A printing system based on the use of separate elements to reproduce the individual symbols on a page. This technique was pioneered in China using ceramic pieces in the 11th century; the first movable metal type was produced in Korea in the 13th century, where the first book using this method was printed in 1377. In Europe at this time, wood block printing had only just begun. Around 1450 Gutenberg created his own printing system, using a hand-operated printing press and metal movable type which could produce far more copies than woodblocks, with less deterioration. The use of movable metal type was also a much quicker method than the earlier use of a woodblock for each page. The relatively limited number of Western alphabetical letters made movable type more practicable than it was with thousands of Chinese characters. The Gutenberg Bible of 1455 was one of the first books printed using the new system, and printing subsequently spread rapidly across Europe. Gutenberg's printing system is widely regarded as the most important invention of the second millennium.
http://www.bl.uk/treasures/gutenberg/homepage.html The Gutenberg Bible
Subjects: Media studies