Johannes Gutenberg

Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg (/ˈɡuːtənbɜːrɡ/;[1] c. 1400 [2] – February 3, 1468) was a German blacksmith, goldsmith, inventor, printer, and publisher who introduced printing to Europe with the printing press. His introduction of mechanical movable type printing to Europe started the Printing Revolution and is regarded as a milestone of the second millennium, ushering in the modern period of human history.[3] It played a key role in the development of the Renaissance, Reformation, the Age of Enlightenment, and the scientific revolution and laid the material basis for the modern knowledge-based economy and the spread of learning to the masses.[4]

Gutenberg in 1439 was the first European to use movable type. Among his many contributions to printing are: the invention of a process for mass-producing movable type; the use of oil-based ink for printing books;[5] adjustable molds;[6] mechanical movable type; and the use of a wooden printing press similar to the agricultural screw presses of the period.[7] His truly epochal invention was the combination of these elements into a practical system that allowed the mass production of printed books and was economically viable for printers and readers alike. Gutenberg's method for making type is traditionally considered to have included a type metal alloy and a hand mould for casting type. The alloy was a mixture of lead, tin, and antimony that melted at a relatively low temperature for faster and more economical casting, cast well, and created a durable type.

In Renaissance Europe, the arrival of mechanical movable type printing introduced the era of mass communication which permanently altered the structure of society. The relatively unrestricted circulation of information—including revolutionary ideas—transcended borders, captured the masses in the Reformation and threatened the power of political and religious authorities; the sharp increase in literacy broke the monopoly of the literate elite on education and learning and bolstered the emerging middle class. Across Europe, the increasing cultural self-awareness of its people led to the rise of proto-nationalism, accelerated by the flowering of the European vernacular languages to the detriment of Latin's status as lingua franca. In the 19th century, the replacement of the hand-operated Gutenberg-style press by steam-powered rotary presses allowed printing on an industrial scale, while Western-style printing was adopted all over the world, becoming practically the sole medium for modern bulk printing.

The use of movable type was a marked improvement on the handwritten manuscript, which was the existing method of book production in Europe, and upon woodblock printing, and revolutionized European book-making. Gutenberg's printing technology spread rapidly throughout Europe and later the world.

His major work, the Gutenberg Bible (also known as the 42-line Bible), was the first printed version of the Bible and has been acclaimed for its high aesthetic and technical quality.

Johannes Gutenberg
Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg

c. 1400
DiedFebruary 3, 1468 (aged about 68)
OccupationEngraver, inventor, and printer
Known forThe invention of the movable-type printing press

Early life

Johannes Gutenberg
Gutenberg in a 16th-century copper engraving

Gutenberg was born in the German city of Mainz, the youngest son of the patrician merchant Friele Gensfleisch zur Laden, and his second wife, Else Wyrich, who was the daughter of a shopkeeper. It is assumed that he was baptized in the area close to his birthplace of St. Christoph.[8] According to some accounts, Friele was a goldsmith for the bishop at Mainz, but most likely, he was involved in the cloth trade.[9] Gutenberg's year of birth is not precisely known, but it was sometime between the years of 1394 and 1404. In the 1890s the city of Mainz declared his official and symbolic date of birth to be June 24, 1400.[10]

John Lienhard, technology historian, says "Most of Gutenberg's early life is a mystery. His father worked with the ecclesiastic mint. Gutenberg grew up knowing the trade of goldsmithing."[11] This is supported by historian Heinrich Wallau, who adds, "In the 14th and 15th centuries his [ancestors] claimed a hereditary position as ... retainers of the household of the master of the archiepiscopal mint. In this capacity they doubtless acquired considerable knowledge and technical skill in metal working. They supplied the mint with the metal to be coined, changed the various species of coins, and had a seat at the assizes in forgery cases."[12]

Wallau adds, "His surname was derived from the house inhabited by his father and his paternal ancestors 'zu Laden, zu Gutenberg'. The house of Gänsfleisch was one of the patrician families of the town, tracing its lineage back to the thirteenth century."[12] Patricians (the wealthy and political elite) in Mainz were often named after houses they owned. Around 1427, the name zu Gutenberg, after the family house in Mainz, is documented to have been used for the first time.[9]

In 1411, there was an uprising in Mainz against the patricians, and more than a hundred families were forced to leave. As a result, the Gutenbergs are thought to have moved to Eltville am Rhein (Alta Villa), where his mother had an inherited estate. According to historian Heinrich Wallau, "All that is known of his youth is that he was not in Mainz in 1430. It is presumed that he migrated for political reasons to Strasbourg, where the family probably had connections."[12] He is assumed to have studied at the University of Erfurt, where there is a record of the enrolment of a student called Johannes de Altavilla in 1418—Altavilla is the Latin form of Eltville am Rhein.[13][14]

Nothing is now known of Gutenberg's life for the next fifteen years, but in March 1434, a letter by him indicates that he was living in Strasbourg, where he had some relatives on his mother's side. He also appears to have been a goldsmith member enrolled in the Strasbourg militia. In 1437, there is evidence that he was instructing a wealthy tradesman on polishing gems, but where he had acquired this knowledge is unknown. In 1436/37 his name also comes up in court in connection with a broken promise of marriage to a woman from Strasbourg, Ennelin.[15] Whether the marriage actually took place is not recorded. Following his father's death in 1419, he is mentioned in the inheritance proceedings.

