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Background

Printing was one of the most important technical advances in history. It was invented by Johann Gutenberg, a German from Mainz, in the 1450s. An account of his life can be found on this website.

Much earlier, books had been produced in China and Korea with type made first of wood and later of bronze. Gutenberg's invention was different: it was possible to print many copies of the same text speedily. It had great commercial potential, but it did not make Gutenberg a rich man. Information on how he produced his Bible.

It was crucial to choose the right texts in order to succeed in the market. More on the texts printed by Gutenberg.

Much of what we know about Gutenberg's invention comes from tdetailed study of surviving books from his press. More information on Gutenberg's works in the British Library.

 
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