Cardwell’s “Printing Press”

Through the thorough reading and examination of this excerpt from D.S.L. Cardwell’s “Turning Points in Western Technology: A Study of Technology, Science and History,” it can be seen how the printing press really ‘turned the page’ for the book publishing industry and sparked ideas for other groundbreaking inventions.

It must be noted that two other commonly overlooked inventions needed to come first. These are paper and ink. Without these, there would be nothing to print on or print with. Many historians credit Johann Gutenberg  with the invention of the printing press and it appears o have been invented in the 1390s.Through his process of creating the printing press, Johann Gutenberg  encountered a number of difficult decisions and issues. The main concern was creating type blocks of a consistent size. If there were different lengths, the strokes would be different as the longer types would be pushed into the page harder. If they were different heights, as more lines were added, the lines of text would be so distorted that they would be illegible. To combat this, all type keys were made from the same mold that had an adjustable width to match the size of the letter. By using the same mols, all of the keys fit together to make easy to follow, consistent text when printed. The streamlined process also made making keys cheaper and easier so printing became faster.

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