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A printing press is a mechanical device for applying pressure to an
ink Ink is a gel, Sol (colloid), sol, or Solution (chemistry), solution that contains at least one colorant, 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 w ...
ed surface resting upon a print medium (such as
paper Paper is a thin sheet material produced by mechanically or chemically processing cellulose fibres derived from wood, Textile, rags, poaceae, grasses or other vegetable sources in water, draining the water through fine mesh leaving the fibre e ...
or
cloth Textile is an Hyponymy and hypernymy, umbrella term that includes various Fiber, fiber-based materials, including fibers, yarns, Staple (textiles)#Filament fiber, filaments, Thread (yarn), threads, different #Fabric, fabric types, etc. At f ...
), 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 with movable type by Johannes Gutenberg in Mainz, Germany . History of Western typography, Western History of printing, printing technology was adopted in all ...
was one of the most influential events in the second millennium. In
Germany Germany,, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central Europe. It is the second most populous country in Europe after Russia, and the most populous member state of the European Union. Germany is situated between ...
, around 1440,
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 ...
Johannes Gutenberg Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg (; – 3 February 1468) was a German inventor and Artisan, craftsman who introduced letterpress printing to Europe with his movable type, movable-type printing press. Though not the first of its ki ...
invented the movable-type printing press, which started the
Printing Revolution Printing is a process for mass reproducing text and images An image is a visual representation of something. It can be two-dimensional, three-dimensional, or somehow otherwise feed into the visual system to convey information. An image ...
. 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 (simple machine), screw to convert the rotation of the handle or dr ...
es, a single
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a Periodization, period in History of Europe, European history marking the transition from the Middle Ages to modernity and covering the 15th and 16th centuries, characterized by an e ...
movable-type printing press could produce up to 3,600 pages per workday, compared to forty by hand-printing and a few by hand-copying. Gutenberg's newly devised
hand mould A hand mold is a simple mold (manufacturing), mold used for low quantity work. It is used in the injection molding and the printing industry. It is made by a hand injection molding machine. It is a simple machine which contains a barrel, handle, n ...
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 of printing and typography that uses movable Sort (typesetting), components to reproduce the elements of a document (usually individual alphanumeric charact ...
in large quantities. His two inventions, the hand mould and the movable-type 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, Germany. Mainz is on the left bank of the Rhine, opposite to the place that the Main (river), Main joins the Rhine. Downstream of the confluence, the Rhine flows to the north-we ...
the movable-type 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. The region's countries and territories vary depending on context. The concept of "the West" appeared in Europe in juxtaposition to "the East" and originally applied to the ancient Mediterranean ...
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. By the mid-17th century the first printing presses arrived in colonial America in response to the increasing demand for
Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek , , 'the books') is a collection of religious texts or scriptures that are held to be sacredness, sacred in Christianity, Judaism, Samaritanism, and many other religions. The Bible is an anthologya compilation of ...
s and other religious literature. 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, New Zealand owned by media business Stuff (company), Stuff Ltd. First published in 1861, the newspaper is the largest circulating daily in the South Island and publishes Monday to Sa ...
". The arrival of mechanical movable type printing in Europe in the
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a Periodization, period in History of Europe, European history marking the transition from the Middle Ages to modernity and covering the 15th and 16th centuries, characterized by an e ...
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 o ...
, 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 ...
and threatened the power of political and religious authorities. The sharp increase in
literacy Literacy in its broadest sense describes "particular ways of thinking about and doing reading and writing" with the purpose of understanding or expressing thoughts or ideas in Writing, written form in some specific context of use. In other wo ...
broke the monopoly of the literate elite on education and learning and bolstered the emerging
middle class The middle class refers to a Social class, class of people in the middle of a social hierarchy, often defined by job, occupation, income, education, or social status. The term has historically been associated with modernity, capitalism and poli ...
. 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 should be congruent with the State (polity), state. As a movement, nationalism tends to promote the interests of a particular nation (as in a in-group and out-group, group of peo ...
, and accelerated the development of European
vernaculars A vernacular or vernacular language is in contrast with a "standard language". It refers to the language or dialect that is spoken by people that are inhabiting a particular country or region. The vernacular is typically the native language, n ...
, 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 a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) around present-day Rome, but through ...
'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 Natural language, language systematically used to make communication possib ...
. 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 refers to a Social class, class of people in the middle of a social hierarchy, often defined by job, occupation, income, education, or social status. The term has historically been associated with modernity, capitalism and poli ...
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 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. Each page o ...
