Johann Gutenberg

HomePage | Recent changes | View source | Discuss this page | Page history | Log in |

Printable version | Disclaimers | Privacy policy

German metal worker and inventor Johannes Gensfleich zur Laden zum Gutenberg was born in Mainz, sometime in the 1390s, and died there on February 3, 1468. He is recognized for his contributions to the technology of printing, including a type metal alloy and oil-based inks, and a new kind of press based on those used in winemaking. He has also traditionally been credited with inventing the "punch matrix" method of making type from metal molds, but recent analysis of older printed texts suggest that this method was discovered by someone else.

Though printed texts were well known to the Chinese and Koreans at the time, it is unclear whether Gutenberg knew of these techniques or invented them independently. Gutenberg's methods were certainly more efficient, leading to a boom in the production of texts in Europe, in large part due to the popularity of the Gutenberg Bibles, the first to be mass produced, in 1455. The Gutenberg Bibles surviving today are the oldest surviving printed books. A book produced between the first work of Gutenberg and the end of the year 1500 is called an incunabulum.

Gutenberg's name is found in the Gutenberg Galaxy and in Project Gutenberg.