Johannes Gutenberg's innovation spread throughout Europe and beyond.
The monopolistic controls that were held over Europe's economic and social life for centuries were broken, making Gutenberg a Hero of Progress.
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He was a 15th-century German goldsmith and inventor and is known for creating the first metal movable-type printing press.
Gutenberg's inventions included a process for mass-producing movable type, the use of oil-based ink for printing books, and adjustable molds.
Gutenberg had two presses, one for lucrative commercial texts, the other solely for printing the Bible.
In 1455, Fust (his moneylender) accused Gutenberg of misallocation of funds, sued Gutenberg, and demanded his money back. Fust won and took possession of the printing workshop and half of all the printed Bibles, leaving Gutenberg bankrupt.
Johannes Gutenberg's ideas started a printing revolution, as they accelerated the spread of information.
The printing press was used to fuel the later part of the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Scientific Revolution, making possible the start of the Industrial Revolution.
In 1459, Gutenberg opened a small printing shop in Bamberg (Bavaria), where he continued printing the Bible.
Six years later, Prince Archbishop of Mainz recognized Gutenberg's accomplishments and named him a gentleman of the court - meaning he could live on the court's large annual stipend.
The Kish tablet is dated to 3500 B.C. and is considered by some experts to be the oldest form of known handwriting. It features proto-cuneiform signs - symbols that resemble a physical object. The Egyptian hieroglyphs are similar to this form of writing and date back to 3200 B.C.
Written language seems to have come about around 1200 B.C. in China and around 600 B.C. in the Americas.
The German scientist was the first person to identify electromagnetic radiation in a wavelength that we today know as an x-ray.
The most common usage of x-rays includes detecting broken or fractured bones, heart problems, breast cancer, scoliosis, and tumors. X-ray machines are used to help save the lives of millions of people.