Printing press

Printer in 1568-ce
Early wooden printing press, depicted in 1568. Such presses could produce up to 240 impressions per hour.[16]

Around 1439, Gutenberg was involved in a financial misadventure making polished metal mirrors (which were believed to capture holy light from religious relics) for sale to pilgrims to Aachen: in 1439 the city was planning to exhibit its collection of relics from Emperor Charlemagne but the event was delayed by one year due to a severe flood and the capital already spent could not be repaid. When the question of satisfying the investors came up, Gutenberg is said to have promised to share a "secret". It has been widely speculated that this secret may have been the idea of printing with movable type. Also around 1439–40, the Dutch Laurens Janszoon Coster came up with the idea of printing.[17] Legend has it that the idea came to him "like a ray of light".[18]

Until at least 1444 Gutenberg lived in Strasbourg, most likely in the St. Arbogast parish. It was in Strasbourg in 1440 that he is said to have perfected and unveiled the secret of printing based on his research, mysteriously entitled Aventur und Kunst (enterprise and art). It is not clear what work he was engaged in, or whether some early trials with printing from movable type may have been conducted there. After this, there is a gap of four years in the record. In 1448, he was back in Mainz, where he took out a loan from his brother-in-law Arnold Gelthus, quite possibly for a printing press or related paraphernalia. By this date, Gutenberg may have been familiar with intaglio printing; it is claimed that he had worked on copper engravings with an artist known as the Master of Playing Cards.[19]

By 1450, the press was in operation, and a German poem had been printed, possibly the first item to be printed there.[20] Gutenberg was able to convince the wealthy moneylender Johann Fust for a loan of 800 guilders. Peter Schöffer, who became Fust's son-in-law, also joined the enterprise. Schöffer had worked as a scribe in Paris and is believed to have designed some of the first typefaces.

Gutenberg's workshop was set up at Hof Humbrecht, a property belonging to a distant relative. It is not clear when Gutenberg conceived the Bible project, but for this he borrowed another 800 guilders from Fust, and work commenced in 1452. At the same time, the press was also printing other, more lucrative texts (possibly Latin grammars). There is also some speculation that there may have been two presses, one for the pedestrian texts, and one for the Bible. One of the profit-making enterprises of the new press was the printing of thousands of indulgences for the church, documented from 1454 to 1455.[21]

In 1455 Gutenberg completed his 42-line Bible, known as the Gutenberg Bible. About 180 copies were printed, most on paper and some on vellum.

Court case

Some time in 1456, there was a dispute between Gutenberg and Fust, and Fust demanded his money back, accusing Gutenberg of misusing the funds. Meanwhile the expenses of the Bible project had proliferated, and Gutenberg's debt now exceeded 20,000 guilders. Fust sued at the archbishop's court. A November 1455 legal document records that there was a partnership for a "project of the books," the funds for which Gutenberg had used for other purposes, according to Fust. The court decided in favor of Fust, giving him control over the Bible printing workshop and half of all printed Bibles.

Thus Gutenberg was effectively bankrupt, but it appears he retained (or re-started) a small printing shop, and participated in the printing of a Bible in the town of Bamberg around 1459, for which he seems at least to have supplied the type. But since his printed books never carry his name or a date, it is difficult to be certain, and there is consequently a considerable scholarly debate on this subject. It is also possible that the large Catholicon dictionary, 300 copies of 754 pages, printed in Mainz in 1460, was executed in his workshop.

Meanwhile, the Fust–Schöffer shop was the first in Europe to bring out a book with the printer's name and date, the Mainz Psalter of August 1457, and while proudly proclaiming the mechanical process by which it had been produced, it made no mention of Gutenberg.

Later life

In 1462, during the devastating Mainz Diocesan Feud, Mainz was sacked by archbishop Adolph von Nassau, and Gutenberg was exiled. An old man by now, he moved to Eltville where he may have initiated and supervised a new printing press belonging to the brothers Bechtermünze.[12]

In January 1465, Gutenberg's achievements were recognized and he was given the title Hofmann (gentleman of the court) by von Nassau. This honor included a stipend, an annual court outfit, as well as 2,180 litres of grain and 2,000 litres of wine tax-free.[22] It is believed he may have moved back to Mainz around this time, but this is not certain.

Gutenberg died in 1468 and was buried in the Franciscan church at Mainz, his contributions largely unknown. This church and the cemetery were later destroyed, and Gutenberg's grave is now lost.[22]

In 1504, he was mentioned as the inventor of typography in a book by Professor Ivo Wittig. It was not until 1567 that the first portrait of Gutenberg, almost certainly an imaginary reconstruction, appeared in Heinrich Pantaleon's biography of famous Germans.[22]

Printed books

Gutenberg Bible
Gutenberg Bible, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

Between 1450 and 1455, Gutenberg printed several texts, some of which remain unidentified; his texts did not bear the printer's name or date, so attribution is possible only from typographical evidence and external references. Certainly several church documents including a papal letter and two indulgences were printed, one of which was issued in Mainz. In view of the value of printing in quantity, seven editions in two styles were ordered, resulting in several thousand copies being printed.[23] Some printed editions of Ars Minor, a schoolbook on Latin grammar by Aelius Donatus may have been printed by Gutenberg; these have been dated either 1451–52 or 1455.

