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Johann Gutenberg

Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg (circa 1390s - February 3, 1468) was a German metal worker and inventor. He is recognized for his contributions to the technology of printing, including a type metal alloy and oil-based inks, and a new kind of printing press based on those used in winemaking. He has also traditionally been credited with inventing movable type, an improvement on the block printing already in use in Europe.

He was born in Mainz.

Though block printing and even movable metal types were known to the Chinese and Koreans at the time, it is unclear whether Gutenberg knew of these techniques or invented them independently. Some also claim Laurens Coster was the first European to invent movable type.

Gutenberg's methods were certainly efficient, leading to a boom in the production of texts in Europe, in large part due to the popularity of the Gutenberg Bibles, the first to be mass produced, starting on February 23, 1455. The Gutenberg Bibles surviving today are probably the oldest surviving books printed with movable type, though the oldest surviving block printed books are probably Chinese. As of 2003, the Gutenberg Bible census includes 11 complete copies on vellum, 1 copy of the New Testament only on vellum, 48 substantially complete integral copies on paper, with another divided copy on paper.

A western printed book produced between the first work of Gutenberg and the end of the year 1500 is called an incunabulum.

See also: Printing

In Mainz stands Gutenberg's statue, a work by Thorvaldsen. There is also the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz.

Gutenberg's name is found in the Gutenberg Galaxy and in Project Gutenberg.

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