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, 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.
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.
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’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!
But that’s a story for another day!