gutenbergJohannes Gutenberg (1395-1468 AD)
The first printing press in Europe was made using wood blocks. A "page" consisted of an entire wood block (otherwise known as an engraving). These "pages" could not be modified once they were cut; also, these blocks wore out of some use; and even in the best conditions the resolution of the words and pictures was comparitively low.

In 1428 a German printer named Johannes Gutenberg solved the problems affecting the printing process by developing movable type. Each character in every word was movable and made out of metal. This meant a printer could modify the page and the characters stood up to wear. Movable type was actually developed by the Chinese centuries earlier. However, Gutenberg's contribution was to develop a casting system to create the letters using a metal alloy which was both durable and maleable. In 1455 Gutenberg printed a bible which became known as the "Gutenberg Bible." His copy of the Bible was the first ever printed book using movable type in the history of the West.

The printing press revolutionized the intellectual landscape of Europe: books became significantly cheaper to purchase because they could be mass produced. New ideas spread quickly shaping the way people thought about the world. Arguably, the ideals of the Renaissance could not have been transmitted so quickly, and so completely, without the printing press. The printing press made it possible to transmit ideas quickly across vast geographical distances. Therefore, it became harder and harder for traditional authority to control the impact of these new ideas.