In the day and age of modern technology, we often take for granted the fact that we can have long books and articles appear for us on a computer screen. Not long ago, the only available reading materials were in the form of physical texts, many of which were extremely costly to obtain due to being handwritten and hand-copied. Johann Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press and the affect had on the world during the time of the Renaissance, as well as the modern day impact it still has on us. The portrait at the top of the page is an artist’s depiction of what he believed Gutenberg to look like.
The invention of the printing press during the Renaissance had an enormous impact on not only the literacy rate, but also the amount of people who would now have access to books. With the invention of the printing press and movable type, just about anyone could get their hands on a piece of literature. The invention of the printing press allowed books to be mass produced more quickly, allowing for the “flowering of knowledge” that occurred during the Renaissance.
The impact of Gutenberg’s invention soon spread across 15th century Europe. By the beginning of the 16th century, printing workshops had opened in many of the western European countries. The printing press had even spread across to the Americas by the mid-16th century. (See Gutenberg’s Legacy)
Without the invention of movable type and the printing press during the Renaissance, we may be living in a completely different society today. The printing press helped to standardize they way we relay information through text, and helped bring books to the everyday member of society. In the modern world, the printing press laid the foundation for things like academic text books, online websites, and for others things as insignificant as a restaurant’s menu. Without Gutenberg’s invention modern society may very well be hundreds of years less advanced than where we are currently.