The Era of Art, Inventions and Architecture

Topics: Printing Press

The Renaissance was a period that forever changed our society due to its art, inventions, and architecture. A key invention that was made during this time was the printing press and it forever changed our world. The first movable type printing press was invented by Johannes Gutenberg in the mid-1400s.

Before Gutenberg, books were very scarce and it took a long time to copy/write books. Many printers were using carved wooden blocks to print scrolls, but these wooden blocks wore out quickly.

A new block had to be carved for each letter, word, or image that was being used. The next revolution in printing was when printers began using moveable type. Individual letters were made out of clay that could be chained together to make sentences and words. The transformation from wooden blocks to moveable types was a long process that has forever changed our society.

Johannes Gutenberg was born on June 24, 1400, in Mainz, Germany. In the early 1400s, many metalsmiths had figured out a new way to make copying books, information, and documents easier.

One of those metalsmiths was Johannes Gutenberg, who was a businessman and a goldsmith from Mainz, Germany. Wood-block printing and engraving was a printing technique that used metal and moveable type that helped to copy faster. In 1438, Johannes had begun experimenting with printing techniques and secured funding from Andreas Dritzehn who was a wealthy businessman. By 1450, Johannes had made enough progress to seek additional funds from Johannes Fust who was another investor. Gutenberg created his printing press by using a modified wine press.

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To copy something using this, the ink was rolled over raised surfaces of the moveable handset block letters held in a wooden form, and then the form was pressed against a sheet of paper. This helped to spread information quicker and made the population more literate.

In 1452, Gutenberg began a business partnership with Johannes Fust to continue his printing. By 1455, he had continued to work on his printing press and had printed several copies of the Bible. His Bibles were in three volumes of Latin and had illustrations with 42 lines of type per page. Gutenberg didn’t enjoy this innovation for long and Fust sued him for repayment. Johannes Fust continued to print Bibles and eventually, he printed 200 copies. Only 22 of those copies still exist today. Very few details are known about Gutenberg’s life after the lawsuit and there are differing opinions according to historians on what happened to him. Some historians think he continued to work with Fust, while others say that Fust drove Gutenberg out of business. Johannes Gutenberg died in Mainz, Germany in 1468.

Overall, the printing press influenced society, literature, religion, and the Renaissance. It influenced society because it caused a cultural and dramatic social revolution to erupt. There was a sudden widespread of papers, books, and posters. The printing press influenced literature because it caused many books to be printed and society became more literate. Religion was greatly affected by the printing press because many Bibles and religious texts were typed. Also, it played a key role in the success of the Protestant Reformation. Most importantly the Renaissance was affected by the printing press because it spread literature sufficiently and durably. In addition, it made Europe very scholarly and many people became more knowledgeable. The printing press also made the spread of information easier and quicker. The printing press was an invention that has forever changed our world.

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The Era of Art, Inventions and Architecture. (2022, Aug 08). Retrieved from

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