, and distribution of
eyeglasses Glasses, also known as eyeglasses or spectacles, are Visual perception, vision eyewear, with lens (optics), lenses (clear or tinted) mounted in a frame that holds them in front of a person's Human eye, eyes, typically utilizing a bridge over th ...
. 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 (simple machine), screw to convert the rotation of the handle or dr ...
which allowed direct pressure to be applied on a 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, it was commonly employed in agricultural production for pressing wine grapes and
olive The olive, botanical name ''Olea europaea'', meaning 'European olive' in Latin, is a species of small tree or shrub in the family (biology), family Oleaceae, found traditionally in the Mediterranean Basin. When in shrub form, it is known as '' ...
s (for
olive oil Olive oil is a vegetable oil, liquid fat obtained from olives (the fruit of ''Olea europaea''; family Oleaceae), a traditional Tree fruit, tree crop of the Mediterranean Basin, produced by pressing whole olives and extracting the oil. It is co ...
), both of which formed an integral part of the
Mediterranean The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western Europe, Western and Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa ...
and medieval diet. The device was also used from very early on in urban contexts as a
cloth Textile is an Hyponymy and hypernymy, umbrella term that includes various Fiber, fiber-based materials, including fibers, yarns, Staple (textiles)#Filament fiber, filaments, Thread (yarn), threads, different #Fabric, fabric types, etc. At f ...
press for printing patterns. Gutenberg may have also been inspired by the 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, traditionally dated from the 8th century to the 14th century. This period is traditionally understood to have begun during the reign ...
, Arab Muslims were printing texts, including passages from the
Qur’an The Quran (, ; Standard Arabic: , Classical Arabic, Quranic Arabic: , , 'the recitation'), also romanized Qur'an or Koran, is the central religious text of Islam, believed by Muslims to be a revelation in Islam, revelation from God in Islam, ...
, 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 community, which is also known as the Ummah. This consists of all those who adhere to the religious beliefs and laws of Islam or to societies in which Islam is practiced. In ...
, which led to a major increase in the production of manuscript texts. In
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مصر , ), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a List of transcontinental countries, transcontinental country spanning the North Africa, northeast corner of Africa and Western Asia, southwest corner of Asia via a land bridg ...
during the
Fatimid The Fatimid Caliphate was an Isma'ilism, Ismaili Shia Islam, Shi'a caliphate extant from the tenth to the twelfth centuries AD. Spanning a large area of North Africa, it ranged from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Red Sea in the ea ...
era, the printing technique was adopted reproducing texts on paper strips by hand 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 (or earlier, wooden) plate pressed against a medium (such as paper) to cause an impression in letterpress printing. Platen m ...
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 civilization, Minoan palace of Phaistos on the island of Crete, possibly dating to the middle or late Minoan Bronze Age (second millennium BC). ...
). The known examples range from movable type printing in China during the
Song dynasty The Song dynasty (; ; 960–1279) was an Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China that began in 960 and lasted until 1279. The dynasty was founded by Emperor Taizu of Song following his usurpation of the throne of the Later Zhou. ...
; in
Korea Korea ( ko, 한국, or , ) is a peninsular region in East Asia. Since 1945, it has been divided at or near the 38th parallel north, 38th parallel, with North Korea (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) comprising its northern half and Sout ...
during the
Goryeo Dynasty Goryeo (; ) was a Korean kingdom founded in 918, during a time of national division called the Later Three Kingdoms period, that unified and ruled the Korea, Korean Peninsula until 1392. Goryeo achieved what has been called a "true national un ...
, where
metal A metal (from ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a material that, when freshly prepared, polished, or fractured, shows a lustrous appearance, and conducts electrical resistivity and conductivity, e ...
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. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, most populous country, with a Population of China, population exceeding 1.4 billion, slig ...
and
Korea Korea ( ko, 한국, or , ) is a peninsular region in East Asia. Since 1945, it has been divided at or near the 38th parallel north, 38th parallel, with North Korea (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) comprising its northern half and Sout ...
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 Typesetting is the composition of Written language, text by means of arranging metal type, physical ''type'' (or ''sort'') in mechanical systems or ''glyphs'' in digital systems representing ''character (symbol), characters'' (letters and ot ...
and
printing 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 Nabo ...
as two separate work steps. A goldsmith by profession, he created his type pieces from a
lead Lead is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Pb (from the Latin ) and atomic number 82. It is a heavy metals, heavy metal that is density, denser than most common materials. Lead is Mohs scale of mineral hardness#Intermediate ...
