The printing press

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The printing press

  1. 1. The Media Revolution Erik Bergholm
  2. 2. Life Before Gutenberg • Books could be found only in monasteries, places of education, and in the homes of the very wealthy • As copying was a laborious process, only texts that held wide appeal were reproduced • Not surprisingly, the Bible was the primary text
  3. 3. • Scribes were responsible for copying manuscripts, while “illuminators” created the illustrations • Illuminators added stylized fonts, gold trimming, and beautiful color to the tomes • Worked in special rooms called scriptoriums • Scribes and similar trades formed guilds, similar to today’s unions
  4. 4. Early Process • Parchment was made from animal skin • Bought, brought to the monastery, and rubbed smooth by an assistant, before the copying could begin • Lines had to be spaced exactly, marked by knife incisions
  5. 5. Gutenberg • Trained as a metallurgist and goldsmith • Hailed from Mainz, Germany. Born around 1399 • Used his skills in metalworking to aid in the construction of his most important invention • First mass-marketed book he produced was the Gutenberg Bible
  6. 6. The Printing Press • Inspired by the wine press, which uses a similar technique • Constructed mainly of wood • Letters were carved onto movable “keys”. These were coated with ink
  7. 7. Demonstration http://youtu.be/ksLaBnZVRnM
  8. 8. Its Influence • Allowed books to be mass produced • Naturally, knowledge would be available to many more people • Learning something—be it a trade, language, etc—once required the assistance of a mentor. Now all one had to do was learn to read
  9. 9. • Created an intellectual revolution in all areas of thought—philosophy, science, and religion • Since the layperson could buy a Bible now, it was open to individual interpretation • The Copernican Revolution would not have been possible without the printing press • Culture moved from oral to literate
  10. 10. Food for Thought • The invention, and subsequent massproduction, of books allowed humanity to store its collective knowledge • No longer do we have to rely on heredity and oral tradition • Books are the new DNA. Humanity has transcended physical evolution • Echoes what famous astronomer said (was it Sagan or Hawking?)
  11. 11. Superstition and the Written Word • A demon known as Tutivillus was said to haunt scribes • Legend continued even after the printing press • Demon would cause errors and lack of concentration (typos and writer’s block) • According to some tales, monks would be punished in afterlife for too many spelling errors
  12. 12. Sources • "A Gallimaufry." 'a Gallimaufry' N.p., 14 Mar. 2011. Web. 12 Nov. 2013. • "End of Europe's Middle Ages - The Impact of the Printing Press." End of Europe's Middle Ages - The Impact of the Printing Press. University of Calgary, 6 Nov. 2001. Web. 11 Nov. 2013. • "Harry Ransom Center the University of Texas at Austin." Harry Ransom Center RSS. University of Texas at Austin, n.d. Web. 11 Nov. 2013. • "Inventor of the Week: Archive." Inventor of the Week: Archive. Lemelson MIT, Aug. 2004. Web. 11 Nov. 2013.

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