BBC – Stephen Fry – The Machine That Made Us

I’ve always been rather fond of books in fact I think they’re just about the most important things we’ve ever created the building blocks of our civilization so when someone suggested a journey in search of the genius who invented the printing press I jumped the chance my lord is this it this is it this was the man who launched the first media revolution and opened the door to the modern age but his story shrouded in mystery so to get closer to him we also decided to stage an experiment and build our own medieval printing press beautiful that meant getting to grips with the tools and technology of the 15th century and actually making some of the ingredients with my own bare take me back to the armaments floor where I was already dunderhead as it turned out that was the most revealing bit of all that connected to giving birth somehow just by doing this so here it is then the slightly more hands-on than I expected story of Johannes Gutenberg and his marvelous machine well if you’re anything like as old as me you may well remember this a John Doe printing outfit made in England this was where I got my first experience of how printing works really and simple as it is these little rubber bits here tell you all you need to know about printing with movable type you’ve got ink oh there it is oh no get my fingers dirty read it there are lots of different letters and you can rearrange them in any way you want onto one of these I think is called a form and then when you print out hmm it’s exactly the same every time you can have hundreds thousands millions of pages are identical and there we are so the point about you being movable-type is that I can move these letters into any order make another word no unlike Scrabble so I’m going to mess around with my name again there we are so how is it it took mankind so long to bring together these simple elements into one machine that could make books the breakthrough was made by a man called Johannes Gutenberg more than 500 years ago his printing machine was the most revolutionary advancing technology since the invention of the wheel and we’re still living with its consequences today as you can see here in the basement of the British Library where they hold a copy of every book published in English you know there are 13 miles of shelves here or another 8 miles added every year as 3 million new books come on stream English above me all the readers demanding their books a little idea that is this labyrinth of shelves here it was the invention of the printing press which started all this making mass production of books possible for the first time in history within a few years there were millions of them in circulation and as they traveled they carried their precious cargo of new ideas or theories philosophy or propaganda to every part of Europe and beyond sowing the seeds for that great cultural blossoming we call the Renaissance the fruits of Gutenberg’s work can be seen all around us but it’s more important than that for everything that our culture and our civilization depends on starts with Gutenberg’s invention and this was his calling card one of the first and finest books created using his new machine to the modernize the Gutenberg Bible opens a window onto a vanished world of monks and monasteries but when it first appeared in the 1450s it was viewed not as a reminder of the past that has a signpost to the future glittering proof that a new Information Age was dawning in Europe fuelled by the power of the printed word I want to find out how and why Gutenberg invented his machine to answer the how question I’m planning a

unique experiment and here’s the laboratory where it’s all going to have me go this workshop in the heart of England may not look very high-tech that’s because the job I have in mind requires 15 sentry materials and techniques and a man who spent a lifetime investigating the first printing pioneers step forward Alan may so this is work you’re going to tend to build a pretty person that’s the idea yes but not in the old press I want a fully operational Gutenberg’s dial 1 there aren’t any surviving machines from this early period and no one’s ever discovered an illustration of what they looked like so Alan has his work cut out well essentially this is uncharted territory it’s a detective story of your Island the earliest illustration of the printing press is to Danse Macabre 1499 that’s about 50 years after Gutenberg arches yes sir yes I think they’ve all pretty quickly one that’s right I think that this early period was actually quite revolutionary there were things changing all the time it took off running light Internet has yeah really warm yes Alan reckons the Gutenberg’s press did share some family traits with later machines all printing presses up to about 1800 have a central part which pushes down onto the type is a piston and platen assembly and the other thing that is required is a precipice so it is that you have some means of transporting the printing surface and the paper under that right they’ve got a slightly bit moving along here and then you’ve got a flat clattering you call it coming down there and black presses down and there’s one crucial difference between Gutenberg’s original and later so-called common presses such as the one this models based I’ll interpret on a press like this they put two pages of type on this stone here right ladies heavy stone about 100 ways of goodness and then the process of printing was a double process you one in for a first page there and operated believer which is leash plan Kagame