1440: Invention of the Printing Press
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Innovation: Printing Press
Location: Roman Empire
By: Johannes Gutenberg
The printing press was invented by the German Johannes Gutenberg in the Roman Empire around 1440. Gutenberg’s press was a hand cranked press that rolled ink over the raised surfaces of movable metal type and pressed against a sheet of paper. Prior to the printing press all texts had to be hand written or done by typographic hand-printing, which could produce about 40 to 50 pages per day. The earliest printing press could produce 3,600 pages per day, dramatically increasing the amount of printed text available to the world. By the year 1500, printing presses had produced over 20 million volumes of text. The printing press opened the door for the mass production of books, and lead to the widespread sharing of knowledge around the world. For the first time the average person had access to books and the knowledge they brought with them. The printing press has been considered one of the most important inventions in human history. The first major book printed by the press was the Gutenberg Bible and was completed in 1454.