They say Johannes Gutenberg printed his first Bible on February 23, 1455. No one is sure of the exact date since Gutenberg did not include a printer’s name or date on any of his texts. Historians base the attribution on typographical evidence and external references. Known as The Gutenberg Bible, the 42-line Bible, the Mazarin Bible, or the B42, it marks a transformative time in Europe and started the “Gutenberg Revolution,” or the age of the printed book in the West.
Did you know Gutenberg was not the first one to develop movable type? Between 1039 and 1048, Bi Sheng (990-1051) created the world’s first movable type. Little is known about Bi Sheng, but Chinese scholar-official Shen Kuo (1031–1095) recorded the details of his creation. In Shen Kuo’s book Dream Pool Essays, he describes Bi Sheng’s system that used an iron plate surrounded by an iron frame into which he placed Chinese porcelain type.
Bi Sheng’s porcelain type was fragile, and it never replaced the less expensive whole-block printing. Later, Wang Zhen (1290–1333) substituted Bi Sheng’s clay type with wooden ones, which increased typesetting speed.
The rest is history. I am thankful I don’t need to spend hours hunched over a blank page, considering each word before committing it to my day’s word count. Modern technology might have removed the angst around making a wrong mark on the page, but it seems like nothing can remove a writer’s self-doubt when they are creating. Despite astounding technological advances, some things never change.
Did you write yesterday? Are you writing today?
Keep on writing.
Jo Hawk The Writer