Though he didn’t invent mechanical movable-type himself, he was the first one to use it, in order to ultimately establish the method of book mass printing. His work started the Printing Revolution in Europe and is remembered as a milestone of the second millennium, ushering in the modern period of human history. It played a key role in the growth of the Renaissance, Reformation, Age of Enlightenment and Scientific Revolution, as well as laying the material basis for the modern knowledge-based economy and the spread of learning to the masses.
According to popular opinion, he was born in 1397 and passed away on February 3, in 1468, at the age of 71. His hometown is Mainz, in Germany and he is considered the “father” of typography. Around 1430 he moved to Strasbourg. On March of 1434, one of his letters indicated that he had relatives from his mother’s side living in the area. In Strasbourg, he started experimenting in metal working, while on 1434 he took his first steps in typography.
The trained goldsmith, member of the respective guild, experimented with wooden movable components, back in 1434. The first results appeared in 1436, when he started printing popular and religious books. In 1441, after many attempts, he finally managed, using a more improved kind of ink, to print in both sides of one paper.
In 1455, Gutenberg completed his 42-line Latin Bible, known as the Gutenberg Bible. About 180 copies were printed, most on paper and some on vellum, an extraordinary labor and his first typography product. The Gutenberg Bibleis considered the first mass production book of high aesthetics and technical quality.
Project Gutenberg, a project clearly named after him, is a voluntary effort to digitize, archive and distribute cultural works through the Internet. It started in 1971 and is, today, the oldest digital library.