Printing Presses in Europe c. 1450


Map Code: Ax02408

Johannes Gutenberg was a goldsmith in Mainz, who managed, after years of painstaking experiment, to perfect the manufacture of small metal movable type. Guttenberg produced 200 copies of his revolutionary 42-line Bible in 1453. The new technology took off, and by 1461 a rival in Bamberg, Albrecht Pfister, had produced the first printed books in German and the first with woodcut illustrations. By the end of the decade the new technology had crossed the Alps, galvanizing the cultural and artistic developments of the Italian High Renaissance. As the number of printshops multiplied, so did the variety of materials produced. From an early concentration on religious texts, some publishers set out to disseminate classical learning, philosophy and scientific treatises. With the advent of the printing press an increasing number of books of a secular nature were published, and this had a profound effect on scientific investigation, as scholars all over Europe could share and compare the results of their work. As printing grew more advanced, cartographers began to produce and circulate more advanced maps, greatly advancing geographical knowledge.

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