The Printing Press

Janice Upton | June 12th, 2019

Picture a world where knowledge and information had to be transferred from person to person by word of mouth or through hand writings. It would be much harder for humanity as a whole to benefit from any of the inventions mentioned in this article if that was the only method of spreading discoveries. Prior to the invention of a way to produce copies of writing, there are many instances of civilizations inventing the same technology at different times.

Armed with the ability to spread thoughts and ideas through copies made it easier for learnings to spread all over the world, technologic or otherwise. While bibles had to be written out by hand before, the printing press allowed them to be churned out at an extremely high rate, allowing for all kinds of religious teachings to be spread en masse. This also greatly affected the news industry, making hand-written newssheets and town criers obsolete.

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Printing technology has been around for an inordinate amount of time, as evidenced by the usage of stamps of seals in China thousands of years ago. Woodblock printing came around much later, but was a highly skilled craft since each page of a manuscript had to be created by carving out a brand new block. The creation of moveable type changed all that, and Johannes Guttenberg was able to mechanize this method.

In comparison to Chinese and other character-based dialects, the alphabet system used by Europeans languages meant that only a small number of letters had to be created. This allowed for books to be created at a higher rate than ever before, which is evidenced in how widespread the Gutenberg Bible became. Because his printing press could put out more quality pages at decreased cost, words and knowledge could be spread unfettered by the limitations that existed before. It is often believed that the printing press is what lead directly into the Renaissance Era.

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