Electricity hurt the Printing Industry

Ben Franklin's discovery of electricity

Franklin discovers electricity

Electricity hurt the Printing Industry

For the first 300 years after Gutenberg invented the printing press, printing had enjoyed a monopoly on the communication industry.  Then Ben Franklin came along and changed all that with his discovery of electricity.

In 1730, a young Benjamin Franklin opened his printing business and became the publisher of a newspaper called The Pennsylvania Gazette.  In 1748, he sold the business and retired from printing.  Then, in 1750, he published a proposal for an experiment to prove that lightning is electricity by flying a kite in a lightning storm, thus discovering electricity.

Electricity turned from a scientific curiosity into an essential tool for modern life.  It became a driving force for the second industrial revolution; the Digital Revolution.  Electricity caused a shift from traditional  Industrial Revolution, brought through industrialization, to an economy based around the manipulation of information.

Electricity drives every major medium used to deliver messages today including:

  • television
  • radio
  • cinema
  • magazines
  • newspapers
  • video games
  • the Internet

Print had a good run but I’m afraid it peaked in 1750.  Stay tuned to find out how we’re dealing with print today.


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