From the Origin of China to Gutenberg Bible: How the Invention of the Printing Machine Changed the World

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Wen | Bill, it's time for dinner

 

Editor | Bill, it's time for dinner

 

introduction

 

The first printing press was invented by Chinese monks around 600 AD and further developed during the reign of the Tang Dynasty in China, as well as in Korea and Japan. In the end, these inventions spread to Europe, where Johannes Gutenberg absorbed and developed this ancient model. He printed 180 Bible books, thereby consolidating his position in history. In the end, the printing press shaped modern communication as we know it, catalyzing everything from infrastructure and technology to universities and symphonies, and shaping most of the factors that define our modern era.

 

The Evolution of Printing Machines in the Long River of History

 

Before the emergence of the Internet, before telephone lines and radio waves could transmit information in real-time on a global scale, and before the era of newspapers and literature, several centuries before Johannes Gutenberg printed the first Bible, there was a Chinese farmer named Bi Sheng.

 

Most of the details of his life disappeared with the passage of time, but at some point in the 11th century, Bi Sheng was the first to invent movable type printing, an innovation that simplified the printing process, promoted the widespread publication and distribution of Buddhist and Taoist books, and ultimately led Gutenberg to create his famous Bible.

 

Although Bi Sheng may have been the earliest innovator in the printing press industry, he was not the first to develop printing technology. This difference can be traced back even further.

 

 


The Ancient Origins of Printing Machines

 

The earliest recorded writing is believed to have been created by Chinese monks around 600 AD. The first known printed text in the world was a Buddhist scripture, the Vajra Sutra, which appeared during the Tang Dynasty's reign around 868 AD. This book was sealed in a cave near Dunhuang, China for over 1000 years before its discovery in 1900, using a method called woodblock printing. During the same period, South Korea and Japan also adopted similar methods.

 

 

As a lamp, a cataract, a star in space, an illusion, a dewdrop, a bubble, a dream, a cloud, a lightning bolt, look at everything created like this

 


Over the next few hundred years, Chinese inventors created other texts, manuals, and scrolls. In the end, Bi Sheng appeared and created the first movable clay text printing method. This includes carving letters on clay and baking them into hard blocks that can be pressed onto iron plates to make letters.

 

Finally, in the late 13th century, a Yuan dynasty magistrate named Wang Chen created and mass-produced a series of agricultural books called "Agricultural Books", which were printed using movable type around 1297, making production speed and mass production possible. Some books printed using Wang Chen's craftsmanship were even shipped to Europe. Moreover, ironically, they also elaborated on many Chinese inventions that were later considered European inventions.

 

It is believed that the first use of movable metal type was in Korea. The oldest surviving example of this progress is the Buddhist text printed in Cheongju during the Korean Goryeo Dynasty, dating back to 1377.

 

The printing press - the earliest effort made by Chinese monks to engrave every character on metal, changed the DNA of human relations and knowledge, and sparked a revolution in countless aspects of human life. Its impact is still felt today.

 

Johannes Gutenberg invented a new model of the economy

 

Although the earliest printing technology came from China, most of us would associate the name Johannes Gutenberg with the invention of the printing press. Although he did not invent the device, his improvements made the printing press economically feasible, allowing for the widespread distribution of written materials and the printing press itself in Europe.

 

Gutenberg was born in Mainz, Germany, and was the third child of a nobleman and his second wife. It is believed that when he was young, he had repaired metal products. In his youth, due to conflicts between the guild and the city aristocracy, he and his family were exiled from Mainz. They moved to what is now Strasbourg, France, sometime between 1428 and 1430. Johannes worked in fields such as gemstone cutting, handicrafts, and teaching, but around this time, he also conceived a secret project that would change history. All of this started with an idea, he once said 'like a beam of light' coming to him.

 

People know very little about Gutenberg's daily life, after all, it was in the 1400s, but we can imagine him working hard in the cool, candlelight church basement in the early hours of the morning, while others had already fallen asleep for a long time, pulling his wires and metal into strange shapes, watching ink flow onto parchment. Perhaps he felt that he was changing the course of history and could feel some strange force stirring up at his fingertips; Or perhaps he is in the frenzy of a midnight passion project. Anyway, what he will create will enable billions of people to share and disseminate their scientific insights, musical and literary achievements, as well as the details of their private lives. But at that time, what happened in loneliness still existed.

