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Old 04-04-2014, 10:44 AM
 
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It seems that one of history's most revolutionary technologies was the printing press that Gutenberg invented. But yet China was printing with woodbloocks centuries earlier, and Korea was printing with moveable metal type a century before Gutenberg. So why did Gutenberg's printing press have such a tremendous impact on the world, compared to Asia?
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Old 04-04-2014, 11:18 AM
 
Location: New York City
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Asian countries maintained state control over printing for a long time. The power of printing in the West was that governments or the Pope couldn’t control it. Gutenberg-style printing became the Internet/Twitter of it’s day. It also had great timing. There was an explosion of literacy and radical ideas in Europe at the time that could take advantage of the invention.
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Old 04-04-2014, 11:42 AM
 
Location: Sinking in the Great Salt Lake
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The printing press was just a tool... it was the vast increase in the spread of knowledge (made easier by the printing press but not caused or totally maintained by it) that changed the world.

Ancient China stagnated and eventually fell far behind the times because the State succesufully controlled and limited the spread of knowledge. They could of had the Internet in Ancient China and got the same results, to say nothing of their printing technology.
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Old 04-05-2014, 12:31 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chango View Post
The printing press was just a tool... it was the vast increase in the spread of knowledge (made easier by the printing press but not caused or totally maintained by it) that changed the world.

Ancient China stagnated and eventually fell far behind the times because the State succesufully controlled and limited the spread of knowledge..
Interesting, that, in view of the fact that Gutenberg's first job was the Bible. Which was the church (instead of the state, but even more powerful) controlling and limiting the spread of knowledge. It's real value came when heretics got hold of it, one of history's great ironies..

Last edited by jtur88; 04-05-2014 at 12:40 PM..
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Old 04-05-2014, 01:26 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RisingSun361 View Post
It seems that one of history's most revolutionary technologies was the printing press that Gutenberg invented. But yet China was printing with woodbloocks centuries earlier, and Korea was printing with moveable metal type a century before Gutenberg. So why did Gutenberg's printing press have such a tremendous impact on the world, compared to Asia?
By all accounts, there was a working steam engine in ancient Greece. But an invention is not worth a tinker's dam if it isn't put to use. Western civilization actually put the printing press to work, disseminating knowledge far and wide and accelerating literacy. This is especially true because, at the end of the Medieval period, there was a great deal of curiosity about the rationalism of the Greeks and Romans.
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Old 04-06-2014, 07:12 AM
 
Location: Here.
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The same reason that Italians are known for pasta, which they got from Asia (and tomato sauce which came from America). It's because our history is European based. If the Chinese had settled America instead of the Europeans, so you think any "Americans" would know who Gutenberg is?
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Old 04-06-2014, 07:30 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RisingSun361 View Post
It seems that one of history's most revolutionary technologies was the printing press that Gutenberg invented. But yet China was printing with woodbloocks centuries earlier, and Korea was printing with moveable metal type a century before Gutenberg. So why did Gutenberg's printing press have such a tremendous impact on the world, compared to Asia?
When people say that Gutenberg's printing press changed the world, that was at a point where histories were more Eurocentric. It certainly did change the world, but that's from our point of view. On the other hand, before we all rush to bash Westerners, keep in mind that Easterners (and everyone ever) also view things from their point of view. If you go to Asian countries, they're not all lauding the accomplishments of the West, probably. Finally, I'm not sure of this, so maybe someone can inform us, but I believe the two were independently invented (i.e., that Gutenberg didn't hear about a Chinese printing press and just rip it off). So we can surely credit the Chinese with inventing the first printing press, but that doesn't detract from Gutenberg.

I also think I saw a piece on the History Channel where they said that printing didn't quite take off as much in China because they had so many "characters" (they're not really characters like we Westerners have an alphabet). This made it very cumbersome. I think even today the programs used to type in Chinese may be a little cumbersome, but again I don't type in Chinese, so someone could correct me.
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Old 04-06-2014, 09:57 AM
 
Location: New York City
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The revolutionary innovation was not the nuts-and-bolts of a particular printing press, but the creation of mass media. Gutenberg gets a lot of credit, but it wasn’t about the actual machine rather how it was used.
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Old 04-06-2014, 11:26 AM
Zot
 
Location: 3rd rock from a nearby star
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In eastern alphabets, particularly in Korea, but also in China, the alphabet is very large. In the west typically the alphabet is small. Classic Korean for example uses Hangul it requires either multiple aligned prints to develop a Han (a grammatical fragment), there are over 11,172 potential Hans for the classic Korean alphabet.

Gutenberg needed about 30 or so letters, not thousands. Thus he movable metal type was easier to print and distribute at lower cost. Prior to Gutenberg writing books was labor intensive, it required a literate person, usually trained in Latin, to transcribe a work onto vellum. This was expensive labor and material. Gutenberg was able to use illiterates to run the press, and as such was able to create very low cost products in the vernacular people spoke.
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Old 04-06-2014, 01:03 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
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The Chinese said "Gutenberg? We don't like his type around here."
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