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Warren Chappell

& Robert Bringhurst

Second Edition Revised and Updated

Hartley & .Marks

P~U b lT S H £ R s
published by
p o Box 147 3661 West Broadway
Point Roberts, w a Vancouver, b c
98281 v 6 r 2b 8

Original text copyright © 1970 The N ew York Times

N ew text © 1999 by Robert Bringhurst
All rights reserved.

Except for brief reviews, no part of this book may be reproduced in any form
or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording,
or by any information storage and retrieval system, without the written
permission o f the p ublisher.

Chappell, Warren, 1904-1991

A short history o f the printed word / Warren Chappell. - 2nd ed.
rev. and updated / by Robert Bringhurst.
p. cm.
Includes index.
i s b n 0 -88179-154-7
1. Printing - History. 1. Bringhurst, Robert, 1946-. n. Title,
z 124x47 1998 98-11931
6 8 6 .2 'o 9 -d c2 ii c ip

Printed in Canada
m 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 21
In memoriam

(1 8 9 2 - 1 9 8 4 )

Preface to the Revised Edition by R obert B ringhurst

p. ix
Preface to the First Edition by W arren Chappell

List o f Illustrations

C hapter I • Prologue to Discovery

P -3
C hapter I I • The Alphabet

C hapter I I I • Type: Cutting and Casting

P- 43
C hapter IV - Incunabula: 1440-1500
C hapter V - The Sixteenth Century
C h a p te r VI - The Seventeenth Century
P - 123
C hapter V II - The Eighteenth Century
P. 158
C hapter V I I I - The Nineteenth Century

C hapter IX * The Early Twentieth Cen tury: 19 o 0-1940

p. 227

C hapter X • The Second World War and After: 1940-19 7 0

p. 255

C hapter X I * The Digital Revolution and

the Close o f the Twentieth Century
P- 275
Index * p. 301
Preface to the Revised Edition

arren chappell was bom i n 1904 and died i n 1991. He

published his Short History of the Printed Word in 1970, after a
lifetime of devotion to the world of printing and publishing.
Chappell spent his whole life designing and illustrating books,
and making texts and blocks and metal type and other components,
out of which to make die books he made. There was, in 1970, no
process of type manufacture, no medium of illustration, and no
technique of printing widi which he was not personally and viscer-
ally familiar. Yet not one of those techniques was merely a tech­
nique so far as Chappell was concerned. For him as for his teacher
Rudolf Koch, every tool, every letter, every move in the making of a
book had a moral and spiritual dimension. Dishonest moves were
false; honest moves were on their way to being true. This came out
clearly in his writing. His plain elucidations of the complex inter­
actions between humans and materials brought his story of the
printed word alive.
Like everyone who loves and serves a craft, Chappell cared
about its history, and he saw that history not as the private concern
of a few professionals but as the substance of public value. The his­
tory of each and every craft links the crafts to one another, and to all
of their practitioners and all their beneficiaries, past, present and to
come. Though his dates and names were not always correct, he was
the ideal person to unfold that history. He knew mattered. It
lived in his hands.
.Lately, it appears to be the fashion to revise the books of the
a 5ft.ort Jrlistory of th e Trinted W ord

deceased instead of writing new ones. Saul Steinberg’s Five Hundred

Years of Printing and Geoffrey Dowding’s Introduction to the History
of Printing Types, both revised by other hands in recent years, are
examples close to home. This is a third. I disapprove in principle.
We ought in decency to leave the old books as they are - and if we
can and when we must, we ought to write some new ones, to stand
beside the best ones of the past. Yet I have broken my own rule.
There is a reason. Chappell had a rock-solid knowledge of proce­
dures and techniques that had been current for half a millennium
when he was writing - and have all but disappeared in the past three
decades. He knew some of the things that historians know, but
mostly he knew wThat historians don't know, I wanted the names and
dates set straight, insofar as that was possible, and yet to hear the
story told as Chappell told it, from a workbench rather than a key­
board, with silences in place of self-advertisements, and graver
marks and acid stains in place of any footnotes.
Much in the book has changed - but the “I” in the first ten chap­
ters is always Chappell speaking, though the third-person state­
ments are often my own. Chappell’s original plan, in fact, was to
make this book a collaboration. It is now, in its second life, exactly
that. The design is also his, but aged in boards for thirty years and
somewhat mellowed. And the type is one he loved, but it is digital
type now. It was metal in the first edition.
Fm grateful to Warren Chappell’s original publisher, the firm of
Alfred Knopf, who gave permission for this revision, and I am
grateful to my friends - Kay Arnert and John Downer in Iowa City;
Sjaak Hubregtse in Amsterdam; Gerald Lange in Los Angeles; Dan
Carr in Ashuelot, New Hampshire; Scott & Corky McIntyre in
Vancouver; and Sydney Shep in Wellington, New Zealand, among
others - who shared their knowledge freely where mine failed.


London / Vancouver • 1999

Preface to the First Edition

n1922, h a r v a r d u n i v e r s i t y p r e s s publishedPrintmgTypes:
I Their History, Forms and Use, by Daniel Berkeley Updike, the
outstanding American printer-scholar. The work is so thoroughly
admirable that it has seemed an impertinence for anyone to offer
another history of printing, if only out of fear of comparison. I ac­
quired my copy of Printing Types in 1927, during the time 1 was
working with a New York printer in order to learn about type and
impression firsthand. More than forty years later, I am struck by the
timeliness of Updike’s brilliant presentation, and his conclusion
that printing can be

a broad and humanizing employment which can indeed befollowed merely

as a trade, but which i f perfected into an art, or even broadened into a pro­
fession., willperpettially open new horizons to our eyes and opportunities to
our hands.

Updike was not a believer in the good old days. He knew that it
has always been hard to do fine work. The glowing examples that
mark the history of printing do not represent their periods so much
as their dedicated producers, who managed to perfect their trade
into an art. The breadth and depth and specialization of Printing
Types make it overpowering for most laymen, and I would venture
to say that like Cervantes’s Don Quixote it is better known by its title
than its text. The possibility that this is true provides a reasonable
excuse for a simpler work, which could serve as an introduction.
A Short History ot the Printed Word

In 1927, when I was reading Printing Types, I had finished col­

lege, studied at the Art Students League, and had several years of
contact with printmaking. By the spring of 1932, I had added
punchcutting to my experience. Since then I have had some inti­
mate acquaintance with almost every aspect of the graphic arts and
publishing. I have also been privileged to know a very large number
of the artists, founders, printers and publishers who have helped to
shape the printing of my time.
Now, nearly a half century after the first edition of Printing
Types, a bibliographic friend of the staff of the New York Times has
insisted that I write a book for laymen about the printed word. The
number of visitors to the pressroom of the Times and its small typo­
graphic museum have convinced him of the need for such a book.
It is the mark of a good editor that he can be both persuasive and
I hope that my friend is right, and that my very special view of
the history of printing is both valuable and communicable. Exper­
ience has convinced me that calligraphy and printing have satisfied
some of the deepest human needs, in tellectually and aesthetically. A
page of printed type is one of the most abstract pieces of communi­
cation I can imagine. Symbols of most ancient origin can be put to­
gether in ways that stimulate the eye, through pattern, and the
mind, through thought. For this reason, I believe that the area of
communication which is now served by printing can never be en­
tirely usurped by any other means.
I think of printing as a medium, and I view the history of print­
ing as a combination of the story of men and materials and the story
of the development of the art itself. We are not really concerned
here with the greatest, rarest or most beautiful printed works be­
cause they are great, rare or beautiful. Rather, our interest lies
chiefly in following the most significant developments and in­
fluences which have shaped the course of the printed word during
the past five centuries. U sually, the examples of printing that are of

p Re fa c e to the First Edition

greatest aesthetic merit are also those that have contributed most
to the advancement of the craft. Among the influences on printing,
illustration has been an important one, because it has generated a
continuing search for methods of reproduction, in turn resulting in
techniques affecting the manner in which the word was printed.
And, after 1814, when the London Times used the first power press,
newspapers have been an important influence also, since they have
played a major role in the development of production tools of the
printing industry. It is my belief that both illustration and newspa­
pers deserve important consideration in any history of the printed
The strongest feelings I have about printing always return to
three simple concepts: the sculptural nature of type, the inevitable­
ness of its arrangement on the page, and the authority of its impres­
sion. I offer these to the reader not as a creed but as a working point
of view.

Anyone who attempts to recapitulate the essential story of western

calligraphy and printing is aware of his debt to all those who have
preceded him, and who made that history or recorded it. In my case,
many of those to whom I feel deeply obli gated have been my friends
for the past four and a half decades. To try to name them all would
impose upon tire reader.
Instead, I will restrict my list to those who have been intimately
involved in making this book, from its conception to production.
Initially, it was the request of Allan Ullman, and the strong encour­
agement of Alfred Knopf, Sidney Jacobs and Oscar Ogg, that made
me undertake the task. W hen the project was originally proposed,
Oscar was asked to share it with me, and I regret that he found it
necessary, because of other commitments, to withdraw.
In the actual preparation of the manuscript, from typing to copy
editing, I have been endlessly aided by Adelaide Sharry, Lee Foster

X lll
A Short History or the Fruited Word

and Judy Pomerantz, and I wish to thank them publicly for their
essential contributions. I also want to express my appreciation to
Alfred Fairbank for the glimpse of his friend Edward Johnston,
which he wrote especially for this volume.
I have thought of this as a book about an art, rather than an art
book, and of the illustrations as an integral part of the text. For this
reason, the printing is being done by offset, so that the plates can be
shown exactly at the point where they are referred to in the text.
The composition, on the other hand, is being done in metal - Lino­
type for the body matter and captions, and handset Monotype for
the display half-titles, title page and chapter openings.1 The New
York Times assumed the arduous job of locating and photographing
most of the two hundred illustrations that are used. To those who
performed that task, and to the museums, libraries, publishers and
foundries that cooperated, I am very grateful.

Norwalk, Connecticut -1970

i This was true for die first edition of this book. As mentioned on page x and ex­
plained in detail on pages 57-58, the type in this revised edition is digital. - rb



am Ashmolean Museum / b m British Museum / b n p Bibliothèque
Nationale, Paris / d s f D. Stempel Foundry, Frankfurt/ e m t Sir
Edward Maunde Thompson, An Introduction to Greek and Latin
Palaeography (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1912) / f s l Folger Shake-
speare Library, Washington, DC / gm Gutenberg Museum, Mainz
/ h u p Harvard University Press / m b Museum van het Boek,
’s-Gravenhage / m c l The Monotype Corporation Ltd / m o m a
Museum of Modern Art, New York / n l Newberry Library,
Chicago / n y p l New York Public Library / n y t The New York
J'imes/ p m l Pierpont Morgan Library, New York / u m l University
of Michigan Library / v l Vatican Library.


w European Scriptorium, g m M Albrecht Dürer. Underweysung

PI 42-line Gutenberg Bible. Mainz, der Messung.
early 1450s. gm hi Trajan capitals set against square
133 Printing surfaces: letterpress, fields.
intaglio, planographic. [3.1 T he intransitive serifs o f roman
L3 Copyright page o f a book tie the letters to the line. The
printed in China in 1194. transitive serifs of italic link the
[5] St Christopher. Block print letters to each other.
d a t e d 1423. n y t W Square capitals.
[6] 15th-century playing card, nyt I5Î Square capitals, e m t
W Dutch papermakers wire mold hi Rustic capitals.
for a 17" x 22" (44 x 56 cm) laid l7l Rustic capitals, e m t
sheet. [8] Uncials.
18] Papermaker’s watermark. L3 Uncials, e m t
M Semiuncials.

A 5ftort History ot the .Printed Word

[n] Semiuncials, e m t [14] Font of 12-point Linotype

[12] Caroline minuscules. “Janson” italic (based on Kis).
[13] Caroline minuscules, e m t [35] Pair of printer’s cases (drawn by
[14] Textura o f G u tenb erg’s tim e. Rudolph Rüzicka for Updike’s
[15] Textura in a 14th-century Printing Types), h u p
breviary, e m t [16] Composing sticks: earliest type,
[16] Rotunda, after Giovanni single measure, made o f wood;
Francesco Cresci modern style, adjustable, made
[17] Development o f written hands o f steel.
from square capitals to [37] Pressure system for letterpress
humanistic script. printing.
[18] Scrittura umanistka. [i8 j Gutenberg workshop
[19] Scrittura umanistka. p m l ( reconstruction in the Gutenberg
[20] CanceUaresca (chancery script). Museum), g m
[21] Chancery script, early 16th {19] Chase and lock-up o f a sixteen-
century. page form.

chapter in CHAPTER IV

[t] Calligraphy and completed type. [1] Gutenberg Bible: the textblock.
Koch Antiqua, cast by the [2] Gutenberg Bible : th e type.
Klingspor foundry, Offenbach. [3] The Mainz Psalter o f Fust &
[2] Warren Chappell’s files and Schoffer. g m
gravers (photographed by Philip [4] Mainz Psalter: initial.
Van Daren Stern in 1972). [5] Mainz Psalter: the type.
[3] A typecutter’s graver. [6] Hartm sanitatis: the type.
[4] Diagram by Rudolf Koch [7] The first book with printed
showing the simple tools and illustrations: Etlelstein, by
gravers of a punchcutter. Albrecht Pfister, g m
[5] Rudolf Koch filing a punch [8] Lactantms, Opera. Subiaco,
against the pin. 1465. PML
[6] Diagrams of counterpunching [9] First type of Sweynheym &
by Rudolf Koch. Pannartz. 1465.
[7] Counterpunching stake. [10] Roman type o f Johann van
[8] Planer. Speyer (da Spira). Venice, 1470.
[93 Original “Janson” matrices, [irj Eusebius by Nicolas Jenson,
struck from punches cut by Venice, 1470. ny p l
Miklos Kis. ds f [12] Textblock from Jenson’s
[10] Handcasting mold, showing Eusebius {reduced).
inner construction. [13] Roman type of Nicolas Jenson.
[ti] Handcasting mold and gauges 1471.
(photographed by Philip Van Doren [14 ] Rotunda by Juan de Yciar.
Stern in 7972). [15] Type of Caxton’s first book in
[12] Plan and nomenclature of a English.
piece of t y p e , h u p [16] Caxton’s first dated work in
[13] Font of 12-point Linotype English: The Dictes and Sayings
“Janson” roman (based on Kis). o f the Philosophers. 1477. p m l

[17] Ratdolt. Kakndarhis. Venice, [13] The Cardinal. Woodcut by Jan

1476. Lievens.
[18] Philippe Pigouchet. Livre [14J A page from the writing manual
d ’heures. Paris, 1498. of Vespasiano Amphiareo. 1554.
[19] St Christopher on Horseback. [15] Cresci. Roman upper and lower
Metalcut executed about 1475. case from II Perfetto scrittore. 1556.
[20] Albrecht Durer, Woodcut. [16] Simon de Colines. T itle page.
Apocalypse. 1498. n y p l Paris, 1539.
[21] Francesco Colonna, [t 7] jean de Tournes. T itle page.
Hypnerotomachia Poliphili. Lyon, 1556.
Venice: Aldus Manutius, 1499. [18] Robert Estienne. Chapter
N Y PL opening. Text by Guillaume
[22] Text page of Hypnerotomachia Budé; type by Simon de
Poliphili, with Francesco Griffo’s Colines; initial by Geofroy Tory.
type (reduced). Paris, 1535.
[23] Roman type by Francesco [19 j Robert Estienne’s Cicero, with
Griffo, from Hypnerotomachia type by Simon de Colines. Paris,
Poliphili. 1499. I543“5°- UML
[20] Geofroy Tory. Horae. Paris, 1525.
c h a p te r v NYPL
[21] G aram ond’s grec du roi: the
[r] Virgil, Opera. Venice: Aldus largest size. Paris, 1546.
Manutius, 1501, with italic type [22] G aram ond’s giws canon roman
b y Francesco Griffo. n y p l type. Paris, revised c. 1550.
[2] Aldine italic, cut by Francesco [23] G aram ond’s type, used by the
Griffo. 1501. H eirs of Andreas Wechel.
^3] Letter written by Raphael, April Frankfurt, 1586.
1508. VL [24] Vesalius. De Hutnani corporis
[4] Chancery' cursive from Arrighi’s fabrica. Basel, 1543. n y p l
writing manual, 1522. I2 5] Jean de Tournes. Métamorphose
[5] Arrighi. Type from the Coryciana d’Ovide figurée. Lyon, 1557.
of Palladius. 1524. [26] Robert Granjon. Title page
[6] Chancery-’ cursive from Pa latino’s using civilité. Lyon, 1557.
writing manual. 1545. [27] Christophe Pîantin. Polyglot
[7] Durer. Detail from the Bible. Antwerp, 1572.
Apocalypse. 1498. [28 ] Fraktur designed by Vincenz
[8] Woodcutting: position o f knife; Rockner containing
diagram o f cut line. schwabacher alternate forms.
[9 ] Positions o f knives: Ori entai an d Augsburg, 1514.
Occidental. [29] Montaigne’s Essais. T ide page.
[10J Gouge for woodcutting. 1580.
[11] Two states of a Rembrandt
drawing cut on wood by Jan C H A P T E R Vî
[12] Diogenes, by Parmigianino. [1] T h e K ing James Bible. 160.
Chiaroscuro woodcut by Ugo da [2] Shakespeare. First Folio. 1623.
Carpi. FSL
A Short History' ot the Printed Word

[3] Star Chamber decree. Tide [27] Bay Psalm Book. Cambridge,
page. 1637. Mass., 1640. N Y P L
[4] Cervantes. Don Quixote. 1605. [28] First Bible in a Native American
NYPL language (Massachusetts 1663.
[5] Engraved illustration by Rubens N YPL
for Pompa introitus Ferdmandi. [29] Title pages for Molière (1671)
1641. N Y P L and Racine (1691).
[6 ] Rubens. Woodcut by Jegher.
[7] Respublica, sive Status regni CHAPTER v n
Poloniae. Leiden: Elzevir, 1627.
[8] The Fell types, roman and italic. ft] Title page, Médailles. 1702.
[9] Pressure system for intaglio [2] Ro'/nain du roi as rendered by
printing, Grandjean. 1702.
[10] Title page by Poussin. Engraved [3] Renaissance, Baroque,
by Claude Mellan. Paris, 1642. Neoclassical and Romantic
N YPL letterforms, showing the
[nj Etched illustrations by humanist vs the rationalist axis.
Rembrandt van Rijn. 1655. [4] Casl on’s Great Primer roman.
[12] Etching by Rembrandt remade 1734.
as a linecut. [5] Baskervitle’s Great Primer
[13] Aquatint by Francisco Goya. roman. 1762.
[14] Mezzotint by William Doughty- [6] Tide page of Baskerville’s quarto
after Joshua Reynolds, n y p l Virgil. Birmingham, 1757.
[15] Jacques Cailot. Illustration for [7] Fournier’s Manuel typographique.
Lux daustri. Paris, 1646. n y p l Paris, 1764,
[16] Avisa Relation oder 7xitung. 1609. [8] Fournier’s scale.
NYPL [9] Type cut by Pierre Simon
[17! Nathaniel Butter’s Corante of Fournier, used by François
1621. BM Didot. Paris, 1743.
[18] An English news sheet issued in [to] Title page by F.-A. Didot. 1783.
the Netherlands. 1620. n y p l [11] Type cut by Jacques-Louis
[19] The London Gazette. 1665. n y p l Vafflard for F.-A. Didot. 1781.
[20] Harris’s Publick Occurrences. ]i2j Type cut by Firmin Didot, used
1690. NYPL by his brother Pierre. 1799.
[21] The first publication o f the [13] Bodoni. Specimen.
Imprimerie Royale, Paris. [14] Bodoni’s posthumous Manmle
[22] Roman type cut at Sedan by Jean tipografico. Parma, 1818. n y p l
Jannon. [15] Fleischman’s Text roman and
[23] A plate by Simonneau tor die italic, Amsterdam, 1739.
romain du roi. b n p [16] Text type o f Juan de Yriarte’s
[24] Page from Francesco Pisani’s Obras sueltas. Madrid, 1774.
Tratteggiato da penna. 1640. n l [17] Defoe’s Weekly Review. London,
[25] Handpress from Moxon’s 1704. NYPL
Mecbafiick Exercises. 1683. [18] The Spectator. London, i y u.
[26] Excerpt from Chinook Texts, N YPL
transcribed and translated by [19] The New England Courant.
Franz Boas. 1894. Boston, 1721. N Y P L


[20] The Connecticut Courant. [13] Craikshank. Etched illustration

Hartford, 1764. n y p l for Oliver Twist. 1838.
[21] T he Daily Courant. London, [14] Daumier. Wood engraved
1702. BM illustration for Robert Macaire.
[22] Thomas Bewick. Illustration for Paris, 1842.
Somerville’s The Chase. 1796. [15] Menzel. Wood-engraved
N Y PL illustration for Geschichte
[23] Graver for working on endgrain Friedrichs des Groszen. 1840.
wood. [16] Linotype machine, dsf
[24] T he manner of holding a graver. [17] Linotype pattern drawing,
[25! Moreau. Engraving for pattern, mats and punch, dsf
Laborde’s Chansons. Paris, 1773. [18] Monotype keyboard and caster.
[26] Hogarth. Engraving for Sterne’s MCL
Tristram Shandy. London, 1760. [19] Monotype m ats and punch, m c l
[20] The Yellow Book. Cover design
ch apter v tn by Aubrey Beardsley, n y p l
[21] .Morris. The Kelmscott Chaucer.
}i] Pressure system for London, 1896. n y p l
planographic printing. [22] Willi am Morris. Troy type.
[2] The Times (London), the first
newspaper printed on a power C H A P T E R IX
press. 1814.
[3] The spirit of the broadnib pen [1] Ashendene Press type.
and the spirit of the pointed [2] Pissarro. Eragny Press Book of
quill: orientation and pressure. Ruth and Esther. 1896. n y p l
[4] Title page of specimen issued by [3] T.J. Cobden-Sanderson. Doves
the foundry of Pierre Didot Press Bible. 1905. n y p l
Tame, Paris, 1819, [4] Emery Walker & T J. Cobden-
[5] English N'° 2. Romantic face Sanderson. Doves Roman.
from William Thorowgood’s [5] Updike. The Wedding Journey of
foundry. London, 1824. Charles and Martha Amory. 1922.
[6] Scotch Roman from Alexander PML
Wilson & Sons. Edinburgh, [6] Bruce Rogers. Oxford Bible.
^ 33 - 1935. n y p l
[7] William Pickering’s revival of [7] Rogers. Journal of Madam
Caslon’s type. London, 1844. Knight. 1920. n y p l
181 Delacroix. Lithograph for Faust. [8 ] Rogers. Centaur type. 1915.
Paris, 1828. [9] Goudy. Opening page o f The
[9] Daumier. Lithograph for Rue Alphabet. Kennerley type with a
Transmian. 1834. n y p l handlettered title.
[ioJ Blake. Wood engravings for [10] Kessler. Cranach Press Virgil.
Virgil’s Eclogues. 1821. 1926.
[11] William Blake. The Book of Job. [11] Maillol. Woodcut illustration for
1826. N Y PL Virgil.
[12) Thomas Rowlandson. Aquatint [12] Picasso. Illustration for Balz-ac’s
for The Vicar of Wakefield. Le Chef-d’œuvre inconnu. 1947.
London, 1817. n yp l N Y PL

A s n o r t History of the P rin ted Word

[13] Rouauit. Wood-engraved C H A P T E R XI

illustrations. Cirque de l'étoile
filante, 193B. h y p l [ i] Sanvito, by Robert Slimbach.
[14] Manet. Lithographic illustration Adobe Systems, 1993.
for Poe’s The Raven. Paris, 1875. [2] Caflisch, by Robert Slimbach.
[153 Eichenauer. Proof o f roman type Adobe Systems, 1993.
designed by Warren Chappell [3] Four unserifed types: Eric Gill’s
and cut in lead by Gustav Gill Sans (1927), Paul Renner’s
Eichenauer. 1955. Futura (1927), Hermann Zapf’s
[16] Jan van Krimpen’s Lutetia type. Optima (1958), Hans-Eduard
[r7] Troy and Wailau. Comparison Meier’s Syntax (1969).
of a rotunda type designed by [4] Scala Serif and Scala Sans, by
William Morris and one cut by Martin Majoor. FontShop,
Rudolf Koch. Berlin, 1991-94.
[18] Rudolf Koch’s Wailau type. [5] Quadraat Serif and Quadraat
Boccaccio, Kônig Agilulf. 1932. Sans, by Fred Smeijers.
[19] Willi Wiegand. Bremer Presse FontShop, Berlin, 1992-96.
Divina Commedia. 1921. n y p l [6] True and false small caps.
[20] Eric Gill. Golden Cockerel [7] Paul Blackburn, The Omitted
Press, The Four Gospels. 1931. Journals. Walter Hamady,
NYPL Perishable Press, 1983.
[21] Limited Editions Club. Dreiser’s [8] The Fragments o f ITerakleitos.
Sister Canie, printed by Joseph Peter Koch, Berkeley, 1990.
Blumenthal with illustrations by [9] W.S. Merwin, The Real World of
Reginald Marsh. 1939. Manuel Cordova. Carolee
Campbell, Ninja Press, 1995.
cha pter x [10] Warren Lehrer & Dennis
Bernstein, French Fries. Visual
[1] Picasso. Aquatint illustration for Studies Workshop, Rochester,
Buffon’s Histoire naturelle. 1942. N ew York, 1984.
[2] Sem Hartz. Early sketch for [nj Jacques Derrida, Glas. U. of
Juliana. 1951. mb Nebraska Press, Lincoln, 1986.
[3] Tschichold. Sabon roman. [12] Avital Ronell, The Telephone
[4] Trajan us Presse. Aristophanes’ Book: Technology, Schizophrenia,
Die Frosche, with wood Elective Speech. U. of Nebraska
engravings by Imre Reiner. Press, Lincoln, 1989.
[5] Daumier. Detail, wood [13] Mark C. Taylor & Esa Saarinen,
engraving in Le Monde illustré. lmagohgies: Media Philosophy.
.1869, Routledge, London, 1994.
[6] Rouault. Detail, wood [14] Ezra Pound, The Cantos. James
engraving, for Cirque de Fétoile Laughlin, N ew Directions, N ew
filante. 1939. m om a York, 1970.
[7] Reiner. Detail, wood engraving [15] Dell Hymes, Victoria Howard's
for Die Frosche. ‘Gitskiix and His Older Brother,’
[8] Modern production offset press in Smoothing the Ground, edited
printing five colors on both sides by Brian Swann. Berkeley, 1983.
of continuous rolls.


Prologue to Discovery

o r n early te n cen tu ries, typographic printing has been

F a force of immense importance. By typographic printing Ï
mean impressions from master sets of characters accurately com­
posed into words, lines and pages. Such printing has been the tool
of learning, the preserver of knowledge and the medium of litera­
ture. Until the electronic age, it was the great means of communica­
tion over distances in space. It remains the greatest means of
communication across time. The press has also become and re­
mained a symbol of freedom, defended in Milton’s Areopagitica and
protected in the US Bill of Rights. Despite the press’s role in the
spread of commercial propaganda and other forms of information
pollution, and its widespread use for the manufacture of mass opin­
ion in place of individual thought, freedom of die press remains a
vital fact or aspiration in most societies of the world.
Apart from its importance as a means of communication, print­
ing has had, and continues to have, an impressive life as an art and
craft. On the lowest level diere is a childlike pleasure to be derived
from stamping and duplicating, not greatly removed from the de­
light of making mud pies. On the highest level - that of the best
composition and presswork - printing affords the artist the many
and varied satisfacti ons of meaningful texture and form.
The key that unlocked practical printing was movable metal
type. This does not seem in retrospect like a very large order, tech-

A S h o rt H isto ry o t the P rin te d W ord

1.1 A European scriptorium, as reconstructed a t the Gutenberg Museum,

M ainz.
nically. But appreciable forces stood in the way. In Europe, for in­
stance, paper was not generally available until late in the thirteenth
century. Documents were for the most part written on parchment
or vellum. (Parchment is animal skin, chiefly sheep or goat, which
has been scraped, dressed and prepared as a basis for writing. In the
second century b c , the Greek city of Pergamon - now Bergama in
western Turkey - became a center for the preparation of such skins.
It is from Pergamenos that our word “parchment” is derived. Vellum
is parchment made from the skin of a newborn calf, kid or lamb.)
And there were, as always, vested interests which opposed change.
In the early days of printing, organized calligraphers and illumina­
tors brought political pressure to bear to restrict new methods of
duplication. But the chief deterrent - or, more accurately, the prin­
cipal reason for apathy - was ignorance. W hen few could read, the
need for books was limited. It was the great surge of the Ren­
aissance that changed this.

The Origins of Printing

Everyone, it seems, has heard of Johann Gutenberg, even if not
everyone knows that he was born in Mainz circa 1394 and died in
1468. Many people know that Gutenberg printed a Bible, and many
people know, or think they know, that he invented the process of
printing from movable type. In fact, there are many books still in
existence that were printed from movable type in China and Korea
before Gutenberg was born.
The eleventh-century (Song Dynasty) essayist Shën Kuo de­
scribes the process of printing from movable type in some detail
and gives the name of the first master of the process as Bi Shëng.
But printing from handset metal or ceramic type was never an un­
qualified success in China, because of the thousands of different
characters required. When Gutenberg applied the same technol­
ogy to alphabetic writing, four centuries after Bf Shëng had in-

A Short H isto ry of the Printed Word

i.i A European scriptorium, as reconstructed at the Gutenberg Museum,

nically. But appreciable forces stood in the way. In Europe, for in­
stance, paper was not generally available until late in the thirteenth
century. Documents were for the most part written on parchment
or vellum. (Parchment is animal skin, chiefly sheep or goat, which
has been scraped, dressed and prepared as a basis for writing. In the
second century bc, the Greek city of Pergamon - now Bergama in
western Turkey - became a center for the preparation of such skins.
It is from Pergamenos that our word “parchment” is derived. Vellum
is parchment made from the skin of a newborn calf, kid or lamb.)
And there were, as always, vested interests which opposed change.
In the early days of printing, organized calligraphers and illumina­
tors brought political pressure to bear to restrict new methods of
duplication. But the chief deterrent - or, more accurately, the prin­
cipal reason for apathy - was ignorance. W hen few could read, the
need for books was limited. It was the great surge of the Ren­
aissance that changed this.

The Origins of Printing

Everyone, it seems, has heard of Johann Gutenberg, even if not
everyone knows that he was bom in Mainz circa 1394 and died in
1468. Many people know that Gutenberg printed a Bible, and many
people know, or think they know, that he invented the process of
printing from movable type. In fact, there are many books still in
existence that were printed from movable type in China and Korea
before Gutenberg was born.
The eleventh-century (Song Dynasty) essayist Shën Kuo de­
scribes the process of printing from movable type in some detail
and gives the name of the first master of the process as Bf Shëng.
But printing from handset metal or ceramic type was never an un­
qualified success in China, because of the thousands of different
characters required. W hen Gutenberg applied the same technol­
ogy to alphabetic writing, four centuries after Bi Shëng had in-

A Short History of the Printed Word

1.2 Forty-two-line Gutenberg Bible, M a in z, early 1450s.

vented it, a great change in the use and abuse of visible language
began. Gutenberg’s extraordinarily handsome 42~line Bible - so
named because a large part of th e text was set in two columns of 42
lines each - was printed between 1452 and 1455. It is far from being
the earliest printed book, but it was indeed a significant step in a
long, often slow, and finally worldwide typographic revolution.
W hat does printing mean? It is the process of duplicating images
onto or into a base, usually paper, and usually through some me­
chanical means. There are three basic methods: letterpress, intaglio
and planographic printing. The first employs a raised image and pro­
duces an indented one. The second employs an engraved (lowered)
image and produces one that is raised from the paper. In the third
method, the principle at work is one of chemical affinity. The image
printed from is level with the surface of the plate or stone, and the
image that results is likewise flat on the surface of the paper. Each
method requires a different kind of press, but the term impression is

c Ha f t e r i * Prologue to Discovery!

used in all three cases. One speaks of the impression of an engraver’s

press, even though the image in the printing plate is graven into the
surface, and the printed image therefore stands up from the surface
of the paper.I

1.3 P rin tin g surfaces: letterpress, intaglio, planographic.

I believe that for understanding of the printing medium, dates

and personalities are less important than changing forms and tex­
tures. It is necessary to experience prin ting by touch as well as sight.
For example, a simple tactile response is apparent when a curious
layman runs a finger over a calling card or announcement to find
out if the lettering is indented, flat or rai sed - which is to say, letter-
press, offset (planographic) or intaglio (engraved). A trained eye,
figuratively speaking, feels impression, and by trained I do not nec­
essarily mean the eye of the professional designer or printer but that
of the dedicated and experienced amateur as well. Goethe said it is
necessary to understand the mechanical side of a craft in order to
judge it - an opinion at sharp variance with the romantic belief that
knowledge and craftsmanship are dangerous and can destroy intu­
ition and sensitivity. Poets, painters and others have subscribed to
that romantic fear. Yet William Blake, poet and painter, and more
the man of vision than most, went further even than Goethe. He
said that mechanical excellence is the only vehicle of genius. We
A. S h o rt History41 of the P rin te d 'Word

must keep this in mind in understanding the nature and develop­

ment of printing.
The history of printed texts now seems to fail into three major
phases. The first begins in the early eighth century a d in China and
Korea. It involves the carving of whole pages into flat wooden
blocks, and thus treating the written text like any woodcut illustra-
tion, Some handsome books were printed by this method in Europe
in the fifteenth century, but the method was used much earlier - and
continued in extensive use much longer - in China, Korea, Japan
and Tibet.
T he second phase depends on the carving and casting of indi­
vidual letters or characters. Once these units of visible language
have been cast in multiple copies, they can be endlessly assembled,
disassembled and reassembled into an infinite number of texts.
That is what is meant by movable type. This phase began in the
eleventh century in China and Korea, and blossomed suddenly in
Europe in the fifteenth, when Johann Gutenberg applied this 400-
year-old Chinese technical advance to a far tinier character set: the
gothic scribal version of the Latin alphabet.
The third phase has only just begun, but clearly it involves an­
other fundamental shift. In this phase, texts and scripts alike are
electronically described in forms that can be stored, transmitted,
edited and printed at high speed, on complex but small devices that
anyone can buy and a child can learn to operate.
Each of these phases has its fundamental medium: wood for the
first phase, metal for the second, electronic information for the third.
Different as they are, these three approaches share an old, deep,
double root. They depend upon the forms that writing takes in the
two simplest technologies of all: the graphic and the glyphic: the
handwritten and hand-carved. Those two manual technologies are
equal in antiquity and deeply interdependent. Printed texts have
been a part of human life for some twelve centuries in China, and
for nearly six in Europe. But these printed texts preserve much

1.4 Copyright page o f a hook printed in China in 1194.

older forms. They rest on a joint heritage of manuscripts and in­

scriptions that goes hack fifty centuries or more, to the first written
and carved texts.
At an earlier level still - the prelinguistic level - writing and
printing are one, and they require no technology at all. They both
A Short History of the Printed Word

begin with the leaving of footprints. That kind of writing and print-
ing - involuntary but eloquent - goes back to the first terrestrial
animals, 35o,ooo,oooyears ago at least.
It is useful to remember that the phases of printing history are
not mutually exclusive. They are much more like die branches of
a tree. One phase doesn’t disappear, or cease to bear its fruit, be­
cause another has begun. Printing from handcut woodblock pages
remained the primary method for Chinese, Japanese and Tibetan
text until the end of die nineteenth century. For nearly as long, it
remained a primary means of book illustration in Europe. Photo­
polymer printing from digital type - a new artistic medium dis­
cussed in the last chapter of this book - combines the use of com­
puters with this oldest of Oriental printing techniques. Printing
from movable metal type, like the making of woodcuts, also re­
mains a creative and vital artistic medium, even if commerce has all
but forgotten it.
Intelligent discussion of the changing directions in contempo­
rary graphic art has to be viewed against the background of past
accomplishments, and especially in the context of those elements
that are seminal, reappearing in every period and every technique.
The continuity of printing need not, and should not, be drastically
altered by what appears to be a major change of means. Although
the new methods may seem to impose fewer restrictions, it is rea­
sonable to assume that the most able artists and craftsmen, regard­
less of the particular disciplines wi thin which they work, will always
seek the limits of their medium. More than one such artist has con­
tended that these limits are essential. A world without boundaries is
a world without art.
Typographic printing did not drop into Europe from the heav­
ens, although it must have been very much in the air, an d the air was
becoming increasingly charged, intellectually, with, the emerging
Renaissance. All of the necessary techniques and materials were
there in one form or another. It is worth noting in this regard that

Gutenberg, like other early European printers, was a goldsmith.
His training prepared him for sculpting a letter in steel, from which
a casting mold could be made. As long as type-punches were cut by
hand, the methods he adapted from his earlier experience changed
little in principle, and later techniques have contributed very few
aesthetic improvements.

Pre-Typographic Printing in Europe

In Europe and Asia alike, the earliest major use of woodblocks
was for reproducing portraits of spiritual heroes: bodhisattvas and
buddhas, saviors and saints. The makers of these prints were often
monks working within the privileged walls of their orders. The cus­
tom surely reached Europe by the end of the fourteenth century,
but the earliest dated European proofs are from early in the fif­
teenth. The St Christopher (1423) shown overleaf is perhaps the
most famous and familiar of all these early prints.
The popularity of card-playing also helped to stimulate the
early use of block printing. Since lay woodblock cutters were often
working outside the law, their cards were printed and distributed in
stealth. All means of identification were avoided, thus surrounding
the venture with mystery and leaving us a minimum of hard facts
about time and origin. It is possible that die Venetian woodblock
cutters enjoyed some form of protection by the state, for in 1441
they appealed to the Signoria for aid in the form of restrictions on
the importation of cards and printed figures.
In Europe at least, the devotional prints were largely a by-
product of pilgrimage, and pilgrimage was encouraged by an in­
crease in the granting of indulgences for visits to lesser shrines. The
prints were linked, in other words, to the artificial business of
tourism, which even then had various forms of official support.
Making the prints themselves was hardly an industry. They could
be printed and handcolored without the need of anything so solid1

i .5 S t Christopher. Block p rin t dated 1423,

and substantial, as a press. The usual method was jrotton printing ~

rubbing or burnishing the back of the sheet, as it rests on the inked
block, by means of a smaller block or other suitable tool. (In Asia
bamboo leaves stretched over circular forms are still in use as bur­
nishers for prints.)

1 .6 Fifteenth-century playing card.

Well before the fourteenth century woodblocks were also used

in the decoration of textiles. Printed cloth is pre-Christian. Coptic
examples are extant from the sixth century a d , and Roger of Sicily
established a shop for printing cloth at Palermo in the middle of
the twelfth century. Specimens of thirteenth-century cloth and the
A Short History of the Printed Word

blocks with, which to print it are still in existence. Texts could have
been printed from such blocks at any time, had there been readers
in Europe to read them. But the earliest known European xylo­
graphie books - books in which the text is printed like a woodcut,
from handcarved slabs - belong to the time of Gutenberg and later,
rather than before. Europe was not, evidently, ready for printed
books before Gutenberg appeared.

The Invention and Spread of Papermaking

We have mentioned already that one of the limiting factors in
developing European printed books lay in the lack of a satisfactory
material from which to make them. Vellum was, and is of necessity,
a limited and expensive surface. Paper was made in China during
the Hàn Dynasty (first century b c ), and Chinese sources say that
Cài Lün created an efficient, sustainable papermaking process
about a d 105. Mulberry, bamboo and other fibers were soaked and
beaten to a pulp. The pulp was spread on cloth to form and dry. As
the process evolved, the doth was replaced by thin strips of bam­
boo, held together by hairs or threads to make a flexible bamboo
matting on which the pulp could be drained and formed. T he re­
sulting sheet of paper was coarse and long-fibered. This, however,
proved no obstacle to the writing instrument it served, which was
the brush.
It took a thousand years for Cài Lun’s process to reach Europe.
In the interval paper was produced in Japan, early in the seventh
century. In the eighth it appeared in Samarkand, and the Arabs may
have learned of the technique from Chinese prisoners. T he Moors
carried papermaking into Europe. In 1085 there was a mill at Jativa,
Spain, producing a rag sheet, chiefly of linen fibers. The methods of
breaking down the fibers, and the materials used for the screen, un­
dem ent improvements, and when the first Italian paper mill was es­
tablished, at Fabriano, in the latter half of the thirteenth century,

1.-7 Dutch papermaker’s wire moldfor a i f ' x 22" (44 x 56 cm) laid sheet.

stamping machines run by water power had replaced the cruder

pounding mortars for producing pulp. In addition, more delicate
round wires were substituted for the flat wires of earlier molds.
Paper reflected these refinements in terms of weight, flexibility,
strength and character.
Nearly 700 years after the establishment of the Fabriano mill,
fine handmade paper is still being produced there, in much the
same way as it was around the time of Gutenberg’s birth. After the
vatman dips his mold into die pulp, which is known as furnish, he
shakes or oscillates the frame in such a way that the fibers cross and
mesh to strength en the sheet. Thou gh the edge of the frame can be
made to act as a kind of benchmark, to help determine the amount

à Short History ot the Printed Word

of pulp to be dipped up, everything depends on the experience and

sensitivity of the workman. After the water has run off, the remain­
der, called the water leaf, is couched ~ that is, pressed onto a woolen
felt to which it adheres, freeing the mold-screen for reuse. Couched
sheets are stacked, pressed and hung to dry. After that, they may be
sized, which is to say coated, with a solution of starch or animal glue,
to make them less absorbent. After sizing, they are pressed, then
hung to dry.

i . 8 Papermaker’s watermark, ( The verticals represent the chain lines, and the
horizontals the laid lines,)
g h a pT E Ri * Prologue to Discovery

In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, papermaking spread

rapidly. Among the earliest manufactories were those in France, at
Troyes (1338), and in Germany at Nürnberg (1389). Though it had
taken ten centuries for the concept of turning reconstituted fibers
into paper to travel from China to Europe, between the latter years
of the thirteenth and the end of the sixteenth century more than
16,000 individual watermarks were in use throughout Europe.
(The watermarks that appear in handmade paper are made from
wire, which is formed into simple, flat designs and sewn onto the
screen. They leave their unobtrusive trace in every sheet and so
identify the maker.)
Paper is used for printing, of course, but it is also used for writ­
ing and for drawing - two methods of storytelling older by far than
print. It is of interest that the spread of paper in Europe coincides
with a great resurgence of European literature and art. Dante was
born in 1265, Petrarch in 1304, Boccaccio in 1313, Chaucer in 1340,
Villon in 1431. Giotto was bom around 1276, Filippo Brunelleschi
in 1377, jan van Eyck around 1390, Masaccio in 1401, Mantegna in
the same year as Villon, and Leonardo in 1452, on the eve of the
official birth of European printing. Apart from its importance to
poetry and portraiture, paper is used for making charts and maps
and keeping records, which are important to the intellect but also to
the exercise of power. One of Leonardo’s contemporaries was
Christopher Columbus.
In France, the battle of Agincourt took place in 1415, Joan of Arc
was burned at the stake in 1431, and the English were finally driven
from the country in the middle of the cen tury. Masaccio’s powerful
and innovative frescoes in the Brancacci Chapel in Florence were
painted, and their young creator was already dead, several years
before the execution of Joan of Arc. The imaginations of some in
the fifteenth century were rich with the ideas of a new era; those of
others were full of fear.

A Short History of the Printed Word

Humanism and the Renaissance

John Addington Symonds, in his Renaissance in Italy (7 volumes,
London, 1875-86), writes of three stages in the history of scholar­
ship during the Renaissance:

Thefirst is the age of passionate desire; Petrarch poring over a Homer he

could not understand, and Boccaccio in his maturity learning Greek in-
order that he might drink from the well-head of poetic inspiration, are the
heroes of this period. They inspired the Italians with a thirst for antique
culture. Next comes the age of the acquisitions and libraries. Nicholas V,
whofounded the Vatican Library in 1453, Cosimo de' Medici, who began
the Medicean Collection a little earlie?; and Poggio Bracciolini, who ran­
sacked all the cities and convents of Europefor manuscripts, together with
the teachers of Greek, who in thefirst half of the lyth century escapedfrom
Constantinople with preciousfreights ofclassic literature, are the heroes of
this secondperiod.... Then came the third age of scholarship - the age of the
critics, philologers, and printers. What had been collected by Poggio and
Aurispa had now to be explained by Ficino, Poliziano, and Erasmus. They
began their task by digesting and arranging the contents of the libraries.
There were no short cuts to learning, no comprehensive lexicons, no dic­
tionaries of antiquities, no carefully prepared thesauri of mythology and
history. Each student had to hold in his brain the whole mass of classical
erudition. The text and the canon of Homer, Plato, Aristotle, and the
tragedians had to be decided. Greek type had to be struck. Florence, Venice,
Basle, Lyons, and Paris groaned with printing presses. The Aldi, the
Stephani, andFroben toiled by night and day, employing scores of scholars,
men of supreme devotion and of mighty brain, whose work it was to ascer­
tain the right reading of sentences, to accentuate, to punctuate, to commit
to the press, and to place beyond the reach of monkish hatred or of envious
time, that everlasting solace of humanity which exists in the classics. All
subsequent achievements in thefield of scholarship sink into insignificance
beside the labours of these men, who needed genius, enthusiasm, and the
sympathy of Europe for the accomplishment of their titan ic task. Virgil
was printed in 1430, Homer in 1.488, Aristotle in 1495, Plato in 1513.
They then became the inalienable heritage of mankind. But what vigils,
what anxious expenditure of thought, what agonies of doubt and expecta­
tion, were endured by those heroes of humanising scholarship, whom, we
are apt to think of merely as pedants! Which of us now warms and thrills
with emotion at hearing the name of Aldus Manutius, or of Henricus
Stephanus [Henri Estienne], or of Johannes Froben? Yet, this we surely
ought to do; for to them, we owe in a great measure the freedom of our
spirit, our stores of intellectual enjoyment, our command of the past, our
certainly of thefuture of human culture.

