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Transcript of Johannes Gutenberg
There was major force that drove Johannes Gutenberg towards inventing the printing press. That force was that he never understood why access to books, which to him represented knowledge and wisdom, was a rich man’s luxury. Ever since he was a child he struggled to understand why he was allowed access to the beauty of literature while others were missing out. For that reason alone he dedicated his life to inventing the technology that would equal the playing field for access to books between the rich and the poor. He struggled through countless failures and years of financial struggles for the eventual benefit of everyone.
Johannes Gutenberg, through his invention of the printing press, transformed the industry for books by enabling a quicker duplication rate, thereby making books inexpensive and accessible to everyone.
When Gutenberg was 13 his family was driven out of Mainz because of corruption within the city.
When he was sixteen it was finally deemed safe for his family to return.
Gutenberg's exact year of birth is unknown, it is assumed that he was born between 1395 and 1399. He was born in Mainz, Germany.
Gutenberg was born to a wealthy family, his parents were named Friele zum Gensfleisch and Elsgen Wyrich.
In 1938, Gutenberg he moved to Strasburg, Germany to begin experimental construction of his envisioned quick printing technology. He began his work in an abandoned building, he did not want anyone to know what he was working on.
Gutenberg worked tirelessly everyday to make his vision a reality, but continuously failed. After multiple failures he was broke and had no choice but to return home to Mainz, Germany in the early 1440's.
A New Friendship...
Upon arriving in Mainz, Gutenberg met Joahann Fust. He was a rich goldsmith and lawyer.
Gutenberg told Fust the plans for his invention in hopes to gain funding. Upon hearing plans for his invention, Fust gave Gutenberg the funding he needed to continue his invention's developments.
Fust was becoming increasingly frustrated with Gutenberg. He felt as though Gutenberg was spending his money without any progress or results.
Fust took Gutenberg to court to to receive reimbursement for the money Gutenberg had borrowed from him. The judge decided in favor of Fust and Gutenberg lost all of his worldly possessions.
This troubling moment in their relationship did not hinder Gutenberg's ability to print the first book on his new printing press.
The Gutenberg Bible
The Printing Press
Gutenberg died on February 3, 1468. He lived out the remainder of his life in his hometown in Mainz, Germany.
He died before he was able to witness the success of his invention. Right before his death there were printing presses in use in all the major countries in Europe.
By providing a medium of expression books allow for understanding and appreciation of different cultures, experiences, and ideas.
The information found in major contributions and driving forces definitely extends upon my overall thesis. Through the invention of the printing press books were able to be accessed in some of the most remote locations in the world. I stated that Gutenberg’s invention made books more accessible to everyone, which by extension, it makes sense to say that accessibility allowed for the incentive for individuals to write books to share their experiences, ideas, and elements of their own culture. Accessibility is the major factor that extends upon my overall thesis, without accessibility there would not be a reason to express oneself in the written word.
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"Johann Fust" accessed September 30, 2014, http://cybernations.wikia.com/wiki/Republic_of_Strasburg
The first book ever printed on Gutenberg's printing press.
"The Gutenberg Bible", accessed September 30, 2014, http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/bibles/the-gutenberg-bible.html
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He Spread the Word
Johannes Gutenberg’s contribution to the book industry, the printing press, essentially made the industry possible. Prior to the creation of the printing press there was basically no market for books, because there was not a technology in existence that would permit a widespread duplication of books. The only people who had access to books were individuals who had the wealth to purchase them. There were only two methods of duplication used in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, handwriting them and block printing them. Both of which were not efficient or effective methods of printing.
Because of Gutenberg’s efforts the possibilities of books, the messages they could send, greatly increased. Primarily after its creation, the concepts of religion could reach beyond communities that had wealth and could buy bibles, to anyone who wanted to forge a relationship with God. Many people began to utilize the technology of the printing press to spread their messages on a grand scale through books. For example, the Protestant Reformation would not have been possible without the printing press. There was a surge in the number of books that were printed, written, and shared after the printing press was created. Ever since this initial surge books have been a major component of everyday society.
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Luther's Ninety-Five Theses
Cotter, Thomas F. 2003. "Gutenberg's Legacy."
California Law Review
This journal article documents the impacts that the invention of the printing press had on spreading information, particularly religion across the world. It also explains how the printing press provided access to books to many people. This information directly correlates to my overall thesis.
2013. "Johann Gutenberg."
English Bible History
. Accessed October 1, 2014. http://www.greatsite.com/timeline-english-bible-history/gutenberg.html.
This online source provided the bulk of the information of Gutenberg's personal history and his early life. It explained the main driving force behind why Gutenberg so desperately wanted to invent inexpensive, quick printing technology.
Kapr, Albert, and Douglas Martin. 1996.
Johann Gutenberg: The Man and His Invention
. Aldershot: Scolar Press
This book contains information that explained Gutenberg's processes for inventing the printing press and detailed his relationship with Johann Fust. It detailed that even though he experienced multiple failures he was determined to see his vision become reality. This information directly supported the significant friends category and also driving forces.
Johannes Gensfleisch Gutenberg
. Directed by A&E Television Networks.
This short film by A&E documents the importance and impact that the printing press had not only on the book industry, but the entire world. It documented elements that were relevant to almost every aspect of this biography project. It also stated that the printing press is considered one of the most important inventions in the world's history.
Rees, Fran. 2006.
Johannes Gutenberg: Inventor of the Printing Press
. Minneapolis: Compass Point Books.
This book goes to immense detail of Gutenberg's childhood and his family life and how those experiences shaped him into the inventor that he became. It focuses on his failures and how he grew through them and made him work harder to succeed in creating the printing press. It also explains the extent of Fust and Gutenberg's professional relationship. This information is helpful for various elements of this project.