The facts and history surrrounding the printing press and its creation. 889 words

Essay by jhorz210High School, 10th gradeA+, September 2004

download word file, 4 pages 4.0

Downloaded 46 times

The printing press is the most important invention in the last 1000 years. It has had an enormous effect on every culture in the world and started an industry that controls massive amounts of power. Without this invention our world would be very different whether for better or worse.

The original method of printing was invented in China and was known as block printing. It was a very simple process in which you pressed sheets of paper into individually carved wooden blocks. The Diamond Sutra of AD 868 is the first dated example of block printing. The technique was also known in Europe, where it was mostly used to print Bibles. Since it was difficult to carve out each letter and most of Europe was illiterate the "Pauper's Bible" was printed and it emphasized pictures. And since a new block had to be carved for each page, a variety of books could not be printed.

Bi Sheng in China invented the use of movable type in printing in 1041 AD. Bi used clay type until China gave him money to produce metal blocks. Since there are thousands of Chinese characters, it benefited European languages much more. Previously, books were copied mainly in monasteries, where monks wrote them out by hand. Obviously, books were therefore a scarce resource. While it might take someone a year to hand copy a Bible, with the Gutenberg press it was possible to create several hundred copies a year. Each sheet still had to be fed manually, which limited the reproduction speed, and the type had to be set manually for each page, which limited the number of different pages created per day. Books produced in this period, between the first work of Johanne Gutenberg and the year 1500, are collectively referred to as...