 

Some of his business partners must have noticed the ink on his fingertips, his eye bags, or the strange hieroglyphs on his walls. No matter what leaked his secret, they insisted on him making them partners in his business, no matter what it was. This was the beginning of a complex legal and monetary struggle that plagued Gutenberg until his death.

 

In the old century, the same issue of money

 

By 1448, Gutenberg's invention had begun to take shape, but his economic life was in a mess. In order to complete his project, he needed to borrow money from Johannes Foster, who later joined his printing business partners.

Feeling frustrated due to a lack of funding, Gutenberg decided to simultaneously invest his energy in a new project: manufacturing metal mirrors, which he and his partners believe can reflect holy light. His invention never succeeded, but perhaps it did reveal wisdom from the other side.

 

In 1452, he completed his first and only printed book: the Bible. It is believed that 180 copies of this 1300 page book were printed, and this job requires approximately 50000 sheets of paper. At the time of its publication, the Bible was widely praised for its exquisite ink quality, and even 550 years later, it still maintained a black luster.

 

 

 

The words of the Bible are very clean and correct, without errors, such as Your Excellency being able to read effortlessly without wearing glasses

 


Although Gutenberg's invention was extremely popular, he never really had the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of his labor. By 1455, his business partner and investor Johannes Foster betrayed him, cancelled their joint commercial investment, and obtained ownership of all Gutenberg equipment after filing a lawsuit. It is believed that Gutenberg continued printing, but by 1460 he had completely stopped printing, possibly due to vision problems. The person whose invention will determine the course of history has almost lost everything.

 

However, his invention will continue to receive attention. Peter Schafer, one of Foster's business partners, obtained some of Gutenberg's equipment in the lawsuit. He continued to build on Gutenberg's original model and ultimately produced his own printed version of the Psalm. Not long after, the printing press model began to spread like wildfire in Germany, eventually spreading to Paris, and then swept the world.

 

The key to success: meticulous attention to details

Although he is often considered the inventor of the printing press, Gutenberg did not actually invent it. What he did was to improve the existing printing machine model to make it more economical and suitable for widespread use.

 

 

The reason why his model is so successful is partly due to his carefully crafted model. He made his own ink, designed specifically for use with metal, and perfected a method of using a press to flatten paper. He also used a process called replica casting, which involves creating brass outlines of letters and then filling them with specially made, ultra durable molten lead.

 

The printing press itself cannot guarantee enlightened results. People, not machines, created the Renaissance. For example, the printing that occurred in North Korea today is nothing more than a propaganda of personal worship. The important thing about printing is what the printing press is not a mechanism, but an author. "- Jaren Lanier, you are not a little gadget

 


In the end, his innovative efforts reduced the cost of book production, making the process of printing written works more economical than ever before. Nevertheless, the fact that he was largely believed to have invented the printing press is an undeniable example of Europe's contribution and invention in erasing other societies.

 

 

The Influence of the Printing Press: The Foundation of Cultural Reform

 

Although there are issues with the appropriate credit surrounding the invention of the printing press, its global influence cannot be underestimated. From the moment it was born, it sparked fear, paranoia, and new forms of thought. As it spread widely, members of the Catholic Church's hierarchical system began to worry about heresy and prohibited the printing of any books without their approval. When revolutionaries such as Martin Luther and John Calvin used printed materials to create new forms of Christian worship, their fears were confirmed.

 

Among the many benefits, the printing press enables scientists to share their findings with others. Among them was Copernicus, whose "On the Movement of Celestial Bodies" was classified as heretical by the church.

 

 

From the Renaissance to the Industrial Revolution, from the emergence of new technologies to democracy itself, the influence of the printing press is indisputable and multifaceted. Since its establishment, print media has been a mechanism for disseminating radical new ideas, personal stories, and dilemmas, which can reach a wider audience. No wonder the authoritarian government suppressed the news industry, or the slave owners before the American Civil War prohibited their prisoners from reading.

 

The printing press has undoubtedly changed the world, opening up space for the rapid dissemination of various ideas, such as good and evil, corruption and revolution, unity and division. It is often considered the greatest achievement of the millennium and the second millennium, and its existence has forever changed the world of communication, science, and society, redefined interpersonal relationships, and shaped our society today for better or worse.

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