The Gutenberg Bible was the first major book to be printed with a movable type printing press, printed by Johannes Gutenberg in 1455.
Johannes Gutenberg was a German goldsmith and is best known for being the inventor of the Gutenberg press, a printing machine that used movable type.
In 1438, Gutenberg partnered with Andreas Dritzehn who funded his printing experiments.
In 1450, Gutenberg formed a new partnership with Johannes Fust who lent Gutenberg the money he needed to build a large Gutenberg press and start his own printing business.
The Gutenberg Bible
The Bible was the first book printed by Gutenberg, in Mainz, Germany, using his newly developed Gutenberg press. It is believed that 180 copies were originally printed and 48 of these are known to exist today.
It is known that the Bible was finished by March 1455 as it was this time when Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini (later Pope Pius II) described it in a letter to a friend. He said the Bible was large and easy to read even without glasses.
The Bible is written in Latin with coloured initials and other illustrations drawn on after the pages were printed. It has over 1280 pages, often bound in two volumes, with text laid out in two columns.
The very first pages of the Bible to be printed had 40 lines per column. Later, Gutenberg realised the page could accommodate 42 lines and so the pages were reset and printed again in the new format. The very first issue of the Gutenberg Bible includes the original pages of 40 lines per column.
In 1987, a Gutenberg Bible Old Testament was purchased by a Japanese buyer at Christie's for $5.4 million.