-based
alloy An alloy is a mixture of chemical elements of which at least one is a metal. Unlike chemical compounds with metallic bases, an alloy will retain all the properties of a metal in the resulting material, such as electrical conductivity, ductility, ...
which suited printing purposes so well that it is still used today."Printing". ''
Encyclopædia Britannica The (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) around present-d ...
'' (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 (manufacturing), mold used for low quantity work. It is used in the injection molding and the printing industry. It is made by a hand injection molding machine. It is a simple machine which contains a barrel, handle, n ...
, the matrix. The
Latin alphabet The Latin alphabet or Roman alphabet is the collection of letters originally used by the Ancient Rome, ancient Romans to write the Latin language. Largely unaltered with the exception of extensions (such as diacritics), it used to write Eng ...
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 character representing one or more of the sounds used in speech; any of the symbols of an alphabet. * Letterform, the graphic form of a letter of the alphabe ...
. 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. Instead of being composed of sheets of paper, it used sheets of vellum, papyrus, or other materials. The term ''codex'' is often used for ancient manuscript books, with ...
, which had originated in the
Roman period The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Romanum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Roman Republic, Republican period of ancient Rome. As a polity, it included large territorial holdings aro ...
. Considered the most important advance in the history of the book prior to printing itself, the codex had completely replaced the ancient
scroll A scroll (from the Old French ''escroe'' or ''escroue''), also known as a roll, is a roll of papyrus, parchment, or paper containing writing. Structure A scroll is usually partitioned into pages, which are sometimes separate sheets of papyrus ...
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 ...
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 produced by mechanically or chemically processing cellulose fibres derived from wood, Textile, rags, poaceae, grasses or other vegetable sources in water, draining the water through fine mesh leaving the fibre e ...
manufacture. The introduction of water-powered
paper mill A paper mill is a factory devoted to making paper from vegetable fibres such as wood pulp, old rags, and other ingredients. Prior to the invention and adoption of the Fourdrinier machine and other types of paper machine that use an endless belt, ...
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 Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic, ) or the Republic of Italy, is a country in Southern Europe. It is located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, and its territory largely coincides with the Italy (geographical region) ...
, reducing the price of paper to one-sixth of
parchment Parchment is a writing material made from specially prepared Tanning (leather), untanned skins of animals—primarily sheep, calves, and goats. It has been used as a writing medium for over two millennia. Vellum is a finer quality parchment made ...
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 the earliest major book A book is a medium for recording information in the form of writing or images, typically composed of many page (paper), pages ...
. 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 A galley is a type of ship that is propelled mainly by oars. The galley is characterized by its long, slender hull, shallow draft (hull), draft, and low freeboard (nautical), freeboard (clearance between sea and gunwale). Virtually all types of ...
. 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 and 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 (or earlier, wooden) plate pressed against a medium (such as paper) to cause an impression in letterpress printing. Platen m ...
, using a
windlass The windlass is an apparatus for moving heavy weights. Typically, a windlass consists of a horizontal cylinder (barrel), which is rotated by the turn of a crank or belt. A winch A winch is a mechanical device that is used to pull in (wind ...
mechanism. A small rotating handle called the 'rounce' is used 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 A steam engine is a heat engine that performs mechanical work using steam as its working fluid. The steam engine uses the force produced by steam pressure to push a piston back and forth inside a Cylinder (locomotive), cylinder. This pus ...
. 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 and Artisan, craftsman who introduced letterpress printing to Europe with his movable type, movable-type printing press. Though not the first of its ki ...
'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 court of law. The archaic term "suit in law" is found in only a small number of laws still in effect today. The term "lawsuit" is used in reference to a civil act ...
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 a mixture of chemical elements of which at least one is a metal. Unlike chemical compounds with metallic bases, an alloy will retain all the properties of a metal in the resulting material, such as electrical conductivity, ductility, ...
of
lead Lead is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Pb (from the Latin ) and atomic number 82. It is a heavy metals, heavy metal that is density, denser than most common materials. Lead is Mohs scale of mineral hardness#Intermediate ...
,
tin Tin is a chemical element with the Chemical symbol, symbol Sn (from la, :la:Stannum, stannum) and atomic number 50. Tin is a silvery-coloured metal. Tin is soft enough to be cut with little force and a bar of tin can be bent by hand wit ...
, and
antimony Antimony is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Sb (from la, wiktionary:stibium#Latin, stibium) and atomic number 51. A lustrous gray metalloid, it is found in nature mainly as the sulfide mineral stibnite (Sb2S3). 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 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 used in letterpress printing.Williams, Fred (1992). "Origin of the California Job Case". ''Type & Press'', fall 1992. http://www.apa-letterpress.com/T%20&%20P%20ARTICLES/Ty ...