In 1455, Gutenberg completed copies of a beautifully executed folio Bible (Biblia Sacra), with 42 lines on each page. Copies sold for 30 florins each,[24] which was roughly three years' wages for an average clerk. Nonetheless, it was significantly cheaper than a manuscript Bible that could take a single scribe over a year to prepare. After printing, some copies were rubricated or hand-illuminated in the same elegant way as manuscript Bibles from the same period.

48 substantially complete copies are known to survive, including two at the British Library that can be viewed and compared online.[25] The text lacks modern features such as pagination, indentations, and paragraph breaks.

An undated 36-line edition of the Bible was printed, probably in Bamberg in 1458–60, possibly by Gutenberg. A large part of it was shown to have been set from a copy of Gutenberg's Bible, thus disproving earlier speculation that it was the earlier of the two.[26]

Printing method with movable type

Metal movable type
Movable metal type, and composing stick, descended from Gutenberg's press.
Martin Luther's 95 Theses which sparked off the Reformation in a print edition from 1522. Within the span of only two years, Luther's tracts were distributed in 300,000 printed copies throughout Germany and Europe.[27]
European Output of Printed Books ca. 1450–1800
European output of books printed with movable types from Gutenberg to 1800[28]

Gutenberg's early printing process, and what texts he printed with movable type, are not known in great detail. His later Bibles were printed in such a way as to have required large quantities of type, some estimates suggesting as many as 100,000 individual sorts.[29] Setting each page would take, perhaps, half a day, and considering all the work in loading the press, inking the type, pulling the impressions, hanging up the sheets, distributing the type, etc., it is thought that the Gutenberg–Fust shop might have employed as many as 25 craftsmen.

Gutenberg's technique of making movable type remains unclear. In the following decades, punches and copper matrices became standardized in the rapidly disseminating printing presses across Europe. Whether Gutenberg used this sophisticated technique or a somewhat primitive version has been the subject of considerable debate.

In the standard process of making type, a hard metal punch (made by punchcutting, with the letter carved back to front) is hammered into a softer copper bar, creating a matrix. This is then placed into a hand-held mould and a piece of type, or "sort", is cast by filling the mould with molten type-metal; this cools almost at once, and the resulting piece of type can be removed from the mould. The matrix can be reused to create hundreds, or thousands, of identical sorts so that the same character appearing anywhere within the book will appear very uniform, giving rise, over time, to the development of distinct styles of typefaces or fonts. After casting, the sorts are arranged into type cases, and used to make up pages which are inked and printed, a procedure which can be repeated hundreds, or thousands, of times. The sorts can be reused in any combination, earning the process the name of "movable type". (For details, see Typography.)

Printing3 Walk of Ideas Berlin
"Modern Book Printing" − sculpture commemorating its inventor Gutenberg

The invention of the making of types with punch, matrix and mold has been widely attributed to Gutenberg. However, recent evidence suggests that Gutenberg's process was somewhat different. If he used the punch and matrix approach, all his letters should have been nearly identical, with some variation due to miscasting and inking. However, the type used in Gutenberg's earliest work shows other variations.

In 2001, the physicist Blaise Agüera y Arcas and Princeton librarian Paul Needham, used digital scans of a Papal bull in the Scheide Library, Princeton, to carefully compare the same letters (types) appearing in different parts of the printed text.[30][31] The irregularities in Gutenberg's type, particularly in simple characters such as the hyphen, suggested that the variations could not have come either from ink smear or from wear and damage on the pieces of metal on the types themselves. Although some identical types are clearly used on other pages, other variations, subjected to detailed image analysis, suggested that they could not have been produced from the same matrix. Transmitted light pictures of the page also appeared to reveal substructures in the type that could not arise from traditional punchcutting techniques. They hypothesized that the method involved impressing simple shapes to create alphabets in "cuneiform" style in a matrix made of some soft material, perhaps sand. Casting the type would destroy the mould, and the matrix would need to be recreated to make each additional sort. This could explain the variations in the type, as well as the substructures observed in the printed images.

Thus, they speculated that "the decisive factor for the birth of typography", the use of reusable moulds for casting type, was a more progressive process than was previously thought.[32] They suggested that the additional step of using the punch to create a mould that could be reused many times was not taken until twenty years later, in the 1470s. Others have not accepted some or all of their suggestions, and have interpreted the evidence in other ways, and the truth of the matter remains uncertain.[33]

Miklós Andor in the page-setting room of Athenaeum Printing House - cca. 1920 (1).tiff
Page-setting room - c. 1920

A 1568 history by Hadrianus Junius of Holland claims that the basic idea of the movable type came to Gutenberg from Laurens Janszoon Coster via Fust, who was apprenticed to Coster in the 1430s and may have brought some of his equipment from Haarlem to Mainz. While Coster appears to have experimented with moulds and castable metal type, there is no evidence that he had actually printed anything with this technology. He was an inventor and a goldsmith. However, there is one indirect supporter of the claim that Coster might be the inventor. The author of the Cologne Chronicle of 1499 quotes Ulrich Zell, the first printer of Cologne, that printing was performed in Mainz in 1450, but that some type of printing of lower quality had previously occurred in the Netherlands. However, the chronicle does not mention the name of Coster,[26][34] while it actually credits Gutenberg as the "first inventor of printing" in the very same passage (fol. 312). The first securely dated book by Dutch printers is from 1471,[34] and the Coster connection is today regarded as a mere legend.[35]

The 19th-century printer and typefounder Fournier Le Jeune suggested that Gutenberg was not using type cast with a reusable matrix, but wooden types that were carved individually. A similar suggestion was made by Nash in 2004.[36] This remains possible, albeit entirely unproven.

