Video: appreciating the origins of the printing press

For the written word

Video: appreciating the origins of the printing press
Head back to a time where the creation of a book was a painstaking, detailed art form

It was in the 1440s that the printing press was invented by Johannes Gutenberg, marking the revolutionary introduction of the book into the industrial age. But of course, over 500 years ago, the production of a book wasn't as seemingly simple as it is today. It was only in the early 1800s that the steam printing press was introduced along with steam paper mills, offering a more inexpensive method that produced larger amounts of books.

By the time the 21st century rolled around with its computers, we were set. Today, we're online and on digital tablets - an innovation that has sparked the debate on whether the convenience of digital texts will cause print to demise. Aficionados of the written (or printed) word, like myself, would however agree that there is something unrivalled about holding a printed book in your hands, keeping a physical library that cannot be deleted with a simple press of a button. But perhaps that's a debate for another day.

Nevertheless, a video originally posted by Tenth + Fourth on Facebook shows us the original, artisanal process of the Gutenberg printing press. Its painstakingly detailed method involves arranging metal types, transferring the type onto paper, and cutting and binding the pages by hand. All this effort to create something that would both function as entertainment or education alike, the printing of a book was truly an art form that we can appreciate today.  

Jessica Fang

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