kottke.org posts about book history

Short history of print in two pictures

posted by Tim Carmody   Aug 11, 2010

This is what Gutenberg's hand-powered printing press probably looked like:

Gutenberg Replica

And this is what a steam-driven rotary printing press looked like in 1851:

Rotary Press

And that's before we get to wide use of electricity, before wood-pulp paper, before linotype machines, before offset printing for images, before typewriters and paperbacks, before almost everything.

This is why it bothers me when people say things like "the book is stalled out, in terms of technology, at 1500 AD." You just have no idea what you're talking about.

See also Matthew Battles, "shut up about gutenberg already."

Images via the Museum of Idaho and Scientific American. (The second picture is of SciAm's press in the 19th century.)