This passage from Symonds voices the interest in the Renais­

sance that was reawakened in England during the latter part of
the nineteenth century and culminated in the efforts of William
Morris, Emery Walker, Sydney Cockerell, Bruce Rogers and oth­
ers to rediscover and reemploy the techniques of bookmaking as
they were practiced in the early days of the art. This was essentially
a counterrevolt against the Industrial Revolution, which had mech­
anized printing to a point where its character had been largely sac­
rificed to expediency. Few designers of the twentieth century were
not influenced in some manner or to some degree by the aims and
attitudes of that small dedicated group. Morris’s Kelmscott Press -
founded in 1891 at Hammersmith, London - marked the beginning
of a strong Neohumanist movement in type design, calligraphy and
the other arts of the book. The history of the printed word over the
course of the twentieth century is a reminder that ideas and innova­
tions born in Song Dynasty China and the European Renaissance
are anything but dead.
If one thinks of industrialism as a new religion - and many have
adopted it as such - then it is easy to see the analogy between
William Morris and his colleagues and successors on the one hand
and the fifteenth-century humanists on the other. Both groups in

A. Short H isto ry o f the Printed Word

their way - right down to the shapes of the letterforms they drew
and carved and wrote ~ extolled human values and accomplish­
ments and sought to rediscover and preserve them. They stood
against the forces which had lost sight of man. in extolling the per­
fection. and the power of God or the machine. The humanism
which had been the inspiration of the Renaissance, especially in
Italy, came out of the classical culture and cult of antiquity of the
fourteenth century. The poet-scholars who did so much to rescue
and spread the literature and language of Greece and Rome exerted
great influence on their times. They were leaders in cultural and
political affairs. They were also the architects of new educational
methods. In their persons, they were the repositories of the knowl­
edge of antiqui ty.
One humanist who occupies a special place in the story of print­
ing is the Dutch-bom Desiderius Erasmus. We will meet him more
than once in this brief history. Here, it is enough to say that among
his publications were grammars, dictionaries, a work on Greek and
Latin pronunciation, and a book on the art of letter writing. His
works had wide circulation. His Colloquies, for instance, went
through at least a hundred printings and a dozen different editions
during his own lifetime.
In addition to the linguistic disciplines developed and streng­
thened by the study and use of Greek and Latin, the letterforms of
our alphabet were preserved for us by the devotion of the humanists
to classical culture. We owe them not only a literature and a culture
but the means to build new literatures and cultures of our own.

Benchmarks of Printing
What William Morris and his associates began at the Kelmscott
Press spread rapidly through Europe and North America. By the
end of World War I, the precious mannerisms and medievalisms of
the Pre-Raphaelites and that unfortunate manifestation known as

art nouveau had been sloughed off, and efforts to recapture basic
values in printing craftsmanship became less self-conscious. Cen­
tral to the attitudes of the fifty years between 1890 and 1940 was a
desire to return to original printing surfaces or at least to learn to
understand them. That meant of course that artists and printers
wanted to circumvent the camera - later the computer - and if not
to circumvent it, then to control it precisely enough to maintain the
integrity of impression, the tactility of the object, and the scale of
the original design.
In the second half of the twentieth century, the evolving tech­
nology in the field of printing far outstripped in scope and rapidity
anything known during the Industrial Revolution. Now more than
ever before, it is necessary to measure the new means against their
contributions to human values, not in order to oppose them but to
direct them effectively.
W hat are the benchmarks that can serve as references and
guides in tracing the history of printing? I would put first an under­
standing of the alphabet, and an appreciation of its practical as well as
its aesthetic aspects. Second, a regard for the sculptural nature of type
as it was produced first in eleventh-century China and then by
European punchcutters of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. As
the third and fourth benchmarks I would suggest awareness of the
arrangement of type and the actual impression from it. These four to­
gether determine the form and texture of a piece of printing, and
are outside the time flow of people, places, events, developments
and dates. It is possible to put the best piece of contemporary print­
ing beside a page of the Gutenberg Bible, and to compare the two
without asking the slightest concession for the older piece, on ei­
ther aesthetic or technical grounds, though it was made 550 years
ago. The best of the old books, like the best of the old paintings, are
that good.
The Alphabet

fos l e t t e r f o r m s w e u se stem in large part from lapidmj

Roman capitals - letters incised into stone with a chisel - that
came to hill flower early in the Christian era. One classic model is
•'/ the inscription on the column erected in Rome about a d 114 by the
Emperor Trajan. From this and other inscriptions, we derive the
X T , classic forms of the twenty letters of the old Latin alphabet. Three
: X more -K ,Y ,Z " come to us separately from Greek. A further three
U, W - are postclassical additions, giving the minimal English
total of twenty-six. The U and W are outgrowths of the V form,
V. .... andtheJ is an alternate form of Ï.
Other letters have been added too, of course, though not all
have found a place in modem English. They include the 1?/ja (thorn)
and D/9 (eth) used in Icelandic and Vietnamese ; the 0 /o (slashed 0 )
and Æ/æ (ash or aesc) used in Danish and Norwegian; the Œ /œ
(ethel) used in French ; the L/I (ew or barred L), which has long been
used in Polish and now is used in Navajo, Sahaptin, Kwakwala,
Chipewyan and many other Native American languages; the 1
(dotless i) of Turki sh, and the 6 (eszett), which dropped from use in
EmgJish at the end of the eighteenth century but is still in use in
Oerman. (The capital form of fi is simply double-S.)
The symbols that compose an alphabet are phonograms. This
means they stand for speech sounds, not for objects or ideas. As
writing systems go, they embody an extreme and convenient state

: : W Ê&&
A Short History of the Printed Word

of simplification, evidently first achieved by the Phoenicians and

the Greeks. Other kinds of writing include syllabic scripts, such as
those in use for Sanskrit, Hindi and Cree; consonantal scripts, in­
cluding those of Arabic and Hebrew; and logographic scripts, such
as those used for Chinese, classical Mayan and early Egyptian. In
reality, all the systems humans use are impure and imperfectly con­
sistent. Both the Chinese and the old Egyptian logographs are par­
tially phonetic; the Arabic and Hebrew scripts write long vowels but
not short ones; Japanese is written nowin a mixture of scripts, logo­
graphic and syllabic; and English spelling mixes up phonetic and
etymological information.
For typography and printing, the important considerations
include the size of the basic character set, the number and frequency of
diacritics, the number of alternate character sets, and of course the style
and structure of the glyphs. The English alphabet, we say, is a modest
twenty-six letters, but each of these looks different in the lower case
and caps, and different once again in roman and italic. Then we
need some numerals, punctuation marks and other kinds of sym­
bols. This gives us several hundred graphic elements instead of
twenty-six. Their number is one measure of the work involved in
making and in using the materials for printing. Their frequencies
and forms have powerful effects upon the texture of the page and
the experience of reading.
Anoth er factor of importance is the direction in which the writing
moves. Chinese and Japanese are often written vertically. So was old
Egyptian. There are short, early texts from the Mediterranean
written in spirals, starting from the center. W hen the Greeks began
to write, in. the ninth or eighth century bc , they wrote from right to
left, from left to right, or alternated line by line between the two.
The latter method, called boustrophedon, is still in use with Braille.
The direction belongs to the script, not to the language. Turkish
was always written right to left when it was written in Arabic char­
acters. W ith a government decree of 1928, requiring a shift to Latin

A Short History of the Printed Word

characters, the direction of Turkish writing and reading was sud­

denly reversed.
Latin manuscripts go back to the first century b c , and in their
letterforms - in the direct, physical record of the physical and spiri­
tual act of writing - we can still see the heritage of the scripts we use
today. T he tools used in making letters are formidable forces in de­
veloping their character, shape and rhythm.

The Roman Alphabet

Earlier, I stressed my strong belief in the sculptural nature of
type. Here, I call attention to the fact that the archetypes for our
written and printed alphabets were carved letters. This heritage is
echoed in the original European method of typemaking, where
written forms were translated, sculpturally, into steel.
The great monumental Roman letters can be thought of as hav­
ing simple geometric bones, so fleshed-out that the straights and
curves relate organically. A letter should seem to be of one piece,
nota sum of parts. The round forms bespeak circles and parts of cir­
cles. But despite many efforts to develop formulae for the construc­
tion of the alphabet, such as those conceived by Luca Pacioli,
Albrecht Dürer and Geofroy Tory, no set of rules can be slavishly
held to. The subtleties of the great Roman forms have always
eluded the compass and square. The perfect expression of a letter
remains in the mind of an artist as a pure concept of form, essen­
tially abstract in nature. Just as a draftsman uses a model for a figure
drawing, a letter artist should respond through memory and the
particular tool in his hand to the special requirements of his design.
There are several ways of reaching a general understanding of
the basic nature of roman. One logical and rewarding way is to
think of the forms as a series of geometrical variations on a theme of
square, circle and triangle. These, when set together, will become
a frieze of contracting and expanding spatial interruptions. This

c h a p t e r ii * T he Alphabet

breathing quality is the very essence of the inscriptional concept,

and is responsible for the liveliness as well as the nobility of die
great classic carvings. Almost every lettershape carries its contained

2 .1 Albrecht D urer U n d e rw e y su n g d e r M es su n g . Nürnberg , ly a y

À Short History of the Prin ted Word

2 .2 Trajan capitals set against, square fields to demonstrate the proportion and
rhythms o f roman.

space - like the space inside the O - which in type is called the
counter. This space is related, in composition, to the spaces between
letters. These counters are not only vital to tire color of a letterform

chapter n * The Alphabet

hijlm rxy h i j l m r x y

2.3 The intransitive, often bilateral serifs o f roman tie the letters to the line.
The transitive and unilateral serifs o f italic link the letters to each other.

(the color of a letter or a page means its black-and-whiteness, not its

hue); they are also integral parts of it.
If, in visualizing roman, one thinks of the shapes in relation to
square fields, proportion can be more dramatically understood in a
structural way, and the variations from, narrow S to wide M become
clear as skeletal archetypes. This is perhaps better shown than de­
scribed. In figure 2.2, several letters based on the Trajan capitals are
set against square fields, which are subdivided in the cases of the
narrow E and S, to show their forms against half the field. The
thick-and-thin characteristics of these examples indicate their de­
velopment from written forms produced with a wide-edged took In
Pompeii, which was destroyed in the first century a d , there are ex­
amples of mural writing made with a fiat brush. This is one obvious
way of laying out an inscription to be incised in stone. Thus the an­
tiquity of the flat-edged instrument - the broadnib pen and all its
relatives - is established in shaping the appearance of Western al­
phabets. The history of letterforms from Trajan’s time to Guten­
berg’s is the history of calligraphy - and the history of calligraphy is
the history of highly abstract, cumulative forms wri tten quickly but
precisely, with reeds and quills sharpened to a flat, or wedge-shaped
point. The broadnib pen is the tongue of the hand.


2.4 Latin square capitals.

A Short History o f th e Printed Word

2 .5 Square capitals.

Ameliorations of Roman
The more formal written letters of the Roman period are known
as square capitals (capitalis qiiadrata). These capitals were used for
important works from the second century into about the fifth cen­
tury and their proportions had much in common with the lapidary
capitals. The principal differences lay in their strong contrasts of
thicks and thins, and the pen-derived serifs of the square capitals.
An intransitive roman serif is a terminal device, functionally em­
ployed to strengthen lines which otherwise wtmld tend to fall away
optically. This is especially true of incised lines. By using a chisel in
such a way that the finishing cuts were wider, a craftsman produced
a strong terminal with a bracketed appearance. Performing a simi­
lar function for type, roman serifs continue to be seen on the major­
ity of faces in general use. They derive in large part from the
example of the chisel. Transitive italic serifs, by contrast, owe their
evolution wholly to the pen.

2 .6 Rustic capitals.

chapter n • The Alphabet

tvÿeu msi- S|u ?>

|bi 0 .C ^ oc ^c-Kf £ ^ 3 ui
rG Ü / H £ l S iW A Q y M A » ;C y J
! AN iîfjWÂl YAC£f:iAA
<i k u m r s i i a 4 ô à t ï 'N li A M .m M ik ù t i

lÜ lA ii^ Â ^ f ià ÿ ^ O Î C A A D a t l h l A 1

2 .7 Rustic capitals.

Square capitals are not easy to write, and this limited their usage.
T he story of writing can be told in terms of the search for simpler
forms, requiring fewer strokes and pen lifts yet providing a beat or
rhythm of their own so that spacing - both for color and for legibil­
ity - could be more easily controlled.
Such an amelioration is embodied in the rustic capitals which
belong to the same period, roughly, as the square capitals. These
rustic letters anticipate an ever-recurring tendency to condense,
usually to save space. Such economy was called for when the mater­
ial being written on was rare and costly vellum. By holding a flat-
nibbed pen or wedge-shaped brush at an acute angle, the writer
thins the verticals to a point where they become little more than a
recurring beat, against which the round and diagonal strokes make
their pattern and the horizontals provide their accent. Much could
be learned from these early forms that would be of value in design­
ing a condensed typeface for use in newspaper headlines. Forms es­
sentially full and round cannot be accommodated to narrow usage

trrrepA scwprx <mNer

2 .8 Uncials.
A Short History of the Printed Word

2.9 Uncials.

simply by squeezing them together. (The color-dotting in the

joints of many headline faces could be avoided by designs stemming
from naturally condensed forms.)
By the fourth century, there developed a style of writing that had
as its chief characteristic the rounding off of certain angles and
joints. This script, called uncial, carried into the eighth century.
Rounded forms were used chiefly to increase speed, since the curves
reduced the number of strokes required to shape the letters. These

2 .1 0 Semiuncials.
c: h a p T e R 11 • The A lphabet

2 .i t Semiuncials.

forms flow directly and easily from a quill or reed, and therefore
have a natural authority, in addition to inherent legibility. The
change affected the forms of A, D, E, H ,M , U and Q. As noted ear­
lier, angular pen-written joints are hard to keep clear and open.
They fill with ink and blight the texture of the page.
In these early years, Roman letters stood between two hypothet­
ical horizontal lines. Early in the sixth century, the half uncial, or
semiuncial, came into use. This grew to be a script quite different
from the capitals. It was the beginning of what we now call lower
case. Four hypothetical guidelines, not two, are implied in the half
uncials; ascending and descending elements appear. This new vari­
ation provided an alphabet that was easier to write and could have
great intrinsic beauty as well - witness the Irish and English ver­
sions of the half uncial. A notable change in the curves of these al­
phabets was caused by the manner in which the pen was held, often
perpendicular to the line, as opposed to die comfortable angle or
classical axis used for writing rustic and classical capitals. Half un­
cials belong to the seventh, eighth and ninth centuries.
On the Continent, the calligraphic hands of this period had de­
generated, especially in comparison to the best work being done in
England and Ireland. Under the influence of a corrupted Roman

A Short History of the Printed Word

2 .1 2 Caroline (or Carolingian) minuscules.

cursive -- more a lounging script than a running script - Europe’s

book hands had suffered. There had been no unifying force to fill
the vacuum caused by the dissolution of the Roman Empire, and all
means of expression naturally fell victim to provincialism.

The Caroline {or Carolingian) Minuscule

Such was the state of calligraphy when Charlemagne came to
power in 768. In 789 he ordered a revision of the books of the
church. He did not evidently intend any textual revision; instead, he
wanted the most beautiful and accurate copies made of the finest
existing manuscripts. Such an undertaking called for the develop­
ment of a standard model hand that could be practiced throughout
the Emperor’s domains. T he result was the beautiful Caroline
minuscule, a true small letter, with definite classic ancestry, but

c h a p t e r i i • The A lphabet

2 .1 3 Caroline mimtscuks.

employing a four-line system. (It is called Caroline or Carolingian

after Charlemagne’s Latin name: Carolus Magnus.) The Caroline
script may have been designed by Alcuin of York, who was Abbot of
St Martin’s, Tours, from 796 to 804.
T he spread of this letter was rapid, not only in France but in all
of western Europe, where it was dominant for many years. Intro­
duced into England in the tenth century, it was generally adopted
there after the Norman Conquest. The Caroline minuscule is the
true ancestor of our lowercase printing type. The forms are simple,
clear and handsome, rounded and relatively wide. The script tends
to avoid abbreviated forms and excessive ligatures. Thus each char­
acter develops its independent form. The curved forms that spring
from straight stems have an organic relation to the source, much
as a growing leaf does in nature. All of these considerations have
a strong bearing on the making of a workable, movable type for
The Caroline minuscule not only looks like lower case; it was
used in the same way. Majuscules, or capitals (often built up with
more than a single pen stroke), begin a paragraph, a section or a
sentence, and minuscules continue it. Improvements in the organi­
zation of the text, through more detailed punctuation and more
painstaking line and paragraph arrangements, are also hallmarks of
this period. We owe to these centuries much more titan a fresh new
writing hand. The script is an outward sign of an inwardly new way
of thinking about texts and their importance. W ithout the Caroline
reform, and the scholarly enterprise underlying it, there would

À Short History of the Printed Word

2 .1 4 Textura o f G utenberg’s time.

have been serious losses in the quality and number of earlier texts
that reached the Renaissance.

Post-Caroline Hands
Despite the wide appeal and use of the Caroline minuscule, it
could not be everyone’s solution. Inevitably, national characteristics
and experience found their way back into letterforms. The large di­
visions were essentially geographical, especially north to south.
Thus the writing in northern France, the Low Countries and Eng­
land showed some kinship, at least for a time, and Italy, Spain and
southern France shared certain common characteristics of style.
By the eleventh century there was a general tendency toward

2 ,1 5 Textura from a 14th-century breviary.

c h a p t e r ii * The Alphabet

ifittera scripta matict

2 .1 6 Rotunda, after Giovanni Francesco Cresci.

smaller and more condensed letters. Again, this was surely due in
part to a desire to economize on parchment and on time. However,
compression of forms for style’s sake is one thing; quite another is
the development of a more measured system of spacing by usin g an
alphabet of greater homogeneity. In first reducing the full round
forms and then finally eliminating them, calligraphers imparted to
their pages a completely different rhythm. Roman capitals have
been described as having a breathing rhythm; the new script had
the pattern of a picket fence. To some degree, the achievement of
even color throughout the page was partly mechanical, due to the
regular beat of the verticals and the evenness of the counters. The
diagonal couplings and footings of the letters gave them a pointed
effect, but they also served as terminal accents, similar in function to
serifs. This gothic script acquired many forms and names. It was
known in fourteenth-century Germany as Textur, in France as lettre
de forme, and in England as black letter. Because of their relative
darkness, all these forms are known in modern English as blacklet-
ter scripts. The particularly sharp, northern form - in which the 0
and the bowls of letters such as b, d andp have a condensed hexago­
nal shape, and the serifs look like little diamonds - is known as tex­
tura. A textura of the fifteenth century served as a model for the type
used in Gutenberg’s 42-line Bible.
Southward, in Italy and Spain, there was strong resistance to the
strict angularity of the northern scripts. There, a rounder kind of
blackletter, known as rotunda, was developed. It was as rich in color
as textura, but its style was reminiscent of classic roman, especially
as expressed in the Caroline minuscule. In general, the gothic or

A Short History of the Printed Word

blackletter hands can be traced to variations on the Caroline, even

when the modifications seem extreme.

Humanistic Script and Chancery Cursive

Rotunda was not the only script that arose as an alternative to
the northern gothic styles. There was also the neo-Caroline
whiteletter, a Renaissance roman hand, known in Italian as scrittura
umanistica. It is the most direct link between the Caroline minus­
cule and our present lowercase type. In the fifteenth century, die
Renaissance had rekindled endiusiasm for classic culture and callig­
raphers sought pre-goth ic models for their transcriptions of classi­
cal texts. They found the model for their lower case in ninth-
century writing. As models for their new, written capitals they used
the early lapidary letters.
The humanistic script was a more compressed letter than its
Caroline predecessor, but it was significantly rounder than die
nordiern gothics it was destined to supplant, and it was lighter dian
any blackletter. Early manuscripts in this script (late fourteenth and
early fifteenth centuries) are sometimes labored and unsteady.
Scribes were perfecting this hand just as the first great examples of
European printing were being produced.
From the standpoint of the scribe, the gothic scripts had many
advantages, especially in ease of writing. In addition, there is die es­
sential authority of blackletter minuscules, arising from their dark­
ness and efficiency. The same cannot be said of blackletter
majuscules. W ith roman the situation is reversed: the capitals have
the authority and the lower case is a series of improvisations. The
elegance achieved by the use of long ascenders and descenders can
so reduce the torso, or x-height, of roman lower case that the script
looks weak and small. This is especially so where space limitations
require a high letter count to the line. Despite all calligraphic short­
comings, however, the Italian whiteletter or humanistic roman

c h a p t e r il « The Alphabet

2 .1 7 Development o f written handsfrom, square capitals to humanistic script.

littera fenpta maner

2 .1 8 Scrittura umanistka.

'KiCS ï t  t ‘l Is tl.%

I.Ui'K’ i ï V HI. ■.OitHH s.-

Sf o r t u 1n .Hu 10U iff i .NS Î1 ,A

n iu ria io ;! tH I TH - .>• I « ; : V il € \-M)

Ih o
rtm e C r u . v u t u m a g t u a r g r u t c a cur.-i i c i
u i l ' b i t 1norm s ui .auo H
.-*■ J ■ ■ .H u S H
i.w iu ' 'i h r g u 'H S M u tr c n f o !

iC ïb i-^ îin ^ T g îitiT ^ lifp 'r e r p f o f n a & r f o r

i n rv ifac
foriMifS, I f o m i c n ^ ■■ .; .%»■:
re m 1a I v r n a c u ^% s 11*1 ^ »g c »*r t u m *ir t ;11 enr!ore x jn 4 etcrcndo. in quo la
fig u r e -. \ 3 , sci P o tin n ic n e i Ui )v m u u n
•in ïiifM flÔ

2 .1 9 Scrittura umanistica.

A Short H isto ry of the Printed Word

became the dominant script of Europe and worked against the

reemergence of many national hands.
Fairly early in the history of printing, cancellaresca, an offspring
of the scrittura umanistica, was translated into type and became the
first italic. It was first used alone, chiefly to save space, but in time it
became the basic typographic tool, for accent.

C a n t t m n s c w

2.20 Cancellaresca ( chancery script).

Littera senpm maner

2.21 Chancery script, early 16th century. (The slope is less than 4 ° )

O f all the semiformal hands developed over the years of the

emerging Latin alphabet, cancellaresca or chancery script (so-called
because of its use by papal secretaries) is surely the most beautiful.
It has renewed importance too, because of twentieth-century
efforts to revive it for private correspondence.
Chancery cursive is an outgrowth of the neo-Caroline hand,
written with greater speed. The tendency is toward a gentle slope -
something less than io° - but slanting is not obligatory. The cursive
quality is built into the letters. It is rooted in their structure, not
their slope. The forms are more compressed than in scrittura uma-
nistica, and the rhythmic beat of nearly even strokes and spaces cre­
ates a characteristic pattern, just as it does as in blackletter. Round
forms become elliptical, approaching a parallelogram. Upright

chapter ii * The Alphabet

roman capitals were used with this script, hut they were small in
relationship to the overall height of the four-line system

The Invention of the Page

The division of the stream of speech into particles of sound,
which can be represented either as syllables or as consonants and
vowels, was a major step in the history of human civilization. All
such systems are crude - they leave innumerable subtleties of
speech unrepresented - but their crudeness is a virtue. If writing
represented ail the gestures and inflections and tonalities of speech,
it would be far too tedious to write and too complex to read. It
would also leave too little scope for reinterpretation. Linguistic no­
tation, like musical notation, if it tries to say too much, ends up by
saying nothing. This should come as no surprise. The same is true
of speech itself: it fails if it tries to say too much about whatever the
speaker is thinking.
Another major step was the division of the stream of writing into
standardized units of transmission. That is a fancy way of saying
chopping the text tip into pages. Simple as it sounds, this step was slow
in coming. Cutting up the scroll into uniform but arbitrary por­
tions, and sewing them down the side to make a codex - a manu­
script book - must at first have seemed a leap into arid technological
Once that leap is made, many other things are possible: page
numbers, running heads and indices, for instance. The codex does
for the text what the alphabet does for the language. It articulates it -
just the way the joints articulate the hand.
Making a book in codex form is more roundabout than making a
scroll. If you take a rectangular sheet of paper and fold it in half, you
have a signature consisting of two leaves or four pages. This is what is
calledfolio form. Fold it again and you have a signature oifour leaves

A Short History of the Printed Word

or eight pages. This is quarto form. Fold it yet again and there are
eight leaves or sixteen pages, the octavo form. A fourth fold produces
sixteen leaves or thirty-two pages, which is the sextodecimo form. Sig­
natures of six and twelve leaves (called sexto and duodecimo forms)
are feasible as well.
In any of these formats, the book can be sewn through the spine
and protectively encased. If the text, script, paper and binding are
sound, the book can be safely stored, comfortably read and easily
referenced for centuries.

The Final Flowering of Calligraphy

This chapter began with the statement that today’s letterforms
stem from the carved Roman capitals of twenty centuries ago. W ith
the perfecting of the humanistic script in the fifteenth century, the
aesthetics of type design had come full circle and classic forms were
again firmly established as ideal archetypes. At this stage, the domi­
nant alphabet could be divided into three classes: formal, semi-
formal and epistolary. These correspond to our present roman
capitals, lowercase roman and lowercase italic.
The bound manuscripts of the fifteenth century were more than
mere prefigurements of the first European printed books. They
were regarded as actual models to be imitated as closely as possible.
The purpose of the fi rst printers was to compete with calligraphers.
T he letterforms cut and cast by Gutenberg and other early printers
were accordingly modeled on popular manuscript hands of the day,
and not designed to reflect in any way the difference between man­
uscript and printing. The written alphabet and handcut punches
are the flesh and bones of typographic printing, and the bones were
made to fit inside the flesh as finely as a hand inside a glove.
In many places, notably Florence, the coming of printing was
strongly resisted. Scribes understandably set themselves against
such an economic threat, and their patrons were often equally con-

g h AP T e:r ii • The Alphabet

temptuous of what they considered the vulgar and mechanical imi­

tations of good manuscripts.
In The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy, the Swiss historian
Jacob Burckhardt gives an interesting picture of the libraries and
the copyists during the time of the incunables or incunabula, those
first printed books:

The library of Urbino, now in the Vatican, was wholly the work of the
great Federigo of Montefeltro. As a boy he had begun to collect; in after
years he kept thirty orforty scrittori employed in various places, and spent
in the course of time no less than 30,000 ducats on the collection. It was
systematically extended and completed, chiefly by the help of Vespasiano,
and his account ofit forms an idealpicture of a library of the Renaissance.
A t Urbino there were catalogues ofthe libraries ofthe Vatican, of St Mark
at Florence, of the Visconti at Pavia, and even of the library at Oxford.
It was noted with pride that in richness and completeness none could
rival Urbino. Theology and the Middle Ages were perhaps mostfully rep­
resented. There was a complete Thomas Aquinas, a complete Albertus
Magnus, a complete Bonaventura. The collection, however, was a many-
sided one, and included every work in medicine which was then to be had.
Among the “modems? the great writers of the 14th centmy - Dante and
Boccaccio, with their complete works - occupied the first place. Then fol­
lowed twenty-five select humanists, invariably with both their Latin and
Italian writings, and with all their translations. Among the Greek man­
uscripts the Fathers of the Churchfa r outnumbered the rest; yet in the list
of classics wefind all the [.survivingJ works of Sophocles, all of Pindar, all of
Menander. The last codex must have quickly disappearedfrom Urbino,
else the philologists would have soon edited it.
We have, further; a good deal of information as to the way in which
manuscripts and libraries were multiplied. The purchase of an ancient
manuscript, which contained a rare, or the only cmnplete, or the only exist­
ing text of an old writer, was naturally a lucky accident of which we need
take nofurther account. Among the professional copyists, those who under-

A Short History of the Printed Word

stood Greek took the highest place, and it was they especially who bore the
name of scrittori. Their number was always limited, and the pay they re­
ceived very large. The rest, simply called copisti, were partly mere clerks
who made their living by such works, partly schoolmasters and needy men
of learning, who desired an addition to their income. The copyists at Rome
in the time of Nicholas V were mostly Germans and Frenchmen - “bar­
barians”as the Italian humanists called them, probably men who were in
search offavours at the papal court, and who kept themselves alive mean­
while by this means. When Cosimo de' Medici was in a hurry toform a li­
brary for his favourite foundation, the Badia below Fiesole, he sent for
Vespasiano, and received from him the advice to give up•all thoughts of
purchasing books, since those that were worth getting could not be had eas­
ily, but rather to make use of the copyists; whereupon Cosimo bargained to
pay him so much a day, and Vespasiano, withforty-five writers under him,
delivered zoo volumes in twenty-two months..,.
The material used to write on when the work was ordered by great or
wealthy people was always parchment; the binding, both in the Vatican
and at Urbino, was a uniform crimson velvet with silver clasps. Where
there was so much care to show honour to the contents of a book by the
beauty of its outwardform, it is intelligible that the sudden appearance of
printed books was greeted at first with anything but favour. Federigo
of Urbino [said the scribe Vespasiano da Bisticci] “would have been
ashamed to own a printed book ”

Burcldhardt's book was first published in Basel in i860 and has

gone through hundreds of editions in many different languages. It
is quoted here in Samuel Middlemore’s translation, made in 1878
from the second German edition of 1869. It is remarkable, though,
how often this admirable book on the Italian Renaissance has been
set in type that contradicts its spirit - even when good types of Ital­
ian Renaissance design (or other types of Renaissance inspiration)
were readily available. It is a theme of Burckhardt’s hook, as of this
book, that the form of tilings has meani ng and does matter.


Type: Cutting and Casting

h e n G u t e n b e r g b e g a n hi s s e a rc h f o r a p ra c tic a l way to

make movable type, he had no question about the character of

the letter he was looking for: the best possible imitation of the most
highly regarded manuscript hand of his day. Fortuitously, northern
black] etters were at that time in the ascendency in Mainz. This acci­
dent helped the first European typecutter, because just as gothic
letterforms are easier to write than roman, they are also easier to
cut. There is less subtlety in gothic shapes as well as in the mechan­
ics of joining them in words and sentences.
In describing the way type is cut by hand, I prefer, however, to
use roman letters as examples. Within fifteen years of Gutenberg’s
initial achievement, several romans of lasting value and wide in­
fluence had appeared, and in time, of course, roman had super­
seded blackletter everywhere except in Germany. There, frakturs,
schwabachers (bastardas) and some rotundas - three classes of black-
letter - continued to enjoy wide use until World War II, when
roman type replaced them.
W hen I worked with Rudolf Koch, it was extremely interesting
to me to observe that he still used the calligraphic approach for a
number of his types. Instead of drawing letters in outline, he wrote
long passages, then went through them, underlining the letters he
regarded as most, successful, and cut directly from these models.
Overleaf is an example: Koch An tiqua in calligraphy and type.

A Short History of the Printed Word

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3.1 Calligraphy and completed type. Koch A n tiqu a, cast by Klingspor.

Tools and Preparatmi

At the heart of the process of making movable type is the mold
used for casting. Sand, clay and wooden molds have all been tried,
but such approaches are impractical as well as aesthetically unsatis­
fying. The solution is a metal mold that holds individual metal
matrices. A matrix is a three-dimensional, right-reading, negative

3 .2 W arrm Chappell's files and gravers.

À Short History of the Printed Word

3 .3 A typecutter V graver.

image of the letter, from which die backward-reading, positive

letter on die face of the type is cast. The matrix is created in its turn
by striking it with a punch, in the end of which a positive image of
the letter has been carved. The skil ls needed to cut and use punches
were current in Europe in the fifteenth century because they were
part of the goldsmith’s apprenticeship; one of his first exercises was
to make his chasing tools, which are punches.
The stock for a punch is square rod of carbon steel, usually some
2 lA inches (6 cm) long with a face of sufficient size to contain the
letter. Besides gauges and squares, the tools required by the punch-
cutter are numerous files, gravers and a special instrument or two.

fo r

atritenjl tl|eDuriap-£>

3 .4 D iagram by Rudolf Koch showing the simple took and gravers o f a


Files are of three kinds: big, fast-cutting files used in the prelim­
inary dressing and shaping of the punch; medium size files, fine tex­
tured for the most part; and small size ones that take a minimum
bite from die steel. The gravers used in typecutting are straight-
bellied; they do not have the sweeping keel of those used by wood
engravers. Many of the early typecutters also used counterpunches.
These are small steel punches which, when hardened, are struck
into the face of the unhardened punch itself. The depression thus

3 .5 Rudolf Koch filin g a punch against the pin. {In the foreground: heavier
files, gravers and a stake fo r counterpunching. A t the rear can he seen- a vise, a
torch fo r hardening the finished punches, and the stones on which the surfaces
are planed.)

A Short History of the Printed Word

formed corresponds to the space within a letter, called the counter.

The lettershape is then filed around the depression in the punch,
giving maximum clarity to the inner white space of each letter.
W hen a counterpunch is not used, the outer form of the letter is
normally cut first, the counter afterward.
The first task of the typecutter is to prepare the steel stock. The
bar is planed with a heavy file so that two sides are finished, smooth
and at right angles. Then a terminal is fashioned at the butt end so
that the force of the strike will be delivered through the center of
the punch. The face end of the punch is finished, first filed at right
angles to the finished sides, then polished. Near the butt end, a
mark is filed to indicate the bottom of the letter-to-be. (This corres­
ponds to the nick that is cast into the body of every finished piece of
metal type and serves the same purpose: it lets the worker know by
touch alone which way is up.)
Among the basic pieces of equipment needed is a pin, similar to
that used by a goldsmith or jeweler. It is a projection of wood,
nicked to allow the work to be held and supported for filing and en­
graving, T he punchcutter’s version of this simple adjunct to his
bench is placed at about chest height. There must also be a vise
available to hold the punches for fast shaping with the heavy file. A

3 .6 Diagrams o f coun terpunch m g by Rudolf Koch.

low-power magnifying glass, or loupe, and a proper stand to hold it
are required. A fourth basic necessity is a planer, in which the punch
can be held for resurfacing its face. This resurfacing can be done
with a hard stone, such as one used for sharpening tools, or with an
abrasive sprinkled on a flat area. The device that keeps the punch at
right angles to the planing surface is merely a block of steel with a
corner angle machined into it.

The Counterpunch
As an example of counterpunching techniques, a roman capital
H is chosen to take through the process. This allows us to use a
set of illustrations which were made by Rudolf Koch in 1932. Here
the inner space - the counter of the H - is divided into two parts by
the crossbar. To achieve the crossbar, the counterpunch must be
shaped with a trench across the middle. This trench will leave the
crossbar standing after the punch is struck. Such a trench could be
shaped by filing. A11 accomplished punchcutter, however, might
prefer to use a wedge-shaped counter-counterpunch to make the
trench. Thus, in this case, the counterpunch starts out looking like
a rectangle with a depression across it. The surface of the counter­
punch is disturbed by the strike and has to be replaned. The first,
rough-shaping file cuts are made in a vise. Then the counterpunch
can be worked against the pin and given its form.
The face of a counterpunch shapes the floor of the final coun­
ters. The rims of these counters, at a depth equal to the strike, will
form the inner margins of the letter. To test progress, the counter-
punch is struck, after each revision, into a piece of lead. Such a lead
surface may be hammered out, after it has been filled with strikes,
and used again.
W hen a counterpunch has been brought to its final form, it must
be hardened before it is used for striking. First it is heated to a

A Short History of the Printed Word

cherry red and chilled. In that stage the steel is glass-hard and
brittle. It must be annealed by reheating it to a straw color in order
to keep it from cracking tinder stress.
To strike the counter into the face of the punch stock, it is best to
have some sort of stake to hold the two steel rods steady in their re-

3 .7 Counterpunch m g stake.

lated positions. The simplest stakes are merely adjustable collars,

while a more advanced version has its own heavy base to provide
extra draw under the force of the hammer. When the strike into the
punch is made, metal is displaced and die face of the punch is dis­
torted, just as it was when the counterpunch was made. The bar of
steel must be put in the planing angle and its surface refinished.
Figure 3.6 shows the face of a punch at this stage: fiat, widi a two-
part rectangular depression. The letter as cut and as cast is reversed,
i.e., the mirror image of the printed impression. The punch is now
put into the vise and roughed down to its H form, initial shaping be­
ing made at a relatively obtuse angle. Afterwards, the type bar is
worked against the pin with flat, round and triangular files. Perhaps
the most useful of the file shapes is the double half-round (birds
tongue). It is better than a flat file for achieving a straight stem, be­
cause a fiat file tends to bite faster at die terminals of a line.
If the punchcutter has been lucky, die inner form of die letter
was completed with the striki ng of the counterpunch. At any point

c h a pT e R i n * Type: C u ttin g and C asting

in. the process, a proof of the work is easily taken by bringing the
punch up close to the flame of an alcohol lamp. This causes the face
of the punch to sweat, and when plunged into the flame, its tip
acquires a coating of lampblack. W hen touched to a piece of chalky
cameo paper, the punch leaves a brilliant image.

3 .8 Planer.

The Sculpttiral Aspect

At this point it is easy to understand the value of the careful
preparation of the steel stock. Since two sides are squared to each
other and to the face of the punch, and since these relationships
have in turn been adjusted to the angle of the planer during the
Anal grinding of the face, it is possible to change this angle by filing
the sides of the punch. The resulting change of cant makes possible
swift renewal of the surface of the metal by planing any selected
part of the face. Thus correcting can be carried on without exten­
sive recutting. It is an essential virtue of the punchcutting method
that the design is constantly in flux. The weight of an entire alpha­
bet may be changed simply by putting it on the planer.
Although Gutenberg was interested in. imitating the appearance
of manuscript books, his method differed radically from calligraphic
practice. His written models were translated into steel through a
sculptural process. All the refinements were carried forward by

A Short History of the Printed Word

direct aiid plastic means. Even in the use of engraving tools, type­
cutting calls for handling that is much more related to scraping and
paring than to delineating. Punchcutting as it was practiced in the
earliest days of printing, coupled with the high state of calligraphy
during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, produced a series of
faces which are still the major models for many of the types we use
Once the smoke proofs show that the desired form has been
achieved, the angle of the punch, from face to sides, is made steeper.
For purposes of correction an obtuse angle was needed; for striking,
a steeper one is obviously more practical. Finally, the punches are
hardened and annealed.

S t r i k in g a n d J u s ti fy i n g th e M a t r i x

Accuracy and strength were the characteristics which. Guten­

berg sought in developing a means for casting movable type. Accu­
racy was not just a matter of the height of the type. It was also
necessary that every dimension be as compatible as possible and
that the position on the body be constant so that dancing lines are
avoided. To cast type consistently, a matrix had to be developed
along with an adjustable hand mold that would carry it. The chief
ingredient of type metal was lead, to which antimony was added for
hardening and tin for its melting properties. In addition to durabil­
ity, casting quality had to be considered in choosing the compo­
nents of the m etal. For the matrix, a material which wotdd properly
respond to the strike wras needed . Copper has many advantages and
was preferred to brass, which, although longer-lived than copper,
was harder on the punches. After the letterform is driven into the
surface of the matrix, any metal which has been upset must be
planed dowrn. This planing is done with a file laid fiat. The matrix,
held with the fingers of both hands, is worked across the file. A nee-

c h a F T E R 11 î * Type: C u ttin g and C asting

3.9 Original “Janson" matrices, struck fro m punches cut by Miklos Kis

die depth-gauge is used to test the floor of the strike in relation to

the face of the matrix. The leveling and squaring-up of the strike, by
alternate filing and testing, is known asjustification of the matrix.

The casting of type was Gutenberg’s great contribution to prac­

tical printing, and the art changed little for several centuries. There
were improvements in the composition of type metal and in the de­
sign and construction of the hand mold, but the basic techniques
were not greatly altered.
The mold shown in figure 3.10 incorporates some improve­
ments on the first model, but it is still simple in construction and in

A Short Hi stow of the Printed Word

use. It consists of two halves that fit togedier to form a casting box of
adjustable dimensions. When the matrix is placed in this mold, it
blocks one end and is held in position by a strong horseshoe-shaped
spring. The other end of the mold is flared so that it forms a funnel
shape when the two halves are put together. This device aids the
drop of the type metal into the mold. The flared shape, known as
the jet, was not present in the first molds.

3 .1 0 Handcasting mold, showing inner construction.

The mold allows numerous adjustments to position the letter on

the body and to control the body width. As a protection for the
typecaster, the two halves are encased in wood. The wood covers
can be replaced if they become broken or badly burned out. H ot
metal is dipped from a crucible with a small ladle. As it is poured
into the mouth of the mold, a jerk of the instrument or a blow
against the spring, often delivered by raising die thigh, gives extra
thrust to the metal for sharper castings.
After casting, the jets are broken off. The type is put in a dressing

ch a pTeR in * Type: C u ttin g and Casting

3 . 11 Handcasting mold and gauges. ( Bottom center: needle depth-gauge. )

stick and finished with a planelike tool. This assures that the letter is
type-high (0.918 inch high in America), and it cuts the basal groove
as well as smoothing the feet. The finished product is composed of

A Short History of the Printed Word

numerous parts, more easily na med and understood in this diagram

reproduced from the drawing made by Rudolph Ruzicka for D.B.
Updike’s PrintingTypes: Their History, Forms and Use.


Stem- -Counter

Serifs Beard of

3 .1 2 Plan and nomenclature o f a piece o f type.

In the early years, printers cast their own types. There were no
uniform standards and some printers favored nonconforming
typographic material to discourage pirating of their designs. The
sixteenth century saw the establishment of independent type
foundries, and as these increased in number there were demands for
more uniformity. But there were many problems, and solutions to
them were few and slow in coming, and not always happy ones. The
American point system finally gave some order to typographic mea­
surements, but it was not generally adopted until the 1870s - at
which point the mechanization of typecutting, through the use of
standard patterns, was only a few years away.
The idea of a point system originated in 1737 with Pierre
Fournier, a French typefounder. In the present system, based on
his, there are approximately 72 points to the inch or 28.5 points per
centimetre. A point, in other words, is 0.0138 inch or 0.35 mm.
Twelve points make one pica, which is 4.22 mm or a sixth of an inch.

Before the adoption of the American point system, type sizes were
indicated by names, such as nonpareil, brevier and pica. W ith the
point system, those sizes became 6-point, 8-point and 12-point.
And with the shift to digital composition in the 1980s, another
change was made: the typographic point, in computerized environ­
ments, was redefined as precisely the 72nd part of an inch.

The Font
A font of type is the complete collection of its characters. In dig­
ital or photographic type, the font is a set of patterns that can usually
be rendered in any size. A font of foundry type, however, exists in
one size only. The design may be recut in other sizes, but no two
sets of handcut punches can ever be the same. Matrices for hot-
metal composing machines are often cut mechanically from pat­
terns, or are made from mechanically cut punches. There may be
several sets of patterns, each of which is used for several sizes.
(Fount, incidentally, is an alternative spelling offont, but these two
spellings have the same pronunciation.)
As an example, the text of this book is set in 11-point Linotype
Janson Text. This is a digital type based on a set of punches cut at
Amsterdam near the end of the seventeeth century by the Hungar­
ian punchcutter Miklos Totfalusi Kis. Early in the twentieth cen­
tury these punches were acquired by the Stempel foundry in
Frankfurt. They were at first misidentified as the work of the Dutch
typefounder Anton janson, and unfortunately for Kis, the misiden-
tification became a convention of typographic commerce.
Until the Stempel foundry closed in the 1980s, metal type cast
from matrices struck with Kis’s punches could still be purchased for
handsetting. In 1954, Hermann Zapf adapted Kis’s design for hot-
metal setting on the Linotype machine. (That was the typeface and
composing system used for the first edition of this book.) Forty
years later, Linotype commissioned Adrian Frutiger to create a dig-

À Short History of the Printed Word

Æ Œ Æ Œ æ œ hflffffiffl
âàâââââ^âà çc éèêëëëeêê min nh ôôôoôôôô
do do s§ üùûüüüûû
1234567890 1234567890
A flf>@ & &( ) . -------- [ ] U H
Ta Te To Tr Tu Tw Ty Va Ve Vo Wa We
Wï Wo Wr Ya Ye Yo
Pa % 3/b A % % % 2/?
3 .1 3 Font ofiz-point Linotype “Janson ” roman ( based on Ris).

ÆŒæœf i f l f f f Ji f f l
âàâaâaâqââ çc éèêëëëeêê uîïïï rm ôoôdôôôô
oô 00 s$ üùûüüüûû
12H H 1890 1234567890

Ta Te To Tr Tu Tw Ty Va Ve Vo Wa We
Wî Wo Wr Ya Ye Yo
g jp q y gjpqy

3 .1 4 Font o f 12-point Linotype “Janson ” italic ( based on Kis).

ital version of the design. That (with some further handtooling and
improvement) is the typeface you are reading. The type is still sold
as Linotype Janson Text, though it is not Jansen’s design, it is Kis’s
design, and it is set on a computer, not a Linotype machine.
chap T e R n i » T y p e : C u t t in g a n d C a stin g

H a n d Composition

F o n ts vary in size according to the language they are intended

fo r an d th e special o r alternative characters involved. T h e font used
in G u te n b e rg ’s 42-line Bible included no fewer than 290 charac­
te rs, th o u g h th e text is all in Latin, w hich requires a basic character
se t o f on ly forty letters —tw enty lowercase and twenty caps - and
som e m arks o f punctuation. T h e large num ber of extra sorts (extra
glyphs o r typographic characters) was the result of G utenberg’s
reso lv e to im itate th e abbreviations, ligatures and other special char­
a cte rs found in th e contem porary manuscripts that were his mod­
els. (A lig atu re is tw o o r m ore signs, such as ffi or ft, which are
w ritte n as one by a scribe and cast as one in the type foundry.)
T h e n u m b e r o f individual letters in a foundry font will vary as

3.15 Pair o f printer's cases (drawn by Rudolph Rüzicka fo r D.B. Updike s

Printing Types).
À Short Historys' of the Printed Word

3.16 Composing sticks: earliest type, single measure, made of wood; modem
style, adjustable in measure, made of steel.

well. Letters are cast according to the frequency of their use, and
this, of course, will van7with the language. In fonts that are cast for
setting English, there will be more ris than cfs or ads. In a font for
setting French, there will be é ’s and è:s and As.
A font of type is stored in a subdivided case or, often, a pair of
cases. I11 one, there are C A P IT A L S , s m a l l c a p i t a l s and vari­
ous special characters. In the other are small letters (descendants of
scrittura umanistica), numerals and spacing material. W here cases
are used in pairs, they are usually set one above the other on a slop­
ing frame that rests on the type cabinet, high enough so the com­
positor can work standing. From the working position of the two
cases comes the now7familiar terminology: majuscules (capitals) are
in the upper case and minuscules in the lower.
A line of foundry type is still set, or composed, in a hand-held, ad­
justable frame called a stick, just as it has been for centuries. Since
the letters read in reverse, right-to-left, they are assembled upside
down, allowing left-right progression by the compositor. An ad­
justable stop on the stick is set to the line length required, and when
the approximate maximum number of letters has been assembled,
the line can be justified by altering the spacing between words.

