Breakthrough Technology of the Year 1450: The Printing Press

There was a time, when the process of creating a book required much more effort than now. In European monasteries, monks rewrote books by hand, and it could take several years to copy one book.

Of course, the progress was achieved with the spreading of woodblock printing. But due to the complication of the process, mostly images (usually religious – very popular those days), cards and patterns were printed by it. The whole page of text or the picture was carved into the surface of a wooden block, inked and than put into a contact with the paper. Before the “printing”, one should have made such blocks for every page in a book. Imagine their pages per minute ratio!

The need for a faster printing technology was great. And on the scene appeared German professional goldsmith Johannes Gutenberg. In 1450 he invented a special matrix for quick molding of movable type (from an alloy of lead, tin and antimony), oil-based ink (better adhered to a metal type) and a wooden printing press (similar to the agricultural screw presses of the period).

The technology allowed to put text on paper or parchment, using printing form. But unlike the previous technologies, metal-cast letters were put in a frame to make up a page, the process appeared to be much faster, and the type was long-lasting, comparing to the wooden. The press was operated manually, and the first book to be copied this way was the Bible. So, the production of a thousand copies of one book became available, and the Modern history began.

Features of the printing press:

  • 3,600 pages per working day;
  • free-hand illustrations;
  • intuitive interface;
  • wireless technology;
  • low energy consumption.
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