Johannes Gutenberg (1395 - 1486)
Johannes Gensfleisch Gutenberg was an inventor who was born into a modest merchant family in Mainz, Germany, in 1395. There is little recorded history of this early life, but local records shows he apprenticed as a goldsmith while living in Mainz. When a craftsman revolt erupted in Mainz against the noble class in 1428, Johannes Gutenberg’s family was exiled and settled in Strasburg, where his experiments with printing began. Later on in life he worked as both inventor and printer in Germany, he started working with a printer in 1438. In 1448, Johannes Gutenberg moved back to Mainz and by 1450 was operating a print shop. Gutenberg’s change was developing a casting system and metal alloys which made production easier. He perfected small metal type aka the very first printer. He had borrowed 800 guilders from Fust to purchase specific tools and equipment needed for his unique typography method. By December, 1452, Gutenberg was heavily in debt and unable to pay Fust’s loan. A new contract was drawn up making Fust a partner in Gutenberg’s business. Gutenberg was able to print his masterpiece, the 42-Line Bible, also called the Gutenberg Bible no later than 1455. By 1455, Gutenberg was still unable to pay the debt and Fust sued and lost his whole print shop to Fust.