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Paper, type, ink and rollers are the materials that go into the printing press, one of the most revolutionary inventions in the history of the world. From the time of the Gutenberg bible in the fifteenth century to the mass-produced books of the twenty-first century, the printing press has permitted ideas and knowledge to spread, transforming every aspect of everyday life. At the same time, printing has helped to shape alterations in social relations made possible by industrial development and economic transformations. By means of books, pamphlets, and the press, information of all kinds has reached all levels of society in most countries.

Print remains an extraordinarily powerful medium influencing thought, belief and culture and has given little ground to the power of other modern media. In view of the contemporary competition over some of its traditional functions, it has been suggested by some observers that printing is destined to disappear. On the other hand, this point of view has been condemned as unrealistic by those who argue that information in printed form offers particular advantages different from those of other audio or visual media. Printed texts and documents, though they require a longer time to be produced, are permanently available and so permit reflection. Print is directly accessible. Far from being fated to disappear, printing seems more likely to experience an evolution marked by its increasingly close association with these various other means by which information is placed at the disposal of humankind.

Reference List:
Crompton, SW 2004, The printing press: transforming power of technology, Chelsea House, Philadelphia.

Eisenstein, EL 1979, The printing press as an agent of change: communications and cultural transformations in early modern Europe, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Man, J 2002, The Gutenberg revolution: the story of a genius and an invention that changed the world, Review, London.

McMurtrie, DC 1943, The book: the story of printing and bookmaking, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Steinberg, SH 1961, Five hundred years of printing, Penguin, Harmondsworth, UK.

Websites for Images:

‘Antique books: Grose’ [image] 2003, from Old, viewed 26 August 2010,

‘Caxton, William’ [Image] 1816, from Encyclopaedia Britannica online, viewed 28 August 2010,

‘Columbian press’ [image] 1813, from The international printing museum, viewed 19 September 2010,

‘Gutenberg bible, [image] 2010, from, viewed 04 September 2010,

‘Johannes Gutenberg (c.1397- 1468) checking a letterpress proof’ [image] 2010, from designing with, viewed 26 August 2010,

‘Old books and paper scroll’ [image] 2010, from, viewed 28 August 2010,

‘Old paper with feather’ [image] 2010, from, viewed 28 August 2010,

‘Old paper scroll on a white background’ [image] 2010, from, viewed 26 August 2010,

‘Old paper scroll rolled’ [image] 2010, from, viewed 26 August 2010,

‘Platen printing press’ [image] 2010, from preserving my heritage, viewed 04 September 2010,

‘The collection: revolution of printing’ [image] 2010, from ink and, viewed 28 August 2010,

‘Type specimen from Johann Erasmus Luther’s typefoundary’ [image] 1678, from Library of the Gutenberg museum, viewed 04 September 2010,

‘Typesetting’ [image] 2010, from, viewed 26 August 2010,

Articles from Online Encyclopaedias:

‘papermaking’ 2010, Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica Online, viewed 24 August 2010.

‘printing’ 2010, Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica Online, viewed 18 August 2010.

‘typography’ 2010, Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica Online, viewed 04 September 2010.

Video citation:

Winans, D 2009, How did the printing press change the world? [videorecording], History Questions, 22 May, viewed 13 August 2010,

Flickr Image:

‘Stanhope press’ [image] 2008, from, viewed 08 September 2010,