1455 __ First book printed
‣ Comment : The first book printed in Europe from moveable metal type by Johannes Gutenberg (ca 1397-1468), was the Latin Bible - the splendid Mazarin Bible (so called from the fact that the first copy which attracted much attention in later times was that in the library of Cardinal Mazarin). Preparation of the Bible began soon after 1450, and the first finished copies were available in 1454 or 1455, using a printing press and movable type. This Bible is the most famous incunabulum and its production marked the beginning of the mass production of books in the West. It is believed that about 180 copies of the Bible were produced, a number which marks a sharp contrast with the prior technology for European societies which, from time immemorial, had to produce copies of written works laboriously by hand. Gutenberg produced these Bibles (which were printed, then rubricated and illuminated by hand, the work of specialized craftsmen) over a period of a year, the time it would have taken to produce one copy in a Scriptorium. Because of the hand illumination, each copy is unique. The idea of using reproducible and reusable types was in itself a valuable invention, and Gutenberg was the first European to do so. But the true achievement of Gutenberg is that he proved that the whole process of printing actually produced books. The process involved multiple problems to be solved, each problem being a possible showstopper in itself. In a legal paper, written after the production, Gutenberg refers to the printing as 'Das Werk der Bücher' (The work of the books). (Compiled from various sources)
‣ Source : Hallam, Henry (1856), “Introduction to the literature of Europe in the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries”, New York: Harper & Brothers, pp. 96-97.
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