then release it partly and why you know on its page the print again pencil turn to pull press forensic analysis of Gutenberg’s original Bible reveals that he only printed one page at a time in other words his was a one bull press that will influence the size and design of Allens experimental machine which is already starting to take shape in another corner of the workshop so here we go now what did he pass them in the mallet and chisel Oh Lord yes here we go woodwork was never my strongest subject at school but no one seems to have told that on that the trick is to not use whole mix of the chisel right to use as pushed about a third of the correctly that enables you to spear it best to be shallow than to steep so in this to show you just don’t hire it down by hand okay right have a go Oh Mike confessing matter at this I don’t want to run it out say bye-bye Church there like that come on courage that’s pretty good Wow it’s very pleasing it’s a nice feeling of this did I get Felix trying to reveal a fossil coming over a rock yes you did wasn’t too deep no it’s fine it’s it’s an extraordinary and it’s an extraordinary thing that you create something like a mechanical part literally out of your hands well there you are wow that’s okay I got to finish that off for me by gaming when Alan’s finished the press I want to print a replica page of the original Gutenberg Bible that means I’ll also need to track down some other ingredients including movable type and 15th century paper but first I have a journey to make I’ll be traveling through the Silicon Valley of medieval Europe to explore the places where Gutenberg and his team developed the machine which shaped the modern world my first port of call is Mike’s on the banks of the Rhine in western Germany this was Gooden Berg’s birthplace in the city where he spent his childhood but despite first appearances only a few traces of the medieval city that Gutenberg grew up in still survived there are bears house are putting back chemistro oh yeah you can read it yeah it stands Gutenberg’s birth house and

Gutenberg it’s the name of his family no actually the name of his family was skin flash games flies yeah which means moose meat just food so what they who want to run around with the name of horse meat in his life just around the corner is the church where he was probably baptised well part of it at least – was heavily bombed in the Second World War so the medieval remains of some Christopher’s are now bolstered by some post-war concrete has been left eyebath deliberately as a memorial yeah yeah into the printerr you think of fonts and this must be a 7,000 point font but it’s a terrific oh there’s a plaque to it we all excelsior on his gutenberg yeah now what does something I wanted to talk to you about actually – the city of Mainz proclaiming in the year 2000 the differences 600th anniversary so they think he was born in 1400 well that was decided on publicly actually 1900 when they made already things talked about this Centennial at the time and when they decided who wouldn’t work with Ward 1,400 but the exact day if somewhere between 1397 and 1400 and for well I have to say eyes tightly agree with the city of mine so I think 14 hundreds a good year to describe his birth not because it’s a round number but because it’s actually the year that Jeff the horses died though it was the end of one one age if you like the edge of the medieval writer and the beginning of a new way into the early releasing there’s very little evidence about Gutenberg’s early years in minds we know his mother owned some land and that his father was a merchant whose work brought him into contact with the city’s Goldsmith’s expert metal workers with skills which Guttenberg would later find very useful and it’s likely that he studied at university so he’d have come into contact with books unlike most of his contemporaries but that’s about as far as it goes it’s like catching the occasional glimpse of a figure in a crowd and need to watch him melt away a few moments later and even when you finally come face-to-face with the great man you can’t be sure you’re looking at the real mr. Guttenberg so whether or not tooten Berg had three hands like this one here whether or not he looked like David Tennant as Doctor Who or whether or not he had a beard shaped like a fish stuck to his face one thing certain we don’t actually know what your Hanna’s Guttenberg looked like at all and that gives us great scope perhaps he look like you or me unlikely it would have been confirmed to be the magnet no one knows exactly when the elusive Guttenberg first dreamed of building his printing machine but this was a revolutionary idea in the handmade world of the fifteenth century we’re so used to living with printed matter every day of our lives from the cereal packet in the morning to the book at bedtime the much perhaps they’re rather hard to imagine what the world was like before could so we have to come somewhere like here this monastery poster labor back in abilities just a few miles from mines where Boonton burg grew up and this is where not the printed word or the written word was key ah dr. Schneider hello I put a place to meet you it’s one of them be here in a monastic setting I’m trying to get a picture of what life is like around the time Gutenberg how books were produced in the scriptorium a vehicle yeah well this is another fine room this is in fact the chapter house where they would read the chapters of the Bible and that all sit around on the benches so a scriptorium presumably was a different kind of room to this yeah what sort of what sort of thing would you expect to find in the scribes room good times were smaller room standards your heart they needed heat in these rooms and then because you need wanting us to write close and towards the feather and to do all the seven fine work with your hands and they needed life they needed window and the summer and in the winter they needed terrible yeah do we have any idea of the character and personality or something

