The Bible is printed for the first time
August 28, 2010 Leave a comment
This week in history: Gutenberg Bible completed.
On August 24, 1456, the Bible was printed for the first time. The groundbreaking project was started four years earlier by Johannes Gutenberg in Mainz, Germany, marking the start of the “Gutenberg Revolution” and the age of the printed book.
Gutenberg’s invention, the printing press, used movable components to applied ink on paper as a means towards producing text. Although not the inventor of such a device (the world’s first known movable-type system was created in China around 1040 CE), Guttenberg revolutionized the process by enabling mass printing. The “hand mold” he created made possible for the first time the precise and rapid creation of “types” in large quantities, a key element in the profitability of the whole printing enterprise.
Originally a goldsmith, Gutenberg used his knowledge of metals to develop an alloy of lead, tin and antimony to forge his type pieces that would imprint clearer characters. In fact, that same alloy is still used today. Up until now, practically all movable-type printing ultimately derives from Gutenberg’s original machine, which is often regarded as the most important invention of the second millennium.
Although the printing era was welcomed by most, the Catholic Church opposed the technological revolution. Ironically, the Bible was the source of the controversy; the Church feared that the spread of theological learning in the vernacular would result in a loss of power and influence. In 1515, Pope Leo X tried to introduce a censorship and a supervision of printed books. This measure had little effect.