Segments in this Video

Early Print (04:39)


In the Middle Ages, monks hand copied texts from dictation. The printing press, moveable type, metallurgy, oil-based ink, and paper were developed in the mid-fifteenth century.

Johann Guttenberg (02:00)

In Germany in the 1400s, Johann Guttenberg’s success creating the printing press was due to his artistry and craftsmanship as a silversmith.

Print Impact on Western Culture (04:04)

The ability to produce inexpensive multiple copies lead to publishing in the vernacular. During the Reformation, Martin Luther used print to enlighten the people. Censorship becomes a political weapon.

Colonial Print (02:51)

In the 1700s basic religious-oriented books and children's instructional books flourished creating jobs and freedom of expression. Newspapers and pamphlets stirred political debates.

Mass Print (03:59)

The Industrial Revolution in the 1800s created the capability of mass production. Papermaking was transformed by new machines. Iron presses operated by steam creating faster production.

Modern Print (03:15)

Merchandising takes a major role in the 1800s. The Trans-Continental Railroad created a redistribution system. Mergenthaler's Linotype machine revolutionized type setting.

Newspaper Giants (01:40)

Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst competed for readership and the American dollar. Yellow Journalism emphasized sensationalism with little regard for the truth.

Mass Circulation Magazines (03:20)

The twentieth century brought success to national magazines. "Time" becomes a major weekly magazine. Television and radio forces competition, but attitudes toward printing remains the same.

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Print History

Part of the Series : The Story of Film, TV, and Media
DVD Price: $99.95
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3-Year Streaming Price: $99.95



A single issue of The New York Times is said to contain more information than could be learned in a lifetime by a person living in the 15th century. This program traces the development of books, newspapers, and magazines in the Western world, from the invention of the printing press, metal type, paper, and oil-based ink to the present day. Experts from the Smithsonian Institution, Harvard University Press, MIT, and The New York Times discuss the effect of print technology on the spread of Martin Luther’s doctrines and the Reformation; printing in colonial America; advances stimulated by the Industrial Revolution, the Civil War, and the Trans-Continental Railroad; Mergenthaler’s Linotype machine; Yellow Journalism; and the impact of Time magazine. Permanence and portability, in combination with affordability and ease of replication, have made the printed word a vital form of mass communication that is unlikely to be replaced even in the age of the Internet. (28 minutes)

Length: 29 minutes

Item#: BVL8564

ISBN: 978-0-7365-6047-4

Copyright date: ©1997

Closed Captioned

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Only available in USA and Canada.