15th C. | Printing Technology Spreads Causing Societal Change


13. Auditing the First 50 years of Printing History

In Konrad Haebler's Typenrepertorium der Wiegendrucke, 1905, he reported on the styles and amounts of type used in the first 50 years of printing.
... we can say roughly that in the age of incunabula, about 1,100 printers used 4,600 type founts to print 27,000 titles of books and documents.

Gothic type accounts for 79% of all types used, while Roman types represents around 19%. Besides these two major founts, Greek, Hebrew ... were created... Some 1,200 Gothic type founts were used in both Italy and Germany, and some 700 Gothic type founts in France. Most of Roman types were used by Italian printers, while only a small number of German, French and Spanish printers used Roman type. Printers in England and the Netherlands seldom or never used Roman type. Excerpt from the Japanese National Diet Library Dawn of Western Printing.

14. Printing Technology Caused Societal Change

Gutenbergs basic process remained unchanged for centuries. Within several decades typesetting technology spread across Europe. The speed with which it did so is impressive: within the first fifty years, there were over a thousand printers who set up shops in over two hundred European cities. Typical print runs for early books were in the neighborhood of two hundred to a thousand books.

Some of these first printers were artisans, while others were just people who saw an opportunity for a quick lira/franc/pound. The modern view of a classical era in which craftsmanship predominated appears unjustified to scholars: there has always been fine craft, crass commercialism, and work that combines both.

#14 Quote Source, Graphic-Design.com

Some Recorded Printer Casualties

Antoine Augereau, Parisian printer and type designer, reputedly the teacher of Garamond, hanged and burned on Christmas Eve, 1534, on (supposedly trumped up) charges of printing heretical placards.

Etienne Dolet, printer of Lyon and Paris, burned at the stake on August 3, 1546, in Paris, on charges of blasphemy, sedition, and selling prohibited books.

Martin lHomme, hanged in 1560 for printing a pamphlet against a Cardinal.
(List originally compiled by Charles Bigelow)