1398 – Gutenberg

Johannes Gutenberg was born in 1398 in Mainz, Germany and was a blacksmith, a goldsmith and a printer. He is known for creating a movable type printing press around 1439, which revolutionized the publishing business by allowing mass production of books. While movable type had been demonstrated previously, this was the first documented use of it in European civilization.

Prior to movable type, manuscripts were copied by hand, or a wooden printing block had to be carved for each page. Movable type allowed the type characters to be set for a page, then after printing many copies, the type could be re-used for another page. The advent of movable type printing has been credited with helping to fuel the expansion of knowledge during the renaissance period of history.

Gutenberg used special alloys of metal for his type pieces and also created his own oil-based inks.

PRECURSOR:
-3000 – type punches and cylinder seals (Mesopotamia)
-1700 – Phaistos disk (Minoan)
0220 – wood block printing (China)
0990 – Bi Sheng
1234 – Choe Yun-ui (Goryeo dynasty – Korea)

SUBSEQUENT:
1798 – lithography
1847 – Hoe – rotary drum printing
1875 – offset printing
1890 – mimeograph
1959 – photocopier
1964 – dot matrix printer
1969 – laser printer
1976 – inkjet printing
1993 – digital printing
2003 – 3D printing

SEE ALSO:
Nanoprinting

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