3 MORE Fun Facts: History of the Printing Press

Hello there, welcome back! In our previous blog, we took a look at the history of the printing press and uncovered that Guttenberg did not, in fact, invent the printing press; that the Diamond Sutra is the oldest surviving printed book in existence; and that the Buddhist faith started spreading rapidly through China after a peasant named Bi (Pi) Sheng took major strides in developing the movable type press.

We had such a great response that we decided to share three further interesting facts about the printing press today, so here goes!

Guttenberg’s Press Drew Inspiration from the Wine Trade

German goldsmith and craftsman Johannes Guttenberg is famously credited for ‘inventing’ the printing press, but we already debunked that myth in our previous article. What Guttenberg did do, however, was take major leaps forward in terms of mechanising the transferral of ink from movable type and paper. He did so by adapting the screw mechanism that was popular in wine presses at the time, and so created a system perfectly suited to quick, clean printing.

Australia’s First Press Was Run Exclusively By a Convict

The first printing press that ever made it to Australian shores came along with the First Fleet in 1788. There was just one issue – no-one knew how to use it! This is when an industrious convict named George Hughes took it upon himself to figure out the machine and used this sought-after skill to earn himself printing commissions from none other than New South Wales governor John Hunter. Which just goes to show there are always ways of setting yourself apart!

King Henry VIII spearheaded the printing movement in England

The controversial monarch granted a royal charter to fund the development of Cambridge University Press in 1534. This means that the press, which has been running non-stop since 1584, is the world’s oldest printing operation. Today, the business publishes more than 2000 titles a year that are distributed to 200+ countries around the globe. Quite amazing, is it not?

There you have it – three more interesting facts about the printing press and how it came to be. Keep an eye on the blog in the coming weeks and months for more expert insight into all things printing. In the meantime, feel free to get in touch with a member of the Asset Print team if you would like to learn more about our printing services and rates for 2020.


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