When was the printing press invented?

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The generally accepted date of Johann Gutenburg's printing press was 1439. However, the date of the invention must include a comment regarding the impact it had on the human experience. Prior to the invention of the printing press, the Roman Catholic Church held the "monopoly" on hand written texts, and that...

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The generally accepted date of Johann Gutenburg's printing press was 1439. However, the date of the invention must include a comment regarding the impact it had on the human experience. Prior to the invention of the printing press, the Roman Catholic Church held the "monopoly" on hand written texts, and that text was the Bible. This method of production kept the price of a book high, and the number of copies available limited. This resulted in keeping most of Europe illiterate and ignorant. Reading was considered a right of the rich. It can be argued that the printing press was the single most influencial invention on humanity. As books were produced faster, price came down, and more people learned how to read. The gift that reading gives to humanity is that it enables us to ask the greatest one word question in the world....WHY?

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Well, we're not precisely sure. Gutenberg seems to have invented the printing press, but the earliest official record of his doing so is a lawsuit against him from 1439: usually given as the defeinite date of its invention. But we think he probably teamed up with Andreas Dritzehan and Andreas Heilmann in 1436: though we're not sure whether that was to start building a press from the already-completed designs, or to start designing one.

And then Caxton famously brought the press to England in 1476, enabling the Elizabethan golden age of literature which followed (more people could read more books).

But perhaps the most accurate date to give for its invention is "between 1435 - 1440"!

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The very first printing press, a machine which provided a method of moveable type which cut down the time it took to create a printed book, was invented in Germany by Johann Gutenberg in 1439.  William Caxton of England produced the first printing press in his country based on Gutenberg's invention in 1476.

From there, various other countries obtained the same technology as it swept around the world.  This invention enabled books and printed material to be produced more quickly than copying by hand.  It was instrumental in the spread of literacy...more printed material available meant it was necessary to learn to read it.  The printing press also cut costs of printed materials and eventually led to the advent of the novel which was first targeted toward women who did not work outside of the home.

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