It has also been questioned whether Gutenberg used movable types at all. In 2004, Italian professor Bruno Fabbiani claimed that examination of the 42-line Bible revealed an overlapping of letters, suggesting that Gutenberg did not in fact use movable type (individual cast characters) but rather used whole plates made from a system somewhat like a modern typewriter, whereby the letters were stamped successively into the plate and then printed. However, most specialists regard the occasional overlapping of type as caused by paper movement over pieces of type of slightly unequal height.


Mainz, Germany, Silver Medal 1840, Gutenberg Printing Press 400th Anniversary, obverse
Mainz, 1840 Gutenberg Denkmal on the medal for Gutenberg's Printing Press 400th anniversary, obverse.
Mainz, Germany, Silver Medal 1840, Gutenberg Printing Press 400th Anniversary, reverse
The reverse of this medal.

Although Gutenberg was financially unsuccessful in his lifetime, the printing technologies spread quickly, and news and books began to travel across Europe much faster than before. It fed the growing Renaissance, and since it greatly facilitated scientific publishing, it was a major catalyst for the later scientific revolution.

The capital of printing in Europe shifted to Venice, where visionary printers like Aldus Manutius ensured widespread availability of the major Greek and Latin texts. The claims of an Italian origin for movable type have also focused on this rapid rise of Italy in movable-type printing. This may perhaps be explained by the prior eminence of Italy in the paper and printing trade. Additionally, Italy's economy was growing rapidly at the time, facilitating the spread of literacy. Christopher Columbus had a geography book (printed with movable type) bought by his father. That book is in a Spanish museum. Finally, the city of Mainz was sacked in 1462, driving many (including a number of printers and punch cutters) into exile.

Printing was also a factor in the Reformation. Martin Luther's 95 Theses were printed and circulated widely; subsequently he issued broadsheets outlining his anti-indulgences position (certificates of indulgences were one of the first items Gutenberg had printed). The broadsheet contributed to development of the newspaper.

Featherbed Alley Printshop Bermuda
A Gutenberg press replica at the Featherbed Alley Printshop Museum, in Bermuda

In the decades after Gutenberg, many conservative patrons looked down on cheap printed books; books produced by hand were considered more desirable.

Today there is a large antique market for the earliest printed objects. Books printed prior to 1500 are known as incunabula.

There are many statues of Gutenberg in Germany, including the famous one by Bertel Thorvaldsen (1837) in Mainz, home to the eponymous Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz and the Gutenberg Museum on the history of early printing. The latter publishes the Gutenberg-Jahrbuch, the leading periodical in the field.

Gutenberg Bible 1952 Issue-3c
United States Postal Service stamp issued in 1952 commemorating the 500th anniversary of Gutenberg's first printed Bible

Project Gutenberg, the oldest digital library,[38] commemorates Gutenberg's name. The Mainzer Johannisnacht commemorates the person Johannes Gutenberg in his native city since 1968.

In 1952, the United States Postal Service issued a five hundredth anniversary stamp commemorating Johannes Gutenberg invention of the movable-type printing press.

In 1961 the Canadian philosopher and scholar Marshall McLuhan entitled his pioneering study in the fields of print culture, cultural studies, and media ecology, The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man.

Regarded as one of the most influential people in human history, Gutenberg remains a towering figure in the popular image. In 1999, the A&E Network ranked Gutenberg the No. 1 most influential person of the second millennium on their "Biographies of the Millennium" countdown. In 1997, Time–Life magazine picked Gutenberg's invention as the most important of the second millennium.[3]

In space, he is commemorated in the name of the asteroid 777 Gutemberga.

Two operas based on Gutenberg are G, Being the Confession and Last Testament of Johannes Gensfleisch, also known as Gutenberg, Master Printer, formerly of Strasbourg and Mainz, from 2001 with music by Gavin Bryars;[39] and La Nuit de Gutenberg, with music by Philippe Manoury, premiered in 2011 in Strasbourg.[40]

In 2018, WordPress, the open-source CMS platform, named its new editing system Gutenberg in tribute to him.[41]

