Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 12th grade February 2008

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GutenBerg Johannes Gutenberg, was born to a rich family in Mainz, Germany. Early on in his life he mastered in goldsmithing, but then he realized that ha wanted to do something different. So he moved to Strasbourg, and here he made his first experiments with moveable type, and printing.

Gutenberg had a new idea, his idea was to utilize the techniques of casting, punchcutting, and stamping. From this he wanted to produce books a lot faster than they were currently being produced. Since books were hand written and worth their weight in gold, he didn't want to change the authentic look of the current hand written books of the time. So he made over 300 characters for just one font and his fonts were much larger than the fonts of today. His characters were made from a blend, or an alloy of lead, antimony, and tin. In fact that mixture is still used to produce prints by modern printing companies.

He also printed some of his books on paper because before paper they used a substance called Vellum. Vellum is very durable, and is also very expensive. His early books were expensive.

It's amazing, that similar press systems were being developed in Holland and Prague at the same time. There are many things that Gutenberg is credited for, which most of which were developed in his pursuit of the printing press. In 1450 to 1455 when Gutenberg was preparing to produce a large folio Latin Bible, he was actually thought to have produced many other smaller books before producing the bible such as calendars and papal letters of indulgence. But The Bible of 42 Lines which is the oldest known surviving printed book of the western world, was completed fully on August 15, 1456. That bible is a member of the first ever large series of printed books produced by Gutenberg and his printing press. While the printing of The Bible of 42 Lines is credited to him, in his time no printed books were ever credited to him, not even his calendars.

To produce the bible he had to borrow money and the money he made off of the bibles. 200 of them was equivalent to three years' pay for the average clerk. That's a lot of money. Although that money helped his financial situation, the money wasn't enough to pay back Gutenberg's debtors. In 1455, he lost his press to his investor, Johann Fust. This may of looked like the end of the line for Gutenberg, but it wasn't. Another well known work which is credited to Gutenberg is the work of the Catholicon of Johannes de Janua, a huge encyclopedia. It had 748 pages in two columns of 66 lines each. After he retired from the printing business, he received a position as a courtier to the archbishop of Mainz.