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Johannes Gutenberg Biography

Inventor of Printing Press, Movable Type

Posted on January 16, 2011 by , with 10582 views

Johannes Gutenberg

Johannes Gutenberg was born in the year 1398. He was a German goldsmith. He is the first European to have used movable type printing and also the inventor of the first mechanical printing press. His book, the Gutenberg Bible was one of the most popular books of all times.

Gutenberg invented a mass-producing movable type. He used an oil-based ink and a wooden printing press that was much similar to the wine presses of that period. By combining all these elements, he introduced a very practical system. Although, Gutenberg was very familiar with printing, he spent his time working on copper engravings with another artist. Gutenberg used metal alloy and a hand mould for preparing the type.

The new researches show that various standardized moveable types were very complicated. Movable type easily replaced the handwritten manuscripts that were once the only method for producing books in the whole of Europe. Gutenberg's technology soon spread to all parts of Europe. It was one of the major factors in European Renaissance. Gutenberg's invention is known as one of the best inventions of the millennium.


His Early Life

Gutenberg was born in Mainz, a city in Germany. His father was a merchant named Friele Gensfleisch Zur Laden. His mother named Else Wyrich was a daughter of a shopkeeper. Some sources also say that Friele was a goldsmith in the city of Mainz and worked for the bishop. However, he was more likely involved in a cloth trading business. The early life of Gutenberg is a deep mystery. His father worked with the mint. Gutenberg grew up learning about the trade of a goldsmith.

He learnt all the technical skills necessary for a metalworker. He supplied metal to the mint. According to a source, his surname comes from a house that his father once inhabited. The house belonged to a 13th century patrician family. According to a tradition, in the city of Mainz the patricians were named after the house that they owned.

1411 was a year of uprising against the patricians in the history of the city of Mainz. Hundreds of families moved out of Mainz. As a result, being a patrician, Gutenberg also decided to move to Alta Villa, as his mother had inherited an estate here. However, some political issues were the main reason for his migration to Alta Villa. He further took up his studies at the University of Erfurt

Very little was known about Gutenberg for the next fifteen years. However, in the year 1434, a letter from him gave everyone a sign that he had shifted to Strasbourg. He had a couple of relatives from his mother�s side staying in Strasbourg. He was also a goldsmith member of the Strasbourg armed force.

Without the invention of the Printing press, the Renaissance would have not taken place. However, Johann Gutenberg himself did not know that his invention would benefit the whole of Europe in such a great way. The modern civilization has gained a million things from Gutenberg's invention. No one can ever measure the amount of change that this invention has brought to the world.

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