Janina Ramirez TV - Simon Schama TV - The British TV - Rebecca MacKinnon - Nate Silver - Kenneth Clark TV - Stephen Hawking TV - Everyday Miracles: The Genius of Sofas Stockings and Scanners TV - Mark Williams TV - Ronald Top TV - Duke of Wellington & The Independent online - Lydia Wilson: The Secret History of Writing TV - The Corbett Report -
In 1476 William Caxton began printing in England. Janina Ramirez, Illuminations: The Private Lives of Medieval Kings 3/3, BBC 2012
William Tyndale, an ordained priest, was the first to take on the dangerous task of translating, publishing and printing an English version of the New Testament. Simon Schama, A History of Britain s1e6: Burning Convictions, BBC 2000
This is the first time the English language comes to the printed page. The British III: Revolution, Sky Atlantic 2012
Would the Protestant Reformation have happened without the printing press? Would the American Revolution have happened without pamphlets? Probably not. But neither printing presses nor pamphlets were the heroes of reform and revolution. Rebecca MacKinnon
The Protestant Reformation had a lot to do with the printing press, where Martin Luther’s theses were reproduced about 250,000 times, and so you had widespread dissemination of ideas that hadn’t circulated in the mainstream before. Nate Silver
The first man to take advantage of the printing press was Erasmus. It made him and unmade him ... Erasmus’s Praise of Folly was an outburst of this kind. Kenneth Clark: Civilisation 6/13: Protest & Communication, BBC 1969
That printer [Aldus Manutius] said printed scribble did that because in 1501 in Venice he came up with the printed equivalent of scribble: we call it italic. James Burke, Connections s2e17: One Word, BBC 1994
With this process you simply create a design and press print. Brave New World With Stephen Hawking II: Technology, Max Lamb, product designer, Channel 4 2011
It’s with us now and it’s called 3D printers ... A powerful new technology. Everyday Miracles: The Genius of of Sofas, Stockings and Scanners II, BBC 2015
It was the clarity and precision of these beautifully carved letters that inspired Baskerville to change printing ... Baskerville set about designing new fonts based on stone-carving, and some of them are still in use today. Mark Williams, More Industrial Revelations s2e4: Print & Paper, Discovery 2005
This work is close and detailed. Accuracy is paramount. Printers were called the aristocrats of labour. They were all highly literate. And served a long apprenticeship. And they were also correspondingly very well paid. ibid.
No-one would pay to construct Robert’s automatic paper machine. But then some clever entrepreneurs based in England heard about Robert’s ideas. Ronald Top, Industrial Revelations s3e3: The European Story: Hot Metal, Discovery 2005
Konig’s genius was to imagine that perhaps steam power could drive a printing press. ibid.
The spread of knowledge would no longer be held back. Machinery meant the written word would be out there for everyone. And since the amazing breakthroughs of Robert’s paper mills, Konig’s presses and Mergenthaler’s lino-type machines it’s got better and better. ibid.
One morning in December 1824, the Duke of Wellington received an unpleasant letter. ‘My Lord Duke’, it began, ‘in Harriette Wilson’s Memoirs, which I am about to publish, are various anecdotes of Your Grace which it would be most desirable to withhold, at least such is my opinion. I have stopped the Press for the moment, but as the publication will take place next week, little delay can necessarily take place’.
The letter, signed by one Joseph Stockdale, a pornographer and scandal-monger, was a naked attempt at blackmail. The Duke was a field marshal, cabinet minister, national hero, husband and father, while Harriette Wilson was a famous London courtesan past her prime, then living in exile in Paris. Wellington was being asked to pay money to be left out of her memoirs.
His response is famous: ‘Publish and be damned.’ And they did. Through 1825 the memoirs appeared by instalments, each with a dramatis personae listing the notables named in order of rank – ‘Dukes: Argyll, Beaufort, De Guiche, Leinster …’ and so on through earls and viscounts down to humble esquires.
London society was thrilled and scandalised. Half the aristocracy was named in the book, and painted in a most unflattering light. The memoirs went through 31 editions in one year; excerpts were pirated and sold as illustrated broadsheets and French and German editions quickly appeared to delight the gossips of the Continent. Independent online article 20 March 1994, ‘Rear Window: When Wellington said publish & be damned: The Field Marshal and the Scarlet Woman’
In the year of our Lord 1448 in Mainz, Germany, a goldsmith by the name of Johannes Gutenberg was experimenting with a lead alloy and a hand-held mould. His aim was to speed up the process of putting ink on paper but what he did was to speed up history. Gutenberg’s invention spelled the end of the Middle Ages and ushered in the modern world of science and industry. Lydia Wilson, The Secret History of Writing II: Words on a Page, BBC 2020
The fall of the Roman Empire is one of the great inflection points of history and it coincides with a change in the technology of Europe. As papyrus disappeared so did the book as a relatively inexpensive everyday commodity. ibid.
The fact that parchment could be folded made it possible to stitch leaves together into a codex, the modern form of the book. ibid.
Brush calligraphy produced works of art that were prized in China every bit as much as illuminated manuscripts were in Europe. But in a medieval manuscript the art is in the decoration around the text. The nature of the Latin alphabet and the characteristics of parchment produced letters that were regular and repetitive. But in Chinese brush-calligraphy the art is in the brushwork that produces the characters themselves. And that is made possible by the nature of the writing surface. Paper was invented in China in 2nd century A.D. ibid.
Paper was key to another Chinese invention: woodblock printing. Each handwritten page of text was glued to a wooden block and then the characters were carved out by a skilled craftsman. This step was laborious and expensive. ibid.
The Islamic Golden Age: the arts and sciences flourished … We still count using an Arabic numbering system. ibid.
The secret of Gutenberg’s printing press was his ability to mass-produce copies of each individual letter. And in this he had a hidden advantage: ‘the letters of the alphabet are really simple shapes … These simple block-like letters can become blocks of metal and can become printed.’ ibid. expert
Nothing survived the printing revolution intact. Our world is the world the printing press has created. The Corbett Report: The Media Matrix, James Corbett online 2020
Media: We structure our lives around it … This is the story of the Media matrix. ibid.
Every part of the printing process involved years of laborious experimentation. ibid.
In the nineteenth century a new creature had emerged to capitalize on this new instrument of power – the press baron. ibid.