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Johann Gutenberg, German inventor

Johann Gutenberg, German inventor

C024/0154

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Credit

MICHAEL MARTEN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MICHAEL MARTEN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Johann Gutenberg (1398-1468), German inventor of the printing press, with two assistants, examining the first page of his printed Bible of 1454. Before Gutenberg, books were laboriously produced by hand. Their number was small and their availability confined to universities, monasteries and the very rich. Gutenberg's Bible was the first printed book. 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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