----------------------------------------------------- i

^ y

3 .1 7 Pressure system fo r letterpress printing.

After several lines have been composed in die stick they are trans­
ferred to a long steel tray, open at one end, called a galley. Type is
worked and stored in dais form until made up into pages. The first
proofs, pulled on long sheets of paper, are called galley proofs.

The Handpress
Handpresses, such as the one Gutenberg developed, are for the
most part platen presses. Essentially, what is involved is the lowering
of a heavy iron plate, the platen, under controlled pressure, against
the horizontal, firmly supported type form. Although it is known
that a cabinetmaker named Konrad Saspoch built Gutenberg’s
press, no detailed descriptions of it or other very early models have
survived. The general style of it is known, however, and is well illus­
trated in the reconstruction on exhibit at the Gutenberg Museum
in Mainz. A complete fifteen th-centmryprintshop is also effectively
reproduced there.
The bed of the press is the part that holds the form for inking
and printing. The type form is made up of pages locked into a metal
frame, called a chase, by means of wooden or metal wedges, known
À S h o rt History o f the Printed Word

as quoins. Blank areas in a page or along margins are filled in with
blocks known as furniture. The arrangement of the pages in the
chase, with the printed pages in proper sequence for folding, is
called the imposing scheme. The two sides of an octavo (16-page) sig­
nature could be locked in the chase like this:

3.19 Chase and lock-up of a sixteen-page form..

(Remember, in interpreting this diagram, that the type in the

bed of the press reads backwards. W hen the paper is fed and the
lever is pulled, right-reading text is imprinted into the face-down
side of the sheet.)
The bed is movable, on a track or forestay tit at allows it to be
moved from under the platen and its lever-operated screw. T he lat­
ter, much like the screw of a wine press, is steeply7pitched to deliver
its force through a minimum saving of the lever. Hinged to the
bed is a frame, the tympan, on which paper can be stretched. This
provides packing between the platen and the sheet which is to be

A Short History of the Printed Word

printed. It is possible to build up areas on the tympan with thin

layers of paper, to compensate for high, and low areas in the type.
This is called overlay. It also is possible to build up areas beneath the
form: underlay. The whole is referred to as makeready.
There is a second, hinged, unit, the frisket, which protects the
printed sheet and keeps it clean. It carries a paper shield with a cut­
out area equal to the type form. After the type has been inked with a
pair of ink balls (or nowadays, with a roller), a sheet of paper is laid
on the tympan against preset guides. The frisket is closed over it,
leaving exposed only that section of the paper that is to be printed
on. It should he noted that it is customary to dampen paper for
handpress printing in order to counteract the sizing and soften the
T he bed assembly is moved under the platen and the lever
pulled. Then the bed is moved out again, the tympan and frisket are
lifted, and the paper is removed. This procedure is repeated for
each impression. On the early presses, pressure was so inadequate
that it was sometimes necessary, when forms were large, to move
the work piecemeal under the platen, employing a series of pulls on
the lever.
It seems incredible that the numerous trials and failures, the
ideas and the artifacts that led to the appearance of that first spec­
tacular book to come from a. European press - Gutenberg's 42-îine
Bible - could have disappeared so completely. But it must be re­
membered that the scribes and illuminators wielded sufficient po­
litical power to have duplication of their works interdicted, except
when done by hand. We have mentioned both the clandestine ex­
porting of prints and playing cards from Germany into Italy and the
demand by Venetian woodblock cutters for legal protection. That
was in 1441. Gutenberg by7then must already have spent some years
developing his ideas.

Incunabula: 1440-1500

he w o rd incunabuium (plural, incunabula) comes from

T the Latin cunae, meaning “cradle*” It can refer to the earliest
stages in the development of anything, but it has come to stand par­
ticularly for those books printed in Europe before 1500. Once more
then, our attention focuses at first on Gutenberg, He was born in
Mainz, about the year 1397, and was the son of a member of the
gentry, Friele zum Gensfteisch. His full name was Johann Gens-
fleisch zum Gutenberg. He lived in Mainz until 1428, when a dis­
pute related to his guild caused him to move to Strasbourg, There
he resided between 1434 and 1444, working for a time with a gold­
smith named Hans Duenne. In 1439, in connection with a lawsuit,
Duenne told a Strasbourg judge that Gutenberg had been engaged
for three years on a project which had to do with printing. In 1438
he already had the press which Saspoch made for him. He was also
purchasing lead; this suggests that he had reached the stage of cast­
ing. The last record of Gutenberg’s presence in Strasbourg is a tax
payment in 1444.

The 42~Line Bible

By 1448 he had returned to Mainz and had obtained a loan of 150
gulden from a relative there. This was insufficient for his needs, and
he was again seeking financial backing only two years later. This
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fumtoinmjs fiOfm:tamOta offa ptmfunt anfomt iUio tt abîbût : ntt
nlîuaq•£u mt alîqua t| ipîaa& te übî aujdiiüftrmt.i|taq}mtims tft
àaab aiiquotmnftaOmnîidt:^ tsegnnsSmmmr uînutffiiâsut ma
mr bit rgprabrar tp m non fit signa in oomo utilefquo glonabîtur qui
babîra fitwiparnnp&raîa miamra* poüitrrilluOvèSÙûW:utl oftiiïî t a
pma üUDraia aûtqur iiliabut M a mo qboifioOîr que in pacefuntrig
funt.lDumnâ tteâsü amOimtOü faÉ si|.B)ol quibî tt luna arfiOtra
t&Hloa rfir ornai jâ fabrie aûr i am tum fint^lmoîoa ttnnîlTa as nn£i>
ri&nl»Ma fût iHicbii aliuo mit nifi tarm obausîunt: ümtlirtr n fuîgur
iSqti uoiôttûr fat8&ima.jjftmfitta ru aqiarutrit çlprniû tü. Ijoipmaüt
4.1 Gutenberg or qx-line Bible: the textblock (reduced).

piuDt ftlt mt btfcïplraâpris tut tt nt
htratttas Irarat rarie tutrmaiifcatur
gratia rapmtuon toupttotollo tun*
fftli tttUt tt laffanffîntpttQtf0:ntat?
qrndtas tfe»^t OtjEtdtotot nohîfrü*
4.2 Fony-two-line Bible: the type.

time he borrowed 800 gulden, at six per cent interest, from Johann
Fust, a wealthy Mainz merchant. T he loan was secured by a mort­
gage on Gutenberg’s equipment. After still another borrowing, the
agreement was foreclosed. By that time, 1455, the loans and interest
had reached more than 2,000 gulden, a sum Gutenberg was unable
to pay. His books and tools were forfeited to satisfy the debt. The
irony of this misfortune lay in the imminent appearance of his mas-
terwork, the 42-line Bible.
W ithin a few decades after his Bible was printed, presses began
to produce the grammars and dictionaries that were to be the basic
tools for increasing literacy. Vespasiano, with those forty-five writ­
ers in his employ, needed almost two years to finish 200 books. A
crew of forty-five Renaissance editors, compositors, proofreaders
and pressmen could do about the same - but they could make those
books in several hundred copies each.
We must turn now from Gutenberg, to contemplate the man
who would help Johann Fust carry on the Gutenberg venture. His
name was Peter Schôffer, and he was a calligrapher who was work­
ing in Paris at the beginning of the second half of the fifteenth
century. From Paris he moved to Mainz, where he met and married
Fust’s daughter. H e designed and apparently cast type, and he
became at first Fust’s working partner, then his heir.
A Short History of the Printed Word

4 .3 The M ainz Psalter o f Fust ix Schoffer.

Fust and Schoffer

In 1457, shortly after the appearance of Gutenberg’s big Bible,

the large and handsome Mainz Psalter appeared. It bore the first
colophon, giving the date of publication and the names of Fust and
Schoffer as its publishers. Considering the time and expertise re­
quired for such an undertaking, it wo uld seem that at least the initial
work must already have been done by Gutenberg.
Among the notable features of the Mainz Psalter are its large
two-color printed initials. This feat was probably accomplished by
preparing nested woodblocks which could be separated, inked indi­
vidually in red and blue, and reassembled to print both colors, along
with the black type, in one impression.
The text types used in both Bible and Psalter are texturas. The
name alludes to the woven texture of a page that is written in such

chapter iv • Incunabula: 1440-1500

letters. In both these books the types are large in size, especially in
the body of the Psalter. Like all texturas, they are angular and
pointed, but as texture types go, they possess an exemplary simpli­
city. The letterforms are sharp, but they are less jagged and spiky
than many other fonts that followed.
The lines from the Fust and Schoffer Psalter reproduced in
figures 4.4 and 4.5 show two sizes of type. In both sizes, capitals ap­
pear. They are quite different from the lower case - round instead of
angular, and drawn with a vertical axis instead of written with the
pen held at a comfortable angle. Nonetheless, they too are charac­
teristic of the time. They are also generous in their forms, especially
against the close-packed vertical rhythm of the lower case. T he
lines, dots and other decorative touches often added to such capitals
are not solely for ornament. These additions help to reduce the
large counters which could otherwise open up holes in the overall
texture and color of the type mass.

earns wr «pu non

Imttt non ftùît.iÿct)
-- ------ ifi----- in tea tenant nolfifas
W m in m Itgt mis raîùïtabîtur Dît at no­
i l to, S t rat tangs Itpü qunb plàtatû ttt
4 .4 M a in z Psalter: initial and text type (reduced).

A Short History of the Printed Word

4 .5 M a in z Psalter: the type.

The large, decorative letters which stand out from the body of
the text are known as versais. In manuscripts, they were compound,
or built-up forms, drawn rather than written. Here they indicate
the degree to which the early printers were committed to imitating
the illuminators as well as the calligraphers. Naturally, these letters
also serve quite practical purposes. They indicate textual breaks and
Peter Schoffer led a long and productive life; not so his father-
in-law, Fust, who died of the plague in 1466 on a visit to Paris. Two
of Schoffer?s most famous works - the Hortus sanitatis (a German
herbal) and Chronik der Sachsen (a history) - did not appear until
1485 and 1492. Both were extensively illustrated with woodcuts.

*Vnb awQ affogmu^ct $w£r incCfiîcÇttftyt von^cm

Per jO §<tnnc& tttcfîrc fpncPr trermitr fîcrcft^ci
t>ic CcPPcrt>n5 Prcftgt tinf?cn $n c^cti macPf gcfîin
ten ftangffcyt afo$an tfï^ic qeffucPt vn%t tmffcr fnS
6oVct$ic nmrmc m?cm Pud>c vn^npet fie vfi mecPrtgl
fca von nutlet tyn pfttfïer atfo*Viym twtmtMttt-foi
fttfp CoifgcPwnc cyn foie* vn$ cyn Coir Baft
vat vitôct gemifser vf?cinpBt/W gcmacP
teyt v ff^m Pad?* 3tcm wtz3m fa& fimgc $yt ge
nut* 3Ûfrômen^en fafft von trermur mit snefer verm
ttefitla voit $n Çant üpermut fafft gemettget mit f
4 .6 H o r t u s s a n ita tis : the type.
The type of the Hortus sanitath is another, less formal kind of black-
letter, known as schwabacher or bastarda.
After his death in 1502, Peter Schoffer was succeeded by his son
Johann; a younger son Peter, who had a very distinguished career as
a punchcutter; and finally by a grandson, Ivo Schoffer, who contin­
ued printing until 1555. Thus, the name Schoffer was associated for
a full century with the making of books.

The Death of Gutenberg

Gutenberg did not outlast Fust by very long, dying in 1468, Of
his later years, we know much less than we would like. In 1465 he
became attached to the court of Adolf of Nassau, who was then
Archbishop of Mainz. Earlier, in 1460, there appeared, printed in
Mainz, the Catholicon, a Latin dictionary written two centuries ear­
lier by Johann Balbus. This may be Gutenberg’s work too.
In February of 1468, D r Conrad Humery, a Mainz advocate,
recorded his acquisition of some printing equipment that had be­
longed to Gutenberg at the time of his death. These articles were
turned over to Humery by the archbishop, and it may be assumed
that the recipient had been of some economic help to the always
financially embarrassed printer.

Exodus of the Mainz Printers

Nassau is now a small, old town on the Lahn River, north and
west from the urban conglomeration of Wiesbaden, Frankfurt and
Mainz. It was formerly a duchy, elastic in size, like most feudal
states, but at times almost as large as the present state of Delaware.
In 1462, Mainz was sacked and partly burned by soldiers from this
duchy, under orders, it appears, from their archbishop. One conse­
quence of that attack was an exodus of printers from the city, thus
hastening the spread of the infant art to other towns and countries.

A Short H isto ry of the Printed Word

Even before the sack of Mainz, there were presses in Strasbourg

and Bamberg. It was in Bamberg in 1461 that Albrecht Pfister
printed Edelstein, die first book with printed illustrations. Here the
type and woodcuts were printed in separate impressions.
Four years later the art moved into Italy, when Konrad Sweyn-
heym and Arnold Pannartz set up a shop in the monastery at Subi-
aco, east of Rome. In 1466, there was printing in Kôln; in 1468, in
Augsburg and in Rome itself. In 1469, another German, Johann van
Speyer, became the first Venetian printer. In 1470, a particularly
significant year, a printing shop was installed at the Sorbonne by
three German-speaking printers whom the rector had invited to
Paris, and in Venice die great French typographer Nicolas Jenson
opened his own independent operation.
Johann Zainer became the first printer in Ulm. In 1473, he
brought out Boccaccio’s De Claris mulieribus, illustrated with wood-
cuts based on French manuscript illumination. Zainer distin-

4 .7 The first book with printed illustrations: E d e ls te in , by Albrecht Pfister.

guished himself not only by his printing but by the quality of editing
and scholarship apparent in his publications.
The Mainz influence was dominant for the first fifteen years of
bookmaking. Typographers and printers from other countries,
such as Schoffer and Jenson from France, were apprenticed at
Mainz. The exodus from that city, in 1462, must have been greatly
governed by the demand for printing elsewhere. The supply of
trained craftsmen was relatively small.

The Press at Subiaco

For these printers, protection and financial support guaranteed
success. Since the churches were among the principal customers
for books, their language chiefly Latin (which the Germans were
already used to), and their means ample, they offered the most ideal
inducements. Just such a set of circumstances led Sweynheym and

A Short History of the Printed Word

agic.ut büana dtuntis mbuâc auctontate:cü pcdnsbum,

buermr. Que nue (âne mbdapud Ifbsagar
materta^edar* Ea igr cjufiamus reftimoma.qbus tilt pôfi
me cerrc non rcpugnare.SibiUas plunrtu et maxi'mi aud
grjcoy: Anftoricuster Appollodorus ;Erithrcus ;noftrc
neftelia*Hi om s pcipuama nobitem prjtercetms, Enri
mmomu AppoUodoms jdc sitde rial ac popular! fnagl
4.9 First type ofSweynheym & Pannartz. 1465.

Pannartz to Italy in 1465. Their press was set up at the Benedictine

house, Santa Scholastica, Subiaco, where they lived as lay brothers.
After producing a Donatus, of which no copy is extant, they printed
De Divtnis institutionibus of Lactantius, which is the first Italian
book to bear a date. Sweynheym had worked with Schoffer at
Mainz, and Pannartz came from Koln.
The two types used by Sweynheym and Pannartz were strongly
influenced by the m inim i umanistica but bear gothic traces too. The
lower case of both has a Carolingian structure, uniting many fea­
tures of roman and italic. (The separation of roman and italic was
still hundreds of years in the future when the Caroline or Carolin­
gian script evolved.) The capitals in the Sweynheym and Pannartz
faces are roman, and the lines are leaded out (vertically spaced)
more generously than is usual with blackletter. In both these re­
spects, their work achieves a roman mise en page or page design.
Aside from the Donatus and the Lactantius, only two other
books were printed at Subiaco. These were Cicero’s De Oratore and
St Augustine’s De Civitate Dei. It seems likely that the Cicero was
finished first, but it is undated. After printing the St Augustine,
Sweynheym and Pannartz moved their press to the palace of the
Massimi family in Rome. There, they printed about fifty books,
working together until 1473.

7 4
c hapte R iv • Incunabula : 1440-1500

Printing in Switzerland and Germany

In 1463, at Mainz, Fust and Schoffer published the first book to
have a printed title page. In 1464, a Gutenberg workman named
Berthold Ruppel went to Basel and became Switzerland’s first
printer. The Strasbourg printer Günther Zainer (Johann Zai ner $
cousin) moved his press to Augsburg in 1468.
Hans Holbein’s town - later the town of Leopold Mozart and
Bertolt Brecht - became one of the great printing centers of
Germany, and it was Günther Zainer who set it on its course. He
encountered opposition from Augsburg woodcut makers and
block-printers, who feared his competition. He also obtained sup­
port from Melchi or von Stamhaim, Abbot of St Ulrich, who offered
him room for his press. Five presses were soon added, and under
Zainer’s tutelage printers were trained. The first book to come
from his press was Meditationes de vita Christi, Zainer used many
woodcuts in his books, and it is likely that the fearful woodcarvers
and playing-card makers were soon absorbed into the new opera­
tion, with greatly expanded duties and opportunities. Such de­
mands were to elevate the craft for several hundred years to come.

Printing in Venice
T he first book printed in Venice was completed in 1469. It was
Epistolae ad familiares by Cicero, and its printer w'as Johann van
Speyer (Giovanni da Spira). It was followed by Pliny’s Historia nat~
uralis. In 1470, Johann died, leaving his brother Wendelin to finish
his edition of St Augustine’s De Civitate Dei, the first European
book in which page numbers are printed.
The type used by the Van Speyers has extraordinary clarity. It
consists of purely roman forms that are directly recognizable as
such even by narrower modern standards. The brothers made great
claims for their design, seeking in fact to patent it as a new inven-

A. Short History of th e Printed Word

tion. They succeeded in obtaining legal if not practical protection

against plagiarism for five years.
The death of Johann van Speyer in 1470 put an end to this re­
striction, and in that year Eusebius’ De Praeparatione evangeiica was
published by Nicolas Jenson. The Eusebius is a milestone In the de­
velopment of the roman type page. It is Jenson’s first book, but it
was not, perhaps, printed in his first type- There are reasons to sus­
pect that Jenson was the author of Johann van Speyer’s roman type,
and of the Greek used by Wendelin van Speyer. It may be that Jen­
son’s own fine roman and Greek are really revisions of fonts he cut
for the Van Speyers.

E d ncceflccft inquiunt: ut terrena corpora natu

ten eat.uct cogatad terram: &c ideo incaelo cflc non pc
ilti hormis in terra erant nemorofa arque fru&uofa:
obtinuit.Sedquia &ad hoc refpondendu cfl:ucl prop
quo afeendit in caelum :ucl propter faneftorum qualia i
funt: intucantur paulo attendus pondéra ipa terrena,
efFicit: utex metallis que maquis pofttacontmuo fub
4.10 Roman type o f Johann van Speyer ( Giovanni da Spira). Venice, 2470,

Jenson was bom about 1420 at Sommevoire, in northern Bur­
gundy. Between 1470 and 1480 he printed some 150 books and
established a lasting reputation for his types. Before learning type-
making at Mainz, he was a mintmaster, possibly at Tours. He too, in
other words, had training as a goldsmith. He already knew how to
cut punches, make molds and cast metal with precision and
efficiency at very small sizes. And he knew and loved letters.

chapter iv * Incunabula: 1440-1500

4.1 t Eusebius printed by NicolasJenson. Venice, 1470.

The Eusebius type is a marvel, but its maker attained his mas­
tery and knowledge little by little. There are clues connecting
Jenson with Frankfurt, and some which place Gutenberg there
from the time he lost his equipment in Mainz until 1468. It is not at
all impossible that Jenson had some direct contact with Gutenberg.
Certainly, Jenson was associated with Frankfurt merchants, espe­
cially with booksellers. One of these, Peter Ugelheimer, who was
involved in the book business as early as 1455, appears in Venice
twenty years later, at the height of Jenson’s Italian career. It is also of
interest to note that among the shareholders in Jenson’s last part­
nership were Dona Paula, the widow of Johann van Speyer, and her
two children. The presence of these three lends weight to the
theory thatjenson cut the types of the Van Speyers. He died in 1480
in Rome, where he had gone at the invitation of Pope Sixtus IV.
Jenson was a success in his own time, both artistically and finan­
cially. Beyond his time, he has remained an inspiration. It is my be­
lief that his influence came partly from early training, which gave
him even greater sensitivity to the sculptural nature of type than
one would otherwise expect in a goldsmith-turned-punchcutter. In
making coins and medallions, the letterforms Jenson employed
qui omnibus ui aquarum fubmcrfïs aim filiis fuis fimul ac nuribus
mirabili quodi modo quafi femen h u à n i generis confèruatus efttque
urina quafi uiuam quandam tmaginem imitari nobis contmgat:& hi
quidem ante diluuium fucrunt:poft diluuiumautem alii quorüunus
altifïimi dei facerdos iuftitix acpietatis miraculo rex mfhis lingua he-
brxom appellatus efbapud quos nec dromafionis nec mofaicx legis
ulla menao erat. Quare nec iudæos(pofteris enî hoc nomcn fuir)neqj
gentiles :quoniam non urgentes plural itatem deorum inducebantfea
hebrxos pro prie noiamus autab Hebere utdidxî cfhaut qa id nomen
cranficiuos fignificat.Soii qppe a creaturis naturali rone éc lcge mata
nô fcnpta ad cognitioni uen dei trifiere:& uoluptate corporis côtépca
ad redam uitam puenifïe fcribuntkum quibus omibus prxdarus ille
tottus generis origo Habraam numerâdus efhcui fcriptura mirabilem
iuftitiâ quâ non a mofaica lege(feprima efm pofi: Habraa generatione
Mopfes nafdtur)fed naturali fuit ratione confecutus fuma cum laude
atteflatur. Credidic emm Habraam deo Ôdreputatû eft ei in iuftitiam.
Quare multarum quoq? gentium patrem diuina oracula futurüuac m
ipfo benedicédas oés genres hocutdelicSd ipfum quod iam nos uideüs
aperce pnedicÆumeft:cuius ille iuftttiæ pcrfedaoém non mofaica lege
fed fide côfecutus eft:qui poft muitas dei uifiones legitrimum genuic
filium:quern primum omnium diuino pfuafus oraculo drcuâdit:ô£
cxteris qui ab eo nafceretur tradidit:uel ad manifeftum mulatudinis
eorum future fignum:uel uthocquafi patemxuirtutis îftgnefiîù re>
rinétes maiores fuos imitari conaretrauc qbufcüqj aliis decaufis.Non
enim id fcrutâdum nobis modo eft,Poft Habraam films eius Ifaac in
pietace fucceiïït:fœlice hac hxreditate a parétibus accxpta:q uni uxorî
coniunchis quum geminos genuifiet caftitatis amore ab uxore poftea
didturabftinuifTe.Ab ifto natus é Iacob qui ^pptcr cumulatu uirtutis
prouetum Ifrael eriam appellatus eft duobus noibus ^ppterduphcem
uirtutis ufü.Iacob efm athlerâ ôc exercécem felatinedicerepoflumus:
quam appellations primû habuic:quû prafticis operaaoîbus multos
pro pietate labo res ferebat.Quum autéiam uidorludando euafit:&
fpecularionis fruebat bonis:tue Ifraelem ipfedeus appellauit æterna
premia bearitudméqj ulrimam qux i n uifione dei confiait ei largiens:
hommem enim qui deum uideat Ifrael nomen fignificat. Ab hoc.xih
iudxorum tribus ,pfedtx füt.Innumerabiîia de uita îftorum uirorum
forticudine prudenria pietateqj did pofïuntiquorum alia fecundum
feripture uerba hiflorice confiderantur:aIia tropologice ac allegorice
interprctâtîde qbus multi côfcripferût;& nos in hbro que infcnpfiûs

4.12 1'extblockfrom Jenson ’s Eusebius (:reduced ).

Et ptds in morem ad digitos ietitefdt habendo* Eiufmodi
figuratioparumadmiTit ex feperf«îhim:nec conuenitad
mittere uc aut pofïït:au t debeat cum cxteris temporibus p
totam declinauonem uim incipiendi figmficare• Abfurdu
i ergo ea quse funt închoatiua perfe^o tempore defm{re:6£
mox fucurum deciinando inchoadua efle demoftrare'Ncc
enimpoteftcum tota uerbi fperies inchoatma dfcatur alia
4 .1 3 Roman type o f Nicolas Jenson. 1471.

were capitals, often beautiful capitals that could summon the spirit
of Rome. It is reasonable to assume that Jenson’s Latin background
and his proficiency in roman forms were of incalculable impor­
tance in translating humanistic script from manuscript to type.
Some critics have complained that Jenson’s type lacks perfection
in detail. The answer to this charge lies plainly on the page, where
the even color of the type mass and the great legibility of the forms
prove without a further word that the punchcutter and printer
achieved his aims. Dressmaker details and elegant touches do not
bear constant repetition. It is the elusive inevitability of Jenson’s
forms that has made them models for over 500 years. Part of the
character of a Jenson page derives from the fitting of the letters;
there is sufficient space between them to match the space within the
In 1471 Jenson produced an excellent Greek type - the first com­
plete Greek type and still one of the best - though he used it only to
print excerpts and quotations. In 1474 he began to cut a series of ro­
tundas, used in his expanding production of medical and historical
works. His fame nonetheless now rests on his contribution to the
form of roman type and to its mise en page, its composition and
arrangement on the page.
In spite of the success of the Venetian printers, Florentine bib­
liophiles remained aloof from the press. It was a time of high attain-

A Short History of th e Printed Word

ment by their calligraphic school, well represented by the work of

Antonio Sinibaldi. The first book printed in Florence was produced
by another goldsmith, Bernardo Cennini, 1471, but it is indifferent
in quality7. Only when Antonio Miscomini, who was trained in
Venice, moved his press from Modena to Florence in 1489 did that
great center of art join in the magic of Renaissance printing.
Michelangelo was then in his early teens.

The Spread ofPrinting: Spain and the Low Countries

From 1450 or thereabouts until. 1470, fourteen European cities
could boast printing offices. From 1470 to 1480, the number grew
to more than a hundred. O f that number, Italy accounted for forty-
seven. In France, besides the three Swiss and Germans, Freiburger,
Gering and Kranz, who had been called to the Sorbonne in 1470,
there were printers at Toulouse, Angers, Vienne, Poitiers and, most
importantly, at Lyon.
Pri nting was introduced into Spain, at Valencia, in 1474. Before
the end of that decade, presses were established in Zaragoza, Tor-
tosa, Seville, Barcelona and Lérida. Lambert Palmart was the first
Spanish printer and Matthaeus of Flanders the second. In Spain, as
elsewhere, the spread of printing was carried on by itinerant north­
erners. At this date, printers who were not themselves northern Eu­
ropeans had at least been trained in the north. Yet the state of the art
was no longer tentative, and a cultural industry had come into be­
ing. Regardless the nationality of the earliest printers in Spain, their
works rapidly assumed a recognizably Spanish style.
Palmart’s first font was a roman, but the Spaniards quickly as­
serted their preference for hlackletter type, especially rotundas.
Juan de Yciar’s Arte subtilissima, a wri ting hook published in 1550 at
Zaragoza, shows this form to best advantage. It would seem that
foreign influences either succumbed to the strong nationalism of
Spain or were at least absorbed into it. In the following' centuries,

l‘ . Tflû» i i T R A ;^ F O R M A D A
>$---------1------ ï ' S|

toIT & -2 # 1 ®

t l I
I 0 0
k = = j s f c : ....

T R U m o 9
\Y 5 lt M T
1 'v----------- T 2-------------'■>
jx..... ........ ■T.- V. ......................Xj . ]
____ ___ . -J

jly> y _______jg 9 Cfi p _____ X. _A_____ ^

1 ! O A N N £ nS " DE Y c I A R. x I 1 E X C V D E BAT>

4.14 Rotunda by Juan de Yciar.

however, Spain became both the source and the preserver of some
of the world’s finest roman types- And at Alcala de Henares, near
Madrid, in 1510, Arnaldo Guillén de Brocar cut the Complutensian
Greek: a piece of typographic art stylistically in tune and fully on
par with the work of Nicolas Jenson.
The earliest firm date for printing in the Netherlands is 1473.
This date is established by two books, produced in Utrecht in that
year, by Ketelaer and de Leempt. There are some undated works,
presumed to have been printed several years before, perhaps as
early as 1471. A few years after the Utrecht books appeared, printing
shops were opened in Deventer, Delft, Gouda and elsewhere in the
Netherlands, and printing was introduced in neighboring Belgium.

A Short History of the Printed Word

in épm< of trou6D*ue Uoaitbtf anb of t$<

potto fkpn§ and; t«pgnpng a« Xbtff njtf^c t-oj
«ttgfottfy ant; frmmcp ao nj aft otfytr pGiatff v t
tÇurgÇ t§< Utrnlfc? tfyat ie to tb tis f$« pet* of 01
tfjoufïmt? four Qjnberfe?Cjrp. 2fnb? aofbt <$«tf
ItoÇirQ* tnrfrtf) of tQt gttum ft « l}ig fceffaiecôtj
4.15 ofCaxton’s Recuyell, thefirst bookprinted in English.

The first Belgian press opened at Aalst in 1473. Soon afterward,

presses were in operation at Leuven, Brugge and Brussels, and by
1480 at Oudenaarde.
O f equal interest with any book left us by these presses is a font
of 14-point textura type cut at Antwerp in 1492 by Henric Letter-
snider. Matrices for this font still exist and are held by the En­
schede Museum in Haarlem, near Amsterdam. This crisp and
beautifully cut type appears to be the oldest font still in existence.

William Caxton
At Brugge, in Belgium, in 1473 or early 1474, William Caxton
printed the first book in. English. It was his own translation of Raoul
Le Fèvre’s Le Recueil des histoires de Troyes, and he called it Recuyett of
the Historyes ofTroye. (A recueil or recuyell is a compilation or collec­
tion.) Caxton was born about 1422. In 1438, he apprenticed to the
wealthy Robert Large, soon to be Lord Mayor of London, and
there made connections helpful in advancing his future career as a
printer-publisher. In the 1440s, he was in business in Brugge.
W ithin a dozen yeai's he was prominent in the Mercers’ Company,
rising to the governorship of the Guild of English Merchants.
Caxton began his translation of Le Fèvre’s Recueil in the 1460s
and completed it at Kdln in 1471. It was there, evidently, that he first

c h a. P T e R i. v ® Incunabula: 1440—1500

parfont Q Çfr.tç ïfy tSéfc fctfpôfç&r? te?

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4.16 Textblock of Caxton s Dictes and Sayings of the Philosophers, 1477.

became interested in printing. He may have learned the craft from

Ulrich Zell, a priest from Mainz who had by then establi shed Kdln’s
first press. On returning to Brugge, Caxton set up a press to print
his book and invited the calligrapher Colard Mansion to join him in
the project. The type they made was a cursive Flemish blackletter
or gothic, of the style called bastarda or bâtarde. Its prominent fea­
tures include pointed descenders, looped and hooked ascenders, y
with a straight stroke on the left, a single-storey a and a one-eyed,
open-tailed g.
In 1475, Caxton returned to England, establishing his press at
the Sign of the Red Pale in Westminster, near the Abbey. There, in
A Short History of die Printed Word

1477, he printed his first dated work: Dictes and Sayings of the Philoso­
phers, translated, by way of Spanish, Latin and French from an
eleventh-century Arabic original. T he first dated book in the Eng­
lish language, printed nine years after Gutenbergs death, was actu­
ally written in Egypt by Mubashshir ihn Fâtik at the same time as Bt
Shëng, in China, was inventing movable type.
At his death in 1491, Caxton had printed nearly a hundred
ivorks. It is interesting to speculate how the style of English and
American printing might have developed if Caxton had learned to
work type, and to print from it, in Venice instead of Koln. Had he
done so, there might have been, in England, an earlier release from
the thralldom of the blackletter and an earlier appreciation of the
full resources of roman.
If he was not a model typographer, Caxton has nevertheless
served England well as a model printer-publisher, combining as he
did scholarship, craftsmanship, dedication and business acumen
enough to make his chosen calling pay.

E r h a r d R a td o lt

While Caxton was printing at Westminster, Erhard Ratdolt was

at work in Venice. There he created the first printed decorative tide
pages and - for his edition of Euclid’s Elements - the first printed
mathematical diagrams. He was also an innovator in the printing of
multicolor woodcuts. He was responsible for some of the finest
books, in both design and execution, printed in Venice, a city whose
work became the model for all Europe.
Ratdolt might have been just the partner for Caxton’s English
establishment He did have partners of his own; their names, Peter
Loeslein and Bernhart Maler, appeared with Ratdolt’s in their
Kalendarius of 1476. Maler probably designed and cut the decora­
tive material.
Returning to his native Augsburg in 1486, Ratdolt printed his
opta 4a ogmparteeim hlbrodom:
Non fu piu pretiofa gemma.'mas'.':
Dil kalendatio :cbe
Con*gran facilita ; magran lauoro
Qui numéro aureo ; e rum i fcgnifoo»
Ddfcnpb dit gran polo da ogmlai i
Os'anoori Cble ; e tuna eclipfifat;
Quant* terre fe reçe a(b thotoro.
In un ùnftanu eu £u quai bora fia :
Quai Cm»lanno ; giorno : tempo 1t tnexç î
Cbe tut» pond ton daftrotagu,
loanne démonté tegto quefib fexe V
Cogîier cal kumaoo non graue fia
In breue tempo: eeon poeb» pene&e *
Cbi terne cotai tpexe
Scampa mmi< I nomidi impreÆsrt*
Son qui «Ubaflo di toffi colon *
X Vcnetsj#* *

£km iïêm piclor de Auguft*

‘. r u f b f ie m dur. l^ n g e n c e o
£rba»du»ratdolt de ÀuguîU
4.17 Ratdolt. Kalendarius. Venice, 1476.

handsome type specimen sheet, possibly the first font catalog ever
produced. It shows a generous selection for a fifteenth-century
printer: ten sizes of rotunda, three of roman, one of Greek, and a
sample ornamental capital. (Rotunda was then more popular than
roman, even in Venice itself.) In Augsburg, Ratdolt kept on printing
for more than thirty years. He died there in 1527 or 1528, about
eighty years of age.

A Short History of the Printed Word

4 .1 8 Philippe Pigouchet. L i v r e d ’h e u r e s . Paris, 1498.

English and French Incunabula

During the final twenty years of the fifteenth century, over a

hundred European towns were added to the list of those with
presses. Among the important centers for printing were London,

Leipzig, Munich, Stockholm, Lisbon, Hamburg and Copenhagen.
In London, John Lettou, William de Machlinia and Richard Pyn-
son were early printers. Pynson had a sense of style that raised him
above other English printers of the fifteenth century. He also began
England’s slow conversion from blackletter to roman type. (These
are two reasons why he was memorialized four centuries later by the
American typographer Elmer Adler, who named his press in New
York the Pynson Printers.)
Pynson was bom in Normandy and learned printing in Rouen.
He took over the shop of De Machlinia about 1490, and in 1494 he
issued Boccaccio’s Fall of the Princes, in a transl ation by John Lyd­
gate. He printed until 1528 and died in 1530.
O f the three printers brought to the Sorbonne in 1470, two,
Freiburger and Kranz, returned to Germany in 1477. The third, the
Swiss Ulrich Gering, remained. Pie was joined later by Berthold
Rembolt, and their office continued to make significant contribu­
tions to printing until the end of the century.
From the standpoint of activity, Lyon came close to matching
Paris. Like Venice, Lyon was a great commercial center. It was also
relatively free from ecclesiastical censorship. Guillaume Le Roy in­
troduced printing there in 1473. Five years later, Le Mirouer de la
rédemption was printed in Lyon, using types and woodcuts imported
from Basel. This is the first French book with printed illustrations.
Most fifteenth-century French books are set in blackletter,
though Gering cut whiteletter types for the Sorbonne. In time,
some of the finest roman types ever made were made in Paris and
Lyon, but early French taste favored pointed gothics, round goth­
ics, and especially the cursive vernacular lettres bâtarde.
Among the notable aspects of French manuscript production
were the Horae, or Books of Hours. The writing and illumination of
such books provided some of the most magnificent examples of
French calligraphy and miniature painting. Several French print­
ers, it would seem, set out to match that achievement in type and

A Short History of die Printed Word

4 . 1 9 S t C h r i s t o p h e r o n H o r s e b a c k . M etalcut executed about 1477 with

gravers and punches. ( The technique, called m a n i è r e c r i b l é e , is related to the
niello work o f goldsmiths.)

woodcuts. One of these, Philippe Pigouchet, whose Livre d'heures

was printed in 1498 at Paris, is an excellent representative of the
group. In the following century, this specialty continued.
c h a p T e R ï v • Incunabula: 1440—1500

4 .2 0 Albrecht Durer. Woodcut. A p o c a ly p s e . 1498.

Albrecht Dürer and Aldus Manutïus

Like any new medium, printing was beginning to develop and
perfect its own practitioners. This occurred both with the cutting of
type and with the art of making woodcuts. There is no more spec-

A Short History of the Printed Word

4 .2 1 Colonna, H y p n e r o to m a c h ia P o lip h ili. Venice: Aldus, 1499.

tacular example of the latter than the cuts made by Albrecht Dürer
in 1498 for the Apocalypse, printed in Nürnberg by Anton Koberger.
They represent a great aesthetic achievement as well as a technical
one. An unnamed artist - perhaps Benedetto Bordon - made an
equally impressive set of woodcut illustrations for Francesco
Colonna’s Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, printed by Aldus Manutius in
Venice in 1499. Each of these books attains, as in polyphonic music,
a perfect marriage of two independent voices: type and illustration.
These are forward-looking books that begin the sixteenth century
more than they end the fifteenth.
Aldus Manutius, or Aldo Manuzio, was born at Bassiano, near
Rome, about 1450. His studies at Rome and Ferrara included
Greek, and he envisioned the use of printing in a revival of classical
wisdom. In Venice in 1494, he founded the Aldine Press. In 1502 he
adopted his printer’s mark: the dolphin and anchor, an old Roman
symbol for the popular motto,festina lente, “Hurry slowly.”


EL SEQVENTE triupho no mcno miraucgUofo S pnmoJmpo

chccgli hauea fe^tro uoiubiierotemtte.&gliradik&ii mcditullo défia
fco achatt.di cadidc uéuîe uagamétc uaricaro.Nctalecemmtegeftoeie
Pyrrho cûlenoueMufe& Apotlineîmedio pulfarc dalla nature ipfTo.
Laxide&la forma, del di&o q le eî prû lerabeUeerao di cyaneo
Saphyro orientale.atomatodcfoindiluîedoro ,ailamagica gratifîimo,
& fongo acçeptiflimo acupidinc neîla finiftra mano.
Nella tabeîla dexrra mirai «fcalpto una inlîgne Macroa che
dut oui hauea partimco.m unocubile regio colloca
ca,di un o mtrabile palbrio.Cum obftttriceftu
pcfaâe, &multe aître matrone & allante
NymphcDcgli quali ufoxuade
uno una Hammula,&delal
tro ouo duc fpe&ariffi
me (idle.
* *

4 .2 2 Text page o / H y p n e r o to m a c h ia P o lip h ili, with Griffo !r type ( reduced ).

Aldus invited scholars of Greek, including Erasmus, to live in his

house, where the editing of manuscripts, the writing of new works
and the proofing of newly printed sheets were continuous activities.
Equally important, he employed Francesco GrifFo of Bologna, a
great master of punchcutting, to cut his roman and Greek fonts,
and to cut the first italic. The first of these romans appears in Pietro

A. Short History of the .Printed Word


DO DISAVEDVTA e t INSCIA d is c o n c iA M E N T B


tiofe&diue Nymphe abfoneperucnerano Be
mconctncalla. tioftra benigna audictu .quale
latemfica raucitatedel urinante Elâcho al fua^
ue canto delà piangeuole Philomela. Nondi
meno uolendo io cum tuti gli meiexili cona>
t* del intelleÔot6tcum lamia paucula fuffirie
tia di fati&re aile uoftre pkqeuole perittonc,
non riftaroal pocere.Lcquale femota qualuque hefïtationc epiêpiuche
ft congruerebbealtronde/lignamentemeritino piu uberrimo fluuio di
doquentia .cumtroppo piurdhmdaefeganaa&cum piu exornatapoli
4.23 Roman type by Francesco Griffo. Hypnerotomachia Poliphili. 1499.

Bembo’s De Aetna, published by Aldus in 1495. A revised version of

the same font appears in the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili. The italic
was used to print the poems of Virgil in 1501.
Griffo’s contributions to roman type include an improved bal­
ance between capitals and lower case, achieved by cutting the capi­
tals slightly shorter than ascending letters such as b and dy and by
slightly reducing the stroke weight of the capitals.
As the fifteenth century ended, printing was well established,
but calligraphy was not by any means a dying trade or waning in­
fluence. Some of its most beautiful examples lay ahead. As more
people learned to read, so more learned to write, and often with
great style and distinction. The sixteenth century was the age of the
great manuals of handwriting.


The Sixteenth Century

ï in v e n to r y o f t h e p h y s i c a l a n d m a t e r i a l progress of
printing until the year 1500 would reveal more than 1,100
shops in 200 cities, in which some 12,000,000 books, in some
30,000 editions, had been produced. On the aesthetic side, the high
state of calligraphy during that period provided an atmosphere of
understanding and taste for letterforms that has been of lasting
benefit in establishing the classic models for type families. Mechan­
ically, very little had changed since the time of Gutenberg. The ap­
pearance of technical progress stemmed from increased skill in the
craft. Peter Schôffer the elder, as an example, died in 1502, though
he had relinquished control of his shop a few years earlier. He rep­
resented, in one lifespan, the full course of printing history, with all
the experience that implies. In 1500, however, presses still used
wooden screws to deliver the force for the impression. It was not
until 1550 that a Nürnberg mechanic fitted a press with a metal
thread for the power action.
In the new century, printing was to spread to many countries:
Turkey, 1503; Rumania, 1508; Mexico, 1534; Ireland, 1550; Russia,
1553; India, 1556; Palestine, 1563; Peru, 1584. Mexico had a printing
press a full century before the first in the British colonies, at Cam­
bridge, Massachusetts ~ and along with the press had a substantive
culture of publishing.
The religious, political, social and economic ferment that


A Short History of the Printed Word

5,1 Virgil, Opera. Venice: Aldus, 1501, with italic type by Francesco Griffo.

marked the sixteenth century in Europe is well known; the eco­

nomic and social, structure of the Middle Ages was being challenged
in almost every respect. It was die century of Luther and Calvin, of
the Peasants’ War and the Knights’ War. The first printing of Alar-
tin Luther’s translation of the New Testament, with illustrations by
Lucas Cranach the elder, was completed in 1522. It is not too much
to say diat the tool of change was the press, and that diis change, in
turn, helped to spread printing. Guidobaldo da Montefeltro, Duke
of Urbino, whose father Federigo “would have been ashamed to
own a printed book,” collected books himself and evidently loved
them dearly. Aldus’s edition of the Flypnerotomachia Poliphili - one
of the loveliest, most light-hearted of all printed books and one of
the last of the incunabula - is dedicated to Guidobaldo.

c Ha p t er v * The Sixteenth Century

The Introduction ofItalic

W hen Aldus commissioned a cursive type based on the cancel-
laresca, or chancery script, imitating Italian vernacular handwriting,
one purpose was to produce a condensed letter for use in small for­
mats which might “more conveniently be held in the hand and
learned by heart.” Another purpose was perhaps to bridge the vast
difference in typographic texture between his roman and his cursive
Greek fonts (grown, of course, from different manuscript models).
The chancery script was being written with greatest distinction
at the time of the first books printed in italic type, and italic was re­
garded as an independent face, not a helpmeet to roman. Whole
hooks - the works of Virgil, Petrarchs poems, the Satires of Juvenal
and Persius - were printed in italic type, while artists, poets and
scholars wnote italic script with great pleasure and great style. One
of its master practitioners was Raphael. Shortly before his appoint­
ment as painter at the palace of Pope Julius II, he had in fact been
proposed as a papal secretary.

L I B E R QV A .R.TV 5-

KotOms dtrii mlli^ccelejhd dom

f Mxe^HarJumcetidm Uxams afpke
far km»
J^dmiranddAbi leuiüfpetfxcuU rcrü,
M agktrûmosty duasJotwstytxordirKgniis
M o res,etjb td id tet fx > ÿ u l(ts,ttfr* U d d ia tm .
1 n terni U hrtdtkm isnm gltm djifim
N umitut Una[imnt,d*dit'y uoattus Ajpolio.
V rindpiojcdes dpibus,fktu>'^ pctmdt,
Qwo neçfitumtif dditus(mtmpabuUuenti
F trredomum frohibaU)ru$ouef,h*di<i;pctula
F lorihusmfHltent,outerrons humid atmfo
D eattt4troremtetfurgntcs dttrrdtherbds.

