Johann Gutenberg

Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg (circa 1390s - February 3, 1468), German metal-worker and inventor, achieved fame for his contributions to the technology of printing, including a type metal alloy and oil-based inks, and a new kind of printing press based on presses used in winemaking. Tradition credits him with inventing movable type, an improvement on the block printing already in use in Europe.

Gutenberg was born in Mainz as the son of a merchant named Friele Gensfleisch zu Laden, who adopted the surname "zum Gutenberg" after the name of the neighborhood into which the family had moved.

Though the Chinese and Koreans knew of block printing and even movable metal types at the time, it is unclear whether Gutenberg knew of these techniques or invented them independently. Some also claim Laurens Coster as the first European to invent movable type.

Gutenberg certainly introduced efficient methods into book production, leading to a boom in the production of texts in Europe, in large part due to the popularity of the Gutenberg Bibles, the first mass-produced work, starting on February 23, 1455. The Gutenberg Bibles surviving today are probably the oldest surviving books printed with movable type, though the oldest surviving block printed books come from Korea. As of 2003, the Gutenberg Bible census includes 11 complete copies on vellum, 1 copy of the New Testament only on vellum, 48 substantially complete integral copies on paper, with another divided copy on paper.

The term incunabulum refers to a western printed book produced between the first work of Gutenberg and the end of the year 1500.

A statue of Gutenberg, a work by Thorvaldsen stands in Mainz, which also hosts the Gutenberg Museum.

The Gutenberg Galaxy and Project Gutenberg commemorate Gutenberg's name.

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