scribes very seldom sometimes we have at the end of such Bibles or other manuscripts small text where the scribes tell how hard their work we’re really ladies yeah yeah yeah it was very cold it was they had to sit always in the same position and they get scram Sanders – yeah yeah yeah and he was cold and it was dark and their eyes were tired and they wrote this tunnel yes yes this is hand copied Bibles were rare and expensive commodities far beyond the reach of ordinary mortals and even the best scribes made mistakes a printing machine would allow the creation of exact copies and lots of them whilst some church leaders feared anything that might break their near monopoly on learning others recognized that a common and universally accepted version of the Bible might be a powerful weapon in the battle to preserve Christian unity but the church was just one potential market for printed books beyond the cloister new universities were springing up across Europe so it’s tempting to assume that Gutenberg aside from his technical interest as a Sauron entrepreneurial yeah yeah yeah it was a mixture of three things I think he was an engineer and about the technical things he was merchants and he was above an intellectual he had studied and at a university and he knew and that many people need a book with demand for books growing all the time anyone who could devise a machine for making them could to make a fortune and growing up in the heartland of the German wine industry Gutenberg didn’t have far to look for inspiration these are ramen noble structures and I think poor old Alan back in England is trying to build the press it’s going to find it rather useful to see what these originals were like these contraptions are wine presses Alan may thinks that Gutenberg’s press evolved from machines like these oh that’s very artistic very good yes the Gutenberg bees must have been a very common sight and grow up in an area one of the biggest wine-growing areas of the world I wonder if it was an actual moment though when he was sitting next to one of these or watching some fading crescent saw the spindle sending Li the thing down and thought ah that’s what I need just this big frame of the spindle presses like these may have started Gutenberg’s creative juices running but to turn such a basic piece of engineering into a precision machine would be a tall order and that was only part of the challenge he faced the whole project would take years of experiment and it would cost a fortune but money didn’t grow on trees in 15th century – I think it was the city of past glory it had been very influential and very rich in the medieval times but then in the 14th century it came down a little bit the plague was there two times and the black barriers and the Hadiya didn’t have the richness anymore but it had been politically very influential the archbishop had been the Electra and was the preeminent of power as they might say of the electors and so it was an important city in any case in the sense what I’m getting from you is it – was the city of the past and what couldn’t but needed was a city to look to the future yes I think so for a budding entrepreneur like Gutenberg – was no place to start a business he would have been in his early 30s when he packed his bags and set sail down the Rhine two days to the south was the city where his experiments in printing would first begin at Allen Mae’s workshop in England our own printing experiments already in full swing Allen’s invited his fellow printing expert Martin Andrews along to show him work in progress I’m pleased to see that my holiday snaps turned up Allen’s also finished carving this hefty wooden thread which generates the pressure needed to print but the thread needs a counter thread to guide it on it downward journey and it has to be cut by hand into the head of the pressed so it’s tricky to me but Allen a plan amazing contraption habit I mean the

idea came from a guy caught here over the Alexander in something like 80 64 this ingenious device uses these wooden pegs to guide the thread on its journey meanwhile a set of cutters at the other end carved the counter thread through this solid wooden block I’m careful to catfish not on the sharp edge see how about using the real spread itself it’s quickest part that separates as let the elegant part of it actually pushed loads and loads of sawdust ahead of it look it’s been it’s cutting something but there’s only one way to find out is the thread and the counter thread are perfect match ah changes the whole perspective don’t seem to take that out one can see out the working my goodness there she goes excellent I think it’s a pretty good job that I do and I don’t see nothing quite like it so I’m convinced I think it was as winter but slowly bitten today I’m following the Gutenberg trail down the Rhine from mines to Strasburg when Gutenberg arrived here in the early 1430s this was a bustling city with trading links across Europe and beyond that made it a far more promising business base than the bankrupt city of his birth and towering above the commercial centre with the great Cathedral itself of course when Gutenberg