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:
- 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.