Pre-Industrial Revolution

590 words | 2 page(s)

Western civilization slowly began along the banks of River Tigris and River Euphrates as well as the rivers in Mesopotamia along the River Nile course in Egypt. (35). The Chinese were responsible for developing many innovations that changed the course of human events (35). Seafaring and exploration became easier and safer through the invention of the compass (35). The invention of gunpowder fuelled human temperament, making the nature of wars more aggressive (35).

The Chinese calligraphy also evolved during this period and became the most dominant visual language system (35). Wider communication of thoughts and deeds became enhanced by the use of paper in printing and duplication of words (35). Aside from paper, silk, porcelain and the black book were also very commonly used inventions (35). These inventions were used very much by the Europeans in their efforts to conquer the world (35). They used compass to travel around the world and firearms to colonize the African continent (35). Paper was used to spread the European culture, religion, language and law all over the world (35).

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During this era, merchant who were depositing metal currency with the state started receiving paper certificates from the Chinese government (43). Shortly before the year 1000, there was a shortage of iron coins which prompted the invention if paper money (43). The government controlled the production of the paper money and minted millions of money (43). Consequently, there was significant inflation and devaluation of currency. In an effort to counter the counterfeiting of money; money was printed on color paper or on perfumed paper with high silk content (43). The penalty of paper counterfeing was death to deter the crime (43).

During the eighth century, the Buddhist religion and Chinese culture was exported to Japan (47). A smallpox outbreak made the empress to order that one million copies of the Buddhist charms be printed in a preservation effort (47). Combined with their sacred value, the sheer number of the copies produced enabled them to survive until this day (47).

In the day, production of manuscripts was time consuming and costly (49). Writing surfaces were made from animal surfaces (49). A large book, for instance, could use the animal hide of more than three hundred animals (49). Headings were made using red chalk mixed with gum and water (49). Over time however, manuscripts evolved to more illuminated versions which could even fit into a saddle bag (50). Judaic and Muslim manuscripts evolved as a representation of the Judaic and Islam religions (63). In 1449, Fust and Schoeffer began to establish a printing business (81). The firm grew to become the most lucrative printing fir worldwide. It established a century-old family empire of printing, publishing and bookselling (81). The partnership led to the completion of a Bible that had forty-two lines (81). Sales of the Bible were really fast because the company traveled widely to distribute them (81).

Printing also acted as a source of stability and unification for languages (85). German, French and English became typographic mass media. They were used to communicate to audiences in one voice which fueled the spirit of nationalism and patriotism among the people (85). In this way, it largely contributed to the growth of unity in modern states (85). Ideas about human rights and sovereignty of the people’s ideas were promoted by the new medium which resulted to the French and American revolutions of the late eighteenth century (85). In terms of technological history, Gutenberg’s invention of a skilled handicraft became pioneer for technological history which set into motion the processes that over the next three hundred years would lead to the Industrial Revolution (85).

  • Meggs, P. B., & Purvis, A. W. (2016). Meggs’ history of graphic design. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

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