Johann Gutenberg (Dictionary of World Biography: Renaissance)
Article abstract: Gutenberg invented printing with movable metal type.
Johann Gutenberg was born in Mainz, an important German city on the Rhine River which was the seat of an archbishop. In the absence of a documented record, his birth date is placed between 1394 and 1399. His family, known as Gensfleisch zur Laden, was of the patrician class, but they were generally called Gutenberg, after their place of residence. Most members of his father’s family were skilled metal craftsmen for the archbishop’s mint in Mainz. Although there is no firm evidence about Gutenberg’s education, he presumably continued his family’s association with metalworking by being trained in this craft.
During his youth, Mainz was experiencing political turmoil because of conflicts between patrician and working classes. This civil strife led Gutenberg’s father, Friele zum Gutenberg, to go into exile from the city in 1411. After similar disruptions in 1428, during which the Mainz guilds revoked civic privileges from the patricians, Gutenberg, who was probably around thirty years old at that time, settled in Strasbourg, a German city on the Rhine.
Gutenberg’s activities during his mature life are of primary interest because...
(The entire section is 2077 words.)
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