At the close of the millennium, many groups viewed the accomplishments of the previous one thousand years and developed listings of the “most influential.” Our vote went to the A&E television channel’s choice for the #1 most influential person of the millennium – the inventor of movable type, Johannes Gutenberg.
Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press is often credited as being the origin of mass communication – Western culture’s first instance of being able to disseminate ideas and information from one source to a larger and more diverse audience. In the early 1450s, fast occurring cultural change in Europe mandated the need for written documents, rapidly and cheaply produced. Gutenberg developed his press by combining features of existing technologies: textile, papermaking, and wine presses. But his most significant innovation was the efficient molding and casting of movable metal type.