The Early Years


Printing Years

Later Years

Historical Significance

Interesting Facts



Strasbourg - Childress

Gutenberg’s father was a patrician from Mainz and his mother came from a family of merchants. He had a brother and sister, as well as a half-sister. Although we don’t know much about his childhood we can assume it was privileged.

He grew up in a period of conflict between Patricans and the trade guilds. Patricians became disliked because they could buy income from the City for a small price and even pass it on to their descendants. This was unfair and costly. Gutenberg was associated with the goldsmiths guild and had metal working skills.

In 1430 Gutenberg went to live and work Strasbourg France with an inheritance from his mother and proved himself an able entrepreneur as well as an inventor. In Strasbourg, he worked on a number of other inventions before working on the printing press. These included inventing a new technique for polishing gemstones and inventing a new type of mirror. His secret invention was the printing press, which we only know about through court documents referring to it indirectly.

In Strasbourg, he invented in order to make money and always had a group of men working with him. However, he also got involved in a number of legal disputes over money which he had borrowed to fund his inventions.

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