1450: The Printing Press

A vital precursor to the scientific revolution, the invention of the printing press changed the way information spread across the world by improving its fidelity and, most importantly, by hastening its rate of reproduction.  An increasing numbers of books with better accuracy quickly spread across Europe and the globe providing the medium for a diffusion of ideas to a growing literate population.

The printing press was the creation of Johannes Gutenberg, whose creative insight was to combine movable type with a pressing mechanism to create the Gutenberg press.  Simple, yet revolutionary.  In order to print a page you first line up the metal type, apply ink, place the paper on top then apply the press.

The printing press allowed for the mass reproduction of printed material.  Within a few decades hundreds of presses were active in hundreds of cities around Europe, and this basic method of mass production of printing did not change much until the late 18th century.

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