5.2 Aldine italic, cut by Griffb. 1501,

5-3 L etter w ritten by Raphael, A p ril 1508.
A Short History of the Printed Word

5 .4 Chancery cursive from ArrighVs writing manual , 1522.

Among the writing masters of the period, there are three whose
names stand out: Ludovico Vicentino degli Arrighi, Giovanantonio
Taghente and Giovanni Battista Palatino. AU three of them pro­
duced writing manuals, the first two in 1522 and 1524, the third in

H *c votes eefcbrare yJ it ter vtm s

H e rn e s, iffe opus e f l , et ipse t r i m s .
j/e m

< D as Jotem , e t J l a t m , api v i m tempore v i m

P erpetu o , n e jm m t (wc mommenta n m i *

H <tf tfjitur ( w y t i c m Jtnt notÿjtm a, m tnm
N o n eji ,p[us ixcam te Jare an acdpere ?
' ¥ <^Paftfus ‘T èeéaféts TR^o *

5 .5 Arrighi. Type from the C o ry c ia n a ofPalladius. 1524.

c h apt er v • The Sixteenth C entury

/ j Ç \ j utio (d & Jm Jfxtm m n tfm J ,

w tr itu to tt? ,

cdaimsOBaju^tafatims Smdtfaf
r ~ B ^ o m y i(ÿ u d r P c r tflr in m

J b im o
5.6 Chancery cursive from Palatino }s w ritin g m-anual. y

1540,1545, and again in 1566. These books were cut on wood, like
the earliest Chinese printing. Beautiful as they are, they have given
too many students a false impression of the rhythm of the chancery
hand. The flow of the hand is not caught in the plates of these
books. This is due as much to problems in getting the writing onto
the wood blocks as it is to stiffening of forms in the cutting.
In 1523, Arrighi, a papal scribe, published a second manual, also
executed hi wood blocks - but this book also contained several
pages printed from italic type of his design. This type, the first of six
that Arrighi designed, was more formal than Griffo’s first italic, cut
for Aldus. It had longer extenders, and so consumed in vertical
space everything it saved in the horizontal measure.
Though more extravagant in form, Arrighi’s type was open, leg­
ible, and required fewer ligatures than Griffo’s. It also differed in its
treatment of the capitals. Griffo had at first adopted the contempo­
rary scribes’ use of small, upright roman capitals with a cursive
lower case. Arrighi preferred upright capitals of an intermediate

A. Short History of die Printed Word

size, as Griffo had in his later italics, which he cut for the great Jew­
ish printer Gershom Soncino and for his own use at Bologna. But
after simplifying his fonts by reducing the number of ligatures,
Arrighi introduced a new calligraphic complication: decorative,
swash italic capitals. His types, and many others which followed,
belong to the later phase of the Renaissance which is known to art
historians as the Mannerist phase.

The Woodcut
Aldus Manutius was a businessman as well as a scholar-printer
and typographic innovator. He foresaw, with the increase of liter­
acy and printing, the decline of monumental formats in favor of
cheaper and more manageable editions. Yet he could view such
changes from the vantage point of one who had produced a land­
mark among the incunabula: the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, contain­
ing some of the finest woodcut illustration and related typography
of the Renaissance.
In the closing years of the fifteenth century, the woodcut
reached a new, high level of excellence in the hands of Albrecht
Dürer. W ith him, the independent print takes on added signifi­
cance in the history of printing. Black-and-white line is made to
carry a richer freight of texture and graphic color. Outstanding
craftsmen were required to cut D tirer’s designs. Talent attracts tal­
ent; it also trains it. I have no doubt that Dürer could cut anything
he drew. In his early teens he had worked with Michael Wohlge­
muth, the illustrator of many of Koberger’s books. After extensive
travel, including an extremely valuable visit to Italy, Dürer returned
to a uniquely productive life in Nürnberg. Because he bridged the
gothic and humanistic traditions, Dürer is harder to catalog than
Andrea Mantegna, the Italian he admired so much. Vasari recalls
Raphael’s appraisal that if he had known the antique, Dürer would
have surpassed them all.

chapter v * The Sixteenth Century

5 .7 Dürer. Detail from the A p o c a l y p s e . 14g S

This little introduction to Dürer seeks chiefly to provide one

bracket for a short exposition of the technique of woodcutting. The
closing bracket will be provided by two lesser-known works of Jan
Lievens, Rembrandt’s friend, and fellow pupil of Pieter Lastman.
The period encompassed by the Dürer Apocalypse of 1498 and the
Lievens portrait woodcuts is close to a century and a half. It em­
braces the work of, among others, Hans Holbein, Jost Amman,
Lucas Cranach, Hans Baldung Grien, of Christopher Jegher for
Peter Paul Rubens, Nicolô Boldrini for Titian, and Ugo da Carpi
for Raphael and others.

Tools and Preparation

A woodcut is made on the plank, that is, a lengthwise section of
the tree, rather than on a cross section. I11 both the East and the
West, fruitwoods have been favored. In Japan, the wood has been

A Short History of the Printed Word

5.8 Woodcutting: position o f knife; diagram o f cut line.

cherry, and in Europe pear. The chief tool has been the knife, held
upright in the East and like a pencil in the West. Auxiliary tools are
gouges and chisels, for clearing the spaces between and around the
lines of the design.
The drawing may be made directly on the block of wood or
transferred from paper by nibbing the back of a tracing made in soft
lead or any similar material. It was once common practice to paste
the drawing onto the block, but then, just as with direct drawing on
wood, the original was sacrificed in the cutting.
After the design is satisfactorily prepared, a light tint is usually
rubbed over the block. A good transparent blue works well for this
purpose. Freshly cut passages thus will show up dearly and to ad­
vantage. The positions of the knife, Oriental and Occidental, can
best be described in a simple diagram (figure 5.9).
It is worth remembering that while this technique is rarely used
now for anything other than illustration or decoration, it is the orig­
inal means for making plates to print the text of books, not just the

c h a p T e r v • The Sixteenth Century

5,9 Positions o f knives: O riental and Occidental.

5. i o Gouge fo r woodcutting.

Technique ofWoodcutting
T he shape of the knife to he used is determined by the angle of
cutting, the governing factor being die amount of metal to be
drawn through the block. Obviously, the minimum amount is more
If a curved line is to be cut, its outside rim can be done with rela­
tive ease. The block is rotated, usually on a sand-filled leather pad,
so the working hand need not be turned. The power and control of
the woodcutter’s stroke are dius increased. An inside curve de­
mands greater care in the cutting, because the back of the knife
blade is constantly in danger of injuring the wood as it follows the
edge of the design in the cutting.
A first incision is made, along the line, at a 20° to 30° angle off
the vertical. After the block is revolved half a turn, a second incision,
to remove wood adjacent to the line, is made at an angle of 40° to
6o°. At this angle, a larger surface section can be removed.
T he wood remaining in the spaces between the lines is removed

A Short History of the Printed Word

5 .11 Two states ofa Rembrandt drawing cut on wood by Jan Li evens.

5 .1 2 D io g e n e s , by Parmigianino. Chiaroscuro woodcut, by Ugo da Carpi.

gh a p t e r v • The Sixteenth C entury

with gouges and chisels. Gouges work best when they are sharp­
ened so that the sides of the U or V form of the tool are in advance of
its belly. Such sharpening makes possible an action similar to two
knives at work, and enables the woodcutter to move easily against
and across, as well as with, the grain. Repairing broken or rejected
lines is an important capability of the woodcutter, and this he does
by trimming and gluing in a fresh piece of wrood, then refinishing it.
This patch may be so shaped that it is locked into the block, thus be­
ing doubly strengthened.
An example of a masterly job of repairing can he seen in the two
states shown here of a small head by Rembrandt cut by Jan Lievens.
The recutting of the mouth required reestablishment of that sur­
face area and represents, to me, the height of die woodcutter’s craft.
I also discover in these works a fundamental comment on the nature
of art and craftsmanship: the fact that Lievens could cut a drawing
by Rembrandt gave him invaluable objectivity in cutting works of
his own design.
The sixteenth century saw the introduction of many new tech­
niques in the printing of illustrations. There were chiaroscuro prints
(prints in which the composition depends at least in part on the pat­
tern of light and shade), and multiple blocks were printed together
to create grisaille illustrations (illustrations composed entirely of
varying shades of gray) as well as other tonal effects. The simple
technique was to make a key block; this carried the design. The sec­
ond block provided a tone for the whole, and into this block lights
were cut to relieve and model the forms.
A more subtle method is shown in Ugo da Carpi’s Diogenes, cut
after Parmigianino’s drawing. In Da Carpi’s approach, the key
block becomes the accent of the design, but it is incomplete and
would not stand alone. Music of the period was often written so that
no voice seemed to dominate the others, and many a palazzo was
designed with no grand entrance. In a series of seemingly equal
doors, one was marked by subtle clues.

A Short History of the Printed Word

5 .1 3 T h e C a rd in a l. Woodcut by Jan Lievens.

The Iconography ofLetterforms

Fifteenth-century Italian painters - Fra Angelico, Filippo and
Filippino Lippi, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Mantegna and others -
took a passionate interest in letterforms. The masters of the six­
teenth century - Michelangelo and Titian above all - were far more

c h a pT e r v * The Sixteenth Century

5.14 A page fr o m the w riting m am ial ofVespasiano Amphiareo. 1.554.

interested in movement and contortion. They focused on the

writhing, shifting mass and stormy surface - and on the nimble feat
of reading, not on the restful and legible form that is eternally wait­
ing to be read.The letterforms taught by sixteenth-century calligra­
phers - Arrighi, Tagliente, Palatino - are imbued with the same
excess of energy. They cannot quite be still.
N ot only artists but art critics in those years were interested in
letterforms, and most of them were looking for the geometric grail:
a Platonic and eternal explication of the forms of roman letters.
Luca Pacioli’s book Dr Divinia proportione (Venice, 1509), Albrecht
D iirers Underweysung der Messung (Nürnberg, 1525) and Geoffoy
Tory’s Champfleury (Paris, 1529) are three such attempts to rational­
ize the proportions of letters and divine their master patterns. But
there are no such simple recipes. The perfect letter never lives
A Short Historv of the Printed Word

5.15 Cresci. Roman upper and lower casefro m II Perfetto scrittore. 1556.

alone. It is a live, organic trace that only glances off geometry. In

the inscriptions that are painted on the Sistine Chapel ceiling, and
elsewhere in the works of Michelangelo and Titian - and in the
work, of Dürer himself - we see a masterful admission that all the
theories failed.
It is likely, but not certain, that Arrighi died in Rome in 1:527.
The last typeface he produced came into the hands of Antonio
Blado, who became the papal printer in 1545 and retained that post
until. 1567. Thus Arrighfs influence survived him directly for forty7
years. Blado produced work of great distinction and made a notable
contribution in using single and compound typographic arabesques
and florets (pieces of typemetal bearing floral designs). In 1556 be
published ÎI Perfetto scrittore, by Giovanni Francesco Cresci, one of
the classic books on letterforms.

ch a pTer v * The Sixteenth C e n tm y

L.Fencftellæ de
M A G I S T R A T I B V S , S A C E R,
dotii'% RomanorurnUbdius #iampn«sum
nirori fuo reftiruruî.
Potnponîj larri iridein de magiftradbux êf
facerdorijî, & prseterea de diuerQs Icgi»
bus Ronunorum.

P A R U I I î

Ex ofBcina Simonix Colin».

i $ î 9-

ç .1 6 Simon de Colines. Title page. Paris, 7555».

5 .1 7 Jean de Tournes. Title page. Lyon , 1556.

Simon de Colines and the School ofParis

After her meager contribution to the first half-century of print­
ing, France became for some time home to the best typographers in
Europe. Simon de Colines, Robert Estienne, Claude Garamond,
Robert Granjon and Jean de Tournes are among the major figures
of the sixteenth century so far as the shaping of books is concerned
- and in many respects Colines is the central of them all. He was
born about 1480, possibly in Champagne. He became in due course
the senior employee - punchcutter, typographer and what we now
À Short History of the Printed Word

might call the artistic director of the publishing and printing rm

that Henri Estienne the elder and his wife Guyonne Viart founded
in Paris in. 1501. W hen Henri died in 1520, Guyonne took Colxnes
as her third husband so that business could e ciently continue. H er
two sons, Henri the younger and Robert, thereby became appren­
tices and stepsons of Colines.
Between 1520 and his own death in 1546, Colines created and re­
peatedly revised a large array of types with which he printed books
of many kinds. In his hands, distinctively French, indeed distinc­
tively Parisian, whiteletter type and typography evolved.

Hcllenilmi ad Chrifti-
aniunum, Lib.primus.
O N S I D E R A N T I M I-
hi &pmumcro,Fricifcc rex po-
tcti{fimc,ad eamquc mentis inte
none vehetneter incûbcri.quod-
nam dignum operarpreem ex vfia
philologist, atquc cliterarum co
fuetudinc ferre poffem: Be verè
feire aacnti quo pado poriflïmu
meliorc hominis intenoru con-
ditionc ,cx co laborc ftudiqq; cfficcrc,cui extenia & cor­
poris bona qua; dida fun t, pofthabcda,aetate quoque flo-
rcneilfima duxcratrucupidicas inedEEt adcundsr tandemde
confided* philofophiar. Philofophia ante finquit apod
PJatoncni Socrates in Phxdone)morris eft meditario, cà
demum ipfa fpedans, vt anima corpori nunc cofociata*
bine tandem fublimis abeat.corpornque contagioncde-
funda morte factli, ad dcum creatorc fuum rapiatur, cu­
ius ilia fimilitudine abeodem ipfo praedifa cft,quàm fie­
ri poteft integerrima ab ipfius corporis focietatc. & qui-
dem ipfius philofophix munuseRidquod homines no-
runt difeendi cupidifltmi, animam vt hominis doccdam
fufcipiat.corpori ailigatam.atque illi congbcinatam, &
vero nccdTario coaftam,quafipcr carcerem quendam.fic
5.18 Robert Estienne. Chapter opening. Text by Guillaume Bud 0 type by
Simon de Colines; initial by Geofroy Tory. Paris, r y j y

CHAPTER V The Sixteenth Centtiry

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y jg Robert Estiennes Cicero, with type by Simon de Colines. Paris, 1543 50.

The Aldine book was printed in one font (occasionally two)

and with handmade type, a single font means type of a single size.
W here emphasis was needed principally for titles spaced capitals
of text size were used. (Figures 4.23 and 5.1 are examples.) Colines
created pages every bit as graceful as the nest Aldine page, but with
more variation in texture. He cut matched sets of roman, italic and
small capitals, and cut his basic Greek, and Latin text fonts as a per­
fectly balanced pair. Over time, he also cut his romans and italics in
graduated sizes and learned to mix them on die page. This increas­
ingly complex High Renaissance typography came hand in hand
with complicated texts. Colines was a skilled editor as well as a

11 î
A Short History of the Printed Word

5.20 Geofroy Tory. H orae. Paris, 1525.

typographer, and treatises on medicine, astronomy, philosophy and

grammar were staples of his press.
Robert Estienne learned to work in the same mode. But Robert,
who loved Greek scholarship as much as he loved typography, also
felt a great affinity for Aldus. In his most distinctive books, he used

r x 7iXeîovoç fMpoiç-<fjci 3 7^ Hç g t x ^ e l w
5.21 G aram ond’s grec du roi: the largest size (21 point). Paris, 1546.

the sumptuous type of his stepfather, Colines, yet he handled it

with Aldine spareness, proving once again what subtle art can be
achieved with a single font in a single size.
Geoff oy Tory is another who worked for a time in the shop of
Henri Estienne. He was bom about 1480 in Bourges, in central
France, and died in 1533. He was at various times a lecturer in phi­
losophy, editor, bookseller, typographer, engraver and printer. Fie
was also an enthusiast of letters. His book Champfleury is a pro­
longed meditation on the structure, proportion and mystical sig­
nificance of letters. Like his contemporary Paracelsus, Tory was
interested in alchemy - but in his case, it was the alphabetical
alchemy practiced by printers and publishers, who attempted in
their own way to turn lead into gold and language into immortality.
Another important Parisian figure of the period is Claude Gara-
mond, or Garamont, who was born about 1500 and died in 1561. He
apprenticed with the printer Antoine Augereau, a friend and col­
league of Colines, and in later life established a small foundry close
to the Sorbonne. Like Colines, he cut distinguished roman and
italic types in several sizes. His italics are among the first to feature
sloped roman capitals. In die 1540s, on commission from François I
of France and with Robert Estienne acting as adviser, Garamond
cut the grecs du roi, a set of three cursive Greek types based on die
hand of Angelos Vergikios, the king’s Greek scribe.
The enthusiasm of François I for the works of the Italian Re­
naissance gave great impetus to printing in France. The king sup­
ported Robert Estienne’s ambitious plans for editions of the
classics. He also lured to France some of Italy’s greatest living artists
and craftsmen, including Leonardo da Vinci and Andrea del Sarto.
N ot all his subjects were so liberal in dieir tastes. Fear of religious
À Short History of the Printed Word

Non erat formaei,neque

5.22 G aram onds gros canon roman type (42 point). Paris, revisedc. 1550,

M Asto k io A htim acho ik t e r p r e t e .

A s e g y r i s , (biennis (cilicet quinquennalium

ludorumcelebritas fiuccouentus, eft inuencum &
donum deorum,ad requiem maiorum rerum qua;
advitam attincnt, tradita (Head quodam in loco
inquit Plato) cunt dii humanum genus ad laborem
natommiferari efîênt. Coa&i autem focrunt a fi-
picntUfimbhominibusconuemus,&a ciuitadbus
publiéecommuai décréta, ad reficiendos recrean-
dofq; ad obledfcationem arque folarium
fpcâantiumconilituu.TributUî veio adhosmu-
tuo ceIebtando$,eft adîuiribus fuppeditatvdsrum quidem pecuniarum fùm-
ptus,a prinripibus circa hoc omatjis ad magnifkentiam apparatus, rerumq,
ad id comnwdarum opulcnda. Panegyrimathkœ corporumraborc or­
nant plurimum -,& Miriàrum acApolÜnis aiTe&atores mufïca.quz inipfîs
reperieur. At vinun,qui iniitrerarum & eioquenris ftudiis verfàtus fuerit,ac
vniueriùm vit* tempos in ch eonfUmplêrtt atq-,contriuerit, in ornanda pa-
negyri ira fêft getere canto itmiri aroficio, vei cius orario a vulgari
dicendi radone abhorreat. Age igicu^o Echecrates, ad hoc tamquatn du-
50 ces vis nequaquam nitznecamultis tentiïsfaûi,«xplkemustibi eaqus
olim a nomaris&pienriz parenribus nobis tradita acccpimus:iili veto, & il-
lorumedam fupetiores, aMercurio & a Midis habuiffedixerunt : non (ècus

panegyrics aliquo modo prsfe,& tiufdem eft nominis ; vt, Olympiorum,
Olytnpius lupicer : eius autem quod in Pythiis fiteertaminis, ApoUo, Prin-
cipium igitarhuiufmodi orarionis,quzcumq; fueritjUus dei nobis fît, tam-
quam vultus feu perfona quzdam (pîendida, in (êrrnonh inino pofita arque
conflimta. Latidandi autem exordium, ab iis que dco infîmt, tique actri-
4° bounttir,proutrès copiant fuppeditent,fumes.Siquidem ïupiter focrit, ad-
docendum erit, deorum regem,rerumquc omnium opificem efTe: Sivero
ApoUojmufices inuctorem ejcfUrifTe,&eundem eflè cum foie; SoEemautem
omnium omnibmbonorumauâorem.Pîztercafî Hercules «it, louis elfe
filium: & ca quæ mortaüum vies przbuit, conumerabw.Et locus ferme co-
plebitut exijsquzquiiibet aut inucnerit,aur hominibus tradiderit. Verum
nzebrembusnarraois-, ne przeedens orario fequenri maior euaderc vidca-
nir. Dcinccps vrbis laudes,inqua publicusconucntus} afitu.

5.23 Garamond s type, used by the H eirs o f Andreas Wechel. Frankfurt, 1586.

I T4
CHAPTER V The Sixteenth Century

incorrectness hung thick at the Sorbonne, whose clerics kept a dose

watch on the publishers and printers in the Latin Quarter. Those of
known Protestant sympathies including the Estiennes and Simon
de Colines were watched with extra care. Their every publication
was a risk yet it was they as much as anyone who formed and kept
alive the true, defacto university of Paris.

Basel: The Circle of Johann Froben

During the rst quarter of the sixteenth century, a distinguished
collaboration developed in Basel. The printer Johann Froben had
as his principal author and editorial advisor Erasmus, and as his il­
lustrator the young Hans Holbein. Another important member of
the group is less easy to identify. Like Aldus, Soncino and Robert
Estienne, Froben bought his type, instead of cutting it himself, like
Miscomini, Ratdolt and Colines. And it is likely, though not certain,
that the author of the best of Froben s type was the master punch-
cutter Peter Sch “er the younger. Froben s collection included
good roman and Greek types, and a particularly ne italic in the
Ahline style (i.e., the style of Francesco G ri“o). One of Froben s
loveliest books is the Greek New Testament with Erasmus s Latin
translation, published in Basel in 1516.
Froben died in 1527, but others remained to continue the trad­
ition. In 1542 the Basel publisher Michel Isingrin issued a hand­
some and detailed botanical work by Leonhart Fuchs: De Historia
stirpium. Drawings of the plants, by Fullmaurer and Meyer, were
cut in wood by Rudol“ Speckle. In the same year, another Basel
publisher, Johannes Oporinus, released the rst translation of the
Koran (in Latin, with a preface by Martin Luther). In 1543, he
issued De Humant corporisfabrica, an outstanding work on anatomy
written by Andreas Vesalius. The illustrations by Jan Stevenszoon
van Calcar serve to this day as classic examples of anatomical draw­
ing and are often reproduced in manuals for artists.

H 5
A Short History of the Printed Word


5 .2 4 Vesalkis, D e H u m a n i c o r p o r is fa b ric a . Basel, 1543-

Lyon and Antwerp

Sebastian Gryphius, a German printer trained in Venice, settled
in Lyon in the 1520s and distinguished himself there as the first
printer of the works of Rabelais, jean de Tournes, who was born in
1504, apprenticed with Gryphius, then became his foreman, and
left in 1540 to open a shop of his own. Over some two dozen years
he gained a reputation for scholarship and excellence of design that
placed him among the greatest of French printers. He is known also
for his use of arabesque woodcut borders, cut for him by the artist
Bernard Salomon. A fine example of Tournes’s use of arabesques is
the title page of Louise Labé’s Euvres ( Works, 1556: figure 5.17) An­
other excellent example of his style is the Métamorphose d’Ovide
figurée (1557: figure 5.25), with Salomon’s woodcut illustrations.
The master punchcutter Robert Granjon of Paris married
Bernard Salomon’s daughter Antoinette and translated some of

1 16
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5.25 Jean de Tournes. M étam orphose d ’O vide figurée. Lyon, r j y 7.
5.26 Robert Granjon. Title page using civilité. Lyon, 1557.

hi s father-in-law’s woodcut ornaments and borders into metal.

Granjon worked for Tournes in Lyon, for Christophe Plantin in
Antwerp, for the Vatican Press and the Stamperia Orientale in
Rome, and for other major clients throughout Europe. His Arabics
and Greeks are as masterful as his romans and italics. (The italic
used in Tournes’s Ovid is Granjon’s.) He also inaugurated a class of
script types called civilités. These types are based on French gothic
cursive handwriting and were popular for a time for literature in
French and Dutch. They are no more civil than other types, but

A Short History of the Printed Word

P 8 r n L E G I V M,


SiC IL IÆ jH lE R V S A L E M , V n C A R I X , D A L M j C T u e , E T G U O ATTÆ,&:c .

N Ton i y s Pcrrcnotus, S .R .C . tîe. SanfliPem ad Vincula Prefljjr-

rer, Cardinale de GranueIi;prçfetxRcgiz 8CCatholic* Maiefetis
à confiliis feras, 8c in hoc Regtio locum tcncns, S c Capita neusgc-
nerali$,&c. Mag"® viro Chtijlopjioro Plantino, ciui Antuetpten--
fi, & prxfatæ Catholic* Maieferis Ptototypographo fidrii Rc-
gio.dilefto.gratisni Regiam S c bonam voluntatem. Cùm ex prat*
cWorumviroruroiicerisceriiortsfitâi iîmus,opus BibÜorum quinquelînguïnim,
cum tribus Appatacuum tomis^eleberrxmnm.rciquc public; Chriftianz vcililïîmû,
ciuHem feram(lima: Maiefecis iuffu, ope arque aufpiciis, adpubiicam totius Chri-
ftiatiiorbiscommodiraEcm ornamentum, typis longe elegantifiimis, fie ptæfen-
rilfimi viriBenediéH Ariz Mdntani pracdpua cura 8c firudio. quàmcmcndatifïîmc
à ceexeufum eiTe.cïufdemcj-, exemplar ianâiffimo Domino noftro PP.Gregorio u n ,
oblatum, iwplhcuife,vtpi*fe*Matefetisfanûos conacus, Sc Regi Cathobcoin
pritnis conuenientes, furotnopeie taudarii, 2£arnplitîima ribi prmilegia ad hoc opus
tuendum Motu proprio concefTcriq Nosquoque cunf natural! genio impcllimiir ad
foucndumprzdata qUsque ingénia, qus infigni quôptam conaru ad pubtica com*
moda promouenda arque augends afpinmt; primùmquidem longé przdariftimum
hoc fus Maiefecis ftudium, vt verè Hçroicum Sc Ptolomçi, Eumenis, aliorumqtic
olimconatibtuinBtbliothecis ioftrncndis eopræfentius, quod non v.inatftimulo
gloriæ,vt siii/ed reâz Reltgioms:confeiuand*Sc propaganda: zelcf fufccptuir^mrii •
tofiifpiciencesj deinde eximiam operam doftiOlmi B. Aria: Mootam,acimmorraii
laudedignamadmirantes, reb us4ue cms.quetnadraod fi tuo
fpicere cupidités, ne metitîs fraudais fruûibus tamæ opers.Sc impenfe.q uz fumma
folie! radine 8c induftria in ôpus adfiocm féliciter perd uccnd um à te criant infumpta
ef&,accept musjcum^ueceftb ton (tet,opns hocnunquamhaétcnushocinRegnoex-
ciffuin efTe, dighum^uc ipfo S.fédis Apoftolicæ ftjflVagio fit iudicarum vrdiuulgetur
ac priudegiis ornetut. Tuis igicut iuflilïtmis voris, vt deiibciatoconfilio, ica aïaeri 8C
exporreôa fronce lube citer annuemcSjtecorc prxfrntium ex gratia fpeciali, prxfâts
Maiefecis nomine, cum deliberations-êta£Sfencia Rcgij col lateralis confi iijvferai-
musÈt decreedmu s, ne quis intraviginti annos proximos.a die daciprxiéntiüm dein-
teps miroerandos, in hoc Regno diâum Bibîiortim opus, Cum Apparafmim' tonds
coniunÜis,yd Apparatus ipfos,anteorü partem-aliquam /coifum,titraipfius Chri-
ftophori,îutcaufam 8Ciusabiplb habc cuis,!icentiam imprimere,aucab ali is împref-
fa vendcrc,aut in fuis o (Seinis vclaîiàs centre polïic.' Vol entes.éc.décerneres exprefsc,

5.2 7 Christophe Plantin. Polyglot Bible. Antw erp, i y j 2 .

they are called àvilit0 s because one of them was used to set La Civt-
Ut0 pu&nk, the French translation of a book that Erasmus wrote
originally in Latin.
Plantin was in many ways the antithesis of Tournes. While
Tournes was an artist with a dedicated sense of purpose, Plantin
was, in the main, a businessman with a keen sense of publishing. He
was born near Tours, in France, about 1520 and studied in Caen, b ut
he made his reputation in Antwerp, where the Plantin-Moretus
Museum remains as a monument to his legacy. Plantin established a

bindery in Antwerp in 1549, and six years later added printing and
publishing to his undertakings. After his death in 1589, the business
was continued by his widow and his son-in-law, Jan Moretus.
Plantin s talent seemed to lie in the size of editions, rather than
their typographic excellence, and he might be described as one of
the earliest practitioners of merchandising. He made books with a
look of opulence, profusely illustrated, but utilizing artists and de­
signers more for their names than for their understanding of the
basic nature of letterpress printing.
Between 1568 and 1572 the printing o ce of Plantin was en­
gaged in a large undertaking commissioned by Philip II of Spain; an
eight-volume publication whose title was Biblia regia. Printed in
ve languages Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic, Latin and Syriac it
came to be known as the polyglot Bible. The edition consisted of
thirteen sets on vellum for the king and 1,200 on paper for general
sale: a large undertaking indeed, considering the capacity of the
presses available.
Plantin was generous in his use of copper engravings. Even as
early as the polyglot Bible, some of the illustrations were engraved.
In 1559, the Plantin shop had done the letterpress text for a com­
memorative book marking the death of Charles V. The illustrations
for this were designed, and probably printed, by J 0 r me Cock,
Pieter Brueghel s father-in-law. Use of engraved or etched intaglio
prints necessitates an additional impression, made with a dUerent
kind of press. Despite the added cost of production, copper began
to supplant wood, and Plantin and his descendants led the way.
Antwerp was better supplied with engravers than most centers.
Cock was a leading gure in this eld and engraved a large body of
Brueghel s work. W hen Rubens s studio was in full operation, it
employed not only painters but a group of engravers especially
trained to translate his paintings into prints. Balthasar Morteus,
grandson of Plantin and friend of Rubens, brought the great Flem­
ish painter into several collaborations with the Plantin shop.

A Short History of the Printed Word

ôuitto afcwpan (%iu

étfê,ppicttfôc(îo mifn
SpomtPifôPiePttôPite mec-
5.2 8 F raktur designed by Vincenz Rockner, containing schwabacher alternate
forms. ( There are, fo r example, two form s o f a in the opening words [O ratio ad
suum proprium ... ] and in the last word [Isaac]. In lines 2 -3 [... esto m ihi /
peccatori . .. ] there are m o fo rm s o f o.) Augsburg, 1514.

Blackktter and Roman in Germany and England

During the period when Colines and Garamond were rethink­
ing the form of roman and italic, changes were also taking place in
the German blackletter. Textura was supplanted by more cursive
and agitated forms: the sharply pointed fraktur and its more cursive
antecedent, the German form of bastarda, known as schwabacher.
One of the first and the most accomplished fraktur fonts was de­
signed by Vincenz Rockner, secretary to the Emperor Maximilian I,
and cut by Johann Schonsperger at Augsburg about 1512.
Despite the widespread use of fraktur in Germany, roman had
not vanished from the German scene. Garamond’s excellent roman
and Greek types were in the hands of Andreas Wechel and Konrad
Berner at Frankfurt and continued to be used there. Jacques Sabon,

a punchcutter from Lyon, also affected the course of German
typography. In 1571, he married the granddaughter of Christian
Egenolff and opened Germany’s first independent type foundry.
Among his collection of matrices were some that were struck from
Garamond’s punches.
In the 1510s Richard Pynson introduced roman type into Eng­
land, and in the 1520s Wynkyn de Worde, who had learned his skills
with Caxton, introduced italic. These events marked the beginning
of the end of black! etter type for the text of English books.

O f Maps and Books

The mixing of media - type and photographs and drawings, for
example - is quite routine in the modern domain. It was not so al­
ways. A foretaste of this freedom occurred in Ingolstadt in 1568,
when Philipp Bienewitz produced a map of Bavaria. The map was
cut on wood, which was then the common practice, but the place-
names for the map were cast in lead. The castings were cemented
into the woodblocks so that the whole could be printed at once.
In the following year, another map made a different land of his­
tory. Gerard Mercator’s world map for mariners was engraved on
24 large copper plates. W ith these, a working standard vision of the
finite globe was printed. Mercator’s world atlas followed in 1595
and remained for many years the geographic bible. In navigational
as well as mythological terms, the book had tried to hold the world,
and the world had begun to shape the book.
No new Estiennes or Tournes appeared in the last years of the
sixteenth century, but the master Robert Granjon continued cut­
ting type - romans, italics, civilité scripts, Greeks and Arabics -
until his death in 1590. France was setting standards for literature
and type alike. The year 1580, for example, saw the first publication,
in Bordeaux, of a great work of the French spirit: the Essais of
Michel de Montaigne. In England, there had not as yet been any

à Short History of the Printed Word


G K E.

t fv seç o

'B O F R D E A F S.
Par S. Mil langes Imprimeur ordinaire du Roy.
t J M . D . L X X X.
a v e c r r if il e g e d v Ror,
5.2 9 Title page o f M ontaigne s Essais. Bordeaux, iy8 o .

typographical developments of more than local interest. But in

1593 and 1594 while the London theaters were closed on account
of the plague William Shakespeare published his rst works,
Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece. These are not the hand­
somest books ever produced but authors such as Shakespeare and
Montaigne are, after all, the reason why typography exists.


The Seventeenth Century

o h n addressing Parliament in 1643, spoke out for

m i l t o n ,

J freedom of the press and against an ac^e^miring that ail books,

pamphlets and papers be licensed by anM^cia) censor before pub­
lication. The expanded text of this address was published in N o­
vember 1644. It was titled Areopagitica, after a speech delivered by
Isocrates to the Great Council of Athens, the Areopagus.

I deny not, but that it is of greatest concernment in the Church and Com­
monwealth to have a vigilant eye how books demean themselves, as well as
men; and thereafter to con ne, imprison, and do sharpestjustice on them

as malefactors. For hooks are not absolutely dead things, but do contain a
potency of life in them to be as active as that soul whose progeny they are;
nay, they do preserve as in a vial the purest e cacy and extraction of that
living intellect that bred them. I know they are as lively, and as vigorously
productive, as thosefabulous dragon s teeth; and being sown tip and down,

may chance to spring up armed men. And yet, on the other hand, unless
wariness be wed, as good almost kill a man as kill a good book: who kills a
man kills a reasonable creature, Gods image; hut he who destroys a good
book, kills reason itself kills the image of God, as it were in the eye. Many
a man lives'a burden to the earth; but a good book is the precious lifeblood
of a masterspirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond
life. Tis true, no age can restore a life, whereofperhaps there is no great
loss; and revolutions of ages do not oft recover the loss of a rejected truth,

A Short History of the Printed Word

6.i Th e King James Bible. 1611.

for the want of which whole nations fire the worse. We should- be wary,
therefore, what persecution we raise against the living labours of public
men, haw toe spill that seasoned life of man preserved and stored up in
books; silice we see a kind of homicide may be thus committed, sometimes a
martyrdom; and if it extend to the whole impression, a kind of massacre,
whereof the execution ends not in the slaying of an elemental life, but
strikes at that ethereal andfifth essence, the breath of reason itself slays an
immortality rather than a life....
c h a p i e r v ï % The Seventeenth C entury

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6.2 Shakespeare, First Folio. 1623.

Censorship in England
In 1637 the number of print shops and foundries in England had
been limited by decree. In the cradle years of printing, opposition
came chiefly from organized calligraphers and illuminators whose
livelihood was threatened. The content of manuscripts was seldom
in question; most were classics or ecclesiastical writings and many
were in Greek or Latin, which made them inaccessible to all but a
few scholars and churchmen. But with the coming of the seven­
teenth century, printing was seen as a threat to established power,

A Short History of the Printed Word

both religious and political. The opposition took the form of cen­
sorship. Miltons words did not bear immediate fruit, hut Parlia­
m ents Declaration of Rights in 1689, issued just before the
proclamation of William and Mary as King and Queen, foretold his
triumph. In 1694 the Licensing Act expired. It was not renewed, and
censorship of the press ended.
As the debates over censorship continued, typographic printing
continued its expansion. It was introduced to the Philippines in
1602, Lebanon in 1610, Bolivia in 1612, Ecuador in 1626, the not-
yet-formed United States in 1639, Iran in 1640, Finland in 1642,
Norway in 1643, Guatemala in 1660, Indonesia in 1668.

P r i n t i n g ,
tbeelmentb day o jftfo
hftpajl. i 617*

4f. Imprinted at London by fykrt fiarfor,

Printer to the Kings mofl Excellent
Maieftic : And by the A dignes
o f bbn BiB, 1 <s j 7.

6.3 S ta r Chamber decree. Title page. 1637.

c h a p T e R v i The S e v e n te e n th C e n tu r y

In England, in addition to laws and decrees that threatened the

press, there were great upheavals and natural disasters. From 1642
to 1646, the Civil War between the Royalists and the Parliamentar­
ians divided the country. In 1665 and 1666, the plague and the Great
Fire struck London. It is possible that government restrictions on
printers and foundries were more elective in limiting technical ad­
vances in England than were war, plague and re. The genius of the
country, however, had never shown itself in ne printing and out­
standing presswork, but in great writing. In the rst quarter of the
seventeenth century, the two most often printed books in the Eng­
lish language appeared: the Kingjames version of the Bible, and the
First Folio of Shakespeare s plays.

A Short History of the Printed Word

6.5 Engraved illustration by Rubensfor Pompa introitus Ferdinand!. 1641.

The new translation of the Bible had been ordered by James I -

himself an author - in 1604, die year after his coronation. Forty-
seven translators were engaged in the task. The book appeared in
1611, and the printer was Robert Barker - the same man who in 1637
printed A Decree of Starre-Chamber Concerning Printing. The print­
ing press and printing type were chosen as the means for publi­
cizing the limits which the government had placed - or tried to
place - on printing.
A third major literary event during the first quarter of the cen­
tury was the publication in Madrid in 1605 of El Ingenioso hidalgo
Don Quixote de la Mancha, by Miguel de Cervantes. In Spain as in
England by this time, the comedy of life was as apparent as its
tragedy, and lighter types - roman and italic - had largely displaced
the blackletter formerly used.

c h Ap T e r v ï * The Seventeenth Century

6.6 Rubens. Woodcut byJegber

The House ofPlantin and the Elzevirs

Christophe Plantin died in 1589, but his Antwerp firm contin­
ued. Rubens, as we have mentioned, designed illustrations and dec­
orations for the Plantin house for a number of years. His last such
work was Pompa introitus Ferdinand^ issued in 1641, the year follow­
ing his own death.
Engravings after Rubens’s designs show both the virtues and
shortcomings of the medium. It provided great range and color for
such a talent as his, but the result was not an integral part of the ty­
pography of the book. I believe the designs would have been better
served if they had been cut on wood by Rubens’s woodcutter
Christopher Jegher, who executed the Temptation of Christ The
Plantin establishment, however, was committed to the use of the
newer medium, engraving.

A Short History of die Printed Word

As a kind of footnote on Rubens and the printers, there is an in­

dication from his friend Balthasar Moretus, Plantin s grandson, that
the great painter demanded much time and money. Rubens himself
gave some clue to his evaluation of the importance of work he did
for the Plantin rm by restricting it to Sundays, as if it were a hobby.
Smaller books (known as duodecimos, twelves, because they
could be printed twelve pages at a time, producing signatures of
twelve leaves each) were a specialty of another publishing dynasty,
the Elzevirs of Leiden. These books are about 4'Tnches ( n cm)
tall, but they are dressed, like Plantin s grand editions, with en­
graved title pages. The merchandising of big books and of little
books was in this respect the same. (Today, by the same token, de­
signers of trade books are often told by publishers that the jacket is
more important than the text. W here this view prevails, the pro­
duction budget is allocated accordingly.)
Louis Elzevir was bom about 1542. The business he founded in
1583 was engaged in publishing only. It was not until 1618 that the
Elzevirs bought presses. The pocket classics that made them fa­
mous rst appeared in the 1620s, when Bonaventura Elzevir con­
trolled the rm. Type for these books was cut by Christo“el van
Dijck of Amsterdam, one of the greatest seventeenth-century
punchcutters. Some of Van Dijck s types were also used by the
presses of Oxford and Cambridge Universities, and after his death,
his foundry was bought by the Amsterdam branch of the Elzevir
family, but the bulk of his superb work was eventually lost, like all of
G ri“o s and Colines s and most of Garamond s.
Oxford University Press was established in X667, and for it, in
1672, Bishop John Fell purchased Dutch punches and mats. These
came to be known, in England, as the Fell types. Some of them
came from the foundry of Jacques Vallet at Amsterdam. Though
they are cruder than Van Dijck s, these fonts too are representative
of Dutch Baroque design. This became the major formative in-
uence on the English typographic tradition.


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6.7 Respublica, sive Status regni Poloniae. Leiden; Elzevir, ïÔ2j.


T h e popularity of intaglio illustrations had considerable e“ect

on the economics of E uropean publishing and on the visual texture
of the European book. M any great seventeenth-century painters
and draftsm en made designs for the engravers and etchers o f the
tim e, and some executed their own plates. Unfortunately, there are
too few examples from the m ost gifted, b u t the list of artists is im ­
pressive. It includes Rubens, Rembrandt, Anthony Van Dyck,
Poussin, H endrik Goltzius, Jacques Cahot, Romeyn de Hooghe,
VÆclav Holar and Crispijn van de Passe.
T h e in uence of the intaglio method on printing goes far be­
yond its employment by etchers and engravers. It foreshadowed in
A Short H isto ry of the Printed Word

Ater nofter qui es in cœlis, ian-
P étificetur nomen tuum. Veniat
regnum tuum :fiat voluntas tua,ficut
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ftrum quotidianum da nobis hodie.

iA A B C D E F G H I J K L lM M
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^T^Ater nofter qui es in cœlis, fanBifi*
cetur nomentuum. Veniat regnum
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etiam in terra. Fanemnoftrum quotidia­
numda nobis hodie. E t remitte nobis de-
6.8 Fell types, rom,an and italic.

its original uses the eventual development of rotogravure, a print­

ing method that was to allow the use of a fine screen in the fast and

Intaglio, as used in the engraving sense, describes any printmak­

ing process by which ink is transferred to paper from, areas below
tire surface. Ink is forced into the engraved lines, or tones, and then
the surface of the plate is wiped clean. The press is so constructed
that it delivers a rolling pressure similar to the action of a clothes
wringer. The paper has to be driven into the lines to lift out the ink.
c H A P T e r v i * The S e v e n te e n th C e n tu ry

The press consists of a bed that travels between two steel rollers. A
felt blanket, positioned between the upper roller and the paper and
plate on the bed, acts as the makeready, a self-adjusting overlay.
There are several methods of preparing intaglio plates, worth con­
sidering each in turn.

The Method (fEngraving

An engraving, or drypoint, consists of lines made with a shaped,
forged and finished steel tool, sharpened at the end and set into a
handle that allows thrust to be given through the palm of the hand
rather than through the fingers. The engraver’s plate is held against
a leather, sand-filled pad, which allows the work to be turned into
the stroke and provides sufficient friction to keep it from sliding.
The depth and width of tire line, and the shape and location of the
bur that is raised in engraving the line, all affect the way the plate
will hold the ink and deliver it to the paper. In intaglio printing, ink
deposits can be of different depdrs in different parts of the printing
surface. A beautiful example of an engraved plate, translated from a

A Short History of the Printed Word

6.10 Title page by Poussin. Engraved by Claude Mettan. Paris, 1642.

drawing, is the title page of Horaces Opera, published by the

Imprimerie Royale in 1642. The drawing was made by Nicolas
Poussin, and the plate engraved by the distinguished French por­
trait engraver Claude Mellan.

6 .i i Etched illustrations hy Rembrandt van Rijn. 1655.

The Method of Etching

The principal etching tools are a steel needle, pointed and
pencil-like in size, a scraper and burnisher to erase and polish the
surface of the plate, an acid-resisting ground consisting of wax,
mastic and asphaltum or amber a grounding roller, and stopping-
out varnish. T he plate, which is of copper, zinc or steel, must be
evenly heated before the acid-resisting ground can he rolled on.
The surface of the plate is then smoked with lampblack, using a wax
taper. This provides a background against which the bright metal
shows as the needle draws through the wax.

I 35
A Short History of the Printed Word

6.12 Etching by Rembrandt remade as a linecut.

There are several ways to etch a plate. The biting of the plate, by
exposing it to acid, can begin before the drawing is complete. In this
event, the darkest lines are drawn first and the lightest portions last,
so that the latter are least exposed to the acid. As an alternative, the
design can be drawn in its entirety, then the plate put in the acid
bath for its initial biting. W hen the lightest lines have sufficient
depth, the plate is removed and the light sections painted over with
stopping-out varnish. The plate is put in the acid bath again. Now
the next-to-the•'Ughtest lines determine the timing. This is contin­
ued until the work is fully bitten, or etched.

Etching is the intaglio method used by Rembrandt, and he car­
ried it to extraordinary heights. The etchings he made late in his life
for La Piedra gloriosa, o De la estatua de Nebuchadnesar, by Samuel
Manasseh ben Israel (Amsterdam, 1665), are among his few illustra­
tions specially made for books.

