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The Genius of Friedrich König
How Friedrich König Lost The Battle
But Ended Up Winning The War!

By:  Nick Howard  |  Date: May 2017  |  Contact the Author

Friedrich König was a genius. If you visit either KBA’s Würzburg headquarters or the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz, you will see just how advanced his now famous The Times press is, built in 1814. With a 19th century fledgling printing industry labouring with only brute force, König created a massive advancement.

I was stunned when I saw it: Such brilliance in a press, the first to not only have a cylinder but also endless tapes to feed a sheet. The most incredible feature was how König worked out a system with cams and gears to stop and start the cylinder and keep register to a moving bed. What may be even more stunning is how long it took afterwards for his concepts to become commonplace. All of it powered by steam. König’s creation would hasten the development of newspapers, making them cheaper and more readily available to spur the spreading of ideas.

The year 2017 marks an incredible milestone for Germany’s König & Bauer AG, described today as the world’s second largest press manufacturer, as it will begin massive national celebrations later this year to mark its 200th year anniversary. I will begin the story of this crucial printing power by first sharing its London years.

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