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Johann Gutenberg. Illustration of Johann Gutenberg (1398-1468) inventor of the European printing press. Before the invention of printing, books were hand-copied, rare and expensive. By 1438 Gutenberg was conducting experiments in printing. In 1454 Gutenberg produced the first printed book, known as the 'Gutenberg Bible'. Gutenberg was then sued for money he owed to his business partner. When he lost the case his tools, press and bibles were seized. Gutenberg was able to establish another workshop and continue printing. The spread of printing meant that books became cheaper and more widespread; knowledge could also be distributed more quickly.
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