Aquatint and Mezzotint

The tonal effects obtained in engraving and etching are depen­
dent on the proximity of the lines to one another, on the weight of
die lines, and to some extent on manipulation in the inking process.
Two other intaglio methods - aquatint and mezzotint - are inher­
ently tonal.
Aquatint is a form of etching in which resin is floated onto the
plate by means of a solvent, or is dusted onto the plate, which is then
heated to cause die grains of resin to adhere. W ith brush and stop­
ping-out varnish, the sections of the design that are to be light in
tone are painted in. The plate is put in the acid bath, and the sec­
tions that are not so light are bitten. This process is repeated, as in
regular etching, until only the darkest portions are left for the final
biting. The resin ground allows die add to attack the plate in uni­
formly separated spots, which appear on the final print, as slightly
irregular but relatively uniform black dots. Their size and closeness
depend on the length of time they have been etched. It is possible to
combine an etched line with the use of aquatint. This was Goya’s
In 1641, Ludwig von Siegen invented mezzotint, a technique
that involves working the plate with serrated metal rollers {roulettes)
and tooth-studded rockers so that the surface metal is roughened.
Thus treated, the metal will hold ink and print in tones, whose val­
ues are dependent on the closeness and the depth of these abra­
sions. Once the surface of the plate has been prepared to hold the
ink, it can be worked back with burnishers and scrapers, to restore

À Short History of the Printed Word

6.13 A qu atin t by Francisco Goya.

any degree of smoothness and lightness desired. To achieve longer

printing runs, steel was often used instead of copper for intaglio
printing. Mezzotint became a favored method for reproducing por~
traits. William Doughty s mezzotint of Samuel Johnson, for exam­
ple, is based on a painted portrait by Doughty s teacher, Joshua
Intaglio printing is a wholly di“erent concept of impression
from relief (letterpress) printing. When both are involved in the
same book, separate presses as well as press runs are required. En­
graving requires sti“er inks and greater pressures than relief. The
fact that the entire plate acts as a bearing surface makes for a deli-

C H A P T E R VI The Seventeenth Century

6.14 M ezzo tin t by W illiam Doughty after Joshua Reynolds.

eacy of line that is the hallmark of engraving. But this virtue can be
compromised by the di culty of transferring the ink completely
and cleanly from the surface of the pla te.
Perhaps the most in uential as well as proli c of the seven­
teenth-century illustrators was Jacques Callot, a French engraver
and etcher who received his early training in Italy. It was probably
Callot who developed the hard varnish ground and instituted the
practice of successive biting. While most of his prints were sold in­
dependently or as collections of etchings with engraved titles or
captions, he did several books with illustrations in intaglio, the text
being printed by letterpress. Such a volume is his Lux claustri of

I 39
À Short History of the Printed Word

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6.15 Jacques Callot. Illustrationfor Lux ckustri. Paris, 1646.

1646- Caliots simple and open style appears to return to the

typographically inspired woodcut illustrations of the late fifteenth
and early sixteenth centuries for its sources. The tendency of most
artists and craftsmen had been the opposite: woodcutting, as it sur­
vived, had attempted to imitate engraving.

c h .Ap T e r v i ® T h e S e v e n te e n th C e n tu r y

The First Newspapers

The printed newspaper, like the printed book, is older than
movable type and existed in China long before it did in Europe.
The Dibao or “Capital Gazette” began irregular publication in the
late Tang Dynasty (ninth century a d ) . It was appearing at regular
intervals by the early Song Dynasty (late tenth century) and per­
sisted, with occasional changes of name, until 1912. The hrst
European newspaper was Avisa Relation oder Zeitung, published
both at Augsburg and at Strasbourg in 1609. Nathaniel Butter’s
Corante, the first such effort in England, was actually a translation
of news bulletins issued in German and Dutch. It ran for six issues
in 1621 - earlier by two years than the First Folio edition of the
plays of Shakespeare.
As the seventeenth century was a time of strict censorship in
England, English journalism thrived more in the Netherlands
than at home. After successfully expelling the Spanish at the begin­
ning of the century, Holland became an independent state and a
haven for merchants, philosophers, adherents of nonconformist
churches, and for journalists from all the nearby realms. Because of
its maritime position, the country also enjoyed unusual opportuni­
ties for gathering news from abroad. The Dutch had their own
press from 1618, when the Courante uyt Italien, Duytslandt started
publication. It continued as a weekly for forty'' years. News sheets
in English and other languages were printed in the Netherlands
as well.
After 1620, the Thirty Years’ War caused an expansion of news
sheets from single pages printed on both sides to issues as large as
eight pages. Industrial, prosperity, increased literacy, and a phe­
nomenal period of distinction in the arts and in scholarship were
reflected in the growth of the Dutch press. In 1656 the Weeckelycke
Courante van Europa was begun. Renamed Haarlems Dagblad in
1883, it is the oldest paper in the Netherlands.
A Short History of the Printed Word

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6.16 Avisa Relation oder Zeitung. 1609.

France had an annual news bulletin, the Mercure de France, as

early as 1605, and a weekly, Nouvelles ordinaires de divers endroits, was
begun. In 1631, The Mercure was taken over by Cardinal Richelieu
after he became advisor to Marie de Médicis. The Nouvelles ordi­
naires, after a lifespan of five months, was superseded by tire Gazette,
published by the Icing’s doctor under a special privilege granted by
Richelieu. The Gazette continued for more than 150 years as the
official source of news and comment.
Though Germany was home to the first European newspaper of
regular publication, the Avisa Relation oder Zeitung, and though a
weekly was published in Frankfurt as early as 161.5, Germany’s

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6,17 N athaniel B u tter s C orante o f 1621.

power-conscious rulers preferred to allow Dutch papers into their

domains rather than permit a native free press. A common pattern
appears in the means of suppression - royal decree, censorship by
law, licensing both to restrict and to grant the right of publication,
and, not least, repressive taxation. In England in 1629, Charles I ex­
pressed his royal will by dissolving Parliament and suppressing all
news sheets.
After the English Civil War and the execution of the king in
■1649, Oliver Cromwell promulgated press-control measures as re­
pressive as those of the monarchs who preceded him. W ith the
restoration of the monarchy in 1660, Charles II put a royalist cav-
A Short History of the Printed Word


6.18 An English news sheet issued in the Netherlands. 16zo.

airy officer, Roger L’Estrange, in charge of licensing, and the result

was L’Estr anges own Publick Intelligencer of 1663. Henry Muddi-
man, who was to have shared the right to print news, was kept from
doing so by his rival, die king’s licenser. But the great London
plague of 1665 forced the court to move to Oxford. There the king
himself felt the lack of printed news and so allowed Muddiman to
publish a single sheet, semiweekly paper. It was printed on both
sides and was called the Oxford Gazette. W hen the court returned to
London, the Oxford Gazette went widi it, becoming and remaining
the London Gazette.

The London Gazette
»»**»•«*■**?r.sfes; ■.:
£&&** »» -jst^ i k 'sk
«5wr-* JjyjSMft5î^ •"-
MÏ*'»*(■*»> * ww *w«jïifr/ÿ-
: WNf*■*&:&<$*«■*
, * _ = - = - v ,,.„ ......
'■ï.ifoH:».*• #wt? *•fe'ov S**« w. kxv«: «v0rW
•;• «*;g«M
rt*v;,/W? r.éV*>***.' VA'?fc>iv?^ûtï#f4, if W FWs'fystf!
s-^ i*‘»? sf***» ïVtrw
fc*, -A. ü k ^
t* #*
*w-ud >■wW r **■KV^
jiM **<s>** «

.,. •;
Vvi^flew^Lt # ^.. *.....
** ï ÇÏaV
&ïsfc?a5^ ,wis;:
ï^ïsîïîi™* ?î,ï®^
HiS *-,™
s:i *?*>-Vfri .^V lÉ à^îjV f r ! S ^ . - . : v+tf'ia* eï feâto-.

%ÆtK/RTl£%»t-. ■ ’ ■**«(»'Sj !i s ,

:.t 3 :ig:g;•^...... ** sêc

....jVj t««y£«{s?*.fh*'

i âMrlfoitaM'.
4k. H
? # ^ l r î I I^ | lÉ
rKwat**, î.^%.^i; 'fi*
st fclîiî?i5t4kvV
Æ if*'itfS
4*$«jvfc.hft'iîJ-P^^M«vî»V*.**.:f*'=.x* •y&K i Wid- ÿ' w w»w>4w 1> 4*<
^.4 a^i:>.
' JttAVJfaiw; ««
iiviîi^;>^v;!..'4r^' yj.^ftv:ijj;i
v*#? A * fw ! t ' ^'J s ‘^ i4, VSÈ i f a x f K ^ f t yifYê•^
rïi-*b‘If^ ÎMks*8*;.:■'.
Wl-i ^ KJr^s?
-.^r«r >'ir"iJM
^{.»4jïr-••^' tj=
firt V-y^i- V'V/ t tito-tM-t. X tvm
* * <$&**'*>&.*.f'SfefSîï**

;süssîsw^ ^ ^ îs-
i,Wi tty x ?
.ï'^ ^ A e^ A . .......... '•• ..................................... .................
S ^rtTs^
^ i ü i â| ^ S i ^
'%i«Kk-*&>!} >?«ifcJAÆ?:7riftüiy

6.19 The London Gazette. 1665.

Newspapers in the American Colonies

T he dimate of censorship was little different in England’s
American colonies than in the mother country. It was too easy to
lose one’s equipment, let alone to incur a fine and a prison term, for
many to risk the displeasure of royal governors.
One means of news dissemi nation in the colonies was the corre­
spondence of merchants and leaders with their friends both abroad
and in the colonies. In some instances, this task was assumed by pro­
fessional letter-writers - foreign correspondents, as wre call them
now - in various world centers. A second means of communication

A Short History of the Printed Word

p m tra its
O C e U R E E N Ç Î I S : ;
*•* f **.X*r4M p* p-afutlst'k. ' i , '■
W* VtwB^ ,*#C\ .

6 ,2 0 H /z m W P u b lic k O c c u r re n c e s . 1 6 9 0 .

existed in the importation of packets of newspapers for the cus­

tomers of coffeehouses and taverns, long accepted as centers of
news distribution and the informal conduct of business. The official
London Gazette was especially favored for such American circula­
tion. W hen demand was sufficient, issues of the Gazette vrere re­
printed in the colonies.
The first American newspaper was not attempted until Septem­
ber 1690, when Publick Occurrences Both Forreign and Domestick was
published in Boston by Benjamin Harris. It was small in format,
6 x 9V2 inches (15 x 24 cm) when folded, and consisted of four pages.
The third page was left blank in case the purchaser wished to write

c h a p T e r vi * The Seventeenth C entury

in a news bulletin before passing it on. Modest as it was, Harris’s pa­

per aroused the “high resentment” of the Governor and Council of
Massachusetts. It was suppressed, four days after its first issue, with
a warning to Harris and all others that it was forbidden for “any per­
son or persons to set forth anything in Print without License first

The Imprimerie Royale and the Académie de Sedan

The seventeenth century was a time of very substantial Euro­
pean predation abroad, as well as tight control over opinion and in­
formation. At home, it was nonetheless a period of considerable
literary achievement: the time of Shakespeare and Donne, Milton
and Dryden, of Lope de Vega, Quevedo and Calderon, of Molière,
Corneille, Racine, and of Pascal and La Fontaine. Amid this wealth
of literary genius, the most luxurious editions of books were institu­
tional publications, often textually barren, but issued with the au­
thority of church or state. The books of the Imprimerie Royale are
among the best examples.
The Imprimerie Royale or Typographia Regia was established
in 1640 for Louis XIII at the suggestion of Cardinal Richelieu. Its
first publication was De Imitations Christy completed in 1642, a folio
volume set in types by several hands, including Garamond’s. For
the second publication, a work by the Cardinal himself was chosen,
and the type was Jean Jannon’s caractères de TUniversité.
Jannon was born in 1580 to a family of LIuguenots - a family, in
other words, that openly professed the anti “authoritarian doctrines
of the French Reformed Church and was therefore at odds with the
Roman Catholic government. He established himself in Paris as an
independent printer in 1608 and began to publish books in 1609. In
the following year, he accepted an invitation to move to Sedan, near
l i t
die border with Luxembourg, Since 1642, Sedan has been a part of
France, but in 1610 it was still an independent principality, ruled by

A Short History of the Printed Word

23 £ ....

Admomtiones ad fpkkqabra mats vxiles.

De trnmmne Ckri$h& emtemft»
omnium ntamtatum mundi
I leqmtur me, non
d n$S\'o' in tencbris ;
!% $$$$ dicic Dominus. Hæc
■If verba Chnfti,qui'
bus admonemur »quatenus vitam

6.21 Thefirst publication of the Imprimerie Royale, Paris.

a French-speaking Calvinist prince. Jannon became the planter to

the Académie de Sedan, a university where Huguenot views were
freely taught. There, over the next thirty years, he printed and cut
type, producing faces that embody with great vividness the spirit of
the French Baroque.
In 1640, Jannon returned to Paris, and in 1641 his establishment
was raided by agents of the government. His punches and his mat­
rices were seized and soon found their way to the Imprimerie
Royale. Jannon no doubt protested, and an invoice seems to show
that payment for the type was then arranged. T he letters Jannon cut
in defense of his own faith were then used by the Imprimerie Royale

c Ra pt er v i * The Seventeenth Century

fols mefprifent fapiéce & c

inftruâion. Mon fils, ef-

coute l’inftruétion de ton
pere, ne delaifFe point & c

lenfeignemet de ta mere.

C a r i l s f e r o n t g r a c e s e n f l e e s

e n fe m b le à to n c h e f, c a r -

6.22 Roman type cut at Sedan by Jean Jannon.

to print Cardinal Richelieu’s restatement of essential Catholic doc­

trine;, Principaux points de la foi. For two and a half centuries there­
after, the type remained in storage.
Jannon’s letters are as different from Garamond’s as the poetry
of Milton is from that of Michelangelo, Nevertheless, when Jan­
non’s type was revived in the early years of the twentieth century, it
was erroneously credited to Garamond. Copies and parodies of
Jannon’s work have been cavalierly sold under Garamond’s name
ever since. Look up “Garamond” in a font catalog now and you will
almost always find more type based on the work of Jean Jannon and
Robert Gran] on than on the work of Garamond.

A Short History of the Printed Word

The King's Roman

In 1692, a committee was struck by the French Academy of

Science to set standards for ail the crafts. The committee included
no skilled craftsmen and clearly saw its task in an academic light. It
elected to begin by setting standards for typography, as “the craft
that conserves all others.”
Among the members was Jacques Jaugeon, a maker of educa­
tional board games. By 1695 he had produced, in consultation with
his colleagues, a design for what he saw as the perfect typeface. Each
letter was constructed on a grid containing 2,304 small squares.
Trapezoidal grids were used for the sloped roman, which Jaugeon
proposed as an alternative to italic. These designs were understood
to have a value of their own, and an engraver, Louis Simonneau, was
commissioned to reproduce them. It was also then agreed that a
type should be cut from these designs for the Imprimerie Royale,
and Philippe Grandjean de Pouchy was commissioned to cut the
Jaugeon’s alphabet was, from its beginning, a rationalized, not
an organic, concept. It is drawn rather than written, and it exem­
plifies the influence engraving was exerting on typography and il­
lustration. The letters have a perfectly vertical axis with perfectly
horizontal, symmetrical serifs. They preserve no more than a faint
memory of the humanistic forms of Renaissance calligraphy or of
classical inscriptions. Grandjean, however, followed his own in­
stincts as well as the academicians’ patterns and designed from
scratch a new italic. The result was the first Neoclassical type,
known as the King’s Roman: the romain du roi Louis X IV It. first ap­
peared in an imposing publication, Médailles sur les événements du
règne de Louis-le-Grand> completed in 1702.
Most writing books of the time were also engraved. Jan van den
Velde’s Thresor literaire (Rotterdam, 1605) and Francesco Pisani’s
Tratteggiato dapenna (Genova, 1640) are examples. The penworkin

1 50
6.23 A plate by Simonneaufor the rom ain du roi.

both books is flamboyant and excessively embellished. It shows the

use of a pointed pen responding to pressures that will produce con­
trolled hairlines and abrupt swells, and it foreshadows the calligra­
phy of the coming century. More and more, writing imitated
printing, not the other way around.

A Short History of the Printed Word

6.24 Pagefrom Francesco PisanVs Tratteggiato da penna. 1640.

The State of the Craft in the Seventeenth Century

There was little development, meanwhile, in the mechanics of
printing. Presses continued to be made of wood. About 1620,
Willem Blaeu of Amsterdam improved the connection of the platen
and the screw by introducing a spring and suspending the platen,
and Joseph Moxon’s Mechanick Exercises (London, 1683) shows that
some presses of the time were equipped with crank-operated travel­
ing carriages.
Moxon’s book itself was as much of an advance as the machinery
it describes. The author was an instrument-maker and printer who
added typefounding to his enterprises in 1659. His type specimen
sheet was the first issued in England, and his was the first English
book on the crafts of printing and founding. It is a volume still
widely read and treasured by letterpress printers.

Literature and Printing in North America
Printing in Native American languages began in Mexico in 1614,
but the language thus honored -Tim ucua, then spoken in northern
Florida - has not been permitted to survive, and the text thus pre­
served is not a Native American text; it is a catechism translated into
Timucua by the missionary Francisco Pareja. Substantial works of
Native American oral literature were transcribed into manuscript
as early as 1550, but very little of this work was printed for another
three centuries. Early ventures in this direction include the eight
volumes of Daniel Brin ton’s Library of Aboriginal American Litera-

6.25 Handpress fro m M oxon’s M ech anick Exercises. 168y

A Short History of the Printed Word

ïô'e ë'Xat iir&'Xakj ’Errmoa, ôcô'kuil uyâ'Xa. Ëwft' që'xteë

There one their chief, & woman Me daughter* Tbcg Intending
2 aqêxEmElâ'luX.
they wanted to buy
he gave her
A 'lta
atcLuqoiV'na it
be put down
im dlak
her, away.
3 Lia'ateam
its antlers;
: “ Ma'nix La'ksta tcj ex Lkn&'xO Lik i^E'tcam, Lgucg&'ma
*• When who break he will do it these antlers, be shall take her
4 Ogu'Xa.”
my daoghter."
A 'lta
they were invited
the people,
the walkers.
Ka'nauwë aqë'xôqtc. Â'tElaxtiko ktgE'kal. Ka'oauwê 2 aqô'xôqtc
5 All they were ra- Ttwn they the fliers, All they were In­
vited. vited
6 ktgE'kal.
the fliers.
TakE aqft'lXam ôta lEmô'ëkXau. “ Mft'nôwa ta; ex
Then she was told the snail. “ Yon first break
7 LE'xa!” Nô'ya OtaÎEraë'nkXau. Që'xteë akLO'cgain. Këkcfc ta; Ex
d o itl" She went the snail. Intending ebo took it. Hot break

8 aLE'xax.
it did.
Aqiô'IXam ikjâ'ôtEüî ((Â'mElaxta te; ex u s'x a!”
He was told squirrel: “ Yon neat break do it!-’

9 A'lta te; ex atei'nax ik; â'ôtEn cka niEnK aLXElE'l. Aqiô'IXam

How break be did it squirrel and a little it moved. He was told
ënanft'muka : “Â'raEÎaxta te; ex LE'xa!” Â'yunx ênanâ'mafcs.
10 the otter; “ You n est break doit!*' He went to the the otter.
middle of the house

n NaxLô'lExa-it
She thought
kaX {Po'kuiî: “Â, qô iâ'xka te;Ex tclEtx P
that woman: "1, witt ho break he does i t / '
Q i«t

6.26 Excerpt from C h in ook Texts. N ative American oral literature dictated
by Q llti; transcribed and translated by Franz Boas. Washington, D C , 1894.

ture, published at Philadelphia between 1882 and 1890, and Émile

Petitot’s Traditions indiennes du Canada nord-ouest, published at
Alençon, France, in 1888.
Book-length editions of Native American texts by single Native
American authors begin with the Chinook Texts of Q ’iltf (Charles
Cultee), transcribed and edited by Franz Boas, published by the
Bureau of American Ethnology, Washington, D C , in 1894, with
Boas’s English translation. The Bureau and several other entities,
such as die American Ethnological Society, published such texts for
more than sixty years, but because of the complexity of the writing
systems used at that time for Native American languages, these
books were usually sent to the Netherlands or France to be typeset
and printed. Though these books are products of the late nine­
teenth and early twentieth centuries, they represent literary cul­
tures that were healthier in the sixteenth and the seventeenth.

c h a p T' e R v i * The Seventeenth Century

I t w a s n o t f r o m l a c k o f p r i n t e r s , a n y m o r e t h a n la c k o f w o r k s t o
p r i n t , t h a t n o N a t iv e A m e r ic a n te x ts w e r e p u b l is h e d u n t i l la te in t h e
ï 8 o o s . L 1 1 6 3 8 , S t e p h e n D a y , w h o h a d j u s t a r r iv e d f r o m E n g la n d ,

s e t u p h is p r e s s a t C a m b r i d g e , M a s s a c h u s e tts . H i s Bay Psalm Book

w a s p u b lis h e d in 1 6 4 0 . I n 1639, h e p r i n t e d The Oath ofa Free Alan,
t h o u g h n o c o p y o f i t h a s s u rv iv e d . D a y ’s p r e s s c o n tin u e d u n t il n e a r
t h e c lo s e o f th e c e n tu r y . A f te r 1 6 4 9 i t w as o p e r a te d b y S a m u e l
G r e e n , w h o , w ith M a r m a d u k e J o h n s o n , p r in t e d th e f ir s t fo il tr a n s ­
la tio n o f th e B ib le i n to a N a tiv e A m e ric a n la n g u a g e , in 1663. T h e
la n g u a g e w as M a s s a c h u s e tt, f o r m e r ly s p o k e n in e a s te rn M a s s a c h u ­
s e tts a n d N e w H a m p s h ir e - b u t it, lik e T im u c u a , w as d riv e n all to o
q u ic k ly to e x tin c tio n .

MKr æ»
r «* (3 g M A At V S S E
l4 j W H O L E W U N N E E T U P A N A T a MWE iHs>
FiitbfuB} - ,r J
§| U P~B I B L U M G O D f
>* .
J Whereunto ii prefixed* difeoarfede- - j l ;
'idârint* notoalv the Uwfullnes* but#lfo<?5k2 RAH W O N E

cw/. m. pxj
^ ^ Letiit**rdefG edbeetfU xtm flyi* Ne <^ao&kinaan>ui nafiipc Wnttioaeomob ££FRI$Y
nob ifwwdit
.■:>"’V-» **f <mf **ether»« P/Wwf/,ro**<l, *nd
« the Lerdmtb JO H N ELIOT-
e j t £rM*imj*'r%t*nu
eNi Idmet v , - j,;.,
rA>* ' **j heefpicted, let Urn fram ed if r j t l
« 7 hemerrj I» 1 CA MB R I DGE . -
Prioceuojp safbpe Summi Gran kith M*rmedtdtf fttmfn,
i <r s 5.

m m m r c fm m m m m m m m ttf
6.2 7 Bay P salm B ook. Ca?nbridge, Massachusetts, 1640.
6.28 First Bible in a N ative Am erican language {Massachusett) . 1663.

A Short History of th e Printed Word

“And Printing Has Divulged Them ”

In the second half of the seventeenth century, oth er print shops
were established in the N orth American colonies. John Foster set
up a press in Boston in 1675, and in 1682 and 1685 printing was in­
troduced in Virginia and Pennsylvania by William Nuthead and
William Bradford. Nuthead moved to Maryland in 1686. Bradford
continued in Philadelphia, and in 1690 he joined with Mennonite
Bishop William Rittinghausen in establishing at nearby Roxbor-
ough the first American paper mill. T heir partnership was brief,
since Bradford had differences with the local authorities. In 1693, he
moved to New York and established the first press there.
Restrictive English laws over printing are reflected in the mea­
ger number of these presses. Some of the great English cities were
also denied licenses. To be a printer was a dangerous calling, and it
continued to be so even after the relaxed conditions that followed
the Declaration of Rights and the subsequent lapsing of the iicens-
in g laws. All governments regarded the press as a threat and feared
popul ar involvement in affairs of state. The logic of the ruling point
of view is lucidly expressed in the 1671 report of Virginia’s colonial
governor, Sir William Berkeley:

But I thank God we have notfree schools nor printing; and I hope we shall
not have these three hundredyears. For lemming has brought disobedience
and heresy and sects into the world, and printing has divulged them and
libels against the government.

A more constructive and forward-looking form of state inter­

vention in publishing came in 1699, when Frederick III, Elector of
Brandenburg, ordered that two copies of each book printed within
his principality be submitted free of charge for deposit in the state
library. François I of France had issued a similar order in 1538, but it
applied to Greek hooks only.

c h a pT ER v i * The Seventeenth Century


CO M E D J E - S A L E T ,
Tirée de l'Ecriture fatnte.
F A I T E ‘h C H A M B O IV T ,
p o u r îc D i v e r t i H e m e n c d u R o y »

Par J B . P . M O L I E R E .

g t f i “v tn d f i » r f jtu tk e m r

Clin PIERRE LF MONNtER. F.ii*fi,vM-i.Ttf
U Porte tie I'Eghfc de U $a*me Chapelle, Chez D e my s THi Ei ur , rue faimJacques,
a l'Image S ,L o u tj ,& au f e « D iv in . à ia vifie de Paris.
M. DC. LXXt. M. DC. X C I-
A r e c r u r i n e z &r %j>T, AVEC PRIVILEGE D V ROT.

6.29 Title pages for Molière ( 2 6 7 / ) and Racine (:i6ÿi).

As final examples of seventeenth-century printing, two title

pages are shown. They both exemplify the French style of handling
contemporary work and the literary genius flourishing at the time.
Molière’s Bourgeois gentilhomme was printed in 1671 by Pierre le
Monnier. Racine’s Athalie, dated twenty years later, was produced
by Denys Thierry. Both were published in Paris.


The Eighteenth Century

h ilip p e began cutting the King’s Roman, the

g ra n d je a n

P romain du roi, in 1698. The full set of eighty-two fonts was not
completed until 1745. After Grand] ean’s death in 1714, the work was
continued by jean Alexandre and his son-in-law Louis-René Luce.
The new face met with admiration, but to ride this wave of popu­
larity, printers and founders had to skirt the laws decreeing heavy
penalties for copying or selling the royal designs.
The romain dît roi marks a significant new stage in the long
process of typographic withdrawal from the heritage of calligraphy.
This process began, in a gentle way, in the sixteenth century, accel­
erated slowly in the seventeenth, and in spite of a vigorous return to
calligraphic roots in the type designs of the early twentieth century,
this process of withdrawal has never entirely ceased. W hen printing
types cut themselves adrift from the physical vigor of actual writing,
the page changes as well. Printing formats also slip away from the
age-old heritage of manuscripts.

Typographic Rationalism
T he folio volume of 1702 celebrating the medals of Louis XIV
was intended to look monumental. It succeeds. The page is full of
clarity, mechanical perfection both in form and fitting, and has a
strong horizontal and vertical reach. The letters themselves, like

A Short History of the Printed Word

7.1 Title page. M édailles. 7702.

the pages they compose, are addicted to symmetry, and they cling
to the vertical and horizontal lines of their imaginary grid. The ser­
ifs are thin and abrupt, more evocative of drypoint engraving than
of any kind of writing. This is the first type ever cut with bilateral
serifs on top of the stems of lowercase b, d, h, i, j, k, 1. All previous

A Short H i s to r y of the Printed Word

Enfin il marcha vers Condé, & ayant pris d abord

canid, il fit faire un logement fur la contrefcarpe
mefme, 2j d’Aoufl, le Gouverneur fe rendit à la fe
Comte demeura aux environs de cette Place jufq
bre, & cette entreprife n ayant efté faîte que pour
ou pour les attirer à un combat, il abandonna Ce
Campagne, & prit Maubeuge en revenant.

C a n d i à r d e M a u b cu g e. 1 6 4 p .

7.2 Romain du roi as rendered by Grand]can. 1702.

romans and italics have unilateral serifs in these locations, reflect­

ing how the hand normally moves when such letters are written.
This is also the first type in which the eyes or bowls of all the low­
ercase letters - the round forms in h, c, d, e, g, o, p, q - have a verti­
cal axis. To put it another way, the axis of all roman types cut prior to
this is predominantly humanist, but the axis of this one is rationalist
instead. A humanist axis in a letterform means that the darker
strokes rim northwest-southeast, on the natural angle of a pen held
in die hand of a righthanded scribe. À rationalist, axis means the
dark strokes run north-south; straight up and down.
All. these features can he found in letters written by engravers
before this type was cut. They were transferred from engraving to
typography - conveyed from the realm of pictures to the realm of
text - dirough the designs of Jacques Jaugeon.
T he rationalist axis and the level serif are two features typical of
the many Neoclassical roman types designed and cut in Europe in
the course of die eighteenth century. Two other features, equally
typical, are lightness of color and delicacy of touch.

c h a p T e r v il * The Eighteenth Century

7 .3 Renaissance, Baroque, Neoclassical and Romantic roman letterforms.

Renaissance form s have a consistently h u m a n i s t axis, Baroque form s a varying
but still predominantly humanist axis, Neoclassicalform s a r a t i o n a l i s t axis,
and Romantic form s an exaggerated and dramatized rationalist axis.

Louis Luce, the last of the three punchcutters to work on the

rom ain chi roi , devoted the last thirty years of his life to cutting a
Neoclassical face of his own, in a full range of sizes. It was then the
narrowest roman ever cut in France, and Luce was proud not only
of its delicacy and simplicity but of its practical advantages in setting
the long (twelve-syllable) lines of French alexandrine verse. This
explains the name he gave these fonts: Poétiques. In 1773, the year -a
of Luce’s death, his type and ornaments were purchased by the
crown for the Imprimerie Royale. There, however, Luce’s orna­
ments have seen much more use than his type.

William Caslon
There are handsome examples of English printing from the late
sixteenth century. On the whole, though, for two and a half cen­
turies after Gutenberg, English printing and founding lagged
substantially behind their counterparts in Italy, Spain, the Nether­
lands, Switzerland and France. Given that the English had pro­
duced fine manuscripts and, through Alcuin of York, had shared in
the development of the all-important Caroline script, such a record
is hard to account for. The climate of the seventeenth century pro­
vides some explanations: civil war, a lack of patronage, an abun­
dance of oppressive regulations. In the eighteenth century, the style

A Short History of the Printed Word

Quoufque tandem abutêre, Catilina, pa~

tientia noftra ? qnamdiu nos etiam fu­
ror ifte tuus elndet ? quem ad finem fe-
fe effirenata jaétabit audacia ? nihilne te
noéturnum præfidium palatii, nihil ur-
bis vigiliæ, nihil timor populi, nihil con-*

$ u o u fq ue tandem abutêre, Catilina , p a -

tie n tia noftra ? quamdiu nos e tia m f u ­
ro r ifte tu u s elu d et ¥ quem a d fin em fe fe
ejfren a ta ja S la b it a u d a cia ? nih ilne te
noElurnum præfidium palatii , n ih il u r -
bis v ig iliæ ) n ih il tim o r populi) n ih il con-
7.4 Caslon’s Great Primer roman. 1734.

and production of British presses and founders began to prosper

once again.
The chief influence on English printing had been Dutch, and it
is no surprise that William Caslon, the most successful and cele­
brated of English typefounders, chose Dutch models for his own
romans and italics. Caslon was born near Birmingham in 1692 and
was apprenticed to a gun engraver in London. In 1716, he set up his
own shop for decorative metalwork, including chasing silver and
cutting binders’dies. From fellow craftsmen at the James foundry in
London he may also have learned at least the rudiments of punch-
cutting and type founding.
A decorator of gun locks and barrels would have invaluable
knowledge of the working properties of steel. Fie would also have
experience with gravers and files, and in making small punches for

chapter vu * The Eighteenth Century

striking names, dates and decorations into lockplates. It is possible

that this unconventional background gave Caslon a rather old-fash­
ioned attitude toward typographic punchcutting: one more closely
related, in fact, to the practice of earlier centuries than to the cop­
perplate aesthetic of his own time.
Gaslon’s first type was an Arabic font commissioned for mission­
ary use by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. This he
completed in 1724. He cut his first roman and italic in 1725. By 1734,
when he issued his second specimen, he had cut his first Hebrew,
Syriac, Coptic, Armenian, Saxon and Greek types, as well as several
sizes of roman, italic and textura. All these types are heavily in­
debted to historical examples, but Casions conservative tastes and
antiquarian commissions led him into die future as well as the
past. About 1745, for an Oxford palaeographer, he cut an unserifed
Etruscan font. It was based on forms 2,000 years old, but it was
probably the first sanserif type ever made.
Caslon’s types show their maker’s close attention to a range of
typographic, scriptorial and inscriptional traditions, but where ro­
man and italic are concerned, he is an artist with one style. Like his
eminent contemporaryJ.S. Bach, Caslon breathed new life into the
spirit of the Baroque, while others wished to bury it and reconceive
die world in terms of the latest fashion - a fashion which in retro­
spect we know as Neoclassicism. Caslon was also, like Bach, the
founder of a dynasty. W hen he died in 1766, his son, William
Caslon II, continued cutting type, and the foundry remained in the
hands of his descendants until 1874.

John BaskerviUe
John BaskerviUe was eight years younger than William Caslon
and came from the same region in central England. His training,
however, was wholly different. He was a Birmingham writing mas­
ter and designer of decorative headstones, trained to think in ink
A Short H i s to r y of the Printed Word

A N D E M aliquando, Quirites î L.
T Catilinam furentem audacia, fcelus
anhelantem , peftem patriae nefarie moli-
cn tem , vobis atque huic urbi ferrum flam-
A B G D E F G H I J K L M N O P .

A N D E M aliquando, Quirites I L . Ca­

r tilinam furentem audacia, fcelu s anhe­

lantem , peftem patrue nefarie molientem, vobis
atque huic urbi ferru m flam m am que minitan -
7.5 BaskervilleV G reat Prim er roman, i j 6 z .

in two dimensions, not in three-dimensional steel. He had, like

Caslon, a decent head for business and amassed a modest fortune
through the manufacture of lacquerware, He was forty-four years
old when he decided to devote himself to printing and typography.
At his home in Birmingham, he established a foundry and print-
shop - but Baskerville never cut a punch. He employed a craftsman
named John Handy to cut die type that he designed.
W here Caslon’s letters are thoroughly Baroque, Baskerville’s
are thoroughly Neoclassical, and all of his experiments in printing
and in page design were aimed at bringing out the spirit of eigh­
teenth-century rationalism inherent in his letters. To this end, he
developed hot-pressed papers. He used a dampened wove sheet. ~
made on a woven screen rather than a mold whose chain lines and
laid lines give the fibers an inherent sense of direction - and sub­
jected it to pressure between hot copper plates after its impression.
The silky finish of the Baskerville pages, the brilliance of the spe­
cially formulated ink, and the severe, undecorated typography won

16 4
c h aptes vu * The Eighteenth Century

P U B L I 1 V Ï R G I L I I



e r

Typis J O H A N N 1 S BASKERVitLB.


7.6 Title page ofBaskerville’s quarto Virgil. Birmingham, 1757.

high praise in Europe. In time, the effect that Baskerville achieved

with his plates was built into papers by calendering, or pressing be­
tween rollers before printing.
Three characteristics that might be expected in a writing-
:master-turned-tray- and'-snuffbox-pain ter are neatness, an interest
in letters and their general arrangement, and a strong dedication to
finish. All these are indeed present in John Baskerville’s type and in
his printing. Elis presswork is especially notable and represents
perhaps his greatest contribution. In the early 1760s he issued a
specimen sheet from which the examples in figure 7.5 are taken.

A. S h o r t History of the Printed Word

tnt m:
<S>•*f««*<*i «tiff** fn Jifhaur*
■fti: .JrOTïK.SJt«, ÏCifOM
\r TOM£ f,
ife^œtptfAssirr, «ssfeM*.
«■/• R»rf
Cki ft* * * <jb , t«>l Jsajaft

7.7 Fournier’s Manuel typographique. Paris, 1764.

The Fourniers
In France, in the 1760s, Luce was working on his condensed
types, the Poétiques. At the same time, Madame de Pompadour was
engaged in printing Corneille with the help of a group of profes­
sional printers ordered in by the king from the Imprimerie Royale.
Two distinguished printing families were also at work in France,
the Fourniers and the Didots. Members of both are remembered
for their types, their books, and also for their efforts toward more
orderly means of typographic measurement.
In 1764 Pierre Simon Fournier published two of the intended
four volumes of his Manuel typographique. This included a detailed

c h a P T ER v u * The Eighteenth Century

de 144 points Typographiques.

iiSiiïditiiiiiîj i u i j I i i i iTTTTTTT

7 .8 Fournier’s scale.

exposition of his “point system.” He had formulated the idea as

early as 1737, when he was twenty-five. Fournier created a scale,
divided into units he called inches, lines and points. It was the first
step toward a system in which type size, line length, leading, and all
the other elements of typographic space can be specified and har­
monized. Underlying such a system, like the grid of Jaugeon’s ro­
man, is a vision of geometrically perfect emptiness and order: the
:liberté, égalité,fraternité of a quiet typographic revolution.
Fournier, however, was a practical typographer far more than a
theoretician. He based his own italic types not on jaugeon’s draw­
ings or Simonneau’s engravings, but on Philippe Grand jean’s much
more approachable, visceral punchcutting. His romans too owe as
much to craft tradition as they do to revolutionary thinking.
Fournier was not, by conventional standards, an educated man,
but he was trained in wood engraving and raised among type mat-

L eft v ra i, M onfieur, que le chagrin a p

I chez m o i, & qu’il ne faut pas moins que
de fouvenir que vous me donnez, pour me d

Id. genus ejl hominum pejjimum,

In denegando modo quels pudor ejl pa
C 7 .9Type cut by Pierre Simon Fournier, used in the O e u v re s o f Jean-Baptiste
Rousseau, published by François D idot Paris, 2 7 4 7 .
A. S h o r t H i s to r y of the Printed Word

rices and molds. His father was manager of the Le Bé type foundry
in Paris, which then still owned substantial quantities of Renais­
sance material, and Renaissance documentation to go with it. jean
Pierre Fournier, the eldest brother of Pierre Simon, who was also a
punchcutter, bought this foundry in 1731, after his father’s death,
and ran it in his turn. The middle brother, Michel François, took
charge of his grandfather’s printing house in Auxerre. Pierre
Simon, who w'as the youngest, opened a foundry of his own in Paris
in 1739, and in 1742 issued a handsome specimen book, Modèles des
caractères de l’imprimerie et des autres choses nécessaires au dit an.
As independent founders, the eldest and youngest Fournier
brothers were competitors, not always on friendly terms, hut Pierre
Simon demanded from his brother, and received, the access he re­
quired to historical materials. Until his death in 1768, he pursued
with equal vigor his three dreams. One was cutting type in every
size; another was learning all that could be known about the cutting
and casting of type; the third was fame, which he achieved in some
degree through ceaseless self-advertisement

The Didots
The Didot dynasty begins in Paris in 1713, when twenty-four-
year-old François Didot set up shop as a bookseller and publisher.
He numbered among his authors the best-selling novelist, ladies’
man and priest Antoine François Prévost, The family was active for
several generations in founding, printing and papermaking, often
making outstanding contributions. François Didot’s eldest son,
François-Ambroise, and two of his grandsons, Pierre l’aîné and Fir-
min, are those who most require a place in the story of eighteenth-
century French printing.
François-Ambroise Didot, who was born in 1730, was a typog­
rapher and printer as well as publisher. He employed a master of
the craft, Jacques-Louis Vafflard, to cut his types, and François-

ch a p t er vu * The Eighteenth Century


DE T É L É M A Q U E ,
S S ffltf


P A R M. D E F Ê N É L O N .

pour l'é d u c a tio n



7 .X 0 Title page designed by François-Ambroise Dîdot. 1783.

Ambroise took an active part in their design. These types owe much
to the example of Fournier but are more purely Neoclassical, like
Baskerville’s, in form. Didot was well aware ofBaskerville’s achieve­
ments, and he introduced to France smooth, highly finished wove
papers, similar to those that Baskerville had used.
In François-Ambroise’s time the power of the church in France
had waned, and François-Ambroise suffered none of the various
handicaps - religious, political or social - that had complicated life
for the Estiennes, for Colines, Jannon, Fournier and Baskerville.

À Short H i s to r y of the Printed W o r d

P R O S P E C T U S .

des Peintures antiques de P ietro -S ànte

ms u n e seconde édition au p u b lic, parut p<
Paris, en 1 7 5 7 . D e u x illustres savants, le G
te, consacrèrent les plus grands soins a l’e
si intéressante, afin qu’elle répondît à la ci
7.11 Type cut by Jacques-Louis Vafflardfor F.-A. Didot. 1781.

He served as printer by appointment to the brother of Lotus XV

and was commissioned by die king to print a series of French clas­
sics. The public sought him out as well, and Benjamin Franklin,
when ambassador to France, arranged to have his grandson study
with Vaffiard at the Didot foundry.
F.-A. Didot’s name is also linked with the European system by
which printing type is measured. Fie saw a number of shortcomings
in the Fournier system, one of which was the lack of an absolute
standard. Didot adopted as his reference the French pied du roi,
the king’s foot. This is divided into 12 French inches, each of which
is further subdivided into six cicéros of 12 Didot points each. The
Didot point (which is larger than Fournier’s, and larger than the
standard Anglo-American point) has remained in general use in
Europe, withstanding even the prestige of the metric system, which
was established in France in 1799. It is chiefly to Didot that we owe
die rationalist habit of identifying type by body size (10 point,
12 point, etc) instead of by the older printers’ names (nonpareil,
minion, brevier, long primer, pica and so on).
The two sons of François-Ambroise Didot, Pierre and Firmin,
carried on the work of the printing plant and the type foundry.

c h a p T e r v i i * The Eighteenth Century


I n t e r m ï s s a , V e n u s , d iu
’sus b e lla m o v es. P a r c e , p r e c o r , ]
N o n su m q u a lis eram b o n i
7,12 Type cut by F ir min Didot, used by his brother Pierre. 1795}.

Pierre was offered the space in the Louvre that had formerly been
used by the Imprimerie Royale, and there he printed and published
his luxurious, cold éditions du Louvre. His younger brother, Firmin,
apprenticed with Vaffiard and then methodically recut the family
fonts to give them greater contrast. In the technical sense of the
terms (explained on page 161), he transformed them from Neoclas­
sical to Romantic, and this transformation stuck. “D idot type,”
nowadays, almost invariably means type in the manner of Firmin
Didot, not in the manner of François-x\mbroise and Vaffiard.

Giambattista Bodoni
Giambattista Bodoni was born in Italy in 1740. He was the son of
a printer and served his apprenticeship in Rome, where he began
experimenting with typecutting. W hen he was twenty-eight years
old, he was invited to take charge of the Stamperia Reale, which be­
longed to the Duke of Parma, and more commissions followed.
Bodoni bought his first types from Fournier, and some of his
early punches show how closely he had studied what he bought.
Like Fournier, he cut font after font, size after size, obsessively, as if
A S h o r t History of the Printed W o r d

Quousque tandem abutêre, Cati­

lina, patientiâ nostra? quamdio
etiam furor iste tuus nos eludet?
quem ad finem sese effrenata ja-
ctabit audacia? nihilne te noctur-
num præsidium Palatii, nihil ur-
bis ingilice, nihil timorpopuli,ni-
hil concursus bonorum omnium,
nihil hie munitissimus kahendi se-

7.13 Bodoni. Specimen.

it were the type itself that mattered, not the stories, poems, percep­
tions, meditations that the type might serve to print. His early type
is Neoclassical; his later work is fervently Romantic.
As printer to Carlos HI of Spain and other patrons, Bodoni en­
joyed a kind of fame that is rarely accorded to living printers. This

g h a p t e b v 11 * The Eighteenth Century

7.14 Bodoni.’s posthumous M anuale tipografico. Parma, 1818.

fame, however, was a product and a symptom of Romanticism itself,

of which Bodoni was an active, willing part. It was in its small way
the kind of fame achieved, for better and for worse, by Goethe,
Hugo, Byron, Shelley, Wagner, Liszt, Chopin - and sought in vain
by countless others - in a time when artists seemed to shine their
light on heroes only in order to take their place.
Many of the most impressive works of the eighteenth century,
from the Médailles of the Imprimerie Royale of 1702 to Bodoni’s
Manuals tipografico, represent real technical advances: better cast­
ing and fitting of the types, paper with more consistent printing
surfaces and better ink and presswork. Printing took on the appear­
ance of engraving to an astonishing degree. The tendency had be­
gun with the artificial serifs in Grandjean’s romain du rot and came
to full expression in the dramatic, rigid letterforms of Bodoni and
Firmin Didot. These forms are marvelously still The type and

A Short H i s to r y of th e Printed Word

pages beg to be admired that is looked at which is well and good,

except that looking and reading are quite di“erent, actually contra­
dictory, acts. We are linked to what we read by rhythmic motion. To
look at things, we either disengage and let them ow by on their own
or we stop them in their tracks. To look we hold our breath or (in
the worst of cases) pant. To read we breadie.

Fleischman and the Ensched0 s

In 1743 the brothers Isaak and Johannes Ensched0 bought die
holdings of an Amsterdam typefounder named Heinrich Wetstein
and moved it to Haarlem, where diey operated a printing plant.

Lors qu’ Aspafie étoit concubi­

ne d’Artaxerxès : On ne fauroit
lui donner moins de vingt ans à la
mort de Cyrus: elle avoit donc
foixante - quinze ans lors qu’un
nouveau R oi la demande comme
une grace particulière. PLTGA
12 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 i o t ( [ J § " ji0 /ü m n
de fermeté, & il voioit que le parti
de Pompée fe ruinoit de p lu s en plus
par les continuelles viSoires de Jules
7.15 Fleischman s Text (17 point) roman and italic. Am sterdam , /73p.

C H A P T E R VIT The Eighteenth Century

This plant one of the most reliable and durable in Europe con­
tinued its letterpress operations well into the twentieth century,
maintaining in the process one of the largest collections of handcut
punches and matrices in the world. The Ensched0 s most favored
typecutter in the eighteenth century was Johann Michael Fleisch-
man. He was born in 1701 near N rnberg and learned his trade
there, but he spent his working life in Frankfurt, the Hague, Ams­
terdam and Edam. He cut romans, italics, blackletter, Greeks and
Arabics with extraordinary skill. Fleischman is an unfamiliar name
compared to Caslon and Bodoni, in part because his type was not
revived in any form until the very end of the twentieth century.
Fournier, however, thought him a very clever typecutter. Rudolf
Koch and Paul Renner admired him too. Koch may have felt some
kinship with Fleischman because both came from the N rnberg
vicinity, but chie y he was aware of their common sculptural atti­
tudes toward punchcutting.

