Throughout this essay I will explore what Gutenberg is accredited with inventing, how it has affected history and why it affects the way in which we process information today.
Johannes Gutenberg was born in about 1400 and is known for producing the first Latin printed version of the bible, known as ‘the Gutenberg bible’, and people associate Gutenberg with the invention of printing. He developed a sophisticated printing press using movable/replaceable type, and this revolutionized the literacy world. The press, with its wooden and later metal movable type brought down the price of printed materials and made them available for the masses. It worked by rolling ink over the raised surfaces of moveable handset block letters held within a frame, which was then pressed against a sheet of paper. Gutenberg made use of his skills as a craftsman, and used his knowledge about metals to produce type made from an alloy of lead, tin, and antimony. This produced really durable type that created high-quality prints.
Before movable type, ‘most European books had to be hand written by hand with quill and ink, and then bound in workshops. At that time, the desire for information, education and knowledge about the world was increasing rapidly, so copying books became a profitable business.’ However, it was a slow process, and could take a single scribe up to five months to complete one book. With his printing press, Gutenberg didn’t want to lose the artistic calligraphy of the scribes. So he wanted to make his letters match the scribe’s handwriting and ‘imitate the Gothic fonts in order to be able to compete with the beautiful handwriting of his time. Thus Textura but also Rotunda and Bastarda typefaces can be found in books of that time.’ The way he aimed to do this made his type look traditional, professional and natural. However, with movable type it was obviously a lot less time consuming than writing, and you had lots of... [continues]
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