See also


  1. ^ Company, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing. "The American Heritage Dictionary entry: Gutenberg, Johann".
  2. ^ Childress 2008, p. 14
  3. ^ a b See People of the Millenium for an overview of the wide acclaim. In 1999, the A&E Network ranked Gutenberg no. 1 on their "People of the Millennium" countdown. In 1997, Time–Life magazine picked Gutenberg's invention as the most important of the second millennium Archived 2010-03-10 at the Wayback Machine; the same did four prominent US journalists in their 1998 resume 1,000 Years, 1,000 People: Ranking The Men and Women Who Shaped The Millennium. The Johann Gutenberg entry of the Catholic Encyclopedia describes his invention as having made a practically unparalleled cultural impact in the Christian era.
  4. ^ McLuhan 1962; Eisenstein 1980; Febvre & Martin 1997; Man 2002
  5. ^ Soap, Sex, and Cigarettes: A Cultural History of American Advertising By Juliann Sivulka, page 5
  6. ^ "Gutenberg's Invention -".
  7. ^ "How Gutenberg Changed the World".
  8. ^ St. Christopher's – Gutenberg's baptismal church
  9. ^ a b Hanebutt-Benz, Eva-Maria. "Gutenberg and Mainz". Archived from the original on 2006-12-11. Retrieved 2006-11-24.
  10. ^ a b Childress 2008, p. 62
  11. ^ "Lienhard, John H". 2004-08-01. Retrieved 2012-08-15.
  12. ^ a b c d Wallau, Heinrich. "Johann Gutenberg". The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 7. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. [1]
  13. ^ Martin, Henri-Jean (1995). "The arrival of print". The History and Power of Writing. University of Chicago Press. p. 217. ISBN 0-226-50836-6.
  14. ^ Dudley, Leonard (2008). "The Map-maker's son". Information revolutions in the history of the West. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar. p. 78. ISBN 978-1-84720-790-6.
  15. ^ "Gutenberg und seine Zeit in Daten (Gutenberg and his times; Timeline)". Gutenberg Museum. Archived from the original on 2006-12-22. Retrieved 2006-11-24.
  16. ^ Wolf 1974, pp. 67f.
  17. ^ Burke, James (1978). Connections. London: Macmillan Publishers. p. 101. ISBN 0-333-24827-9.
  18. ^ Burke, James (1985). The Day the Universe Changed. Boston, Toronto: Little, Brown and Company. ISBN 0-316-11695-5.
  19. ^ Lehmann-Haupt, Hellmut (1966). Gutenberg and the Master of the Playing Cards. New Haven: Yale University Press.
  20. ^ Klooster, John W. (2009). Icons of invention: the makers of the modern world from Gutenberg to Gates. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. p. 8. ISBN 978-0-313-34745-0.
  21. ^ Kelley, Peter. "Documents that Changed the World: Gutenberg indulgence, 1454". UW Today. University of Washington. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
  22. ^ a b c Sumner, Tracy M. (2009). How Did We Get the Bible? (unabridged ed.). Barbour Publishing. ISBN 978-1-60742-349-2.
  23. ^ Meggs, Philip B., Purvis, Alston W.History of Graphic Design. Hoboken, N.J: Wiley, 2006. p.71.
  24. ^ Cormack, Lesley B.; Ede, Andrew (2004). A History of Science in Society: From Philosophy to Utility. Broadview Press. ISBN 1-55111-332-5.
  25. ^ "Treasures in Full: Gutenberg Bible". British Library. Retrieved 2006-10-19.
  26. ^ a b Kapr, Albert (1996). Johannes Gutenberg: the Man and His Invention. Scolar Press. p. 322. ISBN 1-85928-114-1.
  27. ^ Duchesne 2006, p. 83
  28. ^ Buringh, Eltjo; van Zanden, Jan Luiten: "Charting the "Rise of the West": Manuscripts and Printed Books in Europe, A Long-Term Perspective from the Sixth through Eighteenth Centuries", The Journal of Economic History, Vol. 69, No. 2 (2009), pp. 409–4 45 (417, table 2)
  29. ^ Singer, C.; Holmyard, E.; Hall, A.; Williams, T. (1958). A History of Technology, vol.3. Oxford University Press.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  30. ^ Agüera y Arcas, Blaise; Needham, Paul (November 2002). "Computational analytical bibliography". Proceedings Bibliopolis Conference The future history of the book. The Hague (Netherlands): Koninklijke Bibliotheek.
  31. ^ "What Did Gutenberg Invent?". Retrieved Aug 16, 2011.
  32. ^ Adams, James L. (1991). Flying Buttresses, Entropy and O-Rings: the World of an Engineer. Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-30688-0.
  33. ^ Nash, Paul W. "The 'first' type of Gutenberg: a note on recent research" in The Private Library, Summer 2004, pp. 86-96.
  34. ^ a b Juchhoff 1950, pp. 131f.
  35. ^ Costeriana. While the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition had attributed the invention of the printing press to Coster, the more recent editions of the work attribute it to Gutenberg to reflect, as it says, the common consent that has developed in the 20th century. "Typography – Gutenberg and printing in Germany." Encyclopædia Britannica, 2007.
  36. ^ See Nash (2004).
  37. ^ Childress 2008, p. 122
  38. ^ Thomas, Jeffrey (20 June 2007). "Project Gutenberg Digital Library Seeks To Spur Literacy". U.S. Department of State, Bureau of International Information Programs. Retrieved 20 August 2007.
  39. ^ Gavin Bryars (2011-04-18). "Gavin Bryars Introduces". WQXR. Retrieved 2015-01-16.
  40. ^ "UC San Diego Composer Philippe Manoury Wins French Grammy" (Press release). University of California San Diego News Center. 2012-03-20. Retrieved 2015-01-16.
  41. ^ "The new Gutenberg editing experience -".


