About Johannes Gutenberg
Johannes Gutenberg was born in Mainz, Germany around the year 1398. He was the son of a Goldsmith. Not a whole lot more is known about his childhood. It appears he moved a few times around Germany, but that’s about all is known for sure.
Johannes Gutenberg invention
Johannes Gutenberg took some existing technologies and some of his own inventions to come up with the printing press in the year 1450. One key idea he came up with was a movable type. Rather than use wooden blocks to press ink onto paper, Gutenberg used movable metal pieces to quickly create pages. He made innovations all the way through the printing process enabling pages to be printed much more rapidly. His presses could print 1000’s of pages per day vs. 40-50 with the old method. This was a dramatic improvement and allowed books to be acquired by the middle class and spread knowledge and education like never before.
What books were first printed by the Johannes Gutenberg press?
It’s thought that the first printed item from the press was a German poem. Other prints included Latin Grammars and indulgences for the Catholic Church. Gutenberg’s real fame came from producing the Gutenberg Bible. It was the first time a Bible was mass produced and available for anyone outside of the church. Bibles were rare and could take up to a year for a priest to transcribe. Gutenberg printed around 200 of these in a relatively short time.
Fun Facts about Johannes Gutenberg
- In 1462 he was exiled from Mainz. However, things turned around for him and in 1465 he was given a fancy title, a yearly salary, and more as a reward for his invention.
- The original Bible sold for 30 florins. This was a lot of money back then for a commoner, but much cheaper than a hand written version.
- There are around 21 complete Gutenberg Bibles existing still today. One of these Bibles is a likely worth around $30 million.