Printing in Spain
Works by Joaqu n Ibarra, Gabriel de Sancha, Francisco Manuel
de Mena all of Madrid and Benito M ontfort of Valencia repre­
sent the best of eighteenth-century Spanish printing. The in terest
of Carlos III in printing was shown when he gave Bodoni his special
patronage. At the same time, the king encouraged printing in his
own country, especially in those cities where the craft had long been
The edition of Don Quixote that Ibarra printed for the Royal
Spanish Academy in 1780 is a four-volume quarto (a book made
from press-sheets of only four leaves or eight pages each, thus about
twice the size of a normal octavo). Its straightforward text pages are
set in a ne Neoclassical type cut and cast for the Biblioteca Real by
G er ni mo Gil. The type in Juan de Yriarte s Ohras sueltas. Inciden­
tal Works, (1774) is an older letter, cut two centuries earlier at
A Short History of the Printed Word

Antwerp by the Belgian Hendrik van den Keere. In Spain in the

eighteenth century, Renaissance and Baroque types continued to
live in the finest editions, as vividly as older works of literature.

Parvula ne scopulis pereac fallacibus Argo:

Non aliter baculo caucus rimare sagaci
Stagnanris vada cæca viæ , luteasque paludes
Sedulus explora, sicne alto in gurgite fundus.
Ne temerè instabili credas vestigia lim o.
Ne cedente solo, tacitâque repente ruina
Tibia, sura, genu tumulentur mersa barathro.
7.16 Text type ofJuan de Y riarte’s Obras sueltas. M adrid, 1774.

Defoe, Steele and Addison

Early in the eighteenth century, three new periodicals in Eng­
land introduced a significant dimension into journalism. In the
shaping of The Review ( 1 7 0 4 ) , The Tatler ( 1 7 0 9 ) and The Spectator
( 1 7 1 1 ) , three archetypal English journalists emerged: Daniel.

Defoe, Richard Steele and Joseph Addison,

Defoe’s Review was originally called A Weekly Review of the
Affairs of France. It appeared as often as three times weekly, with
most of the material written by Defoe. Though The Review was
called nonpartisan, opinion was expressed 011many current topics -
as in the modern editorial. As early as 1703, Defoe was fined and pil­
loried for The Shortest Way with the Dissenters, a pamphlet attacking
ecclesiastical intolerance. After a number of brushes with authority,
he became cynical enough to hire his pen out to causes in which he
had no emotional involvement. His genius, however, overcame his
cynicism in works such, as Robinson Crusoe (1719) and A Journal of the

c h APT e r v 11 * The Eighteenth Century

[ i 3 Nawk i»

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-m7 Defoe’s Weekly Review. London, 1704.

Plague Year (1722). T he latter went a long way toward eradicating

the boundaries between fiction and nonfiction. T he former was the
first novel in English to be published as a serial, breaking down the
boundary between the periodical and the book.
Steele’s Tatler appeared three times a week from 1709 until 1711,
purporting to be written from various coffeehouses. An early col­
laborator in it was Joseph Addison. In 1711, Steele and Addison
jointly founded a new journal, The Spectator This publication relied
on a small group of fictional authors whose works were written for
them by Addison and Steele. Among those imaginary contributors
was one known as Bickerstaff, borrowed from Isaac Bickerstaff, a

A Short History of the Printed Word

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7.18 T h e Spectator. London, ry rr.

creation of Addison and Steele s friend and colleague Jonathan

Swift. Here again, the boundaries between ction and non ction
were continually put to the test.

Newspapers: America and England

Americas rst continuing paper was John Campbells Boston
News-Letter of 1704. Campbell was a bookseller who became post­
master at Boston and used his position to gather news from ships
captains and post riders. This news was then transcribed by his
brother, rst tn the form of circulating manuscript, but the issue of

C H A P T E R VI I The Eighteenth Century

7 .1 9 The N e w England C o u r a n t . Boston, 1 7 2 1 .

24 April 1704 employed the printing press rather than the pen.
Campbell s venture was not highly popular; even after years of pub­
lication he could report a circulation of only 250 copies. Neverthe­
less, he continued the News-Letter until 1723, when it passed into
the hands of its printer, Bartholomew Green. W ith further changes
in editorship, the paper lasted more than seventy years.
In 1719 Campbell s successor as postmaster, William Brooker,
established the Boston Gazette. He considered the paper part of the
postmastering job, and ve subsequent postmasters treated it die
same. It naliy became the property of Benjamin Edes and John
Gill, Boston printers, who turned it toward its eventual role as a

A Short History of the Printed Word

leading patriot organ. The first printer of the Gazette was James
Franklin, whose apprentice was his younger brother, Benjamin.
W hen Brooker lost the postmastership, the Franklins lost the job of
printing the paper. In 1721, James Franklin took on the publication
of another new paper, the New-England Courant. Despite a short life
- only five and a half years - the Courant, with its human interest es­
says, represented a more creative approach to journalism. It did not
rely on news alone, which in those conditions was inevitably days,
weeks, and even months old. Unlike the Gazette, the Courant made
no claim to be “published by authority.” In style, it owed a great deal
to the example of Steele and Addison.
In 1722, during his five-year term as apprentice to his brother
Janies, Benjamin Franklin contributed his “Do-Good Papers” to
the Courant H e was then sixteen years old. The following year, he
ran away from Boston and settled in Philadelphia. After a short pe­
riod in London, where again he worked in a printshop, Franklin re­
turned to Philadelphia and started the Pennsylvania Gazette, which
ran from 1729 until 1766. In 1741 he published the short-lived Gen­
eral Magazine. It was planned as the first magazine in the colonies.
It became instead the second, after the editor-to-be departed sud­
denly and joined a rival printer to issue The America??. Magazine.
William Bradford, who established the first press in Philadel­
phia in 1693, later became the official royal printer in New York. In
1725 he began publication of that colony’s first newspaper, The
New-York Gazette. Newspapers were also founded in Charleston,
South Carolina (1731): Williamsburg, Virginia (1736); Flalifax,
Nova Scotia (1752); Savannah, Georgia (1763); and Hartford, Con­
necticut (1760) - just to mention a few. The bilingual Quebec Gazette
was founded in the city of Québec in 1764 and continued for over a
Freedom of the press was a major issue for these fledgling publi­
cations, and the trial, in 1735, of John Peter Zenger for “seditious
libels” was a major event in American journalism. Zenger had

c h a p t e r v i: ï « T h e E ig h te e n th C e n tu r y

The Conuedicut Courant,

K-O*» P.Y. y fa & ****#} ;

ÜJ * t' ? ^ fi JO; &K& 4? r «•»*4fc # ï *. *• K itrtrf

‘.... "J-------- «’■"#-!,v*■&

e^rserrr/^^-^-’'11'"'-’---'..... '"-ife-

7.20 The Connecticut Courant. Hartford, 2764.

attacked the policies of New York’s colonial governor. The judge

appointed to his case clearly sided with the government, but the
jury refused to convict. Zenger’s acquittal was hailed by many in
England as well as the colonies as a triumph.
Elizabeth Mallet began publication of the Daily Courant,, Eng­
land’s first daily paper, on 11 March 1702. Financial problems led
m her into partnership with Samuel Buckley, a fellow printer, who
!tf kept the Courant successful and in print for thirty years and earned a
reputation for unusually high standards of journalistic integrity.
Two other English papers, the Morning Chronicle (founded in
1769) and the Morning Post (begun in 1772), are remembered for
A Short History o f the Printed W o r d

7.21 The Daily Courant. London, 1702.

their writers. The Chronicle employed William Hazlitt, Samuel

Taylor Coleridge and Charles Lamb. Robert Southey and William
Wordsworth wrote for the Post. A third paper of the same general
period is representative of the crusading press. It was the North
Briton, founded in 1762 by John Wilkes, who led the ght to allow
reporting of news about the government. He achieved some suc­
cess, but lost his paper and his seat in Parliament in the process. He
became something of a hero to colonial patriots, and the South
Carolina Assembly allocated £1,500 to help him pay his debts.
At the same time, printing continued its penetration of the
world, reaching Paraguay in 1704, Brazil in 1706, Cuba in 1707, Sri.

chapter vn The Eighteenth Century

Lanka in 1737, Canada in 1752, Greece in 1759, Venezuela in 1764,

Argentina in 1766, Chile in 1776, Greenland in 1793, Australia in
1796, and the Union of South Africa in 1799.

An All-Iron Press
For at least three centuries, the press as Gutenberg designed it
was virtually unchanged. In 1772, Wilhelm Haas of Basel built one
in which all of the parts subject to heavy stress including, of
course, the platen and the bed were made of iron. In 1800,
Charles, Earl of Stanhope, designed an all-iron press that was used
at the Boydell & Nicol Shakespeare Printing O ce in London.
William Bulmer, master printer for this press, commissioned new
types from the punchcutter William Martin, who was probably
trained in Baskerville s foundry. These fonts, cut in the 1790s, were
the rst Romantic types produced in England.
O ther implements of cultural importance were undergoing
similar transformations at precisely the same time. The harpsi­
chord is to the lute as the wooden handpress is to the pen, and the
piano is to the harpsichord as the iron and steel handpress is to the
older instrument made entirely of wood. The piano, with its highly
complex action, developed little by little beginning in the early
eighteenth century. Pianos wi th a one-piece iron frame the musi­
cal equivalents of the Stanhope press were nally produced by
Jonas Chickering in the 1840s and by the Steinway rm thereafter.
The piano was used by Romantic composers Schumann,
Chopin, Liszt and others to play music in which strong dynamic
contrast, leaping from soft (piano) to loud (forte) and back again, is
of fundamental importance. Beginning late in the eighteenth cen­
tury, printers such as Bulmer used the iron handpress for very simi­
lar ends: to print Romantic types, like William Martins, Firmin
Didot s and Bodoni s. Exaggerated contrast between dark and light,
or thick and thin, is crucial to these letterforms.
A Short History of the Printed Word


! The ehsufç I ting, homds, unA iJidï varan» htm!,

!:-Ty^ .v-.-:".
fy iyWhlW^ f à t e ï î â i -::'-:
i • Rear the triumphal arch, rich wkh the exploit* :

*' : ; ;01:'^sÿ;i ï :.
:-r:Vi\^I^î? V/ ‘-
!:;T: T y«m;.••■.-
| WhÜ» rmwtM theatre*» uvs {badly prowl
.r d
1 The prke <>( sttastto&d., hail thee with a sang.

7.22 Thomas Bewick. Illustrationfor Somerville's The Chase. ijç 6.

William Buhner and Thomas Bewick

Buimer was horn in Newcasde, where from an early age he had
known Thomas Bewick, the father of European wood engraving.
Bewick made blocks for several books before he began his profes­
sional association with Buimer, but it was Buimer who provided

c h a pT es vïi « The Eighteenth Century

the printing expertise required to show Bewick’s blocks to best

Bewick was apprenticed, at the age of fourteen, to Ralph Beilby,
a copperplate engraver. His early work was not in the field of print­
ing, but in the rougher work of engraving doorplates and sword
blades. During his apprenticeship he had some opportunities to
work on wood, and his results were generally praised, partly be­
cause of the low ebb to which most work in the medium had sunk.
By 1790 his General History of Quadrupeds had established him and
his method. Later, in 1795 and 1796, with his engravings for the
Poems of Oliver Goldsmith and Thomas Parnell, and The Chase by
William Somerville - both printed by Buimer - Bewick was given
the typography and the press work he needed and deserved.

Wood Engraving
Wood engraving as practiced by Bewick represented a new tech­
nique, and it played an important role in every kind of illustration
printed in letterpress from the end of the eighteenth century until
the successful introduction of photoengraving nearly a century
later. Instead of the plank, wood engraving requires a cross section
of the tree. Turkish boxwood has been the most satisfactory source
of endgrain wood, and to obtain a block of any great size requires
gluing sections together. There was always the danger that the sec­
tions would open up.
The new practice of wood engraving became known as “white
line.” The phrase denotes a method of producing shapes and tints
that is not unlike drawing on a blackboard with chalk rather than
substituting graver for knife and working toward a facsimile of a
drawing. But as late as 1766, Papillon, the famous French woodcut­
ter and author of a manual of techniques, belittled stories he had
heard of using a graver upon the endgrain of box.
Gravers for wood engraving are much like those used for metal.
A Short History o f the Printed Word

The curved shape of the tools facilitates the lifting of the point.
Since wood, being softer than metal, has less tendency to cause a
graver to hang, the tool used on wood can have a more acute point
than one intended for cutting copper or steel. In both instances, the
work is turned and the tool is so held that the thrust of a stroke is de­
livered from the pad of the palm, with the thumb as guide and rest,
rather than from the ngers.

7.23 Graverfor working on endgram wood.

7.24 The manner of holding a graver.

Putting the design on the block is no di“erent from preparing a

woodcut. One of the hazards in working with gravers is the danger
of leaning pressing on a delicate line with the belly of die tool.
Sometimes the wood can be made to swell, and restore itself by ap­
plying a touch of saliva. To make a repair or a correction, a hole is
drilled in the block and a plug of wood inserted and resurfaced.
Bewick did his own engraving and therefore had complete free-

CHAPTER Y II The Eighteenth Century

dom to choose the way in which he created his various textures and
tones. He was also able to make use of some of the tricks of block
printing, where sections are lowered to cause them to print with a
grayer eaect, or, through the use of overlays, pressures at given
points can he stressed and thus provide accents in the print. Such
operations require much understanding and cooperation from the

Revolutions: Political and Industrial

The last half of the century was a period of political, social and
economic upheaval in Europe and its far ung colonies. The Amer­
ican Revolution ended colonial status and dependence on England,
but e“orts to make type in America had been of little consequence.
Benjamin Franklins attempts to set his grandson up as a founder
were not successful. The equipment he had brought from France
passed into the hands of Archibald Binney and James Ronaldson,
two Scots who emigrated to Philadelphia in 1796. N ot until 1809
did they issue their rst type specimen the rst from any North
American foundry. The stock and condition of typefaces in Amer­
ica were such that Franklin, while in Europe, complained of nearly
going blind as a result of trying to read the Boston papers that were
sent to him..
In France, the revolution was violent, yet the storming of the
Bastille, in 1789, came only six years after D idots printing of Les
Aventures de T 0 î0 maque. The work of both Fournier and Didot rep­
resented an industry in a high state of orderly development. France
by then had well over two centuries of experience in typographic
The Industrial Revolution began in England around the middle
of the eighteenth century and continued for one hundred years.
James Watt s invention of the steam engine in 1769 led to a series of
major changes in the textile industry, with a power loom appearing

A S h o r t History of the Printed Word

; .À»*We *
j ! -mûi w-ixë. q m - t m t 1m m««r. -^ J

7.25 Aioreau. Engravingfor Laborde’s Choix de chansons. Paris, J777.

in 1783. Thus far, printing had continued to be a handicraft. Presses

were still manually operated and in principle were little altered
since the time of the incunabula. Type was still set by hand and had
to he printed from and redistributed on the basis of the supply in a
printer’s cases. To undertake the composition of a work of any
c h a p T e r v 1.1 * The Eighteenth Century

7.26 H oganh. Engraving f it- Sterne's Tristram Shandy. London, /760.

length, even the largest houses set, printed and redistributed the
text in sections. As literacy increased, so did the number of printed
works and the length of the runs. Thus the pressures for mecha­
nized solutions were steadily increasing.

A Short H i s to r y o f th e Printed Word

Artists: Literary and Graphic

The literary artists who were creating the raw material for eigh­
teenth-century printers exhibited a strong a nity for journalism
and pamphleteering. Swift, Rousseau, Thomas Paine and Voltaire
are among the many familiar names. Periodicals and newspapers
claimed, besides the likes of Addison and Steele, such contributors
as Coleridge and Wordsworth. This was also the century of Oliver
Goldsmith, Alexander Pope and Samuel Johnson. In Germany, by
1795, Goethe had published Faust and Wilhelm Meisters Lebtjahre,
the latter printed by Johann Friedrich Unger, the designer of a
light, Neoclassical form of fraktur.
One of the most proli c illustrators of the century was Daniel
Nikolas Chodowiecki, an artist-engraver who was born in Danzig
in 1726. He made illustrations for works by Shakespeare, Cer­
vantes, Goethe, Sterne, Voltaire and numerous other authors.
French artists of the time Fran ois Boucher, Jean-Michel Moreau,
Nicolas Cochin, Charles Eisen and Gravelot were busy doing
rococo portraiture, theatrical designs and special publications for
the court. Moreau s style can be seen in his illustrations for Jean-
Benjamin de Laborde s Choix de chansons, published in 1773.
Three of the great artists of the century, all widi outstanding
capacities as illustrators, were not generally employed for books,
yet each of them profoundly in uenced the craft of illustration.
William Hogarth did only two books, but two well chosen : Samuel
Butlers Hudibras and Lawrence Sternes Tristram Shandy. Jean
Honor0 Fragonard s remarkable set of studies for Orlando Furioso
never got as far as the engravers. The third graphic master was
Francisco Goya. The Caprichos that he announced in 1797 represent
one of the great graphic achievements of the century of intaglio,
and closed it with as vivid a set of narrative prints as the medium, has
ever produced.


The Nineteenth Century

n t h e c lo sin g y earsof the eighteenth century, when Bewick

I was perfecting his white-line style of engraving on endgrain
wood blocks, a young Bavarian writer stumbled on a printing
process that was neither relief nor intaglio. His name was Aloys
Senefelder. He was bom in 1771, the son of a Munich actor. Sene­
felder tried his hand at writing plays, and when he was unable to get
them published began a series of e“orts to become his own printer.
It is not inappropriate, as we shall see, that Senefelder s new, two-
dimensional printing process emerged from the theater.

The Lithographic Process

Senefelder s rst attempts at printing were made with copper
plates on a makeshift intaglio press. It was perhaps the high cost of
copper that led him to experiment with limestone, and in 1796 he
succeeded in making an image on stone with an ink mixture that he
had prepared as an etching base for his plate work. W hen he had
etched the stone with nitric acid, he produced the image on a
slightly raised surface, which he then inked and printed. His prob­
lem lay in the di cul ty of keeping ink 0“ the spaces around the im­
age. Successive experiments led to Senefelder s discovery that it was
not necessary for the printing surface to be raised. The essence of
the medium he had come upon was its chemical rather than me-
A Short History' of th e Printed Word

chanical basis, depending on affinity and rejection. A greasy image

surrounded by a water-attracting surface accepts greasy ink that the
dampened parts reject. Senefelder also discovered the special prop­
erties of the Solnhofen stones from Bavaria, and by 1798 had de­
signed a workable press for printing from his stones. By 1803 he
succeeded in adapting his process to metal plates, by means of suit­
able graining. Ail the essential elements of what after 1804 came to
be called lithography were known to its inventor in the first decade
after its discovery.
In 1818, Senefelder published his Vollstandiges Lehrbucb der
Steindruckerei (Complete Manual of Stone Printing), which has re­
mained the basic text on the subject. Early in his work he had the co­
operation of gifted artists in experimenting with possibilities of the
medium. One of his earliest patrons was Philipp André, a music
publisher from Offenbach, who took the inventor to England in
1801. There a patent was issued. A book showing specimens of the
process appeared as early as 1803.
Gutenberg printed from a relief or raised surface. Etchings and
engravings are printed from a lowered surface. Lithographers print
from a plane or level surface. Lithography in consequence is also
known as planographic printing. The pressure of a relief printing-
press is direct contact, that of an intaglio press is a rolling and
squeezing pressure, pul ling the ink from the incised lines. In lith­
ography, the press exerts a scraping pressure, with the image areas
greasy and the blank areas moist. Each method utilizes successively
stiffer inks and greater printing pressures.
The principal materials of lithography, besides the plate of stone
or zinc, are crayons that range from hard to soft and are made in
pencil and stick form. For line work and washes a soluble form of
greasy ink, touche, is necessary, and can be used with pen, brush and
flannel. In addition, there must be some kind of scraper, usually
pencil-like in shape. A lithographic stone may be reused many
times, the old drawing being removed by a grinding process.

chapter vin * The Nineteenth Century

8 .i Pressure system fo r planographic printing.

The Power Press and Power Publishing

We have mentioned already that printing presses changed very
little from the middle of the fifteenth century to the middle of the
eighteenth. After that, several models were developed with im­
proved delivery of the printing impression and stronger elements
throughout. In due course came the Stanhope press, made entirely
of iron. This shift from an organic to an inorganic press was associ­
ated with a change in printed letterforms, from organic shapes that
faithfully portray the natural motion of the writing hand, to artifi­
cial shapes with exaggerated contrast between the thicks and thins.
These changes notwithstanding, the labor of printing remained
in essence what it was. Before the Industrial Revolution, with new
concepts of tools based on new sources of power, could penetrate
the area of printing, presses had to be fundamentally redesigned.
Handpresses are platen presses. This means, once again, that after
the type or block is inked, a heavy plate or platen is used to press the
sheet against it. Early attempts to add power to a letterpress
machine on the platen principle were not successful, and it was not
until the nineteenth century that the design problems involved
were overcome.
A Short History of the Printed Word

One of the earliest power-operated presses was constructed in

eastern Germany by Friedrich K nig. His attempts to make a
power-driven platen press were unsuccessful, and he then began to
work on a di“erent principle. The result was the stop-cylinder
press. In this steam-driven machine, the form (the locked-up type
from which the sheet is printed) lies on a at bed moving back and
forth beneath a cylinder. The cylinder rotates, pressing the sheet
against the inked type. Then it stops, the form returns on its mov­
able bed, and the pressman feeds another sheet of paper.
K nig s rst press of this kind had a capacity of Boo sheets an
hour. Two years later he had built a double-cylinder press with an
improved inking system, and output rose to i,ioo sheets per hour.
This press was used to print the Times of London on 29 November
1814. Beginning on that date, reading matter meant for human be­
ings has routinely been produced at greater-than-human speed. By
1868, the Times was printing 20,000 sheets per hour.
Innumerable changes, large and small, have been made over the
years to the power-ope rated press, but the essential shift came very
early in the nineteenth century and it began in a newspaper plant,
not in a plant that manufactured books. Typography and printing
have been greatly changed in the past two centuries by mutations of
their most emphemeral branches.
Newspapers and magazines have not only subsidized the devel­
opment of large presses, typesetting machines and techniques of
photoreproduction. They have also functioned as a training ground
(for better and for worse) for writers and photographers, and have
radically a“ected what we read and how we read it. In the fteenth
century, printing served scholarship and the church. As the tool of
literacy, the press created its own clientele and in doing so spread
rapidly over the earth during the sixteenth and seventeenth cen­
turies. The popular press, like the ecclesiastical press, supplies pre­
fabricated likes and dislikes appetites and prejudices, fears and
expectations as well as information and ideas. It also furnishes a

CHAPTER VI O The Nineteenth Century

8.2 The T im e s (London), the rst newspaper p rin ted on a power press, 1814.

venue for commercial competition. Advertising has thoroughly re­

shaped and rede ned the newspaper and the magazine.
Among historians there is a longstanding tendency to equate
printing with n e printing. To do so is however to ignore important
forces that have changed the face of type and the minds of those
who read it. For something over a full century, advertisers have
formed the primary market for new type designs. The old foundries
have been closed or, more rarely, been converted to museums, and
die handpress has retreated to the studio, while publishers, printers
and distribution facilities fall increasingly under the wing of parent
companies whose sole concerns are market share and pro t.

I 95
A Short History of the Printed Word

The Foudrinier Papermaking Machine

Between 1798 and 1806, Nicolas Louis Robert developed yet
another transformative machine: one that could produce a continu-
ous roll of paper. He was connected with a paper mill at Essonnes,
France, that had been started by Pierre-François Didot, the brother
of François-Ambroise. An English relative of the Didots, John
Gamble, took a model of Robert’s machine to England, where it
was patented. Henry and Sealy Foudrinier, for whom the machine
was later named, then took an interest in it and subsidized its fur­
ther development by Bryan Donkin, an Englishman.
The Foudrinier machine consists of a vat for pulp, a mesh belt, a
suction box, drying and calendering rollers, and a reel. In principle
it is the basis for modern papermaking equipment. The pulp, in an
extremely wet state, flows from the vat, or head box, in an even
stream onto the Foudrinier wire belt. This belt travels continuously
away from the wet end. The forward motion is accompanied by a
side-to-side vibration that crisscrosses the pulp fibers and strength­
ens the material. On either side of the wet pulp, moving deckle
straps keep the pulp from spilling over. Suction boxes then draw
out the extra moisture. The formed substance is next run through
felt-covered cylinders, called couch rolls. After this compacting
and drying, the dry pulp travels on a felt belt to a series of hot cylin­
ders. Finally, in the calender stack, the roll of paper is given a
smooth finish.
Each of the machine’s actions is comparable to a phase of the
process of making paper by hand - but the final finishing is, of
course, a development of Baskerville’s hot-pressing. The resulting
paper is wove. It has no pattern, neither laid marks nor watermarks,
if any such marks are desired they must be artificially created : im­
pressed on the damp pulp by a dandy roll, which is a kind of emboss­
ing cylinder. The larger roils of paper are finally slit into rolls of the
desired widths, which in turn can be cut into sheets.

19 6
c h a P T ER v i n $ The Nineteenth Century

Stereotype and Electrotype

During the eighteenth century, a means of casting whole pages
from handset type and carved blocks was evolving. As early as 1727,
William Ged of Edinburgh discerned that an entire type form
could be pressed into soft material, producing a large matrix, and
that from this he could cast a one-piece replica of the form. Ged’s
invention was strongly opposed by the printers of his time, but in
1794, Firmin Didot became interested in die process and experi­
mented with it further. It was Didot who gave the process its name:
stereotype. The word has since been borrowed, and now is used most
often to refer to fixed ideas instead of fixed pages of text. To Didot it
had different connotations. H e was a good Greek scholar as well as
a master punchcutter and founder. He remembered a scene near
the end of die Odyssey in which Telemakhos expresses his amaze­
ment at his mother’s sturdiness of heart. The word Homer uses
here for “durable” or “tough” is crrspEÔs (stereos).
In addition to saving the original type from wear, and eliminat­
ing the possibility of individual sorts (pieces of type) coming loose
and “working up,” as printers say, stereotypes provided a means of
putting an entire book into type before printing, and of saving the
type conveniendy and reprinting it at will.
The earliest material used for the matrix was fiong - alternate
layers of blotting paper and tissue. In 1804, Stanhope devised a
more accurate method, using plaster. It wjas in 1830, in Paris, that
the present papier mâché method was developed. Stereotype metal,
which is used to make the casting, is like typemetal : an alloy of tin,
antimony and lead.
In 1816 William. Nicholson made the first attempts to produce
curved stereotypes that could be fitted to cylinders; half a century
later his ideas took hold and were put into general use. Thus the
stereotyping process joined forces with the papermaking machine
and the powder-operated press.

À Short H i s to r y o f th e P r in t e d W o r d

in 1837, electrotyping, another method of duplicating printing

forms, was perfected. The original type or block is pressed into a
waxy slab. W hen the resulting mold is dusted with graphite and
placed in a galvanic bath, a shell of copper is precipitated into the
wax matrix. Finally, the shell is backed with type metal and blocked
to become type-high.

The Stroke ofthe Quill

N ot all the technical innovations a“ectmg eighteenth- and nine­
teenth-century printing were in the realm of heavy machinery. One
enduring in uence, already mentioned, was the process of intaglio.
Another was the pointed quill, which supplanted the broadpen al­
most everywhere in Europe. A tiny change in nib shape brought
about a general change in handwriting, just as a change in engraving
tools and techniques altered the nature of illustrations. In the nine­
teenth century, new and sturdier materials were sought for ever
sharper nibs. Horn and tortoise shell were used, sometimes rein­
forced with gold or other metal and tipped with a scrap of precious
stone. Steel nibs, rst developed in France in die middle of the
eighteenth century, were in wide use by the middle of the nine­
teenth, By 1890, steel-pointed fountain pens were routine.
The pointed quill is not just sharper than a broadpen; it is thin­
ner and more sensitive to pressure. It tends to make the thin strokes
thinner and it can make the thick strokes thicker. It can also change
the rate of modulation between thick and thin. It radically trans­
forms the shapes of terminals (the forms with which the penstrokes
end when the pen is lifted from the paper). M ost importantly per­
haps, it changes the habitual direction of the thick versus the thin,
shifting the axis of the letter from the axis of die forearm (which is
normally oblique) to die axis of the pullstroke (which is usually di­
rectly toward the body). All these changes are re ected, stylized and
regularized, in the evolution of printing types.

C H A P T E R VI I I The N ineteenth Cmtury

8.3 The spirit o f the broadnib and the spirit o f the pointed quill. The humanist
axis o f the letters on the left re ects the trace ofa broadnib pen, in which the
thickness o f the stroke depends on the orientation o f the nib, aligning w ith the
forearm . The rationalist axis o f the letters on the righ t suggests a exible,
Pointed quill. The thickness o f its stroke depetids prim arily on pressure,

The shift begins in earnest with the romain du roi and continues
in the work of Luce, Fleischman, Baskerville, Bodoni, Martin and
the Didots. It. is part and parcel of the process by which letterforms
mutated from Renaissance reserve to Baroque activity to Neoclassi­
cal restraint to Romantic conceit and dramatization.
Fran ois Tourte s new violin bow, introduced in the 1790s, did
for music what the new pens did for script. Tourtes bow is longer
and di“erently shaped, with its center of gravity farther away from
the hand. It distinguishes more sharply between upbow and down-
bow (pushstroke and pullstroke) and modulates more readily from
one dynamic level to another. Such bows were standard throughout
the nineteenth century, for playing older music as well as new. Only
late in the twentieth century, with the vogue of original instru­
ments, has there been some return to bows of the older style.

Napoleonic Typography
Books and letters in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries
were also a“ected by new visions of the classical and the antique
that were emerging in all the arts. These visions were fed by excava­
tions at Pompeii and Herculaneum, and by archaeological work in
Greece. In the 1750s, for example, two Englishmen, James Stuart
and Nicholas Revett, spent three years making careful measure-
A Short History of the Printed Word

8.4 Title page ofspecimen issued by thefoundry ofPiem Didot. Paris, 1819.

ments of the Athenian Acropolis, and these were published, along

with illustrations, in a book called A?itiquities of Athens.
The “Empire style” was built on the worship of Roman art,
Napoleon’s invasion of northern Italy in 1796 reinforced French in­
terest in Roman antiquity. The dukes of Parma and Modena, the
Pope, and the king of Naples purchased truces not only with money
but also with artworks. The ever-fortunate Bodoni ~ who cared far
more about how his pages looked than he did about the texts that
they contained - fared well at the hands of the invaders. H e received
a pension from Eugène de Beauharnais, Napoleon’s viceroy in Italy,
and another from Napoleon himself. Then a medal was awarded

him in Paris. After his death in 1813, his widow, Margherita
dair Aglio, and his foreman, Luigi Orsi, completed several books he
had begun. One of these was the final edition of his Manuale tipo-
grafico. It is a thick but almost textless book: a shrine to the purity of
Firmin Didot took control of his father’s foundry in 1785, and his
elder brother Pierre took over the printing house. Pierre used
Firmin’s type for twenty years. In 1809, he began designing his
own, which were cut under his direction by Joseph Vibert. In 1811,
Firmin started a new series of Romantic types for the Imprimerie
Impériale with body sizes based on the metric system.

Romanticism and Its Discontents

England, unlike Italy, escaped invasion by Napoleon, and the
English Romantic style is more bucolic than imperial. Yet it also
savors more of heavy industry. Some of the types cut in England in
the nineteenth century are as black as Newcastle coal. Some also
have the hard mechanical rhythm of the English railroad rather
than the gait of a thoughtful mind and hand. Scottish printers and

Quousque tandem abutere, Catilina, patientia

nostra ? quamdiu nos etiam furor iste tuus elu-
defc? quem ad finem sese effrenata jactabit au-
dacia? nibilne te nocturnum præsidium palatii
Æ Œ £1234567800
Quousque tandem abutere, Catilina, patientia
nostra? quamdiu nos etiam furor iste tuus elu-
det? quem ad finem sese effrenata jactabit au-
dacia? nihilne te nocturnum præsidium p a la tii
8.5 English n °2 , a typically dark Romanticfacefrom William ThorowgooTs
foundry. London, 1824.

2 OX
À Short H i s to r y of the Printed Word

Quousque tandem abutere, Catilina, patientia nos­

tra? quamdiu nos etiam furor iste tuns eludet?
quern ad finem sese effrenata jactabit audacia?
nihilne te noctumum præsidium palatii, nihil ur-
bis vigiliæ, nihil timor populi, nihil consensus bo-
norum omnium, nihil hie munitissimus habendi
senatus locus, nihil horum ora vultusque moverunt?
£ 0 1 2 3 4 - 5 6 7 8 9

Quousque tandem abutere, Catilina, patientia nos­

tra? quamdiu nos etiam furor iste turn eludet ?
quern ad finem sese effrenata jactabit audacia ? ni­
hilne te noctumum præsidium palatii, nihil urbis
vigiliæ, nihil timer populi, nihil consensus bonorum
omnium» nihil hie munitissimus habendi senatus
locus, nihil horum ora vultusque moverunt; patere

8.6 Scotch Roman fro m Alexander Wilson & Sons. Edinburgh, 1833,

founders were especially successful in this period, and it was for the
Glasgow foundry of Alexander Wilson & Sons that Richard Austin
cut the rst Scotch Roman.
There were also, of course, reactions against, the excesses of Ro­
mantic types and typography. In the 1840s the Lyon printer Louis
Perrin designed what he called caractlres Augustaux, with the mod­
erate contrast and humanist axis of Renaissance forms. These were
cut for him by Jean-Michel FugLre. In the same decade, the London
publisher William Pickering commissioned the Caslon foundry to
recast William Casions original designs. Pickering, like Perrin,
found inspiration in the work of sixteenth-century French printers,
though he chose to work with type that was closer to home, being •;
English and Baroque. H e borrowed Aldus s device, the dolphin and
anchor, often adding the motto Aldi discip. anglus, English disciple
of Aldus, to leave no doubt about his meaning. His rst publication

L a d y W illoughby,
h e r C h e e k e b y fom e Q u e ry refpe£ting a p a rti­ 1641.

c u la r P ie ce o f N e e d le -w o rk in h a n d ; a n d
a d d e d , on p e rc e iv in g th e E ffect fh e h a d p ro ­
d u c e d , fh e h a d h e a rd S rt Erafmus de la Foun­
tain m u c h c o m m e n d th e d e lic ate P a te rn e :
w h e re a t p o o re Margaret a tte m p te d to look u p
u n c o n c e rn ’d , b u t w as ob lig ed to fm ile a t h e r
Sifter’s 'P le a fa n try , I w as d ifcreet, a n d le d th e
C o n v erfatio n b a c k to th e S p in n in g .

T h e D ays pafte fm o o th ly , y e t T im e feem eth

very lo n g fince m y d e a re Lord d e p a rte d o n his
Jo u rn e y . W e h e a re no N e w s. Armjlrong w ill
p e rc h a n c e g ain fom e T y d in g s a t Colchefier;
a n d I m u ft a w a it his R e tu rn w ith fu ch P a tie n c e
I can.
Since m y little Fanny s lo n g S icknefte I have
c o n tin u e d th e H a b it o f re m a in in g by h e r a t
n ig h t, fo m etim e a fte r fhe is in B ed : thefe are
Seafons p e c u liarly fw eet a n d fo o th in g ; th e re
feem eth fo m e th in g ho ly in th e A ire o f th e
d im ly lig h te d Chamber, w h e re in is n o S o u n d
h e a rd

8.7 W illiam Pickering s revival ofCaslan s type. London, r& fg

in revived Casion was a ctional journal laid in the seventeenth cen­

tury and entitled The Diary of Lady Willoughby. W ith his English
Baroque type, Pickering often used woodcut decorations based on
French and Italian Renaissance models. These were commissioned
by his printer, Charles Whittingham II, at the Chiswick Press.
À Short History of the Printed Word

If the books of the early nineteenth century were often barren
typographically, they offer a rich harvest of outstanding graphic art
in the form of illustrations. From the early seventeenth century on,
the role of illustration in hook publishing grew steadily in impor­
tance. Intaglio engraving continued to be popular, and it was made
more practical in 1818 by Charles Heath and Jacob Perkins, who to­
gether developed the technique of etching and engraving on steel
rather than copper. This greatly lengthened the life of the plate.
Many artists mastered lithography. Eugène Delacroix’s great
lithographs for Faust (1828) and Honoré Daumier’s for the Paris

chapter vin * The Nineteenth Century

press are notable examples. As the medium spread, it began to in­

fluence letterpress style, and in lesser hands, not for the better. It
was in the nature of Senefelder’s process for doodling to be easy,
and since the craftsmen who lettered on stone were seldom inspired
calligraphers, the results were often pedestrian.
Although photography was developing - both Daguerre and
Talbot were at work as early as 1833 - only in the latter quarter of the
century was it a factor in making reproduction plates for printing.
The chief means of pictorial reproduction at mid-century were
wood, metal engraving and lithography. In some instances, artists
were able to translate their own drawings onto wood, metal or
stone. Most continued to rely on intermediary craftsmen. In time,
When offset printing (a cheaper and faster outgrowth of lithogra-
phy) had developed, it attained popularity in large part by offering
■'new directness in dealing with pictorial material.

A Short History of the Printed Word

Blake and Other Englishmen

William Blake is a singular figure among the illustrators and
bookmakers of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.
He was horn in London in Ï75 7. At an early age he was given lessons
in drawing, and at fourteen was apprenticed to an engraver with
whom he worked for seven years. Blake studied at the Royal Acad­
emy but was unhappy with the atmosphere he found there and left
to set up as an engraver on his own. His rough individualism and
mysticism kept many potential patrons away. Twin inspirations, art
and poetry, forced him to find a means of making his own books,
and the solution was to draw the designs and write the words on
copper with an acid-resisting liquid, and etch die light areas away
with nitric acid. The first of his books was the Songs of Innocence,
1789, and his last completed work was a set of illustrations for the
Book ofJob, made in 1826, a year before he died.

8 .Ï0 Blake, Wood engravings f o r VirgiVs E c l o g u e s . 1821.

2 0 6
J chapter v m * The Nineteenth Century

8 .i t William Blake, The B ook o fJob. 1826.

Blake’s relief-etched books may be considered as updated block

books. So little were they understood and valued at the time that he
would have died in utter poverty had not an admirer commissioned
him to do the Book o f Job. A measure of the contemporary taste is
shown in an explanatory note to Blake’s wood engravings for
Thornton’s Eclogues of Virgil, published in x82x:

The illustrations of this English Pastoral are by the famous Blake, the
, illustrator of Young's Night Thoughts and Blair's Grave, who designed
and engraved them hi?nself. This is mentioned, as they display less of art
than genius, and are much admired by some eminent painters.

Thomas Rowlandson was another of the graphic artists who

bridged the two centuries. He was bom in London just a year be-
' Tore Blake, but he was in no sense a visionary like his great content-
. porary. He was instead a combination of caricaturist and social

A Short History of the Printed Word

8 .1 2 7homas Rowlandson. A quatint illustration fo r T h e V ic a r o f W a k e fie ld .

London, i8iq.

reporter - and as such, a forerunner of the English school of illus­

trators associated especially with the development of the London
magazine Punch. Rowlandson’s medium was aquatint, for which he
did the outline drawings and left the tones to be laid in by special­
ists. The prints were handcolored, frequendy by children. Among
his characteristic illustrations are those for Oliver Goldsmith’s The
Vicar of Wakefield,
A third influential English illustrator of the time was George
Cruikshank, who was bom in 1792. His productive career embraced
seven decades, from 1809 to 1877. Some of his work was engraved
on wood, but a large portion of it, especially the more familiar illus­
trations, was etched. Between 1824 and 1826, he made designs for
German Popular Stories by the Grimm brothers. These, and his
etchings on steel for Oliver Twist and other works by Dickens,

c Ha f t e r v i n * The Nineteenth Century

8 .1 3 George Cruiksbank. Etched illustration fo r O liv e r T w is t. 1838.

. remain his greatest legacy. Oliver Twist appeared initially in parts in

the periodical Bentley VMiscellany, and was issued later in book form.
Serial publication became the routine practice of many Victorian
novelists, and it testifies to a fundamental shift in the interrelation­
ships of readers, writers and texts. General literacy was increasing,
g aristocratic patronage was declining, and authors were eager to find
ways of enlarging their paying audience.

2 0 9
A Short History of the Printed Word

Illustration in France and Germany

The giant of French illustration in the nineteenth century was
Honoré Daumier, bom in Marseilles in 1808 and taken to Paris
in 1814. In 1831, he met Charles Philipon, the liberal publisher of
La Caricature and Le Charivari, and they began a lifetime of collab­
oration. Daumier did a number of vignettes that appeared in books,
and, despite the artists disappointment with some of the engrav­
ings of his work, many of the blocks produced in the 18405 remain
classics among illustrations made on wood. Baudelaire said of
Daumier that “he drew because he had to - it was his ineluctable vo­
cation” Below, a vignette from Physiologie du Robert Macaire, 1842,
likely engraved by Birouste.

8 .1 4 Daumier. Wood engraved illustration fo r R o b e r t M a c a ire . Paris, 1842.

T he artist known as Gavarni (pseudonym of Guillaume Sulpice

Chevalier) lacked the genius of Daumier, hut he was an illustrator
of note and an outstanding lithographer. Among the books to which
he contributed is Les français peints par eux-mêmes, 1848. Gavarni
wras sufficiently admired in his own time to become the subject of an
extensive biography by the Concourt brothers.

chapter vin • The Nineteenth Century

8 .1 5 M enzel Wood-engraved illustration for F r i e d r i c h d e r G ro sz e . 1.840.

Paul Gustave Doré might be called the French Cruikshank, and

in fact the two were friends toward the end of the Englishman’s life.
In the beginning, Doré made his own blocks, but success led him to
seek die collaboration of some of the best wood engravers of his day.
Among his best-loved works are his illustrations for Balzac’s Contes
.drolatiques, Paris, 1855.
Adolph Menzel also had a group of engravers who were as able
as any of their period. During die 1840s, Menzel illustrated Franz
Kugler’s Geschichte Friedrichs des Groszen as well as a number of

2î I
À Short History of the Printed Word

works by the Emperor Friedrich himself. Among those who en­

graved the Menzel blocks were Friedrich Ludwig Unzelmann and
his student, Eduard Kretzschmar, two of the most brilliant crafts­
men who ever worked with woodblocks.

New Presses: Letterpress and Lithography

Nineteenth-century mechanics experimented with rotary mo­
tion for presses, instead of the back-and-forth action of Konig’s
cylinder press. In New York in 1846, Richard Hoe patented a sheet­
fed rotary press. Curved plates for rotary printing from stereotypes
made the system practical. A rotary press fed by a continuous roll of
paper - a web press - was demonstrated in 1865. Ten years later a
four-cylinder perfecting press (a press that prints simultaneously on
both sides of the paper) was built hyJ.G. A. Eickhoff.
In 1851 a mechanical press for lithography was built in Vienna by
George Sigh It was adapted in 1875 for offset printing on tin - a
process not useful for books but important for nineteenth-century
packaging. It was used to put place advertisements on cookie boxes,
signboards and tobacco tins. Offset lithography on paper was not
achieved until the early years of the twentieth century.
As the new machinery was made, old machinery was exported
to other lands. Printing arrived, for example, in Uruguay in 1807,
Burma in t8i6, Costa Rica in 1827, New Zealand in 1830, and in
Thailand around 1836. In New Zealand, though the earliest print­
ers were English colonists, printing in Maori was underway a full
five years before printing in English.

Typesetting: Linotype and Monotype

Two revolutionary devices for setting type mechanically made
their appearance in the last quarter of the nineteenth century.
These were the Linotype machine, invented by Ottmar Mergen-

C H A P T $

th aler in th e iS 8 os, and the M. onotype\ inven ted by Tolbert Lmston

and fundamentally revised by John Seilers Bancroft in the 18pos.
B o th o f these m achines set running copy but the Linotype casts
ty p e lin e b y line in slugs; the M onotype casts individual letters and
assem bles th e m in lines, A Linotype gives cheaper first proofs, but
M o n o ty p e reduces the cost o f subsequent corrections.
M a n y a ttem p ts were made to develop other mechanical aids for
c o m p o sito rs and founders. Chiefly these were sorting or assem-

A Short History of the Printed Word

8 .1 7 Linotype pattern drawing, pattern, mats and punch.

bling devices. But as early as 1830, there were devices for casting
type in bulk for hand composition. By 1862, typecasting machines
could produce completely finished sorts (individual pieces of type)
that were ready for the printer’s cases.
The Linotype machine requires only a single operator. It has a
composing mechanism with a keyboard resembling that of a type­
writer. In response to the opei'ator’s keystrokes, it assembles indiv­
idual matrices from the magazines in which they are stored. The
casting mechanism justifies the line - adds the necessary spacing
between words - and then casts it in one piece. A distributing mech­
anism then returns the matrices to the magazine for reuse.
T he inventor of this machine was born in Stuttgart in 1854 and
moved to the US in 1872. He built his first mechanical typesetting

machine in 1884, but the first production model was that used in
1886 by the New York Tribune. W ith the Simplex Linotype of 1890,
Mergenthaler achieved a reliable device for setting text.
The importance of such a typesetting device went far beyond its
contribution to speeding up composition. The machine cast type as
well as setting it, and the fact that it cast a line at a time made com­
position easier to handle and kept individual letters from working
up. It also gave the printer the equivalent of an inexhaustible type
case. W ith the Linotype, type became disposable, and every job the
printer set was made of fresh, new type, unused, unworn.
So much could not be gained without significant losses. The
price paid was that of flexibility in type design. Like its cousin the
typewriter, the Linotype system imposes various restrictions on
the possible shapes of letters. Most Linotype mats carry two letters
rather than one - usually the same letter in roman and in italic.
Wherever such letters share a matrix they must have a common
width, and this makes the design restrictions all the more apparent.
The competing device, the Monotype machine, consists of two
units - a keyboard and a caster - each requiring an operator. The
basic principle of operation is the preparation of a perforated tape
on the keyboard. This is fed into the caster, where it is read by
means of jets of compressed air. As the tape is read, matrices are se­
lected and letters are cast, one by one. The letters are cooled and as­
sembled in a channel until a line is completed.
The Monotype too restricts the type designer’s freedom, but
less stringently. Roman and italic can have independent widths, and
letters such asf which often kern (overlap) against their neighbors,
are no problem to the Monotype machine. On the Linotype, such
kerning is all but impossible.
Both these machines were made for cheap commercial work and
were adapted only later to the making of fine hooks. They both re-
main in use for making books today - though they are now the tools
:, of art instead of commerce.
A Short History of th e Printed. W o rd

8 , 18 Monotype keyboard and caster.