  • Childress, Diana (2008). Johannes Gutenberg and the Printing Press. Minneapolis: Twenty-First Century Books. ISBN 978-0-7613-4024-9.
  • Duchesne, Ricardo (2006). "Asia First?". The Journal of the Historical Society. 6 (1): 69–91. doi:10.1111/j.1540-5923.2006.00168.x.
  • Juchhoff, Rudolf (1950). "Was bleibt von den holländischen Ansprüchen auf die Erfindung der Typographie?". Gutenberg-Jahrbuch: 128–133.
  • Wolf, Hans-Jürgen (1974). "Geschichte der Druckpressen" (1st ed.). Frankfurt/Main: Interprint.

Further reading

  • Blake Morrison, The Justification of Johann Gutenberg (2000) [Novel, describing social and technical aspects of the invention of printing]
  • Albert Kapr, Johann Gutenberg: the Man and his Invention. Translated from the German by Douglas Martin, Scolar Press, 1996. "Third ed., revised by the author for...the English translation.
  • Eisenstein, Elizabeth (1980). The Printing Press as an Agent of Change. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-29955-1.
  • Eisenstein, Elizabeth (2005). The Printing Revolution in Early Modern Europe (2nd, rev. ed.). Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-60774-4. [More recent, abridged version]
  • Febvre, Lucien; Martin, Henri-Jean (1997). The Coming of the Book: The Impact of Printing 1450–1800. London: Verso. ISBN 1-85984-108-2.
  • Man, John (2002). The Gutenberg Revolution: The Story of a Genius and an Invention that Changed the World. London: Headline Review. ISBN 978-0-7472-4504-9.
  • McLuhan, Marshall (1962). The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man (1st ed.). University of Toronto Press. ISBN 978-0-8020-6041-9.

External links

777 Gutemberga

777 Gutemberga is a minor planet orbiting the Sun. It is named after Johannes Gutenberg.

A.J.'s Time Travelers

A.J.’s Time Travelers is a 1994 children’s fantasy series that aired on the Fox television network. The series follows the adventures of teenager A.J. Malloy as he and his crew travel onboard the time-traveling ship Kyros, seeking knowledge across history. The series was later the subject of a lawsuit.

Alfred Kröner

Professor Alfred Kröner (8 September 1939 in Kassel, Germany ) is a retired Professor of Geology at Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz in Mainz, Germany. He specializes in the pre-Cambrian geology of Africa.

The American Journal of Science, published by Yale University, in dedicating a special issue to him on his 60th birthday, said that it was celebrated with a symposium in Mainz. It was here at the Johannes Gutenberg-University that Alfred was appointed full Professor of Geology in 1977. Since then ... he continues to conduct his activities over several continents as a truly cosmopolitan geoscientist of overwhelming efficiency, recognized and appreciated worldwide in the Geoscience community.

Benjamin Franklin (Stanford University)

Benjamin Franklin is a marble statue depicting Benjamin Franklin on the Stanford University campus in Stanford, California, United States. The original marble by Italian sculptor Antonio Frilli was removed in 1949, along with another by Frilli depicting Johannes Gutenberg. The two statues were replaced by new sculptures by Palo Alto artist Oleg Lobykin in 2013. The statues of Franklin and Gutenberg were installed on perches on the exterior of Wallenberg Hall.

Berthold Ruppel

Berthold Ruppel (died in 1494 or 1495) was the first printer in Basel, Switzerland, active from at least 1468 on.

He came originally from Hanau, in Hesse (Germany), and presumably worked with Johannes Gutenberg in Mainz in 1455 (where he was called Bechtolff von Hanau). There are 21, mainly religious, works from his printing press known. The oldest is a Bible in Latin, from 1468. At least 5 works were created in collaboration with Michael Wenssler and Bernhard Richel.

Botanischer Garten der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

The Botanischer Garten der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz (10 hectares), also known as the Botanischer Garten Mainz, is an arboretum and botanical garden maintained by the University of Mainz. It is located on the university campus at Franz von Bentzel-Weg 9, Mainz, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, and open daily.

The garden was created between 1946-1955 on land formerly used as farmland and a military training ground. Over 3500 individual plant beds were created in those years; in the mid-1950s an alpine garden was added, and in 1986 sections for steppe plants and Mainz regional flora were established. The first greenhouse was built in 1948 with two more added in 1952, which formed the basis for an extensive greenhouse complex.

Today the garden contains about 8,500 species. Its major sections include an arboretum (30,000 m²), systematic garden, greenhouses, and alpine garden, with outdoor collections focusing on flowering plants and woody plants of the northern hemisphere temperate zone, and a greenhouse complex containing plants from Mediterranean climates and the Southern Hemisphere as well as tropical and subtropical crops.


The "Festgesang", also known as the "Gutenberg Cantata", was composed by Felix Mendelssohn in the first half of 1840 for performance in Leipzig at the celebrations to mark the putative quatercentenary of the invention of printing with movable type by Johannes Gutenberg. The full title is Festgesang zur Eröffnung der am ersten Tage der vierten Säkularfeier der Erfindung der Buchdruckerkunst auf dem Marktplatz zu Leipzig stattfindenden Feierlichkeiten. It was first performed in the market-square at Leipzig on 24 June 1840.The piece is scored for male chorus with two brass orchestras and timpani, and consists of four parts, the first and last based on established Lutheran chorales. Part 2, beginning "Vaterland, in deinen Gauen", was later adapted to the words of Wesley’s Christmas carol "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing". The original German words for Festgesang were by Adolf Eduard Proelss (1803–1882). The use of a large choir and two orchestras was designed to make use of the natural acoustics of the market-place to produce an impressive, resonant sound.

