When Was The Printing Press Invented Posted On: Feb-02-2018 By: Usman Raza
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When Was The Printing Press Invented


1440



Europeans, however, took to movable type quickly. Before the invention of the printing press — sometime between 1440 and 1450 — most European texts were printed using xylography, a form of woodblock printing similar to the Chinese method used to print "The Diamond Sutra" in 868.



History


Economic conditions and intellectual climate



The rapid economic and socio-cultural development of late medieval society in Europe created favorable intellectual and technological conditions for Gutenberg's improved version of the printing press: the entrepreneurial spirit of emerging capitalism increasingly made its impact on medieval modes of production, fostering economic thinking and improving the efficiency of traditional work-processes. The sharp rise of medieval learning and literacy amongst the middle class led to an increased demand for books which the time-consuming hand-copying method fell far short of accommodating

Technological factors



Technologies preceding the press that led to the press's invention included: manufacturing of paper, development of ink, woodblock printing, and distribution of eyeglasses. At the same time, a number of medieval products and technological processes had reached a level of maturity which allowed their potential use for printing purposes. Gutenberg took up these far-flung strands, combined them into one complete and functioning system, and perfected the printing process through all its stages by adding a number of inventions and innovations of his own:


The screw press which allowed direct pressure to be applied on flat-plane was already of great antiquity in Gutenberg's time and was used for a wide range of tasks. Introduced in the 1st century AD by the Romans, it was commonly employed in agricultural production for pressing wine grapes and (olive) oil fruit, both of which formed an integral part of the Mediterranean and medieval diet. The device was also used from very early on in urban contexts as clothes for printing patterns. Gutenberg may have also been inspired by the paper presses which had spread through the German lands since the late 14th century and which worked on the same mechanical principles.


Gutenberg adapted the basic design, thereby mechanizing the printing process. Printing, however, put a demand on the machine quite different from pressing. Gutenberg adapted the construction so that the pressing power exerted by the platen on the paper was now applied both evenly and with the required sudden elasticity. To speed up the printing process, he introduced a movable under the table with a plane surface on which the sheets could be swiftly changed.

Movable type sorted in a letter case and loaded in a composing stick on top


The concept of movable type was not new in the 15th century; movable type printing had been invented in China during the Song dynasty, and was later used in Korea during the Goryeo Dynasty, where metal movable-type printing technology was developed in 1234. In Europe, sporadic evidence that the typographical principle, the idea of creating a text by reusing individual characters, was well understood and employed in pre-Gutenberg Europe had been cropping up since the 12th century and possibly before. The known examples range from Germany (Prüfening inscription) to England (letter tiles) to Italy. However, the various techniques employed (imprinting, punching and assembling individual letters) did not have the refinement and efficiency needed to become widely accepted.


Gutenberg greatly improved the process by treating typesetting and printing as two separate work steps. A goldsmith by profession, he created his type pieces from a lead-based alloy which suited printing purposes so well that it is still used today. The mass production of metal letters was achieved by his key invention of a special hand mold, the matrix. The Latin alphabet proved to be an enormous advantage in the process because, in contrast to logographic writing systems, it allowed the type-setter to represent any text with a theoretical minimum of only around two dozen different letters.


Another factor conducive to printing arose from the book existing in the format of the codex, which had originated in the Roman period. Considered the most important advance in the history of the book prior to printing itself, the codex had completely replaced the ancient scroll at the onset of the Middle Ages (500 AD).The codex holds considerable practical advantages over the scroll format; it is more convenient to read (by turning pages), is more compact, less costly, and, in particular, unlike the scroll, both recto and verso could be used for writing ? and printing.


A paper codex of the acclaimed 42-line Bible, Gutenberg's major work



A fourth development was the early success of medieval papermakers at mechanizing paper manufacture. The introduction of water-powered paper mills, the first certain evidence of which dates to 1282, allowed for a massive expansion of production and replaced the laborious handcraft characteristic of both Chinese and Muslim papermaking.


Papermaking centers began to multiply in the late 13th century in Italy, reducing the price of paper to one-sixth of parchment and then falling further; papermaking centers reached Germany a century later.


Despite this, it appears that the final breakthrough of paper depended just as much on the rapid spread of movable-type printing. It is notable that codices of parchment, which in terms of quality is superior to any other writing material, still had a substantial share in Gutenberg's edition of the 42-line Bible.


After much experimentation, Gutenberg managed to overcome the difficulties which traditional water-based inks caused by soaking the paper and found the formula for an oil-based ink suitable for high-quality printing with metal type


Book Printing As An Art Form



For years, book printing was considered a true art form. Typesetting, or the placement of the characters on the page, including the use of ligatures, was passed down from master to apprentice.


In Germany, the art of typesetting was termed the "black art", in allusion to the ink-covered printers. It has largely been replaced by computer typesetting programs, which make it easy to get similar results more quickly and with less physical labor. Some practitioners continue to print books the way Gutenberg did. For example, there is a yearly convention of traditional book printers in Mainz, Germany.


Some theorists, such as McLuhan, Eisenstein, Kittler, and Giesecke, see an "alphabetic monopoly" as having developed from printing, removing the role of the image from society. Other authors stress that printed works themselves are a visual medium. Certainly, modern developments in printing have revitalized the role of illustrations.


Industrial Printing Presses



the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, the mechanics of the hand-operated Gutenberg-style press were still essentially unchanged, although new materials in its construction, amongst other innovations, had gradually improved its printing efficiency. By 1800, Lord Stanhope had built a press completely from cast iron which reduced the force required by 90%, while doubling the size of the printed area.With a capacity of 480 pages per hour, the Stanhope press doubled the output of the old style press. Nonetheless, the limitations inherent to the traditional method of printing became obvious.


Koenig's 1814 steam-powered printing press



Two ideas altered the design of the printing press radically: First, the use of steam power for running the machinery, and second the replacement of the printing flatbed with the rotary motion of cylinders. Both elements were for the first time successfully implemented by the German printer Friedrich Koenig in a series of press designs devised between 1802 and 1818.


Having moved to London in 1804, Koenig soon met Thomas Bensley and secured financial support for his project in 1807.[55] Patented in 1810, Koenig had designed a steam press "much like a hand press connected to a steam engine."[55] The first production trial of this model occurred in April 1811. He produced his machine with assistance from German engineer


Andreas Friedrich Bauer



Koenig and Bauer sold two of their first models to The Times in London in 1814, capable of 1,100 impressions per hour. The first edition so printed was on 28 November 1814. They went on to perfect the early model so that it could print on both sides of a sheet at once. This began the long process of making newspapers available to a mass audience (which in turn helped spread literacy), and from the 1820s changed the nature of book production, forcing a greater standardization in titles and other metadata. Their company Koenig & Bauer AG is still one of the world's largest manufacturers of printing presses today.

Koenig and Bauer sold two of their first models to The Times in London in 1814, capable of 1,100 impressions per hour. The first edition so printed was on 28 November 1814. They went on to perfect the early model so that it could print on both sides of a sheet at once. This began the long process of making newspapers available to a mass audience (which in turn helped spread literacy), and from the 1820s changed the nature of book production, forcing a greater standardization in titles and other metadata. Their company Koenig & Bauer AG is still one of the world's largest manufacturers of printing presses today.
Invention of Printing Press

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