got here the cathedral hadn’t been finished and this huge Tower and spire weren’t quite completed and as you can see this build some work going on to this very day worth thinking about the fact that at this time the only investment human beings ever seemed to make were ready in their future in other words in the afterlife by participating in the building of these enormous structures they were assuring their place in heaven but around about the time of Gutenberg we started to see the rise of a merchant class who really believed in investing the idea of their future on earth venture capitalists and such people would have proved very useful to Gutenberg the cathedral was more than the spiritual heart of the city it also became a focal point fruit dealmakers and monthly prototype catalyst with the cash Gutenberg needed to fund his work by the late 1430s it struck up a partnership with three of them and was ready to start work in earnest and if you ever wanted to remind himself that his big idea was a good one he only had to take a stroll through the streets near my Rue de faire the street of the brothers itself is something about this area we’re right beside the Cathedral which is the ecclesiastical heart of an ecclesiastical city at the heart of an ecclesiastical Empire the Holy Roman Empire but for think of it in terms of something like the City of London in other words the center of the entire system that runs the world at the moment for us it’s financed for them it was the church it was the church had generated all the paperwork all the legal documentation all the printing services everything in fact that Gutenberg might have spotted needed reproduction needed a new technology and so we turn it into this frankly less than repossessing street but let the title read is a Stephen Street of the writers Schreiber stood gas in this street in Strasbourg that Gutenberg must have seen the scribes the bustling around self-important they with bread sheaves of paper under their arms and calluses on their inky fingers and you must have thought well you may believe you’ve got a job for life that I know better there’s one day one day you’re all going to be replaced replaced by a vulgar machine he employed a carpenter called saws puck to work on his new invention no one knows what it looked like so Allen Mays pieced together other Coons to design our machine he knows that Gutenberg printed one page at a time whereas later presses printed two in quick succession maybe that’s why this prototype looks

rather unusual to an expert I have a quick look and see see what’s actually going on here because it is unconventional because I’m professing that what surprises me is that we’ve got all the weight in the framework here and normally on a tuple press you’d have actually a framework out here which is a making this more rigid but also taking the weight of the stone and the gears I need that and I don’t need it never do I need to go that never des to go farther than that when the pressures in you it never has to go beyond beyond the cheeks it is unconventional it may be unorthodox but Alan thinks he’s found support for his design in an unlikely source this illustration of a press was drawn by Albrecht Durer 60 years after Gutenberg first printed it’s the only going I know where the feet of the press come forward from the cheeks that’s what mine are doing and this has got substantial structure at the front which you have which on the press never has it just has a little little leg little leg okay so I’m wondering whether this is an obsolete press that that circulars but hold on and we’re looking at the product which is actually 50 years old perfect repairs before blinding well the other authorities in the world will agree with you either but if Alan’s right this is a major discovery could this be a snapshot of an early Gutenberg press Gutenberg’s team was growing besides the carpenters a spark he’d recruited other craftsmen from the Strasburg guild and set them to work at his new premises not in the city itself but in a hamlet downstream far away from the prying eyes of potential competitors why are you being secrecy once there were a number of people working trying to solve this problem if only they could come up with a printed printed word and the church they will be having a fortunes made so he had to keep it a secret otherwise everybody else’s video you yeah whilst they worked in secret on the printing press they needed a second revenue stream to keep the wolf from the door learn the whole state brought to Gutenberg a brilliant idea this was the creation of mirrors or pilgrims coming to the pilgrimage at Earth why was Arkham important Harkin was important for both there was a cathedral there and in the cathedral were relics directly descending from Christ supposedly Buddha and they were on display every four years and pilgrims would come from all over Europe to see the relics and receive the rays of healing that emanated from and eventually there were so many children so they couldn’t all get close to the relics so the earlier came into existence that there should be some way of capturing the Israel and the Rays were captured by concave metal mirror which would be held out so that it was some sort of a satellite dish Catholic radiation the local makers could not keep up with the demand Gutenberg’s idea was that it mixes metal right he could use the presses that were in development to print out mirrors which could be told to the Pilgrims and are it looked like a surefire winner but in 15th century Europe there was one thing which could usually be