The printing press is a machine. It is used to make many copies of identical pages. The printing press today is used to print books and newspapers. It had a great influence on society, especially western society. It was "one of the most potent agents... of western civilisation in bringing together the scattered ideas of thinkers".
Woodcut printing has been done for several centuries. But that was whole pages cut into wood, words and pictures. In the 15th century when Johannes Gutenberg improved the process. He used separate alloy letters screwed into a frame. This way a large set of letters could make almost any page for printing. This process was called typesetting. Each letter was in a block of metal, that was fixed in a frame. He could then move paper and ink over it, much like a stamp. This method was called letterpress. The letters would leave ink on the paper in the shape of the letters, creating text or illustrations. Today printing presses are automated.
References[change | change source]
- Lefebre L & Martin H-J. 1990. The coming of the book: the impact of printing 1450–1800. London: NLB.