring knowledge that has characterized the development of science since at least the 17th century. It involves ...
who could easily communicate their discoveries through the establishment of widely disseminated scholarly journals, helping to bring on the
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
. Because of the printing press,
author An author is the creator or originator of any written work such as a book A book is a medium for recording information Information is processed, organised and structured data Data (; ) are individual facts, statistics, or item ...

author
ship became more meaningful and profitable. It was suddenly important who had said or written what, and what the precise formulation and time of composition was. This allowed the exact citing of references, producing the rule, "One Author, one work (title), one piece of information" (Giesecke, 1989; 325). Before, the author was less important, since a copy of
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questio ...

Aristotle
made in Paris would not be exactly identical to one made in Bologna. For many works prior to the printing press, the name of the author has been entirely lost. Because the printing process ensured that the same information fell on the same pages, page numbering, tables of contents, and indices became common, though they previously had not been unknown. The process of reading also changed, gradually moving over several centuries from oral readings to silent, private reading. Over the next 200 years, the wider availability of printed materials led to a dramatic rise in the adult literacy rate throughout Europe. The printing press was an important step towards the
democratization of knowledge The democratization of knowledge is the acquisition and spread of knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity, awareness, or understanding of someone or something, such as facts ( descriptive knowledge), skills (procedural knowledge), or objects ( ...
. Within 50 or 60 years of the invention of the printing press, the entire classical canon had been reprinted and widely promulgated throughout Europe (Eisenstein, 1969; 52). More people had access to knowledge both new and old, more people could discuss these works. Book production became more commercialised, and the first
copyright Copyright is a type of intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. ...

copyright
laws were passed. On the other hand, the printing press was criticized for allowing the dissemination of information which may have been incorrect. A second outgrowth of this popularization of knowledge was the decline of Latin as the language of most published works, to be replaced by the vernacular language of each area, increasing the variety of published works. The printed word also helped to unify and standardize the spelling and syntax of these vernaculars, in effect 'decreasing' their variability. This rise in importance of national languages as opposed to pan-European Latin is cited as one of the causes of the rise of
nationalism Nationalism is an idea and movement that holds that the nation A nation is a community of people formed on the basis of a common language, history, ethnicity, or a common culture, and, in many cases, a shared territory. A nation is more ove ...
in Europe. A third consequence of popularization of printing was on the economy. The printing press was associated with higher levels of city growth. The publication of trade related manuals and books teaching techniques like
double-entry bookkeeping Double-entry bookkeeping, also known as, double-entry accounting, is a method of bookkeeping Bookkeeping is the recording of financial transactions, and is part of the process of accounting Accounting or Accountancy is the measureme ...
increased the reliability of trade and led to the decline of merchant guilds and the rise of individual traders.


Industrial printing presses

At the dawn of the
Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Great Britain, continental Europe Continental Europe or mainland Europe is the contiguous continent A continent is any of several large landmasse ...
, the mechanics of the hand-operated Gutenberg-style press were still essentially unchanged, although new materials in its construction, amongst other innovations, had gradually improved its printing efficiency. By 1800, Lord Stanhope had built a press completely from cast iron which reduced the force required by 90%, while doubling the size of the printed area.Meggs, Philip B. ''A History of Graphic Design''. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 1998. (pp 130–133) With a capacity of 480 pages per hour, the Stanhope press doubled the output of the old style press. Nonetheless, the limitations inherent to the traditional method of printing became obvious. Two ideas altered the design of the printing press radically: First, the use of steam power for running the machinery, and second the replacement of the printing flatbed with the rotary motion of cylinders. Both elements were for the first time successfully implemented by the German printer
Friedrich Koenig Friedrich Gottlob Koenig (17 April 1774 – 17 January 1833) was a German inventor best known for his high-speed steam-powered printing press A printing press is a mechanical device for applying pressure to an inked surface resting ...

Friedrich Koenig
in a series of press designs devised between 1802 and 1818. Having moved to London in 1804, Koenig soon met Thomas Bensley and secured financial support for his project in 1807. Patented in 1810, Koenig had designed a steam press "much like a hand press connected to a steam engine." The first production trial of this model occurred in April 1811. He produced his machine with assistance from German engineer Andreas Friedrich Bauer. Koenig and Bauer sold two of their first models to ''
The Times ''The Times'' is a British Newspaper#Daily, daily Newspaper#National, national newspaper based in London. It began in 1785 under the title ''The Daily Universal Register'', adopting its current name on 1 January 1788. ''The Times'' and its s ...
'' in
London London is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller lowerc ...

