Johann Gutenberg, German inventor

Johann Gutenberg, German inventor

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Caption: Johann Gutenberg (1398-1468), German inventor of the printing press. This statue of Gutenberg, carved by Bertel Thorwaldsen (1770-1844), is in Mainz, Germany, Gutenburg's birthplace. Gutenberg is holding a book in his left hand. Before Gutenberg, books were laboriously produced by hand. Their number was small and their availability confined to universities, monasteries and the very rich. In 1454 Gutenberg produced the first printed book, known as the 'Gutenberg Bible'. It is considered to be the most beautiful book ever printed and remains the most valued. Gutenberg went into debt producing it and was sued for the money. He lost the case and his tools, and the press and the bibles were seized. Having revolutionized the world, he died in poverty. Engraving from the 1883 edition of Vies des Savants Illustres.

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