Johann Gutenberg Questions and Answers

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What was Johannes Gutenberg's profession?

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Johannes Gutenberg, who lived from around 1395 to 1468, is credited with being the inventor of the metal movable-type printing press. This was a major technological advance, as it meant that a greater number of books, pamphlets, and other written materials could be printed more quickly and efficiently. As more people became literate, the demand for reading material increased accordingly, and Gutenberg's printing press catered to this growing demand.

Before he made his groundbreaking invention, Gutenberg worked at a number of different occupations. Although relatively little is known about his early life, it's generally accepted by historians that Gutenberg worked as an apprentice goldsmith in his hometown of Mainz in Germany. But as he entered middle age, Gutenberg turned to printing to make a living, borrowing money to start his print business. However, he seems to have been beset by numerous financial problems and disputes, one of which led to his printing presses being seized and destroyed on the orders of Archbishop Adolph II.

Nevertheless, Gutenberg achieved some notable successes with his new invention, most famously the so-called Gutenberg Bible, the first major book in Europe printed by the movable metal type method pioneered by Gutenberg himself. Fewer than fifty copies of the Gutenberg Bible survive, and they are among the most valuable books in existence.

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