The Development ofPhotoengraving

Firmin Gillot was a pioneer in developing etched metal relief
plates for letterpress printing. In his early experiments (as in those
of his precursors) designs were put on metal by transfer methods
similar to lithography. By 1870, the technique of making line blocks ,
or cuts on zinc, using photography, was well advanced, and by 1880
the process of breaking up tones into dots by photographing the
original through wire or glass screens had been invented. Zinc was
used for simple linecuts as early as 1840. Copper was preferred to
zinc for halftones ~ images in which gradations of dark and light are
achieved with photographic screens - because of copper’s slower
and more controllable etching qualities. f
In making a photoengraving, the original is photographed and ■
the photographic negative is used to make an acid-resisting positive
on metal. The etching of a line block is done in stages, between each

c h a p T e R v r i t. * The Nineteenth Century

8 .1 9 Monotype mats and punch.

C of which the image, in reli ef, is inked or treated to preserve its acid-
£ resisting qualities. At die heart of photomechanical reproduction
is photography itself, and the work of Niepce, Talbot, Maddox,
, , Pretsch and others led to concurrent progress in photogravure, in-
^ taglio and photolithography, the dominant form of planographic
1/ printing. Discoveries by W H. Fox Talbot led also to the collotype
1 process. This involves making a gelatin printing surface that re-
I quires no screen and can therefore be used for finely detailed repro­
H ductions. Glass used to be used as the base for the gelatin film.

A Short History of the Printed Word

The Periodical Press in Britain

In 1785, in London, John Walter launched the Daily Universal
Register, Three years later it became the Times. Though Walter was
admired for the quality of his reporting, he faced continuous finan­
cial difficulties and began collecting bribes from those who feared
exposure. His son, John Walter II, became publisher of the paper in
1803, and it responded to his moral and economic ministrations.
Advertising revenue replaced the bribes. By 1841, the paper’s circu­
lation had reached 30,000 copies - a number unattainable without
the power-operated press.
In 1841, Punch, or the London Charivari was founded by Ebenezer
Landells, a draftsman and wood-engraver. Landells had worked
with Bewick, and had in turn taught Edmund Evans, the engraver
and printer of those famous color illustrations made for children by
Randolph Caldecott, Kate Greenaway and Whiter Crane.
Early contributors to Punch included Thomas Hood and W il­
liam Makepeace Thackeray, among the writers, and John Leech
and John Tenniel, among the artists. Tenniel, who made his fame
with his illustrations for Alice in Wonderland, drew more than 2,000
cartoons for Punch during his years as chief political cartoonist.
Fifty-odd years later, Ernest Shepard, who served the magazine in
the same capacity, attained his own degree of fame by a similar
means, through his illustrations for A. A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh.
Another notable Victorian literary periodical included Comhill \
Magazine, a monthly founded in i860 with Thackeray as its editor
and Anthony Trollope, John Ruskin, Matthew Arnold and Eliza­
beth Gaskell among its contributors. Earlier in the century, the |
Edinburgh Review had made a name for itself chiefly as a journal of
literary criticism rather than fiction. In its pages Arnold, Thomas |
Carlyle, Walter Hazlitt, Thomas Babington Macaulay and Walter
Scott appeared. The Edinburgh Review survived until 1929, but then
as now, many magazines of literary value lived brief lives. T he Yellow |


f .. . 5

Velum* I April ÎS94,

Bkwton; CejfwUwd é?

8 .2 0 The Y e l l o w B ook. Cover design hy Aubrey Beardsley.

Book, an illustrated quarterly, was founded in 1894 and lasted only

s- until 1897. Its contributors, however, included Aubrey Beardsley,
Max Beerbohm, Henryjames and Edmund Gosse.
. Many other vibrant literary cultures had existed long before and
§y, still existed then upon the earth, but most of them were oral. Never
fif. before had literary works been delivered in this way, in mass­
if, produced and regularly scheduled packages, to readers who were
fm ass-p ro d u ced themselves by way of state and private schooling
A Short History of the Printed Word

focused heavily on literacy skills. The power-operated press did for

reading what the railroad did for travel.
Europe, however, was not content to undergo this evolution on
its own. Literacy itself became the new religion, preached at home
and fervently exported, with Christianity, all across the world.

The Periodical Press in North America

Important nineteenth-century N orth American periodicals in­
clude the Dial, a quarterly published in Boston and Concord from
1840 to 1844. (Another, longer-lasting magazine of the same name
was founded in New York in 1880.) T he original DiaVs editors
and principal contributors were Margaret Fuller, Henry David
Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emerson himself complained
that it was timid in design, that the type was too small, and that the
prose in the first issue was inadequate even “to scare the tenderest
bantling of Conformity.” All too true. But for four years, the Dial
was the only place to read the increasingly plain-spoken and in­
creasingly important work of Thoreau.
There were other ventures to the north: the short-lived Cana­
dian Magazine and Canadian Review, published in Montreal in the
1820s, and the much longer-lived and livelier Revue canadienne,
which ran from 1864 to 1922. Back in the US, four monthly maga­
zines of high repute were launched beginning at mid-century:
Harper’s Monthly Magazine (1850), the Atlantic Monthly (185 7), ^ie
Century Illustrated Monthly (1880) and Scribner’s Magazine (1887).
Harper’s first editor, Henry Jarvis Raymond, could only give the
magazine a portion of his day because in 1851 he joined two other
men to found the New York Times. In its early years, Harper’s de­
pended largely on British authors. Later, it published Henry James,
Herman Melville, Mark Twain and Owen Wister. Among those
who produced its illustrations were Edwin Abbey, A.B. Frost,
Winslow Homer and Howard Pyle.

2 2 0
ch ap T Er v n j • The N i n e t e e n t h C e n tu r y

T he Atlantic owes its name as well as its early reputation to

Oliver Wendell Holmes, whose Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table ap­
peared in its pages in serial form. James Russell Lowell was its first
editor. Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and James Green-
leaf W hittier were among its other earliest contributors,
Theodore Low De Vinne, who printed the Century, distin­
guished himself by commissioning a typeface for this purpose. It
was the first type specifically designed for a periodical, and it grew
to encompass a large family, often used for books as well. The first
of the Century' types were cut by Linn Boyd Benton in 1894. Many
variants were added in due course by his son, Morris Fuller Benton,
These unlovely but legible and unpretentious types served their
sponsor well, and their digital descendants are in widespread use
Scribner VMagazine was started by the younger Charles Scribner
after his father had sold the earlier Scribner’s Monthly. It, too, had a
remarkable list of authors, among them Robert Louis Stevenson,
William and Henry James, Bret Harte, Rudyard Kipling, Stephen
Crane and George Washington Cable.
All these magazines had something else in common. They were
owned and operated by book publishers.
The American press was not handicapped by restrictive special
taxation in the nineteenth century and was more free to develop
than was the press in England, Bulwer-Lytton pointed out, in the
; 1830s, that while one in thirty-six bought newspapers in England,
one in four bought them in Pennsylvania. However, neither their
freedom nor their relatively great numbers and wide circulation
. kept newspapers in the United States from indulging in a type of

An early entry in the nineteenth century was the New York

SBveningPost (1801), which was backed by Alexander Hamilton and
|Wâs intended to present the Federalist point of view. In 1826,
William Cullen Bryant joined the paper and in 1829 became its ed-

A Short History of t h e Printed Word

itor. Bryant moved the Post into a position of supportingjacksonian

democracy. Among those associated with, the Post as editor was
Edwin Lawrence Godkin, later founder of The Nation.
In 1825, just prior to Bryant’s arrival in New York, the New York
Advertiser became the first American newspaper to use a steam-
driven press. It was a Napier, an improved version of the Kônig
press used by the London Times. Its capacity was 2,000 copies per
hour. By 1830, Foudrinier machines were being used in American
paper mills, and type foundries had replaced their handcasting
molds with machine casters. Such advances in the mechanics of
production help to account for the fact that the five most important
New York dailies were begun between 1833 and 1866: the New York
Sun (1833), the New York Herald (183 5), the New York Tribune (1841),
the New York Times (1851) and the New York World (1866). But of all
these, only the Times has survived.
Benjamin Day started the Sun, whose most noted editor, after
Day, was Charles A. Dana. The Herald was founded by James G or­
don Bennett and was continued by his son. The younger Bennett
also launched the Paris Herald. fie turned to Richard Harding
Davis and Mark Twain for contributions, in addition to conceiving
such circulation-building features as Henry M. Stanley’s expedition
to find David Livingstone. In 1924 the paper was merged with the
Tribune under the ownership of Ogden Reid. The Tribune was
founded and edited by Horace Greeley, who was called the greatest
journalistic influence in the United States. His tolerance of new
ideas helped to make him a constructive crusader. The World was
begun as a religious newspaper, but attained neither character nor
strength until its purchase in 1883 by Joseph Pulitzer.
Henry Raymond, the first editor of Harper's Monthly, was also
associated with Horace Greeley on the New York Tribune before
joining with George Jones and Edward Wesley to found the New
York Times. His aim, he said, was to publish a paper known and re­
spected for accurate reportage. For the most part, however, the

newspaper business in America has involved the manufacture of
news as well as its reportage.
Machine-set type and power-driven presses make large runs and
fast production possible. At the same time, they necessitate large
sales. Yet news-sheets supported by their readership alone have not
been seen in public since the eighteenth century. In general, as the
frequency of a publication rises, so does its dependence on advertis­
ing revenue. Under these conditions, the price of Raymond’s dream
- the price of accurate reportage, if that can be attained - is a com­
panion diet of biased, inaccurate claims. The newspaper’s function
is twofold : to deliver news to the reader, and to deliver the reader to
advertisers. They, not the reader, pay the wages of the editors and
journalists and die publisher’s considerable bills.

The American Point and Other Standard Systems

The United States Founders Association, in 1886, established a
committee to study and formulate a point system for American
founders comparable to the Didot system in Europe. The Ameri­
can point system employs a pica unit, which is divided into 12 parts
called points. In metric terms, 83 picas is roughly 35 cm, and one
point is roughly 0.35 mm. This system remains in use wherever, in
Britain and N orth America, metal type is used.
Caught up in the general zeal for standardization, in 1884 Linn
Boyd Benton, inventor of the pantographic punchcutting machine,
led the way in what he called “self-spacing” type, later to be known
as “point-set.” His purpose was to assure even lines, and to achieve
this it was necessary to distort the individual letterforms. An addi­
tional regularizing was the introduction of the Standard Lining
-System, intended to enable typefaces of different families and sizes
to be aligned more easily. The shop convenience and economic ad­
vantage of these “improvements” were bought at high cost to indi­
vidual letterforms and the effect of the type on the page.
A Short H i s to r y of t h e Printed Word

8 .2 1 Morris. The Kehnscott Chaucer. London , i S<j 6 .

William, M oms
Among those who disliked the steady conquest of craftsmanship
by the machines was the Englishman 'William Morris. He was bom
in 1834 and educated at Oxford, first for the church, then for a ca­
reer in architecture. He took up painting, but was unhappy with an
art focused more on the museum than on living a good life. He
turned then to design - as applied to illumination, stained glass,
wallpaper, rugs and furniture. Morris also wrote both poetry and
prose throughout his life. Before he set up his own press, he had one
book printed by the Chiswick Press, a shop affiliated with Pickering
and so with the Caslon revival. Morris’s socialism and romantic
ideas of the nobility of labor were practiced at a safe distance from
any knowledge of financial hardship. He had sufficient means to al­
low him to satisfy his reasonable desires.
Morris established the KelmscottPress in 1891. It was named for

Kelmscott Manor House, in Oxfordshire, which he had shared with
Dante Gabriel Rosetti twenty years before, but it was located at
another Kelmscott House, in Hammersmith, London. This was
Morris’s home from 1878 until his death in 1896.
His advisor and associate in the press was Emery Walker, an
English engraver and printer who was one of the most versatile de­
signers, and one of the best typographic scholars, ever to work in
England. Edward Prince, a punchcutter chosen by Walker, cut the
three types - Golden, Chaucer and Troy - that Morris designed.
The printing was done on a handpress, the Albion, devised by
Richard Cope in 1823. Such a press lowers the platen by a toggle ac­
tion rather than a screw. This gives a clearer tactile sense of the mo­
tion of the platen and makes possible more sensitive adjustments of
impression. It also lessens wear and tear on the pressman.

such as choose to seek it : it is neither

prison, nor palace, buta decent home.
[ L L ta m c m js e i/
"CR6R praise nor
blame, but say that
so itis: som e people
praise th is homeli­
n ess overmuch, as
if the land were the
■very axle/tree o f the
world ; so do n ot X, nor any unblind- •
ed by pride in them selvesandall that
belongs to them : others therearewbo
scorn it and the tam eness o f it: not
I any the more: though it would in­
deed be bard if there were nothing
8 .2 2 W illiam Morris . Troy type.
À Short H i s to r y of the Printed Word

Morris preached a doctrine of interdependent factors in book­

making: type, paper, ink, imposition and impression must he con­
sidered together. He regarded two facing pages as the unit. His
edition of Chaucer, illustrated by his Oxford friend, Edward Burne-
Jones, is one of his most highly prized books. Along with his con­
temporaries, T.J. Cob den-Sanderson with the Doves Press and
Charles Ricketts with the Vale Press, Morris called attention to the
inherent qualities of all typography and to the basic nature of letter-
press printing in particular. H e demonstrated that a typographer
does not need endless sizes of type, but he needs consistency. It is
not the amount of ornament that enhances and gives variety to a
page of type, it is the harmony between the two. Above all, he
taught those who were interested to learn the value of reexamining
tire past and to profit by it. Even artists and designers repelled by
the diickness of the undergrowth in Morris’s designs have been
touched by his devotion to the marriage of art and craft. When
Morris died, just five years after setting up the Kelmscott Press, he
could hardly have imagined that the influence of his ideas would be
so great.


The Early Twentieth Century: 1900-1940

’h i l e t h e k e lm s c o t t was still in operation, sev­


W eral other private presses of note were founded in England,

among them C. H. St John Hornby’s Ashendene Press and Lucien
Pissarro’s Eragny Press, both in 1894. In 1900, T.J. Cobden-
Sanderson and William Morris’s former associate, Emery Walker,
established the Doves Press, only a few steps from the old Kelm-
scott premises. All of these presses had special types designed for
them, and in each case tire punches were cut by Edward Prince of
London, who had also cut the Kelmscott faces.
The Doves Press type differs markedly from the others. Like
Morris’s Golden type, it draws its inspiration chiefly from the ro­
man of Nicolas Jenson, but the Doves Roman possesses, like its
model, a deep simplicity which Morris’s type does not. It is a mod­
em type, in the same sense that the paintings of Paul Cézanne (who
died in 1906) are modern paintings. Morris, like his friend D.G.
Rossetti, remained to the end of his life something other than a
modern. He remained what art historians call a Pre-Raphaelite.
(Here it is necessary to explain that, in older books about typog­
raphy, the term “modern” is often used in another sense. It is used
to mean “Romantic” - i.e., type such as Bodoni’s and Firmin Di­
dot’s. This outdated terminology is based on a somewhat simplistic
y division of type into “old style” - meaning Renaissance or Baroque
“ and “modern” - meaning Romantic, In the nineteenth century,
A Short History of the Printed Word

/ ~ \ D I profanum vulgus Si arceo ;

V - / Favete linguis : carmina non prius
Audita Musarum sacerdos
V irginibus puerisqj canto.
Regum tunendorum in proprios grege
R eges in ipsos imperium est lovts,
Clari Giganteo triumpbo,
Cuncta supercilto movenns.
Est ut viro vir (atius ordinet
Arbusta sulcis, btc generosior
Descendat in Campum peator,
9-i Askendene Press typey based on the first type ofSweynheym & Parmartz.

' titm t ih a ï th e y ph»U myt 'T h e

::iâ & tk ï h m / m & y r h v à ftoofctut
■' ifeft ÎR«Â'.


«a0Wfe^gè;Of’ ;
.: 8 f s » ; l ê W i » â h ïîte iys-Æti is f tt^ * .y .'"... v ;
.::^ât .^ssëit^ .v.

y ^ y y ; y ; y : - y-;.n:vy:«iiiâ& -

9 .2 Pissarro. Eragny Press B o o k o f R u th a n d E s th e r. 18y 6.

when Romantic type was new, such terminology made a kind of
*»• sense. It makes much more sense now to speak about typography in
the same terms used for all the other arts.)

9 .3 T.J. Cobdm-Sanderson. Doves Press Bible. 190$.

([These Books printed, as a first essay, the whole

fieldof literature remains open to select from.To-day
v there is an immense reproduction in an admirable
cheap form, of all Books which in any language have
stood the test of time. But such reproduction is not
a substitute for the more monumental production of
the same works, & whether by The Doves Press or
some other press or presses, such monumental pro­
duction, expressive of man’s admiration, is a legiti­
mate ambition and a public duty. Great thoughts
deserve &demand a great setting, whether in build­
ing, sculpture, ceremonial, or otherwise ; & the great
works of literature have again and again to be set
forth in forms suitable to their magnitude. And this
ÿ q Emery Walker & T.J. Cobden-Sanderson. Doves Roman.

A Short History of the Printed Word

Mrs, /h m ry 's Letters

i. haw. ptrjimmi y m , my -stems?

Moths.!1, *n «amtrt afSMwtl of my *>£#-
rep»*.« cjtprràtww,’' Ï take tin', f e î ot>-
portsmivy to (w »m «iw f after lihmiaan
ïï-ïvm w«. You, I #m .■tun,':, wifi n»m<ssi~
bar the left
Brookline with you; anti our te si -sdi«i
at Dedham : that fisrling scero I shall l«sg n ‘m w ttbw --w ;h
îïiDiiioîiï-ï at* not easily obliterated from the memory? We
reached Provafcnee to (deep, «(tec « mebrst.'holv tide, which,
however, wait much sa ilsvetted to M‘ Ameory by M‘ E- Preble'*
wwiipany, who very kindly atlendtal ijk to N. Vm'fc. and r o
mnined there with u* till the eve* before we «ailed. Before
leaving Providence we ;>•>;.i » long vtoh to our Blends the
Arnolds, who mceived us with even more than t t e f usual
kimlnefs. At noon ire tofik paftHgo in the Stetunbaii, where
among «tilers of our acquamtanca», we «oqgniased M" tc M"
N. Amory, who, however, stopped at. Newport. In *fst« of my

9.5 Updike. The Wedding Journey of Charles and Martha Amory. 1922.
The United States : Updike, Rogers and Goudy
Prince also cut three types for H erbert Horne, a designer asso- •
elated with Morris. O f the three, Montailegro had its initial use in
Condivi’s Life of Michelagnolo Buonarotti, printed by the Merry-
mount Press in Boston. Merrymount was established in 1893
Daniel Berkeley Updike, one of America’s most distinguished and
able printers. His two great achievements were the operation of
press as a commercial establishment with impeccable standard,
and his book entitled PrmtingTypes: Their History, Forms and Use.

The Early Twentieth Century: 1900-1940

■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ I
I H ü iiM
; A^fc?]*.V':;

Mmiay, OS&'r.fs&mt,
ABOUT th<*e o'dock aftaraooft, 1
X\ b«g«ft infJnuaty fem Bofton
îoNcw-Hwchi bring about ram iHun*
<tocdMile- MfKinsman, Cap, Rabat
Luife, waked! on men» Hat as Dc41»am,
»few i m s tummy* Weftem po&.
IS !

9 .7 Rogers, j o u r n a l o f M a d a m K n ig h t. 1920.
À Short H is to r y o f th e Printed Word

tW a s b o m in a c a v e rn o f th e s e m o u n ta in s . ?
Like t h e river in y o n d e r v alley ,w h o se first
drops S o w f ro m so m e cliff that w eeps in a j
deep grotto, the first moments o f my life ;
sped amidst t h e sh a d o w s of a secluded re/
treat, nor vexed its silence. As our mothers ;
draw near their term, they retire to th e c a v /
erns, and in the innermost recesses of the
wildest of them all, where the darkness is
most dense, they bring forth, uncomplaining, offspring as silent as!
themselves. Their s tr e n g tf v g m n g m ilk enables us to endure with/
out weakness or dubious struggles the first difficulties of life; yets
9 .8 Rogers. Centaur type, uj 15.

T he most important American typographer of the early twenti ­ 1

eth century was undoubtedly Bruce Rogers, who for a time was an
associate of Updike’s. In 1896 he became director of the Riverside
Press in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a subsidiary of the publishing
firm of Houghton, Mifflin. Later, he became the very prototype
of the modern freelance typographer. (In doing so, however, he
was actually reenacting a Renaissance form. Francesco Griffo and
Robert Granjon had worked on the same pattern.)
I11 his three-score years of book designing, Rogers worked for
many publishers, including the university presses of Cambridge
and Oxford. In 1935 he designed his Oxford Lectern Bible. Rogers
was also associated for a number of years with the admirable Print­
ing House of William Rudge, at M t Vernon, New York, and in Eng­
land he worked with Emery Walker. He designed two typefaces,
Montaigne (1901) and Centaur (1914). The latter is his masterpiece.
It is based, like the Doves Roman, on the work of Nicolas Jenson,
and like the Doves Roman, it transforms its fifteenth-century
model into a new and modern type.
chapter ix • The E a r ly T w e n tie th C e n tu r y : ig o 0-194 0

e r p ftp lp b e t
Chapter L W fmt Letters Are

LETTER is a symbol, with a definite

shape i? significance, indicating a single sound
o r combination o f sounds, and providing a
means, through grouping, for the visible ex­
pression o f words— that is, o f thoughts.
Originally .letters w ere adaptations o f natural
forms employed in picture-writing, b u t by a
process o f evolution, [actually degradation,}
they have become arbitrary signB w ith little
resemblance to the symbols from w hich they are derived. These arbitrary
shapes have passed through their periods o f uncertainty and change; they
have a long history and manifold associations; they are classics, and should
not be tampered w ith, except w ithin limits th a t just discretion may allow.
A n ornamental form once found is repeated, the eye grows accustomed
to it and expects its recurrence; it becomes established by use; it may be
associated w ith fundamental ideas o f life and nature and is handed on and
on, until finally its origin and meaning are, perhaps, lost. Just so, the picto­
rial significance o f individual letters is so deeply buried in oblivion that
special study and research w ould be necessary to resurrect their original
form or meaning— an undertaking no t essential here.
Language itself, as an organised system, was o f necessity slow in devel­
oping; the next steps, th e approaches tow ard a more or less phonetic al­
phabet, were equally lingering; for speech existed long before it was dis­
covered th at the human voice could be represented by symbols— thus
C9 }
9 .9Frederic Gaudy. Opening page o / T h e A lp h a b e t. Kennerley type with a
handlettered title.

In 1903, Frederic W. Goudy, a Midwestern accountant turned

letterer and type designer, set up the Village Press at Park Ridge,
Illinois. Though he started late, Goudy became one of the most
prolific type designers in printing history. His earliest work is ama-
, teurish; his mature work is fluent, historically well-grounded, yet
quite patently his own. In addition to his types, he produced two
books on letters: The Alphabet and Elements ofLettering,
y Goudy captured the imagination of American printers as no
. other type designer has, and his name became familiar in print­
-shops all across the country. He came into the field at a time when

À Short His tow of the Printed Word

pantographic engraving machines were beginning to replace the

ancient process of cutting punches by hand, and in his later years
Goudy used such a machine to make his own mats. The results,
more often than not, show traces of overstatement in design, and
this has tended to reduce the effectiveness of his faces for setting
any large amount of text. Among his finest types - not the most
often seen - are Deepdene and Kennerley, T he latter is named for
Mitchell Kennerley, who published Goudy’s books on letter design.

Edward Johnston and His Friends

It seems to me that the one in all drat Morris ambi ence who con­
tributed most to the twentieth-century renaissance in letters was
Edward Johnston, an English calligrapher who managed to com­
bine a productive life in ornamental lettering with a remarkable
career in teaching. To most of us now, Johnston is the author of
Writing and Illuminating, and Lettering, the outstanding book in the
field. It is not likely to be unknown to anyone who has seriously at­
tempted to learn calligraphy or to learn the craft of making letters
during the last sixty years. Published in 1906, it has been reprinted
countless times. Johnston’s pupils included Eric Gill, William
Graily Hewitt and Anna Simons. Close to him in his last years was
Alfred Fairbank, a calligrapher and teacher of note. I have asked
him to provide a glimpse of his friend :

I recall Edward Johnston as a serious and courteous man, weary from ill :
health, but with a startling and delightful clarity o f mind. He was a per- \
fectionist. Once, too briefly and inadequately, I said to him that I did not \
believe in perfection. His immediate response was: “1 believe in the Book o f
Kells/ ”Always he was in search ofthe Truth and his integrity often caused \
him to confess defects in his work. His last 'message to the Society ofScribes ï
and Illuminators was this: ^Study your dictionaries. For instance, look up I
the word aùôévTtjs (authéntes), ‘one who does things himself;first hand; \

:•' c h a p t e r i x ® The Early Twentieth Century : 1900-194 o

' opposite to copied; real, actualgenuine; opposite topretend; reallyproceed-

'I' ingfrom its reputed source or author. ”
As a calligrapher he was unequalled, and his design ofscripts and in-
/ ■ scriptions was an expression of his genius. His work was mainly based cm
Ms belief that the pen with a broad nib is essentially the letter-making tool.
- In 1916 he designed the sans serif ofLondon’s Underground railway and
' thus led attention awayfrom the current Victorian debased desigtiers. His
other type designs, made for Count Kessler, although based upon the
lettera rotunda script of the lyth century and the italic type used in G.A.




;: 9 , ï o H arry Kessler. Cranach Press Virgil. Title with Maillol woodcut. 192d

A S h o r t H i s t o r y o f th e P r in t e d W o r d

Tagliente ’s writing :manual, were given new life byJohnston’s calligraphic

knowledge and skill and the cutting ofthe punches by Edward Prince and,
when Prince died, by George Friend.

9.11 Maillol. Woodcut illustration for Virgil.

The English arts and crafts movement, especially as represented

by Morris and Johnston, was received with great enthusiasm in
Germany. The Count Kessler referred to by Fairbank was Harry
Kessler, founder of the Cranach Press of Weimar. Its first publi­
cation was a set of three bilingual editions of'Vi r gifs Eclogues (Latin ;
with German, English and French) illustrated by Aristide Maillol
Kessler planned the work, then commissioned Emery Walker to
oversee it, using initials and title lettering by Johnston and G ill
Work began in 1912, but World War I forced an interruption. Work -
resumed in 1925, and the book was finished the following year.
These three English artists, Walker, Johnston and Gill, also de- ;
signed the typographic format and created calligraphic title pages i

chapter i x * The Early Twentieth Century: 1900-1940

usecunmmmm acnwi
irdltflir ft rougir de bcmm, ear « jeune adepte la fimé da pmtm Prmfa done, ü a dbfts (m

tsearcefle la' râniçon:de deÿx-rois! "•
.Tou* trois, ifc desceft&ftni de 1atelier et chetm-
(K-rentcit devisant: fur ies;am,jusqu'à une belle ammn

9.12 Picasso. Illustration fo r Balzac's Le Chef-d’œuvre inconnu. 1947*

for a series of classics printed early in the century by Carl Ernst

Poeschel for the Ins el Verlag, Leipzig.
An extremely able printer, Poeschel played a role in Germany
not unlike that played by Updike in America. In 1907 he joined
Walter Tiemann, an illustrator and typographer, to form the Janus-
: Presse. They continued to produce hooks by hand with that imprint
•until 1923. Tiemann, who illustrated for the Insel Verlag and de­
signed a number of typefaces for the Klingspor type foundry in
Offenbach, was also the director of the Leipzig Academy,
A Short History of the Printed Word

Entende done. Tristes Os, mm pats.

Et vois mfin ce qu’ite ont fait
De cette humaine, si belle.
films m>p sonores peuMire bien, faut (te bruits incongrus
que te Fréter d'Athènes a prohibés hier sur ben» papier
blanc cote noos a coûté quelques deniers, et ces bruits
renaissent pire discordants encore. Le Préfet affirme
que tour homme de progrès devra s'y habituer ; d’autres
assurant mettre au point des disques parfaits, admettons-
te, à condition que ce soit ma colombe qui roucoule sur
mon «sur en mineur et non les aboveurs de ia Bourse
de Paris par hauMiurtear. La sic est amère et ce peuple,
donc on vantait te bonne humeur, semble triste à crever :
ce n'est pas vous, vaillants humoristes, qui lui rendrez la
(oie avec vos petits craquetons, si amusants qulls soient.

9 .1 3 Rouault Wood-engraved illustrations. C ir q u e d e P é to ile fila n te . 1938.

France: Livres de Peintres

In France, the printing revival was directed toward die develop­
ment of illustrated books. The publisher and art dealer Ambroise
Vollard was of singular importance in this regard. His artists make
an extraordinary list, including Bonnard, Dufy, Picasso, Rouault
and Dunoyer de Segonzac. His first book, Verlaine’s Parallèlem ent ,
was illustrated with large marginal lithographs by Bonnard against
which the poetry was set in a. generous size of Jean Jannon’s italic,
printed letterpress by die Imprimerie Nationale. After the work.

c h a p t e r ix * The Early Twentieth Century: 1900-1940

9 .1 4 Manet. Lithographic illustration fo r Poe's T h e R aven. Paris, 1875.

was completed in 1900, the directorate of the Imprimerie took ex­

ception to the text and recalled the edition, save for a few copies that
had been distributed. Voliard’s exacting and detailed attention to
his books often delayed their completion. At his death in 1939, a
score of books were in production and in some instances a quarter
of a century had elapsed between commissioning and completion.
Bringing the works of painters into poets’ books was not a new
idea. Edouard Manet and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec had both led
the way in lithographic illustration. M anet’s illustrations for Poe’s
Raven point up the misfortune that he did so few. But not all pub-
A Short His ton' of the Printed Word

lishers of livres de peintres v t s t t as insistent as Vollard on getting the

very best from craftsmen and materials - and the market for limited
editions did not demand the quality Vollard was determined to
provide. In 1967 Henri Jonquières, an eminent French printer-
publisher, told me that the buy ers of deluxe limited editions were
increasingly concerned with the value of illustrated books as invest­
ments radier than as works of art and were moved more by the name
of the artist than by the quality of his prints and the text and typog­
raphy that went with diem.

The Twenties: The Offenbacher Werkstatt

Among the European ateliers that began and flourished after
World War I, Rudolf Koch's Offenbacher Werkstatt was one of the
most professional and influential. It had the character of a private
studio, yet it enjoyed the closest possible relationship with an out­
standing type foundry and with an excellent arts and crafts school.
As instructor of calligraphy at the school, Koch gave some of Ger­
many’s finest printers their knowledge of the forms and arrange­
ment of letters. In addition to these personal connections, he had
earned the respect and admiration of most of the graphic artists
of Europe and of some in the United States, where his types Koch
An tiqua (Eve) and Neuland were introduced in the 1920s.
The Werkstatt consisted of the studio where Koch and his chief
assistants worked on the projects that were graphic in nature, and a
second large workroom devoted to the making of tapestries, both
woven and embroidered. In a nearby building, Gustav Eichenauer
maintained a shop for engraving and punchcutting. Former associ­
ates, in other towns, were available for special assignments in mural
painting, silversmithing and calligraphy.
The projects undertaken by the Werkstatt were divided be­
tween those initiated in the studio, chiefly by Koch, and those
which came in as commissions from private patrons, publishers and

; ch a pt er ix • The E arly Tw entieth C a n a ry : ip 0 0 -1 9 4 0


9 ,1 5 Eichenauer. Proof o f roman type designed by Warren Chappell and cut in
dead by Gustav Eichenauer. 1955.

ecclesiastical sources. The example of Morris is obvious here, but

the manner in which ideas were carried out was much closer to the
functioning of a Renaissance than of a Victorian studio.
When I was with the group, in 1931 and 193 2, Koch’s chief assis­
tant and coworker was the woodcutter Fritz Kredel. His principal
aid in calligraphy was Berthold Wolpe. A third regular helper was
Richard Bender, whose job it was to clean up drawings for re­
production and, in some instances, to sharpen the etched lines of
bsVï finished plates with a graver.
The master of the studio, Koch, was not an administrator. He
guided his assistants, all of whom had been his pupils, by a subtle
force of personality. He was not a strong man, either in fact or ap­
pearance. Bom in Nürnberg in 1876, the son of a sculptor, he was a
student at the Munich Academy when his father’s death forced him
to seek a trade. Koch chose to become a goldsmith, and, like Guten­
( T berg, he eventually put some of that training and experience into
 Short History of the Printed Word

cutting type. T he three types which Koch designed directly on

metal were his Jessen, Neuland and Marathon,
N o project undertaken in the Werkstatt better exemplifies the
Koch approach than the making of D as B lum enbuch , a book of 250
wildflowers which Koch drew and Fritz Kredel cut on pearwood.
Several years were required to execute the cuts. After that, the
printing was done by Friedrich Wilhelm Kleukens’s Mainzer Press
and the book handcolored by Emile Woellner, in Leipzig. It was
completed in October of 1930. It was financed from the beginning
by Koch, and was a hilly realized production when it was turned
over to the Insel Verlag for distribution.

ihi: m pm -vr. sî' ïlifehH /-fe ftîWSîcôï ,7 .7 / '

■ tk. -1
' gknmer, i m \
wai nsssdy gïaïgf '. -7
7;/"-' west jo%, ctarn?^ sfmcï kf.ked istg vi&ta éf ,
v ■
whereas '
'if . ;a$ W â fine' ^jmiajfa'ïtesïïs. <8* «*k .:
‘7 odbàrb)?ckw<Md»$^ «W* .
.mtft fwdhead 'ÏKô> <**!»*£. .:

9MÊÊÈÈÊÏËÈÊBÏt t S Î É ^ liliS i

9.16 Jan van Krimpen's Lutetia type. 1925.

c h a p t e r ix * T h e E a r ly T w e n tie th C e n tu r y : 1 9 0 0 - 1 9 4 0

T y p e D e s ig n in th e 1 9 2 0 s

For printing in general, World War I was more than an inter-

■mption; it marked the end of an era. At war's end, those who had
learned their craft under the influence of die Morris revival, and
had rediscovered calligraphy through the teaching of Edward
Johnston, became leaders in the printing arts, and in a number of
cases became teachers themselves. Eric Gill, Rudolf Koch, Walter
Tiemann, Emil Rudolf Weiss, Paul Renner and Ernst
are all outstanding examples. In this period, the 1920s, a type
designer who came to prominence was Jan van Krimpen, chief
designer for Joh. Enschedé en Zonen in the Netherlands. His first
type, Lutetia, was cut and cast in 1924-25 and imported into North
America shortly afterward. An early use of it was Jésus C hrist en
Flandre , privately printed in New York at the Strawberry Hill Press
in 1928, with wood engravings by Allen Lewis.
Late in 1957, the year before his death, Van Krimpen and I ex­
changed views on punchcutting. He wrote that his own engraver,
Paul Helmuth Radisch, with whom he had worked for thirty years,
“has grown, alas, more and more polished.” I regretted that our
postal colloquy could not have continued, for it seemed to me he
must have recognized that his own tight style of working allowed
little opportunity for a punchcutter to make his particular contribu-
v tion. Van Krimpen quoted Gill : “Letters are things, not pictures of
if things.” It is exactly that distinction that has been so sorely tried,
' time and time again.
Koch had an almost equally long association with his own
• punchcutter, Eichenauer. W hen I was studying with Koch and
: could watch his method of working, I was always aware that his atti-
t : tude toward the process of designing was creative rather than eclec-
tlc. His rotunda, called Wallau, was used in 1931-32 to print a
If German transl ation of a story by Boccaccio, taken from Day Three
f of the D ecam eron . The book included woodcut illustrations by Fritz

A Short Hi s t o r y of the Printed W o r d

Kredel, carefully planned - like the woodcuts in the H y p n e iv-

tom achia Poliphili of Aldus ~ to answer to the color of the type. As if
happens, the type is very similar in flavor to the hand in which Boc­
caccio wrote his own fair copy of the D ecameron , now owned by the i
Staatsbibliothek (State Library) in Berlin - hut the handwriting in i
that manuscript had not yet been identified as Boccaccio’s when
Koch set and printed his edition of the story.
Here Koch’s Wallau, cut by Eichenauer, and Morris’s Troy type,
cut by Edward Prince, are compared.

else in tbc world, no wonders, no ter­

rors, no unspeakable beauties. Yet
when we tbink wbat a sm all part o f
tbe world’s history, past, present, &
9 . 1 7 Comparison o f a rotunda type designed by William Morris and one cut by
R udolf Koch. M orris’s Troy, above; Koch’s Wallau, below.

7\ls er aber ben grôBtm Tell berfelben

auf bie nâmUche Wetfe an einem Punk*
te gefehortn fab, rounberte er rich unb
fpradi bei fich felbft: «Derjenlg^ben fch

It seems to me that the call igraphic forms of the Troy font fail to '
achieve the naturally organic characteristics of a rotunda, and in­
stead only imitate the models on which they were based. J
In addition to Eichenauer, who worked for the Klingspor
foundry, there were other able punchcutters during the 1920s ami
early thirties. PaulHelmuth Radisch, already mentioned, worked at
the Enschedé foundry in Haarlem, where he cut most of the types
designed by Jan van Krimpen. Louis Hoell, at the Bauer foundry in
Frankfurt, cut die types designed by Emil Rudolf Weiss. He also
cut, on private commission, fonts for Willi Wiegand of the Bremer

; : j \ Chapt er i x • T h e E a r ly T w e n tie th C e n t u r y : i ÿ o o —i y f .o

i:SM$MtCéâîtmu *
jjg f^ G pS C
g fg ft felifBm titfelhe ; ■■:" •
m ûÊn$$m , : V ; ’. - • ".,
fflS:Pg tt'rrbob fflfbdn toe Zimmer Orr
;§ ÿ ;;k d î^ ^ gteg, ‘

■ I

§ 1:

: ..■ '■■CTç;- ' \ ' ' ' y T CCÀ

9 .1 8 Rudolf Koch’s Wallau type. Boccaccio, K o n ig A g iiu lf . 1 9 5 2 .

Presse and for Joseph Blumenthal of the Spiral Press. August

yRosenberger, typecutter for the Stempel foundry, also in Frankfurt,
Çput the early types of Hermann Zapf, including the original foundry
. versions of Palatino and of Optima. In addition, he engraved Zapf’s
Î! calligraphic panels published in 1950 under the title Feder u n d
Stichel: one of the century’s major works of calligraphic art. Work­
ing as an independent craftsman, Charles Malin of Paris cut for Eric
I Gill the first sizes of his Perpétua. Malin also worked for other ty-
: pographers of importance, including Stanley Morison, Frederic
}Warde and Giovanni Mardersteig.

À Short H is to r y of the P r in t e d Word

The Bauhaus and the Geometric Letter
Founded in 1919 in Weimar for the integral teaching of art and
craft, the Bauhaus exerted a large influence on typography in Eu­
rope in the 1920s. Its original staff included Walter Gropius, Marcel
Breuer, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Lyonel Feininger, Josef
Albers, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. The j
Bauhaus ideal, as stated by Gropius, was “a restriction to typical J
basic form and color, intelligible to all.” In type this was expressed
by rationally constructed alphabets, free of serifs and contrasts.
Paul Renner - never himself a member of the Bauhaus - de­
signed such a face in 1925. It was cut by the Bauer type foundry and
given the name Futura. This appeared for a long time to be the most
successful of the sanserif types, and it was adapted early on for ma­
chine composition. The Belgian designer Henry Van de Velde used
it for literary texts from the moment it appeared, but its use overall
has been chiefly for display. Futura is indeed the most legible (and
in subtle ways also the most calligraphic) of the geometric sanserif
types. Even so, it lacks the legibility of many good workaday
romans that owe everything to experience and nothing much to
theory. Even ameliorated by Renner, the functionalism preached
by the Bauhaus fell noticeably short of its great claims.

Books and Publishers

Four things are required in a fine book: excellence of writing,
editing, design and physical production. Some of the finest typog­
raphy and printing of the early twentieth century is found in speci­
mens published by the type foundries. Bauer, Klingspor, Stempel
and Enschedé come readily to mind. And many of these specimens,
unlike Bodoni’s, embodied well-edited, well-written texts.
At the other end of the spectrum, the university presses - whose
first concerns, presumably, are quality of editing and quality'' of text

9U 9 W illi Wiegand. Bremer-Presse D iv in a C o m m e d ia . 1921.

~~have sometimes done exemplary design and printing work as well.

Early in the century, Oxford University’s Clarendon Press, under
Horace Hart, and Yale University Press, under the direction of Carl
Purlington Rollins, issued books of lasting importance.
Trade presses are, by definition, at the mercy of the market, and
it is only in fortunate conditions that the market knows or cares
what quality is. The forces of mass production, imitation and rapid
change for change’s sake, set loose by the Industrial Revolution,
make it difficult for any standard of value (even monetary curren­
cies) to stabilize and mature. Unusual individuals with the courage
of their convictions have made fine books in the world of the trade
press even so ~ and by giving these books the widest possible circu­
lation, have contributed in no small measure to the health of their
societies. Such publishers, though rare, could be found in many
countries in the early twentieth century. Alfred Knopf in the USA,
Amoldo Mondadori in Italy, Gaston Gallimard in France, Samuel
Fischer in Germany, and Georg Svensson in Sweden are examples.
In the age of mass production, books in which design and pro­
duction are held to the highest standard have come almost entirely

A Short History of the Printed Word


Peter and the tw o sons o f Zebedee, arid began to be sorrow-
foi and very heavy. Then saith he un to them, Mv sou] Is
exceeding sorrowful, even unto death; tarry ye here, and
w atch w ith me. And he w ent a little farther, and fel! on his
lace, and prayed, saving, O m y father, if it be possible, let
this cup pass from me.; nevertheless not as 1 will, b u t as thou
wilt. A nd he som eth un to the disciples, and findeth them
asleep, and saith unto Peter, W hat, could ye n o t w atch w ith
m e one hour? W atch & pray, t hat ye e n ter not in to tem pta­
tion: th e spirit indeed is willing, b u t th e flesh is weak. H e
w ent away again the second tim e, and prayed, saying, O m v

9 .2 0 Eric Gill. Golden Cockerel Press, T h e F o u r G o s p e is .

from the private press. An example is the Bremer Presse. It was

founded in Bremen in 1911 by Willi Wiegand and several associates
- among them the Austrian poet Hugo von Hofmannsthal. The
press’s authors included Homer, Sophocles, Tacitus, Augustine,
Dante, Luther and Goethe. Its paper was specially made. So were
all its types, designed under Wiegand’s direction by the callig­
rapher Anna Simons, who had studied with Edward Johnston.
Simons also designed the large and spare initials, which in most
Bremer Presse books were die only decoration allowed.
Other presses of the day which adhered to similar ideals include

. c h a p t e r i x * The Early Tw entieth C entury: 1900-1940

. Jean-François van Royehs Zilver Distel Press in the Hague; the

Golden Cockerel Press in Berkshire, England; the Grabhorn Press
in San Francisco; and in Verona the Officina Bodoni, founded in
1922 by Giovanni Mardersteig.

Stanley Morison and the Typographic Revival

The Monotype machine was an American invention, but two
separate entities - one in the USA and one in England - were estab­
lished to manufacture and sell it. Both firms were interested initially
only in low-grade advertising and text faces, chiefly for newspaper
use, but both in time began, perhaps grudgingly, to recognize the
value of better types for setting books. Both accordingly commis­
sioned new designs and historical revivals. So did the Linotype
company through its offices in Frankfurt, Manchester and New
York. In this venture, the Monotype Corporation (“English Mono­
type”) took the lead, and much of its accomplishment was due to the
type historian Stanley Morison, who was the corporation’s typo­
graphical advisor from 1923 until his death in 1967.
Under Morison’s direction, Monotype methodically worked its
way through the legacy left by the punchcutters and printers of the
past. It made machine adaptations of Renaissance faces (Poliphilus
and Bembo), Baroque faces (Caslon and Van Dijck) and Neoclas­
sical faces (Baskerville, Bell and Fournier). It produced two good
Greek faces (Porson and New Hellenic) for setting classical texts,
and an Irish face for setting Irish Gaelic. It commissioned new de­
signs from Eric Gill and bought existing new designs by artists such
as Bruce Rogers, Jan van Krimpen and Giovanni Mardersteig.
Lanston Monotype (the American firm) meanwhile bought de­
signs and historical revivals from its own typographical advisor,
. Frederic Goudy. And Linotype commissioned new designs from
William Addison Dwiggins and Rudolph Ruzicka, and historical
revivals from the English master printer George Jones.
A Short History of the Printed Word

The United States: Trade Books and Special Editions

Despite the riches afforded by this typographic revival, most
printing during the early part of this century became more com­
monplace rather than more conscientious. The development of
photomechanical reproduction for color as well as for black-and-
white encouraged a school of illustrators that lacked any natural
sympathy or understanding for printing as a medium. Nowhere was
this more obvious than in the trade books of American publishers.
Yet there were, as we have mentioned, some exceptions.
Alfred Knopf organized his own firm in New York in 1915- Pie
was sufficiently concerned with the quality of his books to seek out
the finest professional designers and editors. For typographic ad­
vice, he turned to Bruce Rogers and Elmer Adler, who introduced
him to others. W ith their help, he achieved a recognizable house
style that served the firm like a trademark. The chief architect of the
Knopf typographic style was William Addison Dwiggins, a typog­
rapher and type designer whose sense of language was as great as his
design sense.
America’s Vollard was George Macy, whose Limited Editions
Club, although founded on the very eve of the depression, was able
to survive and flourish. Unlike Vollard, Macy published on a sched­
ule, issuing twelve books a year, in editions of 1,500 copies that were
sold by annual subscription. Macy was a man of sensitive literary
taste. He was an alumnus of Columbia, like Knopf, Bennett Cerf
and many other important figures in American publishing. His
choice of artists was catholic, and the range of printers was wide.
For both artists and printers the Limited Editions Club’s commis­
sions provided an opportunity to make books of a kind that the eco­
nomics of mass production were driving from the marketplace. As
an example of a Macy edition I have chosen Theodore Dreiser’s
S ister C arrie . It is a highly personal choice, made on the basis of ad­
miration for the illustrator (Reginald Marsh), the printer (Joseph

c h Ap T e r i x * T h e E a r ly T w e n tie th Century : 1 9 o 0 - 1 9 4 o

h a i<ï ï a If '*>■si a c ri'- fc * 'J v -r h » g a t k k ft.-

O ï o eA îi'i'i't-: s MO B îtrtSiî..

