The Printing Press

In the early 1450s Johannes Gutenberg from Mainz in Germany put together several already existing technologies to take advantage of a business opportunity. Gutenberg wanted to make money out of printing 'indulgences', 'get out of jail free cards' the Church issues to sinners who donated money for crusades or new buildings.
So the printing press was born, the bastard child of a winepress, Chinese paper technology and the economic imperative. Since then Gutenberg's press has had a massive impact, not just on media economics, but on the way human societies think about knowledge. However, it's worth noting that the explosion of publishing had to wait for over a hundred and fifty years before Caxton made large scale print runs viable and paper tax was abolished in the nineteenth century.
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