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Biographies Unit Biographies

Johannes Gutenberg 1400?-1468?
Inventor of the Printing Press

Did you know that 600 years ago people used to make copies of books by writing each page by hand? It would take months to make one book! Johannes Gutenberg changed that. He invented the printing press.

When Gutenberg was growing up, most people in Europe did not read or write. They did not buy books. Books cost a lot of money. Only wealthy people owned them. Gutenberg found a way to print words. People in Korea and China had invented it hundreds of years ago, but no one in Europe knew about it. Gutenberg cut metal into letters. He sorted the letters into words. Then he covered them with ink. Gutenberg printed words on paper the way you would use a stamp and an inkpad.

Gutenberg became famous for printing the Bible. It was called the Gutenberg Bible. Gutenberg's printing press made it possible to make books more easily and cheaply. Then more people bought and read books. The printing press changed the way people shared information and ideas.

Comprehension Check

What did Gutenberg's printing press do?

Critical Thinking

In what way did Gutenberg change life for Europeans in the 1400s?