Mendelssohn wrote at least two other "Festgesänge", with which the present work are sometimes confused, known as Festgesang an die Künstler (1846) and Festgesang (“Möge das Siegeszeichen”) (1838).

German Renaissance

The German Renaissance, part of the Northern Renaissance, was a cultural and artistic movement that spread among German thinkers in the 15th and 16th centuries, which developed from the Italian Renaissance. Many areas of the arts and sciences were influenced, notably by the spread of Renaissance humanism to the various German states and principalities. There were many advances made in the fields of architecture, the arts, and the sciences. Germany produced two developments that were to dominate the 16th century all over Europe: printing and the Protestant Reformation.

One of the most important German humanists was Konrad Celtis (1459–1508). Celtis studied at Cologne and Heidelberg, and later travelled throughout Italy collecting Latin and Greek manuscripts. Heavily influenced by Tacitus, he used the Germania to introduce German history and geography. Eventually he devoted his time to poetry, in which he praised Germany in Latin. Another important figure was Johann Reuchlin (1455–1522) who studied in various places in Italy and later taught Greek. He studied the Hebrew language, aiming to purify Christianity, but encountered resistance from the church.

The most significant German Renaissance artist is Albrecht Dürer especially known for his printmaking in woodcut and engraving, which spread all over Europe, drawings, and painted portraits. Important architecture of this period includes the Landshut Residence, Heidelberg Castle, the Augsburg Town Hall as well as the Antiquarium of the Munich Residenz in Munich, the largest Renaissance hall north of the Alps.

Gutenberg-Gymnasium Erfurt

The Gutenberg-Gymnasium Erfurt is a gymnasium (secondary school) located in Erfurt, Germany. It opened in 1991 and has approximately 750 students between the ages of 10 and 19.


The Gutenberg-Jahrbuch is an annual periodical publication covering the history of printing and the book. Its focus is on incunables, early printing, and the life and work of Johannes Gutenberg, inventor of the modern printed book. It has been published since 1926 by the Internationale Gutenberg-Gesellschaft.

Gutenberg Bible

The Gutenberg Bible (also known as the 42-line Bible, the Mazarin Bible or the B42) was among the earliest major books printed using mass-produced movable metal type in Europe. It marked the start of the "Gutenberg Revolution" and the age of printed books in the West. The book is valued and revered for its high aesthetic and artistic qualities as well as its historic significance. It is an edition of the Vulgate printed in the 1450s in Latin by Johannes Gutenberg in Mainz, in present-day Germany. Forty-nine copies (or substantial portions of copies) have survived. They are thought to be among the world's most valuable books, although no complete copy has been sold since 1978. In March 1455, the future Pope Pius II wrote that he had seen pages from the Gutenberg Bible displayed in Frankfurt to promote the edition. It is not known how many copies were printed; the 1455 letter cites sources for both 158 and 180 copies. The 36-line Bible, said to be the second printed Bible, is also referred to sometimes as a Gutenberg Bible, but may be the work of another printer.

Gutenberg Museum

The Gutenberg Museum is one of the oldest museums of printing in the world, located opposite the cathedral in the old part of Mainz, Germany. It is named after Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of printing from movable metal type in Western Europe. The collections include printing equipment and examples of printed materials from many cultures.

Hochschule für Musik Mainz

The Hochschule für Musik Mainz (HfMM, Mainz School of Music) is a university of music, part of the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz. It is the only such institution in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate.

Johannes Gutenberg (Stanford University)

Johannes Gutenberg is a marble statue depicting Johannes Gutenberg on the Stanford University campus in Stanford, California, United States. The original marble by Italian sculptor Antonio Frilli was removed in 1949, along with another by Frilli depicting Benjamin Franklin. The two statues were replaced by new sculptures by Palo Alto artist Oleg Lobykin in 2013. The statues of Franklin and Gutenberg were installed on perches on the exterior of Wallenberg Hall.

Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz

The Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (German: Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz) is a public research university in Mainz, Rhineland Palatinate, Germany, named after the printer Johannes Gutenberg. With approximately 36,500 students (2014) in about 150 schools and clinics, it is among the ten largest universities in Germany. Starting on 1 January 2005 the university was reorganized into 11 faculties of study.

The university is a member of the German U15, a coalition of fifteen major research-intensive and leading medical universities in Germany.

Officina Typographica

Officina Typographica (Latin for printing office) was a constellation located east of Sirius and Canis Major, north of Puppis, and south of Monoceros. It was drawn up by Johann Bode and Joseph Jérôme de Lalande in 1798, and included in the former's star atlas Uranographia in 1801, honouring the printing press of Johannes Gutenberg. Lalande reported wanting to honour French and German discoveries in the same manner that Nicolas-Louis de Lacaille had done for his new constellations. It was called Buchdrucker-Werkstatt by Bode initially, and later Atelier Typographique in the 1825 work Urania's Mirror, Atelier de l’Imprimeur by Preyssinger in 1862 and Antlia Typographiae in 1888.The constellation appeared in later star atlases through the 19th century but was rarely used by the end of the century; Richard Hinckley Allen noted its most recent use had been in 1878 in Father Angelo Secchi's planisphere, but stated "it is seldom found in the maps of our day.". The stars were later absorbed into northern Puppis, and remained permanently there after the setting of the constellation boundaries in 1928.

