Johannes Gutenberg of Mainz, Germany began working on his Gutenberg Press starting in 1439. The Press was functional by 1450. For Gutenberg, inventing a press that could mass produce the written word was a holy calling, and an art form. When he printed his first bible in 1455, he took careful care to hand-carve each typeface and design the Gutenberg Bible so that it was as beautiful as it was efficient. He printed 180 bibles in 1455- this was unheard of at the time. Gutenberg changed the World.
You can see one of the most complete and functioning Gutenberg Press replicas, in the world, at the Crandall Historical Printing Museum. See a page from the Gutenberg's bible printed live.
English Common Press 1700's
With the help of the English Common Press, the United States of America was born. Pamphlets such a Thomas Pain's Common Sense and Benjamin Franklin's Poor Richard's Almanack were printed on the English Common Press. Copies of The Declaration of Independence were also produced on the English Common Press and circulated in the new American Nation, inspiring thousands to demand democracy and self-governance.
Surprisingly, not much printing technology changed from Gutenberg's 1450 press to the 1720 English Common Press. Gutenberg made a press that was sophisticated enough to span several centuries of time.
The presses at the Crandall Historical Printing Museum are full working... Come feel the type, print a page, and see first-hand how printing changed the world!
Acorn Hand Press 1800's
The Peter Smith Hand Press, commonly known as an Acorn Printing Press, used the same technology as the Gutenberg Press and the English Common, but now with a heavy metal frame instead of wood. The metal press allows for smaller typefaces and more precise printing. It was on this press, in Palmyra, New York, that one of the most talked about books in American History was printed, The Book of Mormon.
Both praised and criticized, The Book of Mormon brought together a new generation of worshippers in America. Freedom of religion and speech along with mass production on the Acorn Hand Press, brought about a world-wide religion commonly known as Mormonism.
Your experience at the Crandall Historical Printing Museum will never be forgotten!
A great little video by Wally on how the Gutenberg Press worked and its process!