The 15th century - the formative years of modern printing
1041 Movable clay type invented in China.
1436 Gutenberg commenced work on his press.
1440 Gutenberg completed his wooden press which
used metal moving type.
1455 Gutenberg completed work on his 42 Line
1455 Gutenberg was effectively bankrupt.
1456 Mazarw Bible printed in Mainz.
1461 Albrecht Pfister printed the first
illustrated book Edelstein which featured a number of woodcuts.
1462 The attack on Mainz
by soldiers of the Archbishop of Nassau, caused printers to flee the city and
spread their skills around Europe.
1476 William Caxton sets
up his press in West-minster.
1477 The first book to be
printed in England (by Caxton) Dictes or Sayengis of the Philo-sophres.
1491 Caxton died and his
press was taken over by his assistant Wynkyn de Worde.
1499 Printing had become
established in more than 250 cities around Europe. first time, England would
lead the way with its literary genius.
The 16th century - a period of consolidation
1501 Italic characters first
used in Manutius's Virgil.
1518 Roman types began to
replace Gothic typestyles.
1550 Metal screw threads
introduced as a replacement for wooden ones to assist the power action of
1559 Plantin's Polyglot
Bible printed, with features by engraved intaglio prints.
1563 Parliament passed
the Statute of Artificers Act which proved greatly restrictive to craftsmen.
1572 John Day introduced
Roman type in England.
1584 Cambridge University
commenced printing continuing to the present-day.
1587 Oxford University
1593 Printing of
Shakespeare's Venus & Adonis represented the dawn of a new era in
17th Century printing - the literary era.
1604 King James Bible printed - it needed 47
1609 Avisa Relation oder Zeitung, the world's first newspaper was
printed by Johan Carolus of Strasbourg.
1620 Censorship and war in Europe led Holland to become an early centre
1620 Willem Blaeu of Amsterdam adapted the standard wooden presses to
take a spring and suspended platen.
1637 The number of printers and foundries in England was limited by
1639 Englishman Stephen Day set up the first press in the US.
1644 Parliament passed the notorious Licensing Act and printed work was
subjected to censorship.
1665 Charles II took refuge from the plague in Oxford. He permitted
Henry Muddiman to print a paper called the Oxford Gazette. When the Royal court
returned to London, Muddiman and his journal went with them and the London
Gazette was born.
1666 The first paper banknote was printed by the Bank of Sweden.
1689 Parliament's Declaration of Rights which ultimately led to the downfall
of the Licensing Act.
1694 The Licensing Act expired and was not renewed.
1694 Bank of England founded as a joint stock company, heralding a new
1699 Papermaking had been one of the main growth industries of the
century. By this year, 150 mills in England employed over 2,500 workers.