London
in 1814, capable of 1,100 impressions per hour. The first edition so printed was on 28 November 1814. They went on to perfect the early model so that it could print on both sides of a sheet at once. This began the long process of making
newspaper A newspaper is a periodical Periodical literature (also called a periodical publication or simply a periodical) is a category of serial Serial may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media The presentation of works in sequential segments ...

newspaper
s available to a mass audience (which in turn helped spread literacy), and from the 1820s changed the nature of
book A book is a medium for recording information Information is processed, organised and structured data Data (; ) are individual facts, statistics, or items of information, often numeric. In a more technical sense, data are a set of v ...

book
production, forcing a greater standardization in titles and other
metadata Metadata is "data Data (; ) are individual facts, statistics, or items of information, often numeric. In a more technical sense, data are a set of values of qualitative property, qualitative or quantity, quantitative variable (research), v ...
. Their company
Koenig & Bauer AG Koenig & Bauer Aktiengesellschaft, AG (; ) is a Germany, German company that makes printing presses based in Würzburg. It was founded by Friedrich Koenig and Andreas Friedrich Bauer in Würzburg in 1817, making it the oldest printing press manuf ...
is still one of the world's largest manufacturers of printing presses today.


Rotary press

The steam-powered
rotary printing press A rotary printing press is a 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 Sa ...
, invented in 1843 in the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
by Richard M. Hoe, ultimately allowed millions of copies of a page in a single day. Mass production of printed works flourished after the transition to rolled paper, as continuous feed allowed the presses to run at a much faster pace. Hoe's original design operated at up to 2,000 revolutions per hour where each revolution deposited 4 page images giving the press a throughput of 8,000 pages per hour. By 1891, The
New York World The ''New York World'' was a newspaper A newspaper is a periodical Periodical literature (also called a periodical publication or simply a periodical) is a category of Serial (publishing), serial published, publications that appear in a ...
and Philadelphia Item were operating presses producing either 90,000 4 page sheets per hour or 48,000 8 page sheets. Also, in the middle of the 19th century, there was a separate development of jobbing presses, small presses capable of printing small-format pieces such as billheads, letterheads, business cards, and envelopes. Jobbing presses were capable of quick set-up (average setup time for a small job was under 15 minutes) and quick production (even on treadle-powered jobbing presses it was considered normal to get 1,000 impressions per hour [iph] with one pressman, with speeds of 1,500 iph often attained on simple envelope work). Job printing emerged as a reasonably cost-effective duplicating solution for commerce at this time.


Printing capacity

The table lists the maximum number of pages which the various press designs could print ''per hour''.


Gallery

File:Model of The Printing Press..png, Model of the Common Press, used from 1650 to 1850 File:Handtiegelpresse von 1811.jpg, Printing press from 1811 File:Iserlohn-Druckpresse1-Bubo.JPG, Charles Stanhope, 3rd Earl Stanhope, Stanhope press from 1842 File:Cccasarealjf.JPG, Imprenta Press V John Sherwin from 1860 File:1890 Reliance Printing Press.jpg, Reliance Printing Press from the 1890s File:One of Toledo Blade's Big Presses, Toledo, Ohio - DPLA - ac45dd72060a183713cbf7f487305972 (page 1) (cropped).jpg, Toledo Blade newspaper printing press


See also

; General *Imprimatur * Printing * Typography ; Printing presses * Adana Printing Machines, Adana Printing Presses * Albion press * Columbian Printing Press * Flexography * Augustus Applegath, Vertical print press ; Other inventions * Color printing * Lithography * Offset printing * Desktop publishing * Electronic publishing * Computer printer * Composing stick


Notes


References

On the effects of the printing press * * * * [More recent, abridged version] * * * Technology of printing * * * * * * * * * * Ch'on Hye-bong: "Typography in Korea", ''Koreana'', Vol. 7, No. 2 (1993), pp. 10–19 * * * * * * * * * Hind, Arthur M., ''An Introduction to a History of Woodcut'', Houghton Mifflin Co. 1935 (in USA), reprinted Dover Publications, 1963 * * * * * * * * * Needham, Joseph: "Science and Civilisation in China", Physics and Physical Technology (Vol. 4), Mechanical Engineering (Part 2), Cambridge University Press, 1965 * * Encyclopædia Britannica 2006: "Printing". Retrieved 27 November 2006 * * * * * * * * *


External links


Centre for the History of the Book


− Photos of ''Incunabula'' and the Gutenberg Bible (1455)
Internet Archive: Printing (1947)
− a film from the Prelinger Archives explaining the printing industry {{Authority control Printing Johannes Gutenberg 1445 introductions Textual scholarship 15th-century inventions German inventions