The first substantial printed book in the West is the royal-folio two-volume Bible on display, comprising nearly 1,300 pages and printed in Mainz on the central Rhine by Johann Gutenberg in the 1450s.
Completed between March and November 1455, when Gutenberg’s bankruptcy deprived him of his printing establishment, the Bible epitomizes Gutenberg’s triumph, arguably the greatest achievement of the second millennium.
Over possibly twenty or more years, at Mainz and perhaps at Strasbourg, he succeeded in developing printing from movable type in the West.
The Gutenberg Bible, an edition of the Vulgate (Latin translation of the Bible 4th-century), contains the Latin version of both the Hebrew Old Testament and the Greek New Testament.
The handmade paper used by Gutenberg was of fine quality and was imported from Italy. Each sheet contains a watermark left by the paper mold.