relied on to scupper the best-laid business plan black death strikes again and the tagamet is put off right they would prosper in a pilgrimage yes to the play could not I mean it would be real disaster if you had a hundred thousand people all gathered together Sun fade so that means that all the investors that have been opening for the money to come to the bank here we’re going to answer yes one of the partners died the partnership began to collapse leaving Guttenberg look exactly in the search but struggling this setback would have deterred a lesser man but by now Guttenberg must have been completely possessed by his plan so the work continued so Gutenberg Ireland and was a hot statue of him with the fish on this face again no one knows exactly where his workshop was but it must have been somewhere near here he’d chosen a secluded base to protect himself from the threat of industrial espionage but there was another reason for being close to the water because Gutenberg was playing with fire do you remember my John Bull printing set and those rubber pieces of type Gutenberg’s plan would only succeed if he could devise a system for mass producing individual letters which could

be set and reset in any order he went to the guild of Goldsmith’s and found a man called hands done together they made the crucial technical breakthrough which made Gutenberg’s brilliant idea a practical proposition so this is a type foundry in this created this table is believe it or not a complete foundry right I’ve asked Stan to help me make a piece of type a single letter E which I can use in our grand printing experiment for the sake of authenticity I want my letter to match the dimensions of the original font used in the Gutenberg Bible first we have to make a punch a master copy of the letter we want to reproduce after we’ve transferred its outline onto the tip of this steel bar it has to be carved by hand using a file a very sharp file into maybe a punch day to punch of the day so in order to do the full set of time the Gutenberg needed for its final how much what was my well they’re at least two hundred and seventy characters perhaps more so you know given that a lot of holidays I would imagine close to the better part of a year I mean yeah so if you are one of those people have invested in this new technology you’d be getting rather impatient we say now that mr. Guttenberg you’re ready nine eight different DS yeah and the reason he needed different ones was obviously because it was a very elegant and harmonious look he was after you wanted absolutely top quality so he wanted some slightly wider so it was slightly narrower so that he could always have justified lines correct without cutting workspace and that’ll ugly and they’re bad compositing and things this is a smoke proof a way of checking that our punch is an accurate copy of the letter we want to replicate it looks spot-on now cliff with that so here we have it it’s hand-carved and grooved and shaved and Emery rasped shaped and hardened and tempered and now that is the key that unlocks the technology that changes the world the punch we made but what’s the next day well we have to strike a matrix with that strike a matrix yeah we’re going to hammer that punch straight into that piece of copper so we’ll leave an impress of the letter shape absolutely the experts can’t agree about how exactly Gutenberg cast letters from his mold but Stan’s theory is the most commonly accepted one he thinks he invented something like this ingenious device this tool in front of us is a single unique element of Gutenberg’s invention this is the type mold and it’s made of two two halves and these two halves make together to form a cavity in which the type will be formed with the matrix at the bottom that where the cursor is moved yes we’ve been working and so these two halves are beautifully fitted and because they make either an arrow or a wide opening by placing this matrix beneath the mold which we’ve carefully formed and closing the mold on the matrix and using this spring to keep it in place that’s the sort of thing is now there’s a hollow inside of this mold that’s the shape of the letter we’re going to form okay that neat and it was quite a unique part of the invention there was nothing else like this before right so we’re going to pour molten metal here led tin and antimony straightaway in there yeah and it hardens instantly it’s already hard yeah so we take the spring out of the way we release the matrix by pressing on it we pry the mold open and there’s a piece of type isn’t that marvelous so which bit is the tongue code well there’s the face we formed and it’s an exact duet yeah and if you look at the punch we have here yeah you’ll see that that punch is replicated on the face yes is identical of the type back to its original back – yes form say for that needs it’s more than meat it’s revolutionary because now we can make as many E’s as we want quickly and cheaply and wonder how many it takes to print a food Bible look what I did unbelievably well this part they seem like the components of the greatest revolution in humankind’s invention of fire you could argue they certainly are one of the reasons is was identical it’s an extraordinary thing such ingenuity using arts and crafts that have been known for some hundreds of years but adding to it this unique little device that just enabled printers all over Europe to start spreading the word I’ve heard

