Gutenberg's main inventions were the printer's
ink, the making
of type, the use of a press and perhaps most importantly the
production process itself which combined these techniques to produce
printed books. Each invention would have been useless without the
vision which combined new and old methods. Part of the process was
and once the sheets had been printed they had to be made into gatherings.
The surviving copies tell us how Gutenberg and his team learnt
about the work processes and their financial implications as the
work went on. They made at least three
changes during the printing.
Printing could not have been an economic success without paper,
which was originally invented in China and then spread west reaching
Europe via the Muslim world. Before this European books were written
animal skin. One of the British Library's copies of the Gutenberg
Bible is printed on vellum.
We can also estimate how
many copies of the Bible Gutenberg printed.