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Clay tablets and papyrus scrolls

Clay tablets and papyrus scrolls

  • Long before the use of paper, the Stimarians - people of Mesopotamia who lived around 3500-3000 B.C. - invented the Cuneiform writing system. It consisted of pictographs and phonograms that was etched on clay tablets. This method of writing was around for 2000 years.
  • Papyrus Scroll dates from around 2400 B.C. They were made from the stem of the Papyrus plant and were about 10 - 40 metres long. Ancient Egyptians used reeds or bird feathers to write on the scrolls.

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The first printed book

  • Block printing probably originated in China. The letter of Chinese alphabets were carved in mirror writing on large wooden blocks. The ink would be applied to the entire block, and then paper was pressed against the block. The oldest surviving printed book is the Buddhist t...

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192 reads

Digitisation and digitalisation

The invention of the computer, microprocessor, and the internet has created a major digital transformation to books. E-books (electronic books) have become common.

However, nothing can change the fact that a book in any form - physical books, e-books or audiobooks, remains a pleasure.

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192 reads

A revolution to printing and writing

  • In the 1440s, Johannes Gutenberg started to experiment with movable types. He made a metal movable type system of casting letters with screw press and hand mould. The machine was semi-mechanic but was very effective.
  • The first complete book printed on the movable type was the Guten...

51

153 reads

Codex and paper inventions

  • Codex is closer to modern books. The pages were made from folded leaves or parchments (animal skins) and bound together on one side, one after another. The earliest surviving codex dates back to the 4th century and is the greek biblical manuscript known as Codex Sinaiticus....

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221 reads

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Ink, paper, and writing implements

  • Ink. The Chinese invented 'Indian Ink', a mixture of soot from pine smoke and lamp oil mixed with the gelatin of donkey skin and musk. By the year 400, a stable form of ink consisted of iron salts, nutgalls, and gum. It became a formula for centuries.
  • Paper...

Quill pens and the printing press

  • The quill pen was used for the longest period in history. It was taken from living bird feathers in the spring. A quill pen lasted for one week before it had to be replaced.
  • In 1436, Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press. The ability to ma...

Portable records

  • Early merchants used clay tokens with pictographs to record the quantities of materials traded or shipped. These tokens date back to 8500 BCE. The pictographs evolved and became abstract figures representing sounds.
  • Around 400 BCE, the Greek alphabet was de...

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