Feeny Makes Us Appreciate the Printing Press!

Hello Beautiful Thinkers,

tumblr_mf1edqYE7v1qh5bybo1_250There are a lot of blogs out there, a lot of books, a lot of literary magazines, a lot of writing in general.  With so many places for us to put our writing out into the world it’s easy to forget this ability to reach the masses stems from one very powerful invention: the printing press.  This is another post brought to you by Boy Meets World; I caught an episode of it on TV the other day and it was the one where Cory, Shawn, and Topanga become game show stars.  I love when Mr. Feeny goes off on the whole class about how their generation wastes technology.

germany_east_1167Like Feeny teaches us, Johannes (Johann for short) Gutenberg invented the printing press.  This was all the way back in 1440, we’re talking pre-America here for any of you that are lacking a perception of how long ago it really was.  The concept of cutting the print out of wood and using it like a stamp with ink wasn’t exactly new, but the thing that made Gutenberg’s printing press so revolutionary was the moveable type.  Before this way of printing, all other forms of replicating a book took so long that it wasn’t possible to mass-produce.  It could take up to 20 years for a literary work to me transcribed by a monk.  But by 1452 the Gutenberg Bible was being mass-printed, soon leading to a boom in the production of texts all over Europe.  The book could then be sold for significantly cheaper than any hand written Bible.

gutenbergpressThe invention didn’t make Gutenberg rich though.  His investor, Johann Fust, forced him out of the original press and worked along side Gutenberg’s assistant Peter Schoffer.  Not long after Gutenberg died, there were print-houses established in over 2,500 cities throughout Europe.  The production of new volumes increased exponentially making it easier for people to become more informed.  It isn’t an exaggeration to say that this changed the way the world worked.  Bringing millions of books into print allowed an increase in education, inevitably leading to progress.

As the world continued to change, the industrial revolution further advanced printing technology.  Steam-powered rotary presses could print thousands of pages in a day.  Eventually this evolved to typewriters, copy machines, and laser printers.  And now with the Internet we can send off a tweet, email, or instant message sharing information with complete strangers around the world so easily that we hardly think about how difficult it was to learn something new before all this technology existed.

photo-8Keep Learning Beautiful Thinkers,

The Boy In The Heart Shades

PS I don’t have a printing press but my printer is wireless!

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