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Word Count: 882
The printing press is the most important invention in the last 1000 years It has had an enormous effect on every culture in the world and started an industry that controls massive amounts of power Without this invention our world would be very different whether for better or worse The original method of printing was invented in China and was known as block printing It was a very simple process in which you pressed sheets of paper into individually carved wooden blocks The Diamond Sutra of AD 868 is the first dated example of block printing The technique was also known in Europe where it was mostly used to print Bibles Since it was difficult to carve out each letter and most of Europe was illiterate the Paupers Bible was printed and it emphasized pictures And since a new block had to be carved for each page a variety of books could not be printed Bi Sheng in China invented the use of movable type in printing in 1041 AD Bi used clay type until China gave him money to produce metal blocks Since there are thousands of Chinese characters it benefited European languages much more Previously books were copied mainly in monasteries where monks wrote them out by hand Obviously books were therefore a scarce resource While it might take someone a year to hand copy a Bible with the Gutenberg press it was possible to create several hundred copies a year Each sheet still had to be fed manually which limited the reproduction speed and the type had to be set manually for each page which limited the number of different pages created per day Books produced in this period between the first work of Johanne Gutenberg and the year 1500 are collectively referred to as incunabula At the same time Martin Luther had started the Protestant Reformation and Gutenbergs findings not only allowed a much broader audience to read Martin Luther s
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