Medieval Technology - Civil Technologies - Printing, Paper and Reading

Printing, Paper and Reading

Movable type printing press (1440s)

Invented by Johannes Gutenberg. His great innovation was not the printing itself, but instead of using readily-carved plates as before, he used separate letters (types) from which the printing plates for pages were made up. This meant the types were recyclable and a page cast could be made up far faster than with readily-carved plates.

Paper (13th)

Invented in China, transmitted through Islamic Spain to Europe in the 13th century where the papermaking processes were mechanized by water-powered mills and paper presses (see paper mill).

Spectacles (1280s)

European innovation. Florence, Italy. Convex lenses, of help only to the far-sighted. Concave lenses were not developed prior to the 15th century.

Watermark (1282)

Medieval innovation to mark paper products and to discourage counterfeiting. First introduced in Bologna, Italy.

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