Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg was a German inventor, printer, publisher, and goldsmith who introduced printing to Europe with his mechanical movable-type printing press. His work started the Printing Revolution in Europe and is regarded as a milestone of the second millennium, ushering in the modern period of human history. It played a key role in the development of the Renaissance, Reformation, Age of Enlightenment, and Scientific Revolution, as well as laying the material basis for the modern knowledge-based economy and the spread of learning to the masses.
While not the first to use movable type in the world, in 1439 Gutenberg was the first European to do so. His many contributions to printing include: the invention of a process for mass-producing movable type; the use of oil-based ink for printing books; adjustable molds; mechanical movable type; and the use of a wooden printing press similar to the agricultural screw presses of the period. His truly epochal invention was the combination of these elements into a practical system that allowed the mass production of printed books and was economically viable for printers and readers alike.