Results for - The History of News and Communication * Part Six * The impact of the printing press is, almost, impossible to really quantify. On the surface it allowed for the rapid spread of accurate information but, more elusively, it had an enormous impact in Europe
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Around this time Europe was recovering from the devastating impact of the Black Death. This had decimated the population and had led to the decline in the rise of the church, the rise of the money economy, and subsequent birth of the Renaissance.
1. On the back of this, the printing press was 'in the right place at the right time' to help in the secularisation of Western culture. Of course, many early texts were of a religious nature but more and more were beginning to be more secular in nature. Science was able to flourish at this time with early scientists suddenly being offered an incredible tool to collaborate with each other around the continent. It also ripped absolute control of the contents of religious texts from the hands of the church. No longer would it be possible to centrally control and censor what was written on topics of the Christian, and other, faiths. Were you aware that the invention of the printing process of Gutenberg changed the course of History in Europe?
2. The earliest mention of a mechanized printing press in Europe appears in a lawsuit in Strasbourg in 1439; it reveals construction of a press for Johannes Gutenberg and his associates. Gutenberg's press and others of its era in Europe owed much to the medieval paper press, which was in turn modeled after the ancient wine-and-olive press of the Mediterranean area. A long handle was used to turn a heavy wooden screw, exerting downward pressure against the paper, which was laid over the type mounted on a wooden platen. Gutenberg used his press to print an edition of the Bible in 1455; this Bible is the first complete extant book in the West, and it is one of the earliest books printed from movable type. The wooden press used by Gutenberg reigned supreme for more than 300 years, with a hardly varying rate of 250 sheets per hour printed on one side. Have you ever seen a Gutenberg Printing Press, before this survey?
3. What makes Gutenberg's press stand out from its predecessors was his integration of mechanization for transferring ink from movable type to paper. He adapted the screw mechanism from wine presses, papermakers' presses and linen presses to develop a system perfectly suited from printing. His device enabled the establishment of an early form of assembly-line production of printed text allowing for the mass-production of books at a much cheaper cost. The printing press has historically been used primarily for texts, but not exclusively, and its invention revolutionized bookmaking and distribution around the world. As the prices of book production fell, less wealthy members of society could suddenly gain access to this exclusive and rare luxury item. His first production books were, the now famous Gutenberg Bible. Over 200 are thought to have been printed but only 22 survive to the modern day. Have you seen a Gutenberg Bible, before this survey?
4. Few records exist from this time about Gutenberg but his invention is first recorded in a lawsuit testimony from a former financial backer, Johan Fust, over repayment. This testimony describes his type, inventory of metals and types of molds and the case would ultimately be lost by Gutenberg and his press was seized by Furst as collateral. My Grandfather started a Letterpress Printing Company in the early 1900s in Vancouver B.C. My father was apprenticed in the shop and became the Owner Operator when I was a teen. I ran a platen press and hand fed business cards for my Dad, after school. I remember his galleys of type and his proof press. Before this survey, have you ever seen a galley of moveable metal type or a proof press?
5. In Part Seven, we will discover how the printing press made the Age of Enlightenment, the Reformation, the Scientific Revolution and the Renaissance possible, through the publication of Books, Journals, Pamphlets and Essays. Are you familiar with these periods of History?
The Scientific Revolution