|aaaaAt about 1045~1058, the
moveable type was invented by Bi, Sheng in China. Bi, Sheng lived in
the capital of China, Bianliang during the Former Song Dynasty
|aaaaHe invented it on the basis of
reforming engraving type. At first he sawed wood into small pieces,
then he lettered every small piece of wood to make movable Chinese
characters. According to what charceters an article needed, he
arranged the needed characters on an iron board. After printing, all
these characters could be reused.
|aaaaIt did not take him much time
to make 3000 characters in common use. Because it is hard to find a
character from the whole characters, Sheng though of a method. He
put the charcters in dozens of wood plates by their first parts of
|aaaaAt a later time, Sheng also
made movable characters from earth successfully. To be more
efficient, he prepared two iron board. When one was for pinting, the
other one could be used to arrange characters for next page or other
articles. When the former printing was finished, people could used
the latter one, which was already arranged, to continue printing.
Then the characters on the former board were hitted to be moved down
for reusing. By using the two boards alternately, people could print
|aaaaSheng prepared several movable
characters for every character, even scores for some used very
frequently, because sometime several were needed for the same
character on one page. If a uncommon word was required, he could
letter it very quickly and put it in a kiln to bake. This was also
|aaaaCompared to the printing in
modern society, What Bi, Sheng invented was simple, but it already
had the main traits of movable typing: making movable letters,
typesetting and printing.
|aaaaMovable type is a reform in the
history of printing. It has contributed much to human civilization.
About 400 years later, Gutenberge
invented the machine to make use of movable type.