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Printing Press

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The Printing Press

Introduction: The Advancement The advancement in question is the printing press, a technological innovation that profoundly altered human culture. It may be argued, in fact, that this advancement revolutionized humanity and society in a manner rivaled only by the modern advent of the Internet. Moreover, as will be discussed, these were impacts with both varied and far-reaching consequences: “Paper and printing paved the way for religious reformation and made possible popular education” (Thompson, 1978, p. 167). It is then all the more astonishing that such consequences could arise from so simple a mechanism, or that its development would be realized as late as the 15th century. What is generally considered the original version of the modern printing press is a machine consisting of several key components. A long wooden table provides the surface for setting out the paper and ink, and these are then placed under the upright frame of the press itself. Before this step, however, every stage requires exacting work. First, the type is needed, which are metal blocks with raised letters, numbers, and punctuation marks on one end. This type is then arranged to spell out the document, smeared with ink, and lowered by the frame onto the paper by means of a large and adjustable screw, supported by a cross beam (Hook, 2009, p. 46). The press is, again, hardly an impressive-looking feat of engineering. Essentially, it looks like what is believed to have inspired its creation, a wine press, in that a simple apparatus, manipulated by hand, creates sufficient pressure to create an imprint of the ink onto the paper. This basic model, however, would serve as a template for many years. In time, technology would advance the invention to stages Gutenberg could not have imagined, as metals and electrical advancements...

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