Middle Ages Technologies

Printing Press

by Jonathan Alves

The printing press was a useful invention, because everybody could have a lot of copies without having to write them all out by hand. The invention specifically helped spread religion, which I am going to talk about later on.

The earliest printing press, in Tang China during the 600s, looked like a woodblock with raised reversed letters on the bottom. It would be stamped in ink and used for making a lot of copies of writing. It was also used for printing out pictures of the emperor.

One of the earliest ways in which it helped the Chinese was through the mass production of Buddhist scriptures, because the Chinese were skilled at making them. It helped them with the Diamond Sutra and other scriptures that were very important to Buddhism. It was useful in helping Buddhism to travel around China because people would be reading the many printed scriptures.

In the 11th Century, the Song Chinese developed the movable type printing press.

By the 15th Century, Europe was ready to try its hand at printing. With only 26 letters in their alphabet, they found the production of movable type documents even more efficient than the Chinese had.

They used oil for ink. Gutenburg from Germany used a wine press to make a printing machine because it was easier than punching it down.

Like the Chinese, the Europeans made early use of the printing press to produce copies of religious scriptures. The many copies of the Bible helped people turn to Christianity, and helped Christianity to develop new forms that accommodated a more literate congregation.