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26 Lead Soldiers

The invention of the humble printing press gave the world a weapon against civil and religious tyranny.

By Edwin R. Palmer

Unquestionably, the technology which has made the greatest impact on history is the humble printing press. Before the invention of printing, books weren’t available to common citizens. And without literacy, tyranny flourished. Hand-copied knowledge could not have accumulated fast enough to spark the industrial revolution, the discovery of radio waves and electricity, or the invention of the telegraph, the telephone, the light bulb, engines, rockets, and computers. For civilization to advance, the world needed the press. Editors.

The story of the invention of printing is high drama. It began in the year 1423 in old Haarlem, Holland, where a Laurence Coster began experimenting with movable type.

Supposedly, Coster first conceived of printing after carving letters on a tree for his children. Several hours later he returned and found the bark fallen and an imprint of the letters in the soft earth. Why couldn’t he carve letters on wooden blocks

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  1. Adapted from The Printing Press and the Gospel, by Edwin R. Palmer, Review & Herald Publishing Association.