great reports about Alan’s progress with the press so I’ve returned to base to help him put together the finished article if you’ve ever had a traumatic experience for the self-assembly wardrobe now might be a good time to make a cup of tea put a cereal packets plus a into tab B or whatever it is that’s right we pull it up like actress you might get your moisture you have variety through our box and I know you use your mouth yeah the chocolate dessert easy I hold it you don’t take it that’s a weight would get a good critic I suppose that and really no one had done it because this just hundred years that’s absolutely right on this sort of press that’s it not good honestly I would never have made a Bosco hopeless I only love that is that on the one hand it’s desperately simple and on the other hand that all these little cunning things that I would never thought of in 100 years and I love when Alan showed me that he was doing this double thread you think okay follow my finger round here and it’ll get behind and Sean it’ll come out here but now it comes out there because it’s a double thread and the other one goes that way it’s quite complicated screws my head quite literally he’s not sure that this is exactly what Wittenberg with ham but it looks right and so often that’s the secret of this kind of engineering and designing it looks right feels right then it is right it’s a most satisfactory object type something else wouldn’t be fun to have one in one’s bedroom you could convert it with a little wash hand Basin or something or maybe even have the mirror here and it’s adjustable height I’m going slightly mad now because I’m so fond with the one thing I of course can’t wait to see is how it actually prints I’m starting to share the sense of excitement Gutenberg must have felt when he was finally ready to start printing by the late 1440 he had moved on from Strasbourg which had recently been terrorized by a marauding band of French mercenaries called the Armand the axon perhaps they were the reason that he decided to head home to mites as usual money was tight so he borrowed some cash from a relative this house was used as security for the loan and he struck up a partnership with a new investor called Johann first it was a deal he would later regret but it did give him the cash injection he needed to set his press running he didn’t start with the Bible far too ambitious she wrote tested the new technology on modest print jobs like this Latin grammar book labelled navasana Burton above the bottom quark Ottoman is out to show the church that his invention presented an opportunity and not a threat he also printed documents like this people indulgence now indulgences in his wonderful Catholic way of raising money well it sort of reminds me of today if you journey in an aeroplane or something I’ll have a very fuel inefficient car you can you can offset your carbon country you can you can you can pay money to a company that’s offset or cover the way you view your carbons in and this is a bit like and say if I didn’t offset your sins don’t you must be marvellous for them to have Gutenberg’s new technology because before that of course each one will be handwritten by a scribe and they’re not just a quick voucher it’s a lot of lines so it was a very good way of Gutenberg showing off his new technology I think it shows also that Charlie was very interested in printing that they did not consider it like art as a dessert in German earlier because before all those advantages brought to them with church support for his magnum opus there was just one more issue to resolve most high-end books in those days were written not on paper but on something called vellum and what was vellum made out of was made out of those little fellows there’s pretty brown round-eyed cops they yielded their skins just as they yielded the rest of themselves for veal chops to the tables of the mighty Gutenberg who was determined that his Bible was to be nothing if not the highest possible quality thought that he

would print every Bible on the finest vellum but either he or his business partners did some serious mathematical modeling as it would now be called and they quickly realized that actually only a few could be done in vellum because a little hurt like this well he wouldn’t be out of the Old Testament we’ve got those two there will call them Genesis we call that fellow their Exodus we’ve got Deuteronomy over there Leviticus it would take 140 cards to provide enough vellum for just a single copy of the Bible for a print run of a hundred and eighteen which is what he planned Gutenberg would have needed a staggering 25,000 of the poor creatures it’s an awful lot of veal chops in any way there are there for a few Gutenberg Bibles which stand in the world which are printed on vellum but most are printed on paper without a system for mass producing paper Gutenberg’s invention would have been dead in the water but although the Chinese had first invented the stuff twelve hundred years earlier it was still a new commodity in the West this mill that Basel in Switzerland was set up at almost exactly the same time as Gutenberg was working on his machine and he still make paper here the old-fashioned way not from wood pulp but from cloth rags were satisfied first the rags are mashed to a fine pulp the waterwheel provides the power to drive these hefty hammers once it’s reached the right consistency the pulp is transferred to a huge vat and is where the fun really starts this is going to be our paper it seems again ordinary that these are the bits of cutter lily that have been pounded away and it turned into this pot okay so you I better keep stirring yes yes good well strongly that will do you feel is the heating the water is