German blacksmith, goldsmith, printer and publisher Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg died on this day in 1468.
Gutenberg's name is essentially synonymous with printing. His invention, the movable-type printing press in 1440, revolutionized Europe and the World, and is widely considered to be the most important invention of the second millennium.
Literary works ceased to be available only to the educated elite; they were now accessible by all, across borders. The spread of languages grew immensely. As did scientific and religious works. Learning became more inclusive.
Gutenberg's printing press relied on an existing printing process, used only for pictures. An image would be carved on a block of wood or sheet of copper, then covered in ink, and a sheet of paper would be pressed against the inked surface.
The method used for book printing consisted in embossing lead letters, themselves engraved in metal matrices, filling the molten type-metal into molds, and used screw presses.
Technically though, printing methods using porcelain and metal were invented invented in China centuries earlier.