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 (colloid), sol, or Solution (chemistry), solution that contains at least one colorant, 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 w ...
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 writing material. Parchment is another term for this material, from which vellum is sometimes distinguished, when it is made from calfskin, as opposed to that made from other animal ...
(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 A book is a medium for recording information in the form of writing or images, typically composed of many page (paper), pages ...
, 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 in ...
of 1453, presumably designed by Gutenberg but published under the imprint of his successors Johann Fust 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, Germany. Mainz is on the left bank of the Rhine, opposite to the place that the Main (river), Main joins the Rhine. Downstream of the confluence, the Rhine flows to the north-we ...
, 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 France (), officially the French Republic ( ), is a country primarily located in Western Europe. It also comprises of Overseas France, overseas regions and territories in the Americas and the Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic, Pacific Ocean, Pac ...
,
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = ''Plus ultra'' (Latin)(English: "Further Beyond") , national_anthem = (English: "Royal March") , i ...
, the
Netherlands ) , anthem = ( en, "William of Nassau") , image_map = , map_caption = , subdivision_type = Sovereign state , subdivision_name = Kingdom of the Netherlands , established_title = Before independence , established_date = Spanish Neth ...
,
Belgium Belgium, ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Northwestern Europe. The country is bordered by the Netherlands to the north, Germany to the east, Luxembourg to the southeast, France to the ...
,
Switzerland ). Swiss law does not designate a ''capital'' as such, but the federal parliament and government are in Bern, while other federal institutions, such as the federal courts, are in other cities (Bellinzona, Lausanne, Luzern, Neuchâtel, St. Gall ...
,
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. It is separa ...
,
Bohemia Bohemia ( ; cs, Čechy ; ; hsb, Čěska; szl, Czechy) is the westernmost and largest historical region of the Czech Republic. Bohemia can also refer to a wider area consisting of the historical Lands of the Bohemian Crown ruled by the List o ...
and
Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 administrative provinces called Voivodeships of Poland, voivodeships, covering an area of . Poland has a population of over 38 million and is ...
. 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 and the capital of the Veneto Regions of Italy, region. It is built on a group of 118 small islands that are separated by canals and linked by over 400  ...
. 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'' was a European term to refer to the geographical regions that includes East Asia, East and Southeast Asia as well as the Russian Far East to a lesser extent. South Asia is sometimes also included for economic and cultural reason ...
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 or Erasmus;''Erasmus'' was his baptismal name, given after St. Erasmus, St. Erasmus of Formiae. ''Desiderius'' was an adopted additional name, which he used from 1496. The ''Rote ...
'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 supreme pontiff ( or ), Roman pontiff () or sovereign pontiff, is the bishop of Rome (or historically the patriarch of Rome), head of the worldwide Cathol ...
alike by surprise. In the period from 1518 to 1524, the publication of books in Germany alone skyrocketed sevenfold; between 1518 and 1520, 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 literature, periodical publication containing written News, information about current events and is often typed in black ink with a white or gray background. Newspapers can cover a wide variety of fields such as p ...
s (see '' Relation'') which opened up an entirely new field for conveying up-to-date information to the public.
Incunable In the history of printing The history of printing starts as early as 3000 BCE, when the proto-Elamite and Sumerian civilizations used cylinder seals to certify documents written in clay tablets . Other early forms include block seals, ham ...
are surviving pre-16th century print works which are collected by many of the libraries in Europe and
North America North America is a continent in the Northern Hemisphere and almost entirely within the Western Hemisphere. It is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the southeast by South America and the Car ...
.


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 method, scientific research to advance knowledge in an Branches of science, area of the natural sciences. In classical antiquity, there was no real ancient analog of a modern scientist. Instead, ...
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 of modern science during the early modern period, when developments in mathematics Mathematics is an area of knowledge that includes the topics of numbers, fo ...
. Because of the printing press,
author An author is the writer of a book, article, play, or mostly written work. A broader definition of the word "author" states: "''An author is "the person who originated or gave existence to anything" and whose authorship determines responsibi ...
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 and polymath during the Classical Greece, Classical period in Ancient Greece. Taught by Plato, he was the founder of the Peripatet ...
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 amongst a wider part of the population, not just privileged elites such as clergy and academics. Libraries, in particular public libraries, and modern digital technolog ...
