Who is Johannes Gutenberg, School, Education, Interests
Johannes Gutenberg was German goldsmith, printer, publisher and also a wee-known inventor. He was the first person to introduce the moveable-type printing press in Europe, which was used until the twentieth century. He introduced the first-ever printed book with the movable type called Forty-Two-Line Bible or the Gutenberg Bible.
Johannes Gutenberg was born around 1399 in Mainz, Germany, to Friele Gensfleisch zur Laden and Else Wyrich. He was the youngest in his family. His father was a well-known merchant.
From a very young age, Johannes took an interest in reading. The books that he used to read were written by hand. These were known as ‘manuscripts’, which implied ‘hand written’. He belonged to a wealthy family, to whom books were easily available. Johannes wanted other people to be able to afford these books as well.
So he decided to create a quicker way of painting. The earliest widely used painting machine and method was known as ‘block printing’. The block would print only one page at a time. It was the slowest methods of producing copies of books.
First Job, Experiments, Press Machine Establishment
In 1428, Gutenberg got a new job in the Jewelry industry. He learned how to cut germs and make jewelry. Gutenberg did most of his experiments in secret. He turned his home into a workshop, where he worked day and night. He often felt disappointed as most of his experiments failed.
He suffered financial crises, as he invested most of his saving in his experiments. He met Johann Fust, a wealthy goldsmith and lawyer at his old home, Mainz in 1448. Fust helped Gutenberg financially and Gutenberg continued his work. In just two years, his new parenting press machine was ready.
Created an Printing Machine, First Book by Gutenberg, Business
He came up with many ideas for creating this printing machine. First, Gutenberg designed a little hardwood block, which printed a single letter at a time. It was a very slow process. Then, he moved to movable types, which printed only one page. He believed that using wood for printing was the reason behind his failure.
So, Gutenberg moved away from wood types and decided to use metal types. It was a success, and he was able to print his first book in a few years. His business grew and he got into a partnership with Johann Fust, blamed Gutenberg for spending his money and not creating any profit in return. Gutenberg lost his business eventually and all the rights went to Fust.
German Poems, Gutenberg Bible
First piece printed from the press was German poems. Soon, he started to print the Latin Bible and Latin grammar texts. Gutenberg’s most famous work was the 300-page book, the Gutenberg Bible, with each page containing 42 lines.
These books, for the first time, were available to people outside the church. He opened his second workshop at his birthplace, Mainz. Everyone in Europe knew about Gutenberg at this point and his feat of mass production of books. He printed hundreds of Bible in very little time.
Make a History, Dedication, and Printing Press
The Gutenberg press was major invention in world history. The books evolved handwritten to printed books. It all became possible due to Gutenberg’s hand work and dedication. He introduced the fast printing press, which decreased the cost of books and saved time. The Gutenberg press continued to be used in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The works printed by him are considered rare and constitute some of the most valuable printed material in the world.
Awards and Achievements and Death of Gutenberg
He received the little of Hofmann for his scientific work. He was called a ‘Gentleman of the Court. The honor came with money, clothing and food, which was provided to him until his death.
Gothenburg died in 1468 in Mainz, Germany and left a great legacy behind. His prints achieved great fame, and sold millions of copies all over the worlds. Project Gutenberg, the oldest digital library, was built as a tribute to Gutenberg.
In 1952, the United States released stamps to honor Gutenberg’s inventions. Time magazine declared that the Gutenberg invention was the most crucial work in the history of inventions. A minor planet called ‘777 Gutenberg’ was named after him. He is still remembered as a great printer and innovator.