The Machine That Made Us

Chris Higgins

Stephen Fry, best known (to me anyway) for playing Jeeves in the P.G. Wodehouse adaptation Jeeves and Wooster, recently hosted a BBC4 documentary on the Gutenberg Press entitled The Machine That Made Us. The title refers to the movable-type printing press invented by Johann Gutenberg in the fifteenth century.

In the course of the one-hour documentary, Fry travels through Europe to understand Gutenberg's story. He also builds a modern replica of the press, which turns out to be a tough job. You can watch the entire documentary online via YouTube (embedded videos below -- one hour spread across six ten-minute clips), or if you're in the UK you can watch via the BBC's iPlayer.

This documentary is an interesting exploration of Gutenberg and his invention; the story of the printing press is one we don't often think about, but of course it's central to the development of modern thought and education. Have a look:

You can read more about Johannes Gutenberg and his printing press at Wikipedia. See also: the Gutenberg Bible.