The Printing Press was invented in Europe by Johannes Gutenberg in 1455, helping create a rapid flow of information that greatly influenced the Renaissance. The Bible was the first book ever printed, and many other religious works followed. This took the study of theology out of the hands of the elite who could afford hand-copied books, and into those of the masses. The result was much religious upheaval, eventually leading to the splitting of the Catholic church into many fragments, including Lutheranism. However, it also democratized worldly knowledge, which led directly to the rise of democracy as a form of government.
The widespread use of printing presses has declined in recent years, as technological improvements have led to faster methods of printing such as web offset and laser printing.
Printing presses, such as those invented by Gutenberg have gained popularity in certain fields such as art, due to the simplicity of the process and limited technological complexity. Printing presses have changed dramatically in recent times to adapt to the need for printed packaging and advertising which often benefits from the simplicity of pressing when used on curved or irregular surfaces. Some examples of such surfaces / mediums include glass and plastic bottles, toys, appliances and many other consumer goods.