Johann Gothenburg is a German inventor, credited with inventing a printer based on moving alphabets.
Gothenburg contributed to the printing of several important books and manuscripts, most notably the printing of the 42-line Gospel on the page.
About Johann Gothenburg
The inventor Johannes Gutenberg was born in the city of Mainz in Germany in 1395.
Thanks to him for inventing the printing method that relies on moving characters, a method used without significant modifications until the twentieth century.
He was the son of one of the wealthy families in the city of Mainz but was forced to leave for the city of Strasbourg as a result of the conflict that broke out between noble families and trade unions.
Some historical documents indicate that he lived in Strasbourg between 1434 and 1444, where he worked in the precious stone industry, as well as teaching some crafts to a group of young people.
Some of Gutenberg’s partners were aware of his clandestine work, so they insisted on taking part in it because they gave him large sums. In 1438 he had to conclude a five-year agreement with three of his partners: Hans Reeve, Andreas Dreitsen and Andreas Helman.
The agreement stipulates that the deceased partner’s family is not entitled to enter into a partnership with Gothenburg, but in return receives financial compensation.
Johann Gothenburg Achievements
Andreas Dreitsen, one of Gothenburg’s partners, died on the morning of Christmas 1438, and his heirs tried to circumvent the terms of the contract. They sued Gothenburg, demanding that they become partners in his projects and inventions.
Despite their loss of the case, the trial revealed a new invention that Gothenburg was about to complete; one of them testified that Dreitzen paid money to a carpenter to design a wooden printer.
A designer also said that Gothenburg sold printing materials worth about 100 g. Thus, it was found that Gutenberg was in the final stages of his new invention.
There are no official records or documents documenting the life and activities of Gothenburg in the years following 1444, but there are serious doubts about his return to his city of Mainz to borrow some money from a relative.
By 1450, his experiments with the printing machine was very advanced, and he persuaded Johan Fust to lend him an estimated 800g, which was a huge sum of money at that time.
Two years later, Fost provided another 800 g in return for becoming a partner in the project, but there was a quick rift between the two; Foste was seeking quick profits, while Gutenberg was trying to make his work very well.
The dispute between the two ended in court, and Fust won the lawsuit against Gothenburg, according to a historical document at the University of Göttingen, dated November 6, 1455.
Gutenberg was thus forced to repay the two loans in addition to the accumulated interest (total gross profit of 2000 g).
Some old studies suggest that this decision led to the bankruptcy of Gothenburg, while a recent study suggests that it enabled him to operate his printing press during the 1950s.
There is no doubt that Gutenberg printed some books in his printing press, including the Bible, by 1455.
It is estimated that the proceeds from the sale of the Bible alone can provide Gothenburg more than his debts to Foste several times, but it is surprising that not all of this was taken into the property of Gothenburg during the trial.
After winning the case, Faust managed to control the printing of the Bible, and the other Gothenburg masterpiece: The Book of Zabur or Psalter, in addition to some equipment in the printing press.
Foste continued printing using Gutenberg’s equipment and materials, assisted by his son-in-law and one of the most skilled workers in the printing press. The Psalm was the first printed book bearing the name of its publishers in Europe, specifically in Mainz on 14 August 1457.
The book of Psalms was printed in colored letters, but most experts believe that Fost and his assistants could not have created the technical equipment needed to do so during the period between Gutenberg’s loss of control of the printing press in 1455 and the appearance of Psalms in 1457.
Based on this, it can be said that the credit for the decoration and printing of the psalms are primarily due to the genius of Gothenburg.
On the other hand, there are many other publications attributed to Gothenburg, including the Bible version (36 lines per page) printed in Bamberg, which is a second edition of the Bible (42 lines per page).
The Türkenkalender manuscript is also attributed to Gothenburg, is a book of warning of the imminent Turkish invasion of Europe after the fall of Constantinople in 1453.
There is also the book “Missale Speciale Constantiense” printed in the city of Basel, Switzerland without mentioning its publisher, but it is believed that Gothenburg is the one who oversaw the printing and publishing.
The most famous words of Johann Gothenburg
The truth is very noble even if God surrenders and I am willing to abide by Him and give up God.
Johan Gothenburg Death
In 1462, the conflict in Mainz intensified and the city was subjected to looting resulting in the destruction of the printing facility of Fost and Gothenburg, a large number of printing workers moved to other parts of Germany and Europe, taking with them their techniques and equipment.
Gutenberg remained in Mainz, but suffered again from poverty. The Archbishop gave him the title Hofmann in 1465, providing him with a fixed salary as well as other privileges.
Gutenberg completed the printing operations over the following years, but the references to the titles of his publications are very few since he did not put his name on any of them.
In his last months, he was blinded and died on 3 February 1468.