Printing press

A printing press is a mechanical device for applying pressure to an inked surface resting upon a print medium (such as paper or cloth), thereby transferring the ink. It marked a dramatic improvement on earlier printing methods in which the cloth, paper or other medium was brushed or rubbed repeatedly to achieve the transfer of ink, and accelerated the process. Typically used for texts, the invention and global spread of the printing press was one of the most influential events in the second millennium.Johannes Gutenberg, a goldsmith by profession, developed, circa 1439, a printing system by adapting existing technologies to printing purposes, as well as making inventions of his own. Printing in East Asia had been prevalent since the Tang dynasty, and in Europe, woodblock printing based on existing screw presses was common by the 14th century. Gutenberg's most important innovation was the development of hand-molded metal printing matrices, thus producing a movable type-based printing press system. His newly devised hand mould made possible the precise and rapid creation of metal movable type in large quantities. Movable type had been hitherto unknown in Europe. In Europe, the two inventions, the hand mould and the printing press, together drastically reduced the cost of printing books and other documents, particularly in short print runs.

The printing press spread within several decades to over two hundred cities in a dozen European countries. By 1500, printing presses in operation throughout Western Europe had already produced more than twenty million volumes. In the 16th century, with presses spreading further afield, their output rose tenfold to an estimated 150 to 200 million copies. The operation of a press became synonymous with the enterprise of printing, and lent its name to a new medium of expression and communication, "the press".In Renaissance Europe, the arrival of mechanical movable type printing introduced the era of mass communication, which permanently altered the structure of society. The relatively unrestricted circulation of information and (revolutionary) ideas transcended borders, captured the masses in the Reformation and threatened the power of political and religious authorities. The sharp increase in literacy broke the monopoly of the literate elite on education and learning and bolstered the emerging middle class. Across Europe, the increasing cultural self-awareness of its peoples led to the rise of proto-nationalism, and accelerated by the development of European vernacular languages, to the detriment of Latin's status as lingua franca. In the 19th century, the replacement of the hand-operated Gutenberg-style press by steam-powered rotary presses allowed printing on an industrial scale.

Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg (PG) is a volunteer effort to digitize and archive cultural works, to "encourage the creation and distribution of eBooks". It was founded in 1971 by American writer Michael S. Hart and is the oldest digital library. Most of the items in its collection are the full texts of public domain books. The project tries to make these as free as possible, in long-lasting, open formats that can be used on almost any computer. As of 23 June 2018, Project Gutenberg reached 57,000 items in its collection of free eBooks.The releases are available in plain text but, wherever possible, other formats are included, such as HTML, PDF, EPUB, MOBI, and Plucker. Most releases are in the English language, but many non-English works are also available. There are multiple affiliated projects that are providing additional content, including regional and language-specific works. Project Gutenberg is also closely affiliated with Distributed Proofreaders, an Internet-based community for proofreading scanned texts.

Renaissance literature

Renaissance literature refers to European literature which was influenced by the intellectual and cultural tendencies associated with the Renaissance. The literature of the Renaissance was written within the general movement of the Renaissance which arose in 14th-century Italy and continued until the 16th century while being diffused into the rest of the western world. It is characterized by the adoption of a humanist philosophy and the recovery of the classical Antiquity. It benefited from the spread of printing in the latter part of the 15th century. For the writers of the Renaissance, Greco-Roman inspiration was shown both in the themes of their writing and in the literary forms they used. The world was considered from an anthropocentric perspective. Platonic ideas were revived and put to the service of Christianity. The search for pleasures of the senses and a critical and rational spirit completed the ideological panorama of the period. New literary genres such as the essay (Montaigne) and new metrical forms such as the Spenserian stanza made their appearance.

The impact of the Renaissance varied across the continent; countries that were predominantly Catholic or Protestant experienced the Renaissance differently. Areas where the Eastern Orthodox Churches were culturally dominant, as well as those areas of Europe under Islamic rule, were more or less outside its influence. The period focused on self-actualization and one's ability to accept what is going on in one's life.The earliest Renaissance literature appeared in Italy in the 14th century; Petrarch, Machiavelli, and Ariosto are notable examples of Italian Renaissance writers. From Italy the influence of the Renaissance spread at different times to other countries and continued to spread around Europe through the 17th century. The English Renaissance and the Renaissance in Scotland date from the late 15th century to the early 17th century. In northern Europe, the scholarly writings of Erasmus, the plays of William Shakespeare, the poems of Edmund Spenser and the writings of Sir Philip Sidney may be considered Renaissance in character.

The creation of the printing press (using movable type) by Johannes Gutenberg in the 1440 encouraged authors to write in their local vernacular instead of Greek or Latin classical languages, thus widening the reading audience and promoting the spread of Renaissance ideas.

Pioneers of Printing Press

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