Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg (1395-1468) was a German blacksmith, goldsmith, printer, and publisher who introduced printing to Europe.
His invention of mechanical movable type printing started the Printing Revolution and is widely regarded as the most important event of the modern period.
It played a key role in the development of the Renaissance, Reformation, the Age of Enlightenment, and the Scientific Revolution and laid the material basis for the modern knowledge-based economy and the spread of learning to the masses.
Gutenberg was the first European to use movable type printing, in around 1439.
Among his many contributions to printing are: the invention of a process for mass-producing movable type; the use of oil-based ink; and the use of a wooden printing press similar to the agricultural screw presses of the period.
His truly epochal invention was the combination of these elements into a practical system which allowed the mass production of printed books and was economically viable for printers and readers alike.
Gutenberg’s method for making type is traditionally considered to have included a type metal alloy and a hand mould for casting type.