No invention changed society more than the printing press. The secret of the printing press was the devising of block printing, where an exact copy could be made time after time.
The Chinese are accredited with being the first to do this in about 500AD, and by 868 they produced the first printed books. Pi Sheng, a Chinese alchemist, moved on to moveable type in 1041. However, it was much later that the invention was made in Western Europe.
Related to the technology behind heavy presses for crushing juices, it was Johannes Gutenberg of Mainz, Germany, who made the move in 1454. He devised a matrix for moveable type. Brushed with a light covering of ink, it was then pressed down on a sheet of paper. By the end of the 15th century there were 40,000 editions of books published in 14 countries. In England, William Caxton introduced a printing press to Westminster in 1476, going on to print the works of Chaucer and Malory.
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