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Johannes Gutenberg

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V.K. SUBRAMANIAN

Johannes Gutenberg (1400 A.D.- 1468 A.D.) has been credited with revolutionising the printing industry.

Johannes Gutenberg, the German printer, was the inventor of printing with movable type, which has enabled mass production of books and other reading material and revolutionised the speedy spread of knowledge and consequently, human progress.Mark Twain, the American writer, has called printing "the incomparably greatest event in the history of the world."Modern printing requires four things: movable type, printing press, printing ink and paper.

Influential person

Paper was invented in China in the first century A.D. and block printing developed by the Chinese in 8th century A.D. Credit goes to Gutenberg for developing the printing process as a production system. It was he who created a metal alloy suitable for the movable type, a mould for casting type blocks, an oil-based printing ink and a press fit for printing.Thus Gutenberg is the first human being who developed a complete printing process.Michael Hart, an American author, who has prepared a complete list of the 100 most influential persons in History, on the basis of the total amount of influence they had on human history and on the everyday lives of human beings, puts Johannes Gutenberg, eighth in the list and among the 15 most influential scientists third, above Albert Einstein!When Joseph Stalin, the Communist Dictator said: "Print is the sharpest and strongest weapon of our party," he was indebted to Gutenberg.So too was Thomas Carlyle, when he said: "He who invented the art of printing had created a whole new democratic world."There is no doubt that more than any other invention, printing has hastened the spread of knowledge and we bow our heads to the German Gutenberg, who made it possible.This is an extract from the book The Great Ones by V.K.Subramanian, Abhinav Publications, New Delhi


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