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A window on the world's first tech startup opens at St Bride Foundation

A REPLICA of the printing press that launched the first media revolution half a millennium ago will be unveiled for the first time on Wednesday, November 12, 2014, at the St Bride Foundation in London.

This hand-built press, based on an etching by Albrecht Dürer, is a refined version of the press believed used by Johann Gutenberg to print his famous Bible. A forerunner appeared previously in the BBC documentary The Machine that Made Us.

The new press, intended as a tool for research into early printing technology, was constructed by woodworker and printing historian, Alan May, and is owned by the Duerer Press Group and has been loaned to the St Bride Foundation for a period of five years.

The creation of this replica press comes at a time of renewed interest in the physical craft of printing in Britain and abroad. Book arts programmes are thriving despite, or because of, the widespread use of digital technology.

The arrival of this unique press at St Bride Foundation also coincides with the 50th anniversary conference of the Printing Historical Society, entitled Landmarks in Printing: from origins to the digital age.

The actual development of Gutenberg’s revolutionary technology, as disruptive 560 years ago as digital technology is today, remains a matter of lively debate. The latest contribution to the field is Alix Christie’s Gutenberg’s Apprentice, an in-depth fictional account of the making of the Gutenberg Bible, which will be presented by the author, a printer and journalist, at the conference.

The launch of the press will be held at St Bride Foundation in the Printing Workshop on November 12 at 6pm.