a little bit warm because it’s organic matter is freaking done no because it’s a little bit easier so it’s it’s working with warm water and the warm water goes quicker down from the right the scissor kicks so this is what now happens okay yep let’s do it let’s make paper we go in like this turn it come up shake it a little bit so the water goes down and fiber read this is smooth and so we are ready for the next would it be all right if I could make some total yes Roger obviously you’ll have to go to my job and now should we swap places yep she’s very excited and get me out energies only with chemistry probably takes me back to the art room at school where I was already dunderhead right so just yeah thank you hold it this way no no like this oh I see like so you mean yep first of all I’ve already show you sorry ah yeah but there’s someone already should we give it to that no that’s all right okay ready to see I am turning from off Allport will people think we provide the business via that way – oh yeah it’s got a few white bits in but it’s not bad I got it and paper for you Rene and if you’re ready to take the deckle bet I bacillus is probably the second that goes bad Oh is a magical process is rather like panning for gold is Newton perhaps that’s not a bad analogy paper was like gold in medieval times unbelievably valuable and although it’s quite a time-consuming process it’s a lot less time-consuming than making vellum from cough screen and say i want enjoyed this I feel connected to gluten but somehow just by doing this how do you know when it’s bread because the ripple stopped yet now have a look okay not quite so good that one no real well pull it back you have put it back to me put it back and just turn it so turning it yes like so I saw my neighbor go

nobody well like so Oh dear me I’d ruin the way oh I see Dada I couldn’t screw it up to make paper fit for printing is a fine art the raw materials need to be mixed to perfection to produce the right texture and absorbency for Gutenberg this was the final crucial ingredient which made printing the Bible a viable business proposition Oh beautiful my very own piece of paper and first of course it had to be dry these days but I do hope Allen will be satisfied with that not be that’s worthy of the finest printers are great days arrived it’s been five months since Alan first got together his plans and designed his printing presence now built papers been made in Basel I’d cast the types personally nothing can stop us from printing a page of Gutenberg text this must be how the great man felt himself before we start printing I have a little confession to make it took Stan and me the best part of a day to make just one individual letter e to produce all the type needed to print a full Bible probably took Gutenberg team around a year in fact Lee I don’t have his time or his patience so I’ve cheated this package has come from the States it’s a replica page of type said to the exact measurements of the gutenberg original and thankfully nothing’s been damaged in transit so this is this is perfect whatever compared to this castle well almost surely there’s room for my little team somewhere on the page Oh what word is I could read that it was like legis le engine yes yes that’s great you know I confess I had my doubts about whether olive Allen would be able to bring off the construction of a printing press and the time we’ve given him and whether in fact there was enough known about bringing them to be able to produce something that could actually work and come up with a reasonable facsimile of something that Gutenberg could have done I have to say all my dad’s being cast aside by the brilliance of the work is done and that all three of the experts through there giggling like children that the excitement of what they’ve all created together I’m going to see now so we will continue right now – pretty fancy houses okay all right here we go good wait for the creek about everybody we go well they didn’t question that martini has been either there oh yeah quite remarkable that is extraordinary congratulations everybody the ink is superb my ear the alignment is fantastic there in sorry right and that in particular stands out as being it’s the best one of our own way I am very very pleased with that oh yeah shot is the first one I think that’s partly think it would be extraordinary anyway let’s do some more well that’s the approach of a progressive be envisioned more as we print a normal procedure would be that the purport that’s a puller Allah Allah okay it takes the sheet off yeah I give it a cursory guards but he’s sort of getting really ready for the next player all right while the Inka while he’s away from the press he Incas going to be eight feet up again for him right so it’s a relative and when he comes off the inkling he checks the quality of the previous distance right he’s not proofreading that’s all now he’s like the zone of the impression is is for everything printing art right and there one bit charges over in Toronto yeah

