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A.O. Kime Articles:

AGRICULTURE
Betrayal
Biocontrols
Bio-oddity #1
Bio-oddity #2
CECA
DDT ban
Family farms
Farm facts
Farm socialism
Kansas Settlement
Kime ordeal
Mission creep
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ANTIQUITY
American cavemen
Ancient history
Ancient pyramids
Caveman facts
Caveman story
Cavemen-cultural
Charles Darwin
Cumbemayo
Evolution
Herodotus
Kennewick Man
Montezuma Castle
Neanderthals
Pre-Clovis cultures
Shoofly Village ruins
Stone Age history
Stone Age timelines
Stone Age tools
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METAPHYSICAL
Afterlife
Bodhisattva
Death
Divine Creation
Divine intelligence
Dreams
Dynamics of now
Empowering God
Enlightenment
Ethics
Evil (nature of)
Gift of life
Guardian angels
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Light (nature of)
Matrix (real)
Melissos
Metaphysical poetry
Metaphysics
Mnemosyne
Muse
Plotinus
Polytheism
Semantics
Sixth sense
Spiritual soul
Spirit world
Subconscious mind
Suicide
Superhumanness
Time (nature of)
Two Septembers
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SOCIOPOLITICAL
19th century
Arrogance
Civil wars
Civilization
Coolness
Curse of science
Economic injustices
Establishment
Foreign policies
Freedom
Globalization
Grand Jury
Infringements
Int'l Criminal Court
Majority rule
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Minority rights
Outsourcing
Politesse
Power lust
Proposition 203
Rule of law
Sovereign immunity
Tariffs
Tobacco taxation
Tyrants
War contradictions
War criminals
World wars
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The History of the Printing Press

artist rendition of woman picking a book from a shelf

A short history lesson on the revolution in publishing

The History of the Printing Press
by J. Dubo
Copyright 2006 business-cards.com

History would have us believe the first printed book, like so many inventions, came out of China. The publication, “The Diamond Sutra” appeared in 868 AD and the print type was most certainly made from clay. Others insist that there were earlier examples of printed books or certainly sheets, but experts have not come forward with either evidence or titles.

However, there is a lot of evidence telling us the first printing press originated in what is now modern day Germany, which at the time comprised a series of princely states. The first, or “the Guttenberg Press” came into being somewhere between 1436 and 1440. The inventor, Johannes Gutenberg was a goldsmith and inventor. The typeface was composed of at first wooden and then later metal letters. It is probably true to say that this invention played a very significant part in the shaping of thinking and learning in the history of the World. Prior to Gutenberg books had to be copied, by hand usually by monks who acted as scribes.

These illuminated manuscripts were truly beautiful pieces of work, but the costs involved put them well beyond the means of the ordinary man in the street. Thus they remained the possessions of the Church, the monarchy and the very rich. Gutenberg’s press changed all that and suddenly the written word was available to the middle classes and all who could read. This revolution certainly resulted in the ongoing Renaissance and later the Reformation of religion, which loosened the stranglehold that Catholicism held on Europe. Gutenberg’s major contribution to this movement was his printing of the Bible in 1452. Interestingly the “Gutenberg Printing Press” remained the standard form of printing right up until the twentieth century. True improvements such offset printing occurred along the way, but his invention had a huge impact on civilization.

Those of us educated under the British School system were of the impression that William Caxton was the father of printing. Unfortunately this notion is untrue. William Caxton was actually a wool merchant who was initially apprenticed to one time Lord Mayor of London, Robert Large. On Large’s death he moved to the magnificent medieval city of Bruges in Belgium, the then center of the textile industry. He was very successful and became an advisor to Charles, Duke of Burgundy. Charles’s wife was Margaret sister of the English King Edward IV. Caxton and the Duchess became firm friends and it was she who persuaded him to translate and later publish what was to become the first printed book in English.

“The Recuyell of the Historyies of Troye”, was originally written in French by Raoul Le Fvre. The book appeared in 1474, 22 years after the “Gutenberg Bible”. Ironically, Caxton had to go to Germany and study printing in Cologne before returning to Bruges where he set up his own printing works. I suppose the Belgians could also claim to be the home in which the first book printed in English was to appear.

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About the author J. Dubo:

J. Dubo was associated with business-cards.com but the website is no longer online.
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Last modified: 02/09/15