The Printing Press - Naga Rohit S [ IIT Guwahati ]
Naga Rohit S The Printing Press email@example.com
Web dEFINITIONA printing press is a device for applying pressureto an inked surface resting upona print medium (such as paper orcloth), thereby transferring the ink. -Wikipedia
HISTORYTHE CHINESE DIAMOND SUTRA (868 AD), THE OLDEST EXISTANT WOODBLOCK PRINTED BOOK
HISTORY During the reign of Chingli, [1041–1048] Bi Sheng, a man of unofficial position, made movable type. His method was as follows: he took sticky clay and cut in it characters as thin as the edge of a coin. Each character formed, as it were, a single type. He baked them in the fire to make them hard. He had previously prepared an iron plate and he had covered his plate with a mixture of pine resin, wax, and paper ashes. When he wished to print, he took an iron frame and set it on the iron plate. In this he placed the types, set close together. When the frame was full, the whole made one solid block of type. He then placed it near the fire to warm it. When the paste [at the back] was slightly melted, he took a smooth board and pressed it over the surface, so that the block ofBI SHENG’S CLAY TYPE type became as even as a whetstone. - Shen Kuo, Mengxi Bitan
HISTORYHowever, Bi Shengs fragile clay types were not practical for large-scaleprinting. The government official Wang Zhen (fl. 1290–1333 AD) improved BiShengs fragile clay types by innovation through wood, as his process increasedthe speed of typesetting as well. Afterwards, in 1230, metal movable typeprinting was developed in Korea. Later in China by 1490 the bronze movabletype was developed by the wealthy printer Hua Sui (1439–1513). WANG ZHEN’S WOODEN TYPES
HISTORY In around 1440, the Printing Press was independently invented in the Holy Roman Empire by the German Johannes Gutenberg, based on existing screw presses. Gutenberg, a goldsmith by profession, developed a complete printing system, which perfected the printing process through all its stages by adapting existing technologies to printing purposes, as well as making groundbreaking inventions of his own. His newly devised hand mould made for the first time possible the precise and rapid creation of metal movable type in large quantities, a key element in the profitability of the wholeGUTENBERG’S PRINTING PRESS printing enterprise.
Gutenberg’s improvementsHaving previously worked as a professional goldsmith, Gutenberg made skillfuluse of the knowledge of metals he had learned as a craftsman. He was the firstto make type from an alloy of lead, tin, and antimony, which was critical forproducing durable type that produced high-quality printed books and provedto be much better suited for printing than all other known materials. To createthese lead types, Gutenberg used what is considered one of his most ingeniousinventions, a special matrix enabling the quick and precise molding of new typeblocks from a uniform template. His type case is estimated to have containedaround 290 separate letter boxes, most of which were required for specialcharacters, ligatures, punctuation marks, etc.Gutenberg is also credited with the introduction of an oil-based ink which wasmore durable than the previously used water-based inks. As printing materialhe used both paper and vellum (high-quality parchment).
A changing world The advent of the printing press did not bring about a great shift in the social organization of learning in Europe. The first books to show up in print shops were bibles and religious tracts. The next books to attract publishers were the "humanist" texts brought back from Byzantium by the Crusades, and other texts of antiquity but there was little or no printing of new ideas. In addition, there was still a low literacy rate in Europe. But non-literates were still affected by the book trade because the elites, who controlled society, were affected by books. And people who could not read still had access toGUTENBERG’S BIBLE, NY book culture because there were traveling raconteurs who stood in the market and read from books as a means of making a living as entertainers.
A changing worldThe situation was improved by the introduction of the Frankfort Book Fair. Citiesin Europe held yearly fairs, featuring whatever kinds of things the city andsurrounding area was good at producing. (The county fair of today is thedescendant of these early commerce fairs). Frankfort was an early center forprinting and so it sponsored a book fair which drew publishers, booksellers,collectors, scholars, who could find what they needed for their livelihoods. Thishelped coordinate supply and demand. The fair also produced a catalog of allthe works shown at the fair - an yearly Books in Print.
Luther and the Protestant reformation The real innovation in culture, related to print, is in the Protestant Reformation, at the beginning of the 16th century. Martin Luther begets the Protestant Reformation in the early to mid-1500s in Germany. In 1536, John Calvin publishes his work in Strasbourg, then moves to Geneva Switzerland. The Reformation was the first revolutionary mass movement, in part because took advantage of printed propaganda. Because of the low literacy rates of Europe at the time, much of this propaganda took form in images. One popular target for such images was the Pope.
Decline of the roman catholic churchThe power of the Roman Catholic Church was based in part on the ability ofthe church to enforce the use of Latin as the language for the worship of God.Just as the manuscript books were the main visual means of veneratingGod, so to Latin was the only verbal means of communicating with him.In Imagined Communities, Benedict Anderson notes, that as long as theChurch could maintain this link, and as long as it controlled who learned tospeak and write Latin, the Church could maintain its position in the world.With Latin was the only language for religious texts, the priest represented theonly true path to God and way to salvation. Through that link, the Churchmaintained its political power in the world. The concept of Latin as the onlylanguage appropriate to worship in, or the only path to God, was challengedby Luther. His challenge was fostered and enlarged by books, most notablyBibles and prayer books, in vernacular languages.
O Brave new world! By far, the biggest effect of the universities, print books and an increasingly literate reading public, came in the emerging scientific fields of botany, geography, and astronomy. In large part, the rise of Science as a replacement for religion as a way of seeing the world has to do with the changing nature of libraries. Instead of a few repositories, usually in the controlONE OF THE EARLIEST REPORTS OF A of the church, people began to RHINOCEROS accumulate private libraries.
O Brave new world! When printing makes copies of these books available to a wider audience, and makes it possible to do comparison between books, the comparison of these ideas leads to new ideas. This leads to new books on scientific subjects, when, by the 15th century, there are new books on science, mathematics, and“THE MANNER OF MAKING THEIR BOATS” military engineering. - HISTORICA AMERICAE
“It is a press, certainly, but a press from whichshall flow in inexhaustible streams...Throughit, God will spread His Word. A spring of truthshall flow from it: like a new star it shall scatterthe darkness of ignorance, and cause a lightheretofore unknown to shine amongst men.” -J Gutenberg[1398-1468]
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