Here I am sitting writing this blog entry on my laptop and I can’t even comprehend that I can print something as easy as moving my fingers, a fact that hundreds of years ago was a luxury. In the mid-1400s life forever changed when Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press, which wasn’t a very easy thing to do. This press took hours, days even, to print something. Letters were meticulous selected and put into a caste for the press, these letters ranged from being smaller than the top of a thumb tack to being the size of your finger nail. You would think that this wouldn’t take very long, just insert the letters and put it into the press, easy right? However it wasn’t, the letters had to fix so tight together so they wouldn’t fall out, they had wood placed on the rim and some even had lead placed between then letters. If the letters where that small then can you image how small and thin those lead pieces had to be? Another issues many printers ran into was having to make new molds, before a reusable mold was found, letters could only be used once. So if I wanted to print the word “Hello” I would have to make another “l” before I could finish the words.
While I read about the printing press in a couple of college classes, I didn’t fully grasped how small the letters could be until I visited a printed press. I didn’t grasp how much blood, sweat, and tears went into printing until I did it myself. Today, February 9, 2017, I watched as someone printed picture onto a piece of paper. Today, I used a 19th century printing press to print words on to a piece of paper. Finally today, I took a caste and, using about 10 pieces of wood and made the word “take” which, if it wasn’t a demonstration, later would be placed in the press to print on a piece of paper.
In today’s world all people have to do is type words on a computer and hit print, signals would then run into the printer and little lasers would place those words on a piece of paper. After learning how long and hard it was just to print a piece of paper, I realized that we take printing for granted. Even 70 years ago printing a page was still done pay hand, the inventions of the computer really demolish that way of work. Printing from a computer has become like flicking a light switch, it’s something we simply don’t think about. I won’t suggest that you read about the history of the printing press, however, instead of hitting the print button mindlessly just think about how it hard it was in the mid-1400’s.