. 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 A copyright is a type of intellectual property that gives its owner the exclusive right to copy, distribute, adapt, display, and perform a creative work, usually for a limited time. The creative work may be in a literary, artistic, education ...
laws were passed. On the other hand, the printing press was criticized for allowing the dissemination of information that 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 should be congruent with the State (polity), state. As a movement, nationalism tends to promote the interests of a particular nation (as in a in-group and out-group, group of peo ...
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 in business and other organizations. It involves ...
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, and the United States, that occurred during the period from around 1760 to about 1820–1840. This transition included going fr ...
, 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 Cast iron is a class of iron–carbon alloys with a carbon content more than 2%. Its usefulness derives from its relatively low melting temperature. The alloy constituents affect its color when fractured: white cast iron has carbide impuriti ...
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 Germans, German inventor best known for his high-speed steam-powered printing press, which he built together with watchmaker Andreas Friedrich Bauer. This new style of printi ...
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 A steam engine is a heat engine that performs mechanical work using steam as its working fluid. The steam engine uses the force produced by steam pressure to push a piston back and forth inside a Cylinder (locomotive), cylinder. This pus ...
." 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 and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom, with a population of just under 9 million. It stands on the River Thames in south-east England at the head of a estuary dow ...
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 literature, periodical publication containing written News, information about current events and is often typed in black ink with a white or gray background. Newspapers can cover a wide variety of fields such as p ...
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 in the form of writing or images, typically composed of many page (paper), pages (made of papyrus, parchment, vellum, or paper) bookbinding, bound together and protected by a book cover, cover. Th ...
production, forcing a greater standardization in titles and other
metadata Metadata is "data that provides information about other data", but not the content of the data, such as the text of a message or the image itself. There are many distinct types of metadata, including: * Descriptive metadata – the descriptive ...
. Their company
Koenig & Bauer AG Koenig & Bauer Aktiengesellschaft, AG (; ) is a 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 manufacturer ...
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 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 ...
, 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., ...
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 published in New York City from 1860 until 1931. The paper played a major role in the history of American newspapers. It was a leading national voice of the History of the Democratic Party (United States) ...
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 setup (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 phwith 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, 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 ''The Blade'', also known as the ''Toledo Blade'', is a newspaper in Toledo, Ohio published daily online and printed Thursday and Sunday by Block Communications. The newspaper was first published on December 19, 1835. Overview The first issue o ...
'' newspaper printing press File:Old Threshers Miehle Press Drum.jpg, A Miehle flat-bed cylinder press in operation


See also

; General *
Imprimatur An ''imprimatur'' (sometimes abbreviated as ''impr.'', from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the low ...
*
Printing 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 Nabo ...
*
Typography Typography is the art and technique of typesetting, arranging type to make written language legibility, legible, readability, readable and beauty, appealing when displayed. The arrangement of type involves selecting typefaces, Point (typogra ...
; Printing presses * Adana Printing Presses * Albion press *
Columbian Printing Press The Columbian press is a type of hand-operated printing press invented in the United States by George Clymer (inventor), George Clymer, around 1813. Made from cast iron, it was a very successful design and many thousands were made by him and by ot ...
*
Flexography Flexography (often abbreviated to flexo) is a form of printing process which utilizes a flexible Relief print, relief plate. It is essentially a modern version of letterpress, evolved with high speed rotary functionality, which can be used for ...
* Vertical print press ; Other inventions *
Color printing Color printing or colour printing is the reproduction of an image or text in color (as opposed to simpler black and white or monochrome printing). Any natural scene or color photograph can be optically and physiologically dissected into three ...
*
Lithography Lithography () is a planographic method of printing originally based on the miscibility, immiscibility of oil and water. The printing is from a stone (lithographic limestone) or a metal plate with a smooth surface. It was invented in 1796 by ...
*
Offset printing Offset printing is a common printing technique in which the inked image is transferred (or "offset") from a plate to a rubber blanket and then to the printing surface. When used in combination with the lithography, lithographic process, which ...
*
Desktop publishing Desktop publishing (DTP) is the creation of documents using page layout software on a personal ("desktop") personal computer, computer. It was first used almost exclusively for print publications, but now it also assists in the creation of variou ...
*
Electronic publishing Electronic publishing (also referred to as publishing, digital publishing, or online publishing) includes the digital publication of e-books, Online magazine, digital magazines, and the development of digital library, digital libraries and catalo ...
*
Computer printer In computing, a printer is a peripheral machine which makes a persistent representation of graphics or text, usually on paper. While most output is human-readable, bar code printers are an example of an expanded use for printers. Differ ...
* Composing stick


Notes


References

On the effects of the printing press * * * * * ore 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