done with my precision yes can answer instead now we all hold on to the freshman one second my system hippo yes yeah pretty good yeah very Gutenberg’s first edition of the Bible ran to 180 copies each containing more than 1,200 pages which had to be set inked and printed and that was just the black and white work after they’d left the press each page was hand decorated by an illuminator before the whole thing was earned together to make a finished book this is the miracle they’re identical each one of these wonderful papers and that have never been seen before in history our experiments nearly finished but for Gutenberg this was just the beginning of a monumental two-year print run what a beginning it was the first copies of Gutenberg Bible were displayed at the Frankfurt trade fair in 1454 and they caused a sensation today fewer than 50 of those original books are still in existence one of the finest is held here at getting them in Germany genuinely tingling with excitement about coming close to the Bible having anything went through glass and having examined so much about its means of production having discovered just how important it was and what a symbol it is everything mom they’d stand for the idea of actually touching one would be through cotton gloves is giving me goose flesh I don’t believe this you know I’ve looked at them to Garson I read about women to be so close as an extrordinary you’re unable to see this is actually an remark by Jakob Grimm of the famous brothers with yeah when he was a librarian linga jing-a Gutenberg ership evil a good invent Bible and he said from who stirs at night of the high rare 80s you and Curie and this is the first pinch of the first volume Gina what’s interesting is that although the illumination and decoration and the you call that a rubric ation they right than the red letter is literally well they’re they’re very useful it is the typeface that really draws the eyes and yes it I mean people have said that it’s even at the start of this new technology that it is also an example of perfection here sense and the general view is that it’s so much more beautiful than it needed to have been that embarrassed at all he had simply he was clearly a very driven perfection yes he uses watch the scribes in the monasteries also used he used abbreviations that was the only way to create this this right margin as clean as it is no there’s a little Foley yeah somebody must have what’s not vandal plundered this in I don’t know when this happened you see the illumination went up the page when somebody needed a model right for illumination so as always they cut it out and put it next to his manuscript and painted it off this model which is unfortunate well naturally I feel very privileged to be able to leave through this unbelievably rare and important object of Gutenberg Bible in my hands and wearing white gloves I’m terrified of breathing water vapor on it you know the on the art thing is that it doesn’t feel like something that is going to be crumbling to dust if I turn the pages too fast it feels very solid and robust and after all it was made to be used more than once a day and if it was bought by a monastery I guess it would’ve been used for all the offices of the day and it was it was a solid object a Bible is a thing that the thing that people expected to tend to all the

time and it isn’t a fragile little thing like a like an ornament it’s a it’s a useful object and the extraordinary thing about this is that although there were only a hundred or so bees made only twelve of these in existence on vellum you know that aside from the eliminations every page is the same and that was really the most remarkable breakthrough wasn’t it that somebody in a monastery in Germany somebody in a palace in Florence somebody in a in a private house in Amsterdam could turn to the same page number the same word would begin at the top end at the end they were looking at mass production for the first time and although they were very rich those who would afford it there were nothing like as rich as those who could afford ones that have been made by scribes and written Oh I’d like to report a happy ending for the man who created this extraordinary book but it didn’t turn out quite like that do you remember mr. Faust the dragon who bankrolled the printing of the Bible soon after the presses started running he asked Gutenberg to repay the money he’d borrowed Gutenberg didn’t have the cash so he was forced to hand over all his printing equipment instead it had taken him almost a lifetime to build his machine now so soon after it had been completed it was snatched from Gutenberg’s grasp my journey ends here in the village of eltz Ville a few miles outside mines Guttenberg had family roots here and his friends helped him get back on his feet and even the set of a new printing workshop but he never enjoyed the riches which his invention earned for his former business partner first well rittenberg finally got the recognition he deserved up in the castle there via lecture called him a knight and gave him a pension and when he died the world knew that he had founded the modern art of printing but it’s not that really that has brought me here it’s the thought of what went on after Gutenberg death the replication of printing across Europe at such a speed and unimaginable speed for that time from zero books to 20 million in just 15 years Gutenberg technology spread across Europe like a benign virus it gave new ideas a ticket to ride and kick-started the renaissance for the next 500 years his method of printing was used to make books everywhere his was the machine that made us and that art the art of movable type print devices it’s our civilization wasn’t anything else I can imagine a modern world without cars I can imagine one without telephones or computers but I cannot begin to imagine a society anything like the one we have that doesn’t have the printed word [Applause] our medieval season continues as Rob Brydon uncovers the bizarre story of the bishop who couldn’t be hung in the hanged man and the Saint Wednesday at 9:00 and we go inside the medieval mind at 9:00 on Thursday