The printing press

A replica of a Gutenberg press stands in the book workshop and conveys the media revolution of the 15th and 16th centuries.

2013 RB 6639 AT Objekt Druckerwalze
2019 IMG 0107 Objekt Druckerp

Ink is applied to the printing roller. Visitors can print their own Bible page during guided tours.

The printing press is a further development that goes back to the Mainz goldsmith Johannes Gensfleisch, called Gutenberg (around 1400-1468). It is based on a spindle press, as also used in the 15th century for the production of wine and paper. A vertical plate is lowered by turning a spindle, which causes the pressure of the plate to act evenly on a support underneath.

From the Gutenberg Bible to the Reformation

The use of so-called movable type is new. Gutenberg makes individual, mirror-inverted letters out of metal. He used these letters to compose words into lines and whole pages. Between 1452 and 1455 he printed 180 copies of his famous Gutenberg Bible in this way.

Gutenberg’s printing method democratises knowledge. Books are affordable for an ever greater number of people. In addition, information and knowledge content that is unpleasant for the powerful can no longer be censored so easily, as it can be disseminated quickly in large numbers by means of book printing. The power of the new medium soon becomes apparent: the success of the Reformation is also a success of Gutenberg’s printing press.

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