Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Book printing and binding - another Medieval innovation of the first order
Changing the world during the supposed Dark Ages....
by Ferdinand III
The idea of a manuscript or early-book, with bounded pages, easily accessible and mass produced was created in Medieval Europe. No society before had manufactured as much content in a digestible form as the European Medieval Christian civilization. By 1200 there were literally hundreds of thousands of painstakingly created manuscripts in Europe. This massive corpus of information ranging from the theological, to the scientific, was funded by the Church. Monks, clergy and Church-schools within monasteries turned out magnificent works of art on every subject imaginable, from agricultural innovations, to laws and land records.
Paper manufacture was created sometime in the 13th century in Europe. Before a cost-effective approach to paper creation, the medieval European used parchment or vellum made from the skins of sheep, calves, or goats. The process in creating these writing fabrics is long and expensive. But there was little choice. With the Moslem Jihad blocking Mediterranean trade, the supply of papyrus used as paper in the ancient world dried up. Trade routes shifted from the south to the north, and contact was made overland with China for example. The idea of paper manufacturing originated in the East and was perfected in medieval Europe.
Europeans used wood block printing sometime after 1200 AD. The problem with this process was that wooden printing blocks wore out quickly when compared to the time it took to carve them. It was tedious and expensive and making books took an extremely long time. Instead of wood, metal was needed. It was quicker to mold and reproduce and cheaper to create. It is no surprise that during the supposed Dark Ages, it was a goldsmith from Mainz, Germany, Johannes Gutenberg, who created the interchangeable metal type which allowed him to print many different pages, using the same letters over and over again in different combinations. He added to this innovation the key elements of movable type, rag paper, the squeeze press, and oil based inks to invent the first printing press in 1451. This innovation occurred during the Dark Ages according to the Enlightenment geniuses.
By 1482, Western Europe possessed 100 printing presses, and the rest of the world 0. There were approximately 50 in Italy, 30 in Germany, 9 in France, 8 each in Spain and Holland, and 4 in England. A Venetian printer, Aldus Manutius, realized that the real market was not large Bibles, but for smaller, cheaper, and easier to handle smaller pamphlets. The medieval European thus created the entire book reading industry, segmented by taste and price. Hundreds of thousands of smaller books were in print by 1500 along with books on every topic imaginable.
Keep in mind that the big-brain revisionists usually classify book-creation and printing as part of the Renaissance. Book manufacturing was in full swing in Europe by 1200 AD. Printing was obviously and decidedly a Medieval invention. These revisionists are the same people of course, who believe that Charles Martel's victory in 732 AD over the Moslems, was a minor event over just a small raiding party. These large-craniums do not want to repair their own theological view of the world: Enlightenment good. Medieval bad.