Why did it take so long to invent movable type printing?

Anything you've been wondering about in science or the science in science fiction.

Moderator: Moderators

Why did it take so long to invent movable type printing?

Postby Brightonian » Wed Dec 22, 2010 6:16 am

Once you have woodblock printing, the extension to movable type seems a natural one with hindsight, yet it took several centuries in both the East and the West. Why so long?
Brightonian
 
Posts: 480
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 1:56 pm
Location: Brighton, UK

Re: Why did it take so long to invent movable type printing?

Postby admin » Wed Dec 22, 2010 8:00 am

Actually, the Chinese did have movable type, made of ceramic, around AD 1000. The problem was that the Chinese language had thousands of characters, which made movable type impractical. In Europe, movable type had to wait on a good alloy which was tough and had a low coefficient of expansion. It was Gutenberg's discovery of such an alloy, of lead, tin, and antimony, that was the great breakthrough.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1661
Joined: Fri Jan 21, 2005 9:24 pm


Return to Science questions

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

cron