c.1400 - 1468
Johannes Gutenberg was a craftsman from Mainz, Germany.
Between 1430 and 1444 he was in Strasbourg, probably working as a
goldsmith, and here he may have begun printing.
In 1438 he entered a contract with three others to develop a refined printing technique and became the inventor of moveable-type mechanical printing in Europe. He printed the 42-line Gutenberg Bible (c.1455) but in the end he lost a suit from one of his creditors, who confiscated the type for the Bible. The suit left Gutenberg financially ruined. Aided by Konrad Humery, he was able to set up another press, but little is known of his work thereafter.
The impact of printing was enormous - it led to an almost instant mass production of books and truly initiated the information age. The Reformation, the Renaissance, and the scientific period of the 17th century can hardly be contemplated without printed books.
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Development of printing technique