February 21, 2018

How Gutenberg Changed the World in Mainz

During my exploration of Historic Germany, I visited Mainz a wonderful city on the Rhine River that’s known for Chagall blue stained glass windows in St. Stephans, its beautiful old town, a dominate Romanesque Cathedral and, of course, being the center of Germany’s largest wine region!

Mainz is one of Germany’s oldest towns so it makes sense that a lot of history has passed through its streets and its no surprise that one event taking place in Mainz literally changed the world!

Prior to 1439, books and schools were very expensive and, therefore, reserved for only wealthy men.  In fact, higher education was reserved for boys that would devote their lives to the church.

Johannes Gutenberg Mainz Germany

Johannes Gutenberg Mainz Germany

Johannes Gutenberg, born in Mainz during 1398, invented the movable type printing press here in 1439. The Gutenberg Press introduced printing to Europe and changed the world by spreading learning to the people.  This one invention was the fuel for revolutions that spread across the world from the Renaissance to the Scientific Revolution!

What the world is today, good and bad, it owes to Gutenberg. Everything can be traced to this source, but we are bound to bring him homage, … for the bad that his colossal invention has brought about is overshadowed a thousand times by the good with which mankind has been favored.” Mark Twain

Beginning in 1452, Gutenberg printed 180 Bibles.  The 48 Gutenberg Bibles still existing today are thought to be the most valuable books in the world.

Gutenberg Museum Mainz Germany

Gutenberg Museum Facade Mainz Germany

The Gutenberg Museum is one of the oldest museums in the world dedicated to printing.  The administration and restoration department are housed in the beautiful Zum Romischen Kaiser building while the exhibits on printing equipment, techniques, graphics, paper and examples of printed materials from different countries are housed a few steps away.

Gutenberg Press Mainz Germany

Gutenberg Press Mainz Germany

It is here that you will be able to see replicas of Gutenberg’s printing press, demonstrations, and glimpse two Gutenberg Bibles on display.

Gutenberg Bible Mainz Germany

Gutenberg Bible by yoTraveler, on Flickr

Gutenberg’s printing press saved time and money making books more readily available leading to a more learned population which, in turn, caused people to read more and ask questions.  Another way Gutenberg’s printing press contributed to changing the world was through the life of a young man in Erfurt Germany, Martin Luther.

But that’s a story for another day!


These pictures are part of Travel Photo Thursday!
For more great pictures,make sure to check out Budget Travelers Sandbox.
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  1. Lincoln says:

    Thank you for sharing your info. I truly appreciate your
    efforts and I will be waiting for your next post thank you once again.
    Lincoln recently posted..Lincoln

  2. An interesting discussion is worth comment. There’s no doubt that that you should publish more about this subject matter,
    it might not be a taboo subject but usually people do not talk
    about these issues. To the next! Many thanks!!
    http://Www.Wheegotalk.Com/ recently posted..http://Www.Wheegotalk.Com/

  3. As someone who’s been involved with books and publishing, I’ve enjoyed being shown the city where Mr. Gutenberg was born.
    I don’t think I knew or realized that boys were expected to devote their lives to the church. But on further thought, it makes sense. Bad enough that only males were educated.

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      During the time, the church controlled a lot of things including education and they only educated boys. It is sad but I’m glad we’ve evolved from this point!

  4. Nancie says:

    Very interesting, Debbie! Would definitely visit this museum to thank Mr. Gutenberg personally for all the books I have gotten to read over the years, and all because of his printing press 🙂
    Nancie recently posted..Through the Sandbox Lens #51 — Chiang Mai Sunrise

  5. This was such an educational and informative post! Thank goodness for Gutenberg and what an important part he played in history. I would love to visit this museum. We’re not going to be in this part of Germany this summer but hopefully soon.
    Mary @ The World Is A Book recently posted..Five Fun and Free Things to do in Tampa with Kids

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      Well don’t forget, Mainz is about 1/2 hour from Frankfurt by train so a quick visit may be easier than you thought 🙂

  6. What a fascinating museum to visit! I would love to see one of the Gutenberg bibles in person – such an important part of history!
    Lisa from Gone With The Family recently posted..This is My Canada

  7. Leigh says:

    I learned a lot from this post Debbie. Most of us take books for granted so hard to imagine the days before them – or the fact only the wealthy and boys were taught to read. Mind you in how many countries does that still happen.
    Leigh recently posted..Dazzled by the Lake Louise Ice Sculptures

  8. Thanks heavens for Gutenberg. Where would we be without him!
    jenny@atasteoftravel recently posted..The Children of Jordan’s Al-Amir Village.

  9. How very interesting and although in a distant memory I knew of the name, it was great to read the full story. How wonderful historical travels can be 🙂
    Johanna at ZigaZag recently posted..The Zen of Home and Living in WA Tips.

  10. budget jan says:

    How amazing that is. I have never given thought to the first book publishers and that our world would not have progressed without them.
    budget jan recently posted..Wwoofing Interview – A Ticket to Budget Travel

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      I know what you mean. It’s really interesting to look back and see how inventions made so many years ago impact us daily!

  11. I love historical travels, so of course I loved this post. And I’m imagining those people said, “well that’s all well and good, but I prefer the feel of vellum and the look of the hand lettered pages.” What? CHANGE?
    Vera Marie Badertscher recently posted..Photo Essay: Sightseeing Amongst The Dead

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