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Who Was Gutenberg?

Posted on October 15, 2015 by Jill

The inspiration for our database-driven publishing system is Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg, (c. 1398 – February 3, 1468). This German innovator is

credited with being the first European to use movable printing and the inventor of the mechanical printing press.

The use of movable type was a marked improvement on the handwritten manuscript, which was the existing method of book production in Europe at the time. Gutenberg’s work on woodblock printing revolutionized European book-making. His major publication, the Gutenberg Bible, has been acclaimed for its high aesthetic and technical quality. Gutenberg's printing technology spread rapidly across Europe and is considered a contributing factor in the European Renaissance.

The specific contributions to printing that are attributed to Gutenberg include the invention for mass-producing movable type, the use of oil-based ink, and the use of a wooden printing press similar to the screw olive and wine presses of the period. The innovation came from combining these elements into a practical system.