Chapter 22. Printing Gutenberg Never Imagined


Gutenberg’s movable type printing press depended on arranging rows of metal letters by hand. Made from an alloy of lead, tin, and antimony, each letter was molded on one end to create a mirror image of the character to be printed. They were placed, molded side out, on a tray, one after the other, until an entire line of mirrored words was created. And then the type setter started on the next line. When a page’s worth of type was done, the type was bound into a form, coated with ink, and a press forced parchment or paper against the type to pick up the ink.

It may sound like a slow way to print the ...

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