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Johannes Gutenberg, German printer

Johannes Gutenberg, German printer

C017/0666

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Credit

BRITISH LIBRARY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY BRITISH LIBRARY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Johannes Gutenberg (c.1398-1468), German inventor of the printing press. Before this invention, books were laboriously produced by hand. The number of books that could be produced was small and their availability confined to universities, monasteries and the very rich. The Gutenberg Bible (1454) was the first printed book 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. Artwork from 'Les vrais pourtraits et vies des hommes illustres grecz, latins et payens' (Thevet, 1584).

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