The invention of printing
Until then, the copying of a book was done by a copyist, usually a monk, who manually copied the sacred texts. It was therefore very time-consuming and expensive !
Meaning of manuscript – Cambridge dictionary : an old document or book written by hand in the times before printing was invented.
"Many will go here and there to increase knowledge."
The Bible, Daniel 12 v. 4.
It is to Johannes Gensfleisch, goldsmith of Mainz, known under the name of Gutenberg (1397-1468), that one allots the invention of printing in Europe. He was looking for a way to reproduce texts mechanically and… to enrich himself too... Alas, fortune did not smile on him !
More about his life ?
His invention consists in 3 parts
The movable types (letters) made of a lead alloy, reusable.
Black linseed oil-based ink, viscous, that dries relatively quickly.
The press inspired by a grape press ensuring contact between the moving characters and the paper or parchment support (calfskin = vellum).
It took him a few years of research to achieve satisfactory results, as everything had to be invented and fine-tuned.
A composter placed on a case (drawer) containing the movable types
The printing press was therefore originally made entirely of wood, about 3 m. high. A worm screw was used to Multiply the force exerted by the lever operated by the presser. The texts were composed in the same workshop, with a lot of attention to detail. The quality of the inking was also very important. All the people were aware that they were printing texts from the Holy Scriptures which had to be beyond reproach !
But this huge investment in time and money was worth it, because this printing technique (called the typography) has been used for more than 400 years ! The presses have been perfected over time.
Click to see the evolution on this poster :