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Anna’s Anachronisms: Johannes Gutenberg versus the Modern Day Printer

As I crossed the brick-laden street and nodded to a man dressed in beige, bearing a POLIZI badge, I caught site of my target through the clear window of the library. Johannes waved in greeting as I entered the golden ornate doors to meet him, and ignoring the glares of patrons, follow him down a hallway. The sound of machinery grows louder until he opens a large oaken door revealing his monster invention whirrs and stamps away. The original printing press, something that looks more akin to the inside of a piano then the small, plastic hub I carried in my shoulder bag.

“What have you brought me here for?” Johannes barked, impatient.

Rolling my eyes, I set my bag on the table and started pulling back the draping fabric. “Hold on a minute, and I’ll show you.” I chirped.

Johannes quirked an eyebrow as I revealed the small, modern-day HP printer/scanner/copier. “What is that?”

“This, my friend,” I chuckled with a flourish. “Is what that beast behind you looks like in today’s world.”

“That?” He sputtered incredulously. “But it’s so tiny! How could all that possibly fit in this tiny block?”

“Well, I’ll prove it. It even looks cleaner then yours.” I connected via the wifi to the printer with my phone, and printed off the blue-prints for his press. “See?”

Johannes turned pale and his skin flushed, he simply could not believe his eyes. “This is… verwirrend…” He muttered as he rose to his feet to stalk around the object, as if he could disassemble it with his gaze alone. “Where is the ink?”

“Inside, in little cartridges about the size of my thumb. They spray the drum with ink, and the letterheads inside stamp the desired words or lines on paper as it revolves over the cylinder.”

“And all of that fits in a miniscule square! Are you mad?”

“I promise you, this is what modern printers are. And we’re not finished yet.” I popped the lid and placed one of the fresh prints into the scanner, then closed to lid. I set it to 5 copies, and watched Johannes eyes pop wider with each identical leaf to leave the chute. “We can also put any paper in the top, and it’ll make as many perfect copies as you please. And if that’s not enough…”

The older German jumped and whipped around in his chair when a fax machine to his left started to rattle and buzz. I continued as the blueprint swished out into place on the paper tray. “… I can also send it to any other printer in the world.”

“I cannot believe this… as one may say, stop the press!”

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