M innie’» [-i, Ai !Æ.'!kw iWlit'W!. w tn îs s n .V.-iï,

1!-1. ia. -, « n i’f W«« Vm ïWmi & f«: èsfeiisiïcsï bÿ Jtaiflœ-
„ ( i--.r.',f iV-AasK!-».1 '-‘«t »Y.i- wïfc-'iniiig,-. K*f:
rr.-.Vr .■>! I* -■■T-r- VÆr
w, -î,c ■■.-.-■r. (f-i !«!■« .«-San; ■'W-- l'A rW't*.
Wiit-fÇ- :a iriyi;?., 1*1-1 ni f»nCC? fiïlHijiig P-PuP
■«■■s •Mj.-A'.'i? - h ‘ U:Ai. r»! i-VCI*: - i 't i t ’« A : . « k '.(ni-! l-îsst iW fK -
(i-,. c i'irîV iwirti1111 si-î .">t =>f ta-tinm- UW.- il [.Uni*,; As :î v.«li
,LI. iï! a.-.,, g-j.if.; ;./ri lin lütwrf -IWU ■■»*■«' M.llillf .Sv-.ij'ùI fi.»,' Ilift’ ifMïf fA)i- f-x1W»Sliwodl« Sise P'.HÎ'i. ÏHfilSÏ-, ,-hn, ï k r--V
eu,! T„ü <,,:>■ wj-iii «ü'/.-W («e "il*- .vii,® ia î'-sev

Ml--, f il tiw Jim' jiKKÎsjf ("-a-, g w O n if

(«-il IHWl".-'(li.l<iJoFe,llVj.-W;-lKi
-<K&«■.- f ' W,fSlî’-f «BKtjS H(l'":>■* >»S'1ÏÏI«UI,/üKJfim-f
eu' i, «-.-Bit f.U'.U'i HW1» . « < ■ ' « ■ ' - l'fv-Æî lîf (ÏÂ-Igjl-HKK
cm. if ,V- Min-d >.-K ï ' >.â« V-w fs-»*1»* «i- ii.-Bii* :>f v-â v-f*'»
rôtti « i i Iiiv-c; s-î Hf-’ ps-iWSfi 1
ira * ' .Elt a.K
him bb* »«■ c; is ï sssfcé;.- H iï-i« fi!s«riaw^-ovtJ»f»feit•«■«.■
f f-riff-iL-.'-f' i--"A j.'f' '-i'f.P'f ili liif.i:.
' !.-'j i :.ig V'J'.V, ' !;» M ît ‘■Vt'j Sf. K'4 -a “WA!'-'fKm» il' * k * <»»-
K*«y!Mrfyrfw»." .■■•-........

9 2jLim ited Editions Club. Dreiser’s S i s t e r C a r r i e , printed by Joseph

Blumenthal with illustrations by Reginald Marsh. N ew York, 1939.

Blumenthal) and the typeface (Miklos Kis’s type, which by now

should be familiar to readers of this book).

Offset Lithography
The pace of mechanical improvements did not slow with the
coming of a new century. In 1904, in New York, a printer named Ira
Rubel developed an offset press for planographic printing on paper.
The offset principle had been used for printing from stone onto tin,
A Short H i s to r y of the Printed Word

but for printing on paper, flexible metal plates are used. These are
wrapped around a cylinder which runs against a second, rubber-
covered cylinder (the blanket). T he image is offset or transferred
from the printing plate to the blanket and from there transferred to
paper. The printed image lies upon the surface of the paper instead
of being driven into the paper as it is with a letterpress. It was by this
means that printing in the tw entieth century lost its sculptural qual­
ity, its three-dimensionality, and became quintessentially flat. At
the same time, printing lost its tactile sense of scale. Offset printing
plates are created through a photographic process that shrinks and
enlarges type and other images at will.

The Decade Before World War II

The aesthetic price of increasing mechanization in the printing
industry was hardly noticed in the 1930s. N ot only w'as the world
caught up in a crippling depression, but fascism and communism
were creating an atmosphere of physical threats to match the eco­
nomic ones. Moreover, much was being done, by organizations and
individuals, on behalf of the appearance and quality of books.
This was also a time of sudden, forced migration, not entirely
unlike that occasioned by the sack of Mainz. On the eve of World
War II, many European graphic artists and typographers fled the
Continent. Rudolph Koch’s two principal coworkers were among
them. In 1935, Berthold Wolpe went to England, where he taught
calligraphy and typography at Johnston’s old school, the Royal Col­
lege of Art, and did design work for the publisher Faber & Faber.
And in 1938, Fritz Kredel moved to the USA, where he continued
his woodcutting and illustrating career. Hans Alexander Mueller
and Hugo Steiner-Prag left the Leipzig Academy, where they had
been professors. Steiner-Prag’s student, Fritz Eichenberg, became
the first director of the School of Graphic Arts at the Pratt Institu te
in Brooklyn. George Salter, a book designer from Berlin, taught a

c h a p t e r i x * T h e E a r ly T w en tie th C en t u r y : 1 9 0 0 - 1 9 4 0

remarkably successful class in calligraphy at the Cooper Union in

New York, a school that became the training ground for many post­
war leaders of American typography and book design.
At the time of the invasion of Poland, the books of Vollard, Macy
and Sir Francis Meynell (founder of the Nonesuch Press) proved
how great were the continuing fertility and civility of printing.

Printing the News in the Twentieth Century

During World War I, while the publishers of the Chicago T ribune
were both serving in France, one of them, Captain Joseph M.
Patterson, met the British newspaper publisher Alfred Harms-
worth, Lord Northcliffe. The captain was advised by NorthclifFe to
start a tabloid paper in America. Patterson followed this advice, and
with his cousin, Colonel Robert R. McCormick, launched the Illus­
trated D aily N e w s in New York on 26 June 1919. Its success tempted
a number of other publishers to produce papers of small size, and by
1940 almost fifty were in circulation. There was more to the con-
cept than m erely cutting the size of an eight-column journal in half.
The real changes were an increased use of pictures and a concise
and lively style of reporting.
Tim e, founded in 1923, and Life, in 1936, represented a similar
concept of news coverage. The former influenced the departmen­
talized journalism of the thirties, while its sister publication estab­
lished new standards for pictorial reporting. Like the newspapers,
the news magazines hastened a number of mechanical develop­
ments in type composition, platemaking and presswork.
y In the foil of 1915, the N e w York Tim es started its M id -W e e k Picto­
rial, a supplement in tabloid size, which provided outstanding pic­
ture coverage during the remaining years of World War 1.1 recall it
as being a cross between the continental illustrated news magazines
of that time, and the future picture magazine L ife. As early as 1913,
the Tim es had bought rotogravure presses. In April of 1914, it began
A Short H i s to r y
of the Printed Word

printing Sunday supplements. By 1930, eighty newspapers had ro­

togravure sections, but some of these were eliminated during the
depression of the ensuing decade. Most revealing is the fact that of
the sixty-five which remained in 1940, only ten were printed on
equipment owned independently by their publishers.
The problem of independent ownership of the means of pro­
duction has affected the nature of publishing to an ever-increasing
degree. The difficulties of operating the equipment can be stagger­
ing even for those who can afford ownership. The consolidation of
newspaper empires is just as indicative of the rising costs in plant
and operation as it is witness to the aggressiveness of owners.
Stanley Morison, Monotype’s typographical advisor, also served
for years as advisor to the T im es of London, but the nature of news­
paper publication restricted the scope of his contributions. Subtle
typography and elegant presswork cannot be expected of the daily
press. The chief contribution of newspapers to the graphic arts has
instead been in spurring the development of some of the major
tools of production.
In this connection, three dates stand out: 1814, when power was
first applied to the press, 1865, when rotary printing from curved
plates was perfected, and 1890, when the Linotype machine was put
into production. Each of these events changed some aspect of the
nature of printing. Newspapers were transformed from four- and
eight-page publications issued casually when there was sufficient
news to warrant a printing, into editions consisting of several sec­
tions, set, printed and circulated daily. In the twentieth century
newspapers continued to seek increased mechanization and speed
in printing. Thereby they continued to distance themselves from
the enduring craft tradition.

2 54

The Second World War and After:


n 1940, t h e c o l l a p s e o f F r a n c e obscured any general

I celebration of the 500th anniversary of Gutenberg’s achieve­
ments with movable type, but there were books of many kinds to
mark the occasion. The vigor of European bookmaking was re­
vealed by the Vollard editions exhibited in the French Pavilion at
the New York W orld’s Fair in 1939, In the same year, in America,
George Macy began issuing his Limited Editions Club Shake­
speare, in thirty-seven volumes designed by Bruce Rogers, each
volume illustrated by a different artist
At the end of the half millennium of European printing, a num­
ber of notable changes were also taking place in printing shops.
Hand composition was becoming increasingly rare, except for use
in titling and advertising. The handcutting of steel punches re­
mained a ratified but active craft in Paris, Frankfurt, Haarlem and
Ahmadabad, but at the few remaining foundries in Britain and
North America, any letters cut by hand were cut in lead. Matrices
were created in turn by electrolytic deposit. Most types were being
made by pantographic engraving machines from large pattern
drawings, and for machine setting only.
In a very subtle way, the economies of production divorced the
compositor and the pressman, and the average printer became
reconciled to buying his composition from specialty houses. This

A Short History of the Printed Word

meant that he ordered his type like yardgoods and no longer had the
opportunity for immediate adjustments to the type in the compos­
ing stick. Foundry type is made of hard metal, but that metal lives in
the stick. The endless adjustability and im provability of a handset
page is part of the ambience of hand composition.

The War Years and Their Legacy

World War II acted at first as a brake on technical innovation in
the printing trades. After Pearl Harbor, American printers began to
feel the pinch of paper rationing and other restrictions that affected
th e supply and quality of materials. On the other hand, the demand
for books was great, and it was a rare publisher who did not foresee
an ever-increasing market for his products. Seeds of change were
being planted, however, in the war years, and they were to affect
publishers’ optimism in ways then unimaginable.
The most prescient, most principled and most successful re­
sponse to the increasing demand for good, affordable books came
from an Englishman by the name of Allen Lane. In 1935, when he
was thirty-two years old, he founded a company known as Penguin
Books. W hen he retired as its managing director in 1969, Penguin
had just published its 3,000th title: a compact paperback edition of
James Joyce’s Ulysses. In the interval had come not only thousands of
well-designed, well-set and inexpensive literary classics from all
around the world and from all across the span of human history, but
also many well-researched, well-written, well-designed and emi­
nently portable works of reference. An example is the multivolume
Pelican H istory o f A r t.
Penguin books were read in stately homes, in tenements, in air­
raid shelters, bus shelters, ration-coupon queues, and in lorries,
buses, jeeps and limousines. As Ruari McLean remembers, they fit
conveniently in gas-mask bags, “and often the gas-mask was left out
to accommodate more Penguins.”

Penguin took a great leap forward in 1947, when Lane hired a
refugee from Leipzig named Jan Tschichold to take charge of all
typography and design. Tschichold bore this burden only for two
years, but in that time he upgraded and transformed the books of
Lane and his successors, evidently once and for ail. The four-page
set of “Penguin Composition Rules” that he prepared on his arrival
has been plagiarized and borrowed, to good effect, by typographers
and publishers at many other firms and in many other countries -
and could, with good effect, be borrowed by many more.
The success of Penguin Books rests partly upon technical re­
sources, partly upon human ingenuity, and partly on a social revolu­
tion which has all too quickly passed. There was a moment when
the appetite for literature equalled, if it did not quite surpass, the
appetite for mindless entertainment. Printed food then outsold
printed drugs. But other revolutions were also underway.
The technological lurch that began in the early 1940s, and is still
in progress, did not make itself felt in the general area of communi­
cations for a number of years after the war. Replacement of plants
and equipment that had been destroyed, or had simply worn out,
was usually first on the list of priorities. The legacy of war research,
however, led to the sophisticated machinery that dominated print­
ing in the 1960s. T he Industrial Revolution had consisted above all
in the application of power to tools. In the second half of the twen­
tieth century, it was instead the Electronic Revolution - or the In­
formation Revolution, as it is fondly, perhaps fatuously called - that
most affected what was done and how.
During the war, television and computers were mere promises
for the future. It was the immediate demand for boohs which
chiefly influenced production. Restrictions on materials and equip­
ment were naturally greater in England and France than in the
United States; nevertheless the appetite for books was great in all
three countries. Books brought news of other times and other
modes of life on which the papers could not report. They brought

A Short History of the Printed Word

ro.i Picasso. Aquatint illustration for B u ff on's Histoire naturelle. 1942.

the promise of knowledge, the promise of hope, and also of re­

prieve from the cares of every day.
In France, some publishers and printers who had reserves of
good paper continued to maintain high standards in their books
and to print them by traditional craft means. The edition of
Georges Buffon’s H istoire naturelle , illustrated by Picasso, published
in Paris in 1942 by Fabiani, is an example. T he artist’s sugar aqua­
tints are outstanding examples of intaglio. In 1944, the same pub­
lisher issued Pasiphaé, by Henry de Montherlant, with engravings
by Matisse. Such special editions provided a sharp contrast in
quality to wartime trade books. In France as in England, choice of i
materials came to an end with rationing, and both publisher and
purchaser learned to accept what was available. British publishers

and printers were governed at this time by a set of self-imposed
rules which established size of type and the proportion of the page
to be occupied by text. T he constant attrition of plant equipment
and a shortage of labor made their task more difficult still. Paper
rationing did not end in England until 1949.
The production of new types effectively ceased, but type design
continued even so. During the German occupation of the Nether­
lands, Sem Hartz, an artist whose principal work had been engrav­
ing postage stamps for the Haarlem firm of Enschedé, was forced to
go underground. He used that period to make a study of type de­
sign, The result was a set of punches for a 12-point roman font,
which he completed just as the war ended. Hartz added an italic,
and the type, issued in 1948 by Enschedé, was christened Emergo
(“I emerge")- His second type, Juliana, is a livelier and more mature
design but lacks its own designer’s final touch. It was commissioned
by Linotype in 1951 and released in 1958. Hartz supplied the draw­
ings, but Linotype produced the patterns and the matrices.
The huge demand for books during the war led to the publica­
tion not only of paperbacks but also of illustrated classics. This was
partly a result of the success enjoyed by the special editions pub­
lished by Macy’s Limited Editions Club and Heritage Club, and by
Peter Beilenson’s Peter Pauper Press. In addition, the wartime price
controls protected manufacturing costs, and the excess profits tax
encouraged more liberal expenditures on design and plates.

' 1 0 .2 Sem H artz. Early sketch fo r Juliana. 1951.

A Short History of the Printed Word

The demand for illustrators and typographers that was created

by these projects helped to bring more students into the graphic
arts. This gave impetus to programs and departments devoted to
calligraphy, typography, typesetting, handpress printing and print­
making. Such departments were established at many institutions. In
the USA, the federal law providing financial help to ex-servicemen
for training in fields of their choice was an added stimulus as soon as 1
the war was over. Tire enthusiasm of the period was caught up and i
carried forward in classes such as those initiated by George Salter at
Cooper Union, Ray Nash at Dartmouth, Leonard Baskin at Smith
College, and Harry Duncan at the University of Iowa. As a result of
such exposure to what Updike called the “broad and humanizing”
work of typography, the ranks of private press owners increased.

Making Type in the Postwar Years

The chief accomplishment of the foundries during the war was
merely to keep their facilities more or less intact. Yet some of those
which did so never effectively resumed their operations. The man­
agement of American Type Founders - a large firm in Elizabeth,
New Jersey, assembled over the years through a series of corporate
mergers ~ ended the war looking for other fields in which to invest.
In several moves, the company divested itself of its printing inter­
ests, in favor of electronics. The foundry division, once a powerful f
force in American typography, became a corporate orphan. Before
the end of the century, all its typographic material was scattered - /
some of it to private hands, and some to the Smithsonian Institution
and Columbia University; but much of it was simply scrapped. •;
Perhaps the most striking recovery was that of Stempel, the
Frankfurt foundry which had for many years made matrices for
Linotype as well as cutting and casting type for hand composition. §§
Its success on both these fronts after the war was due in large part to
its young and very able resident designer, Hermann Zapf, an out-

1234567890 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0

10.3 J a n Tschicbokl. Sabon roman.

standing calligrapher and letterer, who has produced some of the

finest - and some of the most popular - types of all time. (Palatino,
for example - a face now resident in nearly every laser printer and
computer ~ was designed by Zapf for the Stempel foundry in 1948.
The first versions of the face were cut by hand in steel by August
Rosenberger. Linotype matrices came next, and the face has since
then been adapted to every newer means of setting type.)
Other type designers of importance working at this period in­
clude Georg Trump, whose work was issued by Stempel, Jan van
Krimpen, who was still at Enschedé, and Giovanni Mardersteig,
who was still designing type for his own Officina Bodoni, the print­
ing office that he founded in 1922.
In 1964-67, Stempel cut a typeface known as Sabon, designed by
Jan Tschichold. Sabon was perhaps the last major effort to produce
a letterpress face on a grand scale, and thus the inadvertent culmi­
nation of 500 years of attempts - beginning with Nicolas Jenson -
to cut and cast a face with Roman inscriptional roots for relief print-

A Short H i s to r y of the Printed Word

ing on paper. Its design is in no way original. It is openly based on

tine existing tradition of types connected with Claude Garamond -
and it is named for a punchcutter and founder, Jacques Sabon,
whose duties included completing and casting an unfinished Gara­
mond font for use by Christophe Plan tin.
The Sabon type was produced concurrently by Stempel for
hand composition and the Linotype machine, and by the Monotype
Corporation in England for the Monotype machine, all in theoret­
ically identical and interchangeable forms. The lettershapes answer
the requirements of two competing systems for mechanical compo­
sition at the same time that they echo the forms of the French
Renaissance. They also represent the experience of a twentieth-
century designer who fled Nazi Germany for Switzerland in 1933 -
and who for thirty years thereafter had thought about the role such
letterforms can play in sustaining human culture.
Despite such credentials, Sabon was not immediately purchased
by typesetters and printers in Europe and North America. In part,
this was due to intim ations of change in the very nature of printing.
Photocopying machines were becoming commonplace. There was
already a question whether the concept of impression would entirely
give way to other methods of duplication.
And impressive though it was, the Stempel foundry’s resurgence
proved a temporary reprieve. The plant closed in 1986, and its ty­
pographic holdings were transferred to a museum in the nearby
town of Darmstadt. Enschedé too, the great Dutch printing plant
and foundry, was converted to a museum - one whose doors, in
1999, are always closed.

Postwar Printing
Because the design and manufacture of new machinery was re­
tarded by the war, small, individually owned shops, when they sur­
vived, were as a rule little changed from the preceding decade.

Joseph Blumenthars Spiral Press, Peter Beilenson’s Walpole Print­
ing Office, and Fred Anthoensen’s Southworth Anthoensen Press
are examples. Such shops are usually projections of the personali­
ties who operate them. Perhaps no printing office of this kind has
survived so long, or kept its commitment to fine printing as consis­
tently, as Mardersteig’s Officina Bodoni - still active in Verona, and
still in Mardersteig family hands.
The specimen-printing department of the Stempel foundry was

Lafi erst mich doch r.u t'ndc sagt-n den ganzen Vers 1

>Oineus in der Seheunc sammelnd der ïîrn tt rcichc Frucht,

Erstlingc opfernd* —

Aiscbyks Stimmt die altc Leier an!.

inmitten des Opfers? pfilf-man ihm auch das alte Lied?
Freund, laft ihn nur; versuchen soit ers mai mit denv.
>Zeus, wie es die Walirheit selbcr uns bcrichter hat< -
Du verlierst! denn er sagt gicich
•Stimmt die altc Lcier an!<
Wie cine Fcigenwar/.e sim am Augenlid,


1 0 . 4 TrajanusPresse. Aristophanes, D i e F r ô s c h e [ B â T p a y o i , T h e F ro g s],

‘w ith wood engravings by Imre Reiner. Frankfurt, 1962.
A Short History of the Printed Word

not comparable to the usual small commercial establishments, |

except for the nature of its equipment. It was able, however, to fulfill
a similar function with its Trajanus Presse. Under the direction 3
of Gotthard de Beauclaire, Trajanus Presse published a series of
handset, handprinted books. Among these was Aristophanes’ D ie
Frosche , illustrated with, wood engravings by Imre Reiner. The
blocks carry on a tradition going back at least a century. To demon- $
strate the continuity, details are shown here from three engravings:
Daumier engraved by Etienne de Neufville (1869), Rouault en­
graved by Aubert (1939), and Reiner engraved by himself (1945).
Reiner is a good example of an artist so familiar with the work of the
past that he does not have to reinvent or imitate it. He is also an ex­
ample of an artist happy working at the meeting ground of several ;
different media. He studied with the calligrapher Ernst Schneidler.
His work was primarily in the illustration of books, but he also
wrote about typography and designed several types (Matura, for \
example) in which his love of wood engraving is every bit as visible
as his calligraphic skill. j
By 1950, rising costs and the prospect of bigger and faster ;
presses had made plain the basic problems that small independent '
printers could expect to face. Such economic factors, and the nature
of the designer-training programs operating just before, during and \
after the war, led to an increase in the number of studio-oriented s
typographers, and a decrease in the number of those who had t
served a shop apprenticeship. Some of the studio typographers .
proved themselves instinctive printers; more often, they proved to |
be arrangers rather than designers. This distinction between the '
talented and the adequate has always existed. But in the postwar |
years, when production methods tended to increase the gap be- |
tween design and execution, control became harder to achieve, and f
the demands on the typographer were correspondingly greater.
An industrial development of interest in these years was the mi- f
croprinting of reference books. Like many industrial techniques, |

chapter x * T h e S ec o n d W o r ld W a r a n d A f t e r : 1 9 4 .0 -1 9 n

1 0 .5 Daumier, Detail, wood engraving in L e M o n d e i l l u s t r é . 1869.

1 0 .6 Rouault. Detail, wood engraving, fo r C i r q u e d e l ’é t o i l e f i l a n t e . 1939.
1 0 .7 Reiner. Detail, wood engraving fo r D i e F r ô s c h e . 1943; published 1962.

this one has its roots in nineteenth-century experiments, though its

.practical applications came much later. In the 1960s, the technique
was used to print the British Museum catalog, and in 1971 to reduce
the bulk of the O xford E nglish D ictionary from twelve volumes to
two. The result is a text in 3-point type, hard to read without a mag­
nifying glass, but unabridged and portable.

Postwar Design
One factor of importance in the postwar years was a continued
T interest in calligraphy. Type design both before and after World
.'.War II was fundamentally revitalized by the physical and intellec­
tual pleasure that comes from the study and the practice of, in the

A Short History of the Printed Word

literal sense, w r itin g in its finest form. A large number of fine text
faces were designed and produced around the middle of the twenti­
eth century, and the practice of calligraphy is cruci a.l to all but a few.
Spectrum, designed in the Netherlands by Jan van Krimpen; j
Palatino and Aldus, designed in Germany by Hermann Zapf, and
Diotima, designed by Gudrun Zapf-Von Hesse; Figurai, designed
in Czechoslovakia by Oldfich Menhart; Dante, designed in Italy by i
Giovanni Mardersteig; Méridien, designed in France by Adrian
Frutiger; and Berling, designed in Sweden by Karl-Erik Forsberg
are all products of die 1940 s and 1950s. Each of these type families
is made for book work and includes both a roman and an italic. N ot
one of the italics could have been designed without direct practice
in writing a Renaissance italic hand. And not one of the romans :
could have been designed without close study of Renaissance ro­
mans, which likewise owe their form to direct and daily experience
writing with a broadpen.
W ith one or two exceptions, all these types were cut by hand in ;
metal first and only afterward adapted for setting by machine. N ot
one of them, however, was cut by its designer. Type design, at this
stage in its history, had largely reverted to calligraphy, while the
handcutting of punches - always a rare skill - had become much
rarer than it was. Artists such as Sem Hartz, able to design a good
text type and also cut it, were as rare in 1950 as astronauts in 1961.
Trade and academic publishing of a superior kind also spread
and persevered in the postwar years. The years 1950-75 were the \
heyday of such houses as Einaudi in Milan, Gallimard in Paris,
Suhrkamp in Frankfurt, McClelland & Stewart in Toronto and its •;
then-eminent neighbor the University of Toron to Press, and also of ;
the Bollingen Foundation, whose books after 1967 were published
under the imprint of Princeton University Press. From his studio in
Tuscany Alley, San Francisco, Adrian Wilson was designing fine )
books for publishers across N orth America, and at the same time >j
training a new generation of typographers. David Brower, in die

2 6 6
'chapter x * T h e S e c o n d W o r ld W a r m id A f t e r : 1940-19 75

same years, was creating a new breed of illustrated books for the
Sierra Club, of wdiich he was then the executive director.

Photocomposing Machines
For some years after the popularization of the offset press, it re-
>mained a common practice to set the text of books in metal - often
:r with the Linotype machine - and then to pull a set of reproduction
7 proofs, which were pasted up and photographed. This procedure
; kept metal type alive, yet rendered it a marginal technology. Offset
: printing is based on the technology of photography, and so the fu­
ture seemed to lie in setting text by photographic means. In fact,
phototypesetting machines were built before the end of the nine­
teenth century, though they did not come into general use until af­
ter World War IL
The scale of foundry type is tactile as well as optical. Each letter
y is cut by hand in its one and only actual size. If multiple sizes are cut,
y' each size is inevitably weighted and finished differently. This basic
craft practice was greatly compromised late in the nineteenth cen-
h fury by the employment of pantographic engraving machines,
which use large standard patterns to produce mechanically reduced
punches or mats. W ith photocomposition, the compromise goes
v farther. A single master alphabet in film form is made from oversize
drawings. The master film is placed in a machine and used to gener-
§.. ate letters of all sizes, from footnote size to headlines. Under these
fe conditions, Eric Gill’s principle is put to a hard test. Letters are
ftth in g s, not pictures of things - but the things that phototypesetting
produces arc pictures of letters.
^ Letters are not the only things simulated and distorted in this
|fway. In his i960 Reith lectures for the BBC, the art historian Edgar
fyWind focused on the ways in which “our vision of art has been
^transformed by reproduction” and on André Malraux’s enthusiastic
lynotion of a “museum without walls.”

A Short History of the Printed Word

O u r eyes have been sharpened to those aspects o f p a in tin g a n d sculpture \

th a t are brought o u t effectively by a camera. U,rh a t is m ore decisive , in the \
artist's own vision we can observe the g row th o f a pictorial a n d sculptural
im agination th a t is positively a ttu n e d to photography , producing works \
photogenic to such a degree th a t they seem to f i n d a vicarious fu lfillm e n t in \
m echanized after-im ages, as i f the u ltim a te hope o f a p a in te r or sculptor 1
today , a p a rt fr o m h a v in g his w orks placed in a m u seu m , w ould be to .w c
them diffused in comprehensive picturebooks, preferably in a?i illustrated
catalogue raisonné. W h a t has optim istically been called the “m u seu m \
w ith o u t w alls ” is in fa c t a m u seu m on p a p er - a paper-w orld o f a r t in
w hich the epic oratory o f M a lr a u x proclaims, w ith the voice o fa crier in the
m arketplace, th a t a ll a r t is composed in a single key, th a t huge m o n u m en ts
a n d sm a ll coins have the sam e plastic eloquence i f transferred to the scale o f
the p rin te d page, th a t a gouache can equal a fresco.

Printing, Paper and Binding

A review of printing equipment in 1950 could he summed up in
this general way: the new machines for letterpress stressed higher
speeds and multicolor printing. Offset lithography which had im­
proved steadily over the preceding twenty years, showed advances
in web presses capable of producing multicolor printing of accept­
able quality from continuous roils of paper. The introduction of
bimetallic plates promised greatly increased durability. In the field
of gravure, there were also advances in the means of controlling
register and color.
None of these changes was startling. The new press equipment
did help to reduce the cost and improve the general appearance of
paperback books, which had finally taken hold in the United States
through the use of an expanded system of distribution akin to that
of newspapers and magazines. Such books, however, were bound
with glue instead of thread, and not infrequently were printed on
paper of high acidity made from low-grade woodpulp. So it is tlv.11

2 6 8
ü f:
iÿ c h a p t e r x • T h e S e c o n d W o r ld W a r a n d A f t e r : 1 9 4 0 - 1 9 yy

x o .8 M odem production offset press printing fiv e colors consecutively on both

sides o f continuous rolls.

books printed four and five hundred years ago, on good rag paper
with sewn bindings, can still be read with pleasure, and can also be
expected to last another thousand years, while books only four or
five years old are crumbling to pieces.
G roundw oodpaper (as paper made from woodpulp is called) came
into use in the nineteenth century, and it took a hundred years for
paper manufacturers to learn how to make it acid-free and flexible
enough to be of any value as a cultural preservative. Papers of high
acidity can yellow within weeks and may turn brown within a year.
Late nineteenth-century groundwood papers were often vigor­
ously bleached and remain pale in color even now - but they were
made from short and brittle fibers mixed with particles of clay. After

A S h o r t H i s t o r y o f th e P r in t e d W o r d

a hundred years on the shelves, boohs and journals printed on such

papers are as fragile as dry crackers. Many such books were, at great
cost, shielded from bombs during World W ar II, but nothing
shields them now from self-destruction.
Adhesive binding, which was part of the enormously successful
recipe for Penguin Books, is all very well, of course, when books are
understood to be disposable. Books that are carried into war zones
or stuffed into rucksacks for vacations in the mountains have to be
disposable - and Penguins more often than not have been reprints
of the classics: cheap but reliable copies of books that could be
found in other, more durable forms on the library shelves.
But once it was made clear how cheap a book could be, there was
pressure in some quarters to reduce books to this form, not only in
the case of popular reprints but also in the case of first editions.
W hen the only form in which a book exists is a form that cannot last,
then the essence of the form, the thing that makes a book a book,
has been betrayed.
There are thousands of books now on the library shelves that ;
only exist in adhesive bindings. Some of them are cased (hardcover) i
books, but the pages in the cases have been glued instead of sewn. If
the paper is acid-free, the pages may survive for several centuries, -
but if they do survive, they will be loose in an archivist’s box. Their J
bindings cannot last, and there is nothing there to sew, so they can-
not be effectively rebound. Some of them, of course, have no more
claim to permanent worth titan a weather report or a tour guide’s :
bill of sale; others are basic cultural documents. Such books now
teach us a sad lesson : not to judge the book the author wrote by the
book we feel and see. It is a hard lesson to learn, and in the mean­
time, wishful thinking works its charm. Big, well-printed books are
taken for important; poorly printed little books are not.
Go, when you can, to the library of any large North American
university and look for a book of acknowledged importance. Look,
for instance, for Erwin Panofsky’s Meaning in the VisualArts. Panofi* ;

c h a p T e r x • The S e c o n d W o r ld W a r a n d A f t e r : 1 9 4 0 - 1 9 75

sky, like Jan Tschichold, left Germany early in the 1930s. He was
welcomed in the world to which he came, and he spent nearly the
whole of the rest of his life at the Institute for Advanced Study in
Princeton. As an art historian in a country with too little faith in art
and too much faith in science, Panofsky did not attain the fame of
his neighbor Albert Einstein, but those who knew them both have
described them both as persons of equal genius.
It was at Princeton in the early 1950s that Panofsky wrote his
book on meaning. It was published first in 1955 by Doubleday in
New York as a ninety-five-cent paperback. Larger-format paper­
backs appeared in 1970 from Penguin and in 1982 from the Univer­
sity of Chicago Press, but the Doubleday edition was for fifteen
years the only one around. It was part of a marvelously portable and
7 inexpensive series called (in honor of Aldus Manutius) Anchor Pa-
* perbacks. This is the edition you will find most often now on North
American university library shelves. The odds are good, however,
that more than half the copies you will find will be unreadable. The
Anchor Paperback edition of this book was meant as a disposable
: edition, not sturdy enough to borrow but cheap enough to buy
without a thought. It was 10.5 x 18 cm (a little over 4" x 7 "), and the
margins were on average 6 mm (a quarter of an inch). Students by
y the thousands were assigned to read the book, and the librarians
who bought it often sent it to the bindery. There the books were
J flatstitched, trimmed and cased. One end of every line, in conse-
; quence, is buried by the stitching; the other end has gone to the
binder’s knife. The middle of each line can still be read.

The Purpose ofPrinting

The wartime vision of unlimited demand for all kinds of books
was greatly altered by the advent of television, soon to become a
: world of instant news and nonstop entertainment. Concurrently,
I. the rising cost of paper, and competition from cheap paperbacks,

A Short History of the Printed Word

took their toil upon the quality of hardbound books and altered the
practicability of publishing small editions. Rising costs also helped
to put an end to many magazines and newspapers that had domi­
nated the publishing scene earlier in the century.
It is possible that printed books as repositories of human experi­
ence and creativity may in time be overshadowed or even replaced
by digital replicas. Once made, such replicas are very quickly copied
and easily stored in a small space - but they cannot be read without
a prosthesis. They are invisible and useless without the intervention
of an exceedingly complex, electrically powered machine. Such a
scheme may look good to accountants and to marketers. But for au­
thors and for readers, there can he no substitute for a well-designed,
well-printed, well-bound book that one can see and feel as well as
read. A tangible, stable, well-made page is just as desirable, and just
as useful, now as it was in the fifteenth century.
When Gutenberg set out to make books, his purpose was to
compete with the copyists of his time, by cutting the cost of produc­
tion. His approach was innovative and imitative, both at the same
time. He was, however, surrounded by good calligraphic models.
So were his predecessors in China; so were his early successors in
Venice and Rome. Literacy in the days of the early printers was a
power and a skill possessed by relatively few7. The skill, of reading,
and the power it conveyed, were also then cemented - indissolubly,
it seemed - to the physical skill of making shapely and powerful let­
ters with a pen. Writing, like speaking, wras for real. Reading was
not passive. Printing could not be passive either in such a world.
In the 1970s and 1980s, the practitioners of photocomposition
and offset printing were, like Gutenberg, engaged in a simultane­
ously innovative and imitative act. But they were not imitating writ­
ing; they were imitating printing - and were doing so in a world
where reading had become, for most, a passive, cerebral act, uncon­
nected with any physical sense of the making of letters, and uncon­
nected with any sense of the intellectual urgency of publishing.

chap T ER x * The Second World War and After: 194o~ig 75

Reading had become more and more a passive act, and printing had
become more and more just a form of mass production.

Assimilating Mechanization
T he phrase littera scripta manety “the written word remains,” is
frequently attributed to Horace. The phrase does not appear in any
of his works. Neither does the sentiment, which properly belongs
to Pontius Pilate. To Horace, writing was preparatory to speaking.
Delere licebit [ quod non edideris, he says, nescit vox missa revend. “You
can cut what you haven’t said aloud ; a voice set loose doesn’t know
its way home.”
Speaking and hearing can combine the intellectual and physical
in an unforgettable way. A story or a statement or a song can plant
ideas with the potency of seeds and with the force and durability of
physical impressions. A sentence, as we say, can be striking; a phrase
can land a blow. Script and print can do so too - and printed words,
like seeds, can lie at rest for generations before they finally sprout.
To those concerned with a long reach in time and space, writing and
printing may seem more powerful than speech. To those who deal
person-to-person, the spoken word and the facial expressions and
gestures that frame it remain the fundamental reference. But to a
person who is trained in the scribal tradition, a written letter is as
physical as a handshake - and, if firmly made and clearly meant, is just
as difficult to forget. To a person truly initiated to printing, the
printed word can also share that power and physical presence. Lan­
guage is part of the mind and part of the body. Until it loses either
its mental or physical balance, it links the two like a bridge.
Speech, script and printing are alike in that their power drains
away when they become mere simulacra, it is only then that writing
and printing cease, in fact, to speak. It is only then that they cease to
evoke what they are about. If all modernity can do is produce more
printing more rapidly, then modernity has lessened, not increased,

À S h o r t History of the Printed Word )

the power of print in the realm of mind and spirit - even while mul­
tiplying its power as a bureaucratic or administrative force,
A machine or a technique that offers too little resistance encour­
ages slickness. It yields what Baudelaire described as chic, which he
compared with “the work of those writing masters who, with an el­
egant hand and a pen shaped for italic or running script, can shut :
their eyes and boldly trace Christ’s head or Napoleon’s hat in the
form of a flourish.” Yet the new techniques are here to stay and will '
certainly find their masters just as the earlier methods did.
As far as type is concerned it is helpful to realize that the letters
of the alphabet, being symbols and abstract in themselves, are most
successful when their forms come closest to being free from idio­
syncrasy. W ith such a realization, type designing becomes a search
for the obvious and universal, not for what is branded as original but
Is really improvisational.
These are among the reasons why modern presswork should
constantly be measured against the earliest printing. The dwell of
the handpress, when the metal rests momentarily deep in the paper,
and the resilience of stiff ink, still set standards for the power of
printed words. The key to the comparison should rest in the answer
to the question : “Does the page look like an original ?” A good page
of letterpress printing is an original. It is not a picture of a page of
type, and it is not a simulation; it is a typographic print, made from
the type itself. In this simple fact lies the integrity and permanent
importance of letterpress.


The D igital Revolution

and the Close of the Twentieth Century

n an ideal w orld, one could judge a book by its cover - or by

I its type and binding and paper. In an ideal world, surely the ma­
kers and vendors of things, such as physical books, would obey the
inner promptings of the spirit. Such a world does indeed exist, but it
is embedded in other worlds, where the body and the spirit of a
thing are often far apart, and forming judgments (not a task we can
forego) is a risky and difficult business.
Printing now is an art to some, a craft to some, a cultural foun­
dation stone to some, a musty old technology to some, and to some
a booming industry, powerful yet meaningless except for making
money. Harry Duncan, who devoted most of his life to printing lit­
erature on a handpress, reflected, during a lecture in 1980, on a visit
he had paid to a printshop different from his own:I

I remember the awe 1felt. . the rotary, electronic, fall-color, perfecting,

folding, collating, binding Goss presses half-a-block long, their computer
lights flashing, their wheels within wheels driving an incessant race of
paper through labyrinthine flumesfaster than the eye couldfollow, seemed
as majestic a monument to the powers of human invention as the Great
Pyramid of Egypt. “What a piece of work! how noble in reason! how in­
finite infaculty! infirrm and moving how express and admirable! in action
how like an angel!”Then I got around to the rear of the leviathan, where
A Short History of the Printed Word

next month's issue of Better Homes and Gardens was dropping out like
rabbit turds,

More words are now being printed every second than were
printed per year during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The
result is that the world is in many ways different than it was. The
printer and the reader are also very often, though not always, differ­
ent persons than they were. W hen so many words are printed, it is
no surprise they float upon the surface of the paper like breath on
the windowpane rather than entering into the paper, crimping it,
making a permanent change in its shape that suggests a permanent
change in its meaning.

W r itin g Tools

The twentieth century was for some a time of rediscovery,

emancipation and self-fulfillment; for others it was a time of degra­
dation and alienation. This was so in the realm of politics, in the
realm of print, and in the realm of script as well.
Largely under the tutelage of Edward Johnston, several genera­
tions of twentieth-century designers rediscovered the Renaissance
writing tool, the hroadpen. W ith it they discovered the form, the
logic, the discipline and the sensuous pleasure of Renaissance
letters. These discoveries affected the forms of many twentieth-
century printing types. The most popular writing tools, however,
led to scripts markedly different from those of the Renaissance. T he
first of these tools was the typewriter. The second was the ballpoint
pen, invented in Argentina by Laszlo Biro in 1937 and popular
worldwide within a decade. The third was the felt-tip pen, which
has competed with the ballpoint since the 1960s. Fourth was the
personal computer, whose effects upon the world of the printed
word had barely begun in 1975, and whose conquest of that world
appeared to be secure a decade later. Each of these devices, like the
c h a p t e r xi • The D ig ita l Revolution

broadpen, has powerfully affected the design of twentieth-century

printing types.
The typewriter, of course, encouraged generations of writers
and readers to accept the distortions of monospaced alphabets, in
which the z, the e, the comma and the W are all of equal width. It also
encouraged millions of writers and readers to think of writing as
something done by tapping keys instead of making their own
shapely and expressive marks. It is more than a bad pun to say that
this is where the digital mentality begins in earnest.
The early twentieth century harbored the first generation of
type designers in 200 years who were able to use a broadpen with
sufficient skill to understand the structure and historical anatomy of
Latin letters. The close of the same century harbored the first gen­
eration of type designers ever for whom machine-made letters are
the norm. Some of these designers are also skilled calligraphers.
For others, the keyboard is the only significant writing tool, and
manual writing of any kind is a marginal experience.
Other developments, such as electronic mail, promise a new
generation of writers, readers and even typographers who have no
manual connection whatsoever to the shapes of letters, and for
whom these shapes are therefore entirely arbitrary and artificial.
A calligrapher chooses a broadpen (or a pencil) over a ballpoint
because of its shape and because of its traction. The form of the let­
ter comes from the conjunction of the anatomy of the writing hand,
the character of the tool, and the nature of the substance on which
the tool works. The right amount of resistance gives the maximum
definition and satisfaction. But like the ballpoint pen from which it
is derived, the electronic mouse skates freely in any direction, and
the keyboard, like its ancestor the typewriter, delivers, with each
touch of any finger, a prefabricated form.
A handwritten page reveals the spirit of its maker as fully as the
small, expressive movements of the lips and eyes. A typescript page
is, in comparison, always poker-faced. A page prepared on a com-
A Short History of the Printed Word

pu ter can be either, but it is usually something else: a prefabricated

visage, a sel f-portrait off the shelf, a storebought mask.

Type Design and Manufacture

As Gerald Lange has wisely observed, the computer is not a tool;
it is a simulator of tools. One of the things it simulates readily is a
typesetting machine. W ith the spread of the personal computer,
millions of people have found themselves transformed into simula­
tions of typesetters, whether or not they wished to be so.
Among the other tilings the computer readily simulates are the
pattern-making and tracing machines that were formerly used in
mass-producing matrices. The spread of the computer has made
millions of people far more conscious of type and typography than
they would have been otherwise. It has not revived the kinaesthetic
or body-centered consciousness of letters that prevailed during the
Renaissance, but it has done much to advance a purely visual sensi­
tivity to letters. More typefaces have therefore been designed since
1975 than were designed in the entire preceding millennium.
Initially, new digital designs were rather scarce, and digital
replicas of earlier machine-set faces reigned supreme. Until the
1990s, the two primary manufacturers of typesetting equipment,
Monotype and Linotype, were active in the field, converting from
the medium of three-dimensional metal to zero-dimensional infor­
mation. The digital foundries established by these firms have now
been sold, so that the trade names and the bulk of the digital inven­
tories survive, hut not the older craft connection. New digital
foundries have appeared in considerable numbers. The oldest and
largest of these is Adobe Systems in San Jose, California. Others of
note are die Dutch Type Library in The Hague and FontShop in
Berlin. But some of the finest digital foundries are cottage indus­
tries, producing only the work of one or a few designers. In this
respect at least, type design and manufacture can now quite legiti-
c h a pt e r xi * The Digital Revolution

mately claim to be a postindustrial craft. Type designers such as

Jean-François Porchez in Paris, Matthew Carter in Cambridge,
Massachusetts, Sumner Stone in San Francisco, John Hudson and
William Ross Mills at Tiro Typeworks in Vancouver are living
Frederic Goudy’s dream, returning to a level of independence fam­
iliar to Garamond and Granjon, Caslon and Fleischman.
Several designers who began in the era of foundry type have
continued into the digital era and done some of their most impres­
sive work in the new medium. Examples are Hermann Zapf and
Gudrun Zapf-Von Hesse in Darmstadt, and Adrian Frutiger in
Paris. Others who grew up in the era of phototype have revived the
art of cutting type in steel. Fred Sineijers in T he Hague and Dan
Carr in Ashuelot, New Hampshire, have both created digital types
on the computer and cut new types in the ancient way by hand. A
small crew of punchcutters also survives - doing maintenance and
replacement work for the most part - at the Imprimerie Nationale
in Paris, now the only institution in the world that keeps punchcut­
ters on salary. This group includes the first recorded woman punch-
cutter, Nelly Gable, who joined the Imprimerie in 1987.

Life in Flathnd
j The ambivalence, in letterforms, of the continuous and the dis-
: continuous, the flowing and the abrupt, is a permanent condition. It
f.: is inherent not only in letterforms themselves but in making almost
any kind of mark. The oldest decorated pottery is marked with a
£ combination of flowing lines and imprinted dots, reminiscent of the
t tracks of lizards, who drag their tails but lift and plant their feet. A
i scribe writing cuneiform presses a triangular-tipped stylus into the
, clay page, then tilts and drags the stylus. The result is a stroke that
ÿ combines the glyphic and the graphic, the sculpted and the drawn. In
the manuscript era, in Asia and Europe alike, two-dimensional
written forms were dominant over three-dimensional carved ones.
À. Short History of the Printed Word

In the age of print, three-dimensional forms, with inscriptional

roots, became increasingly important. But neither medium is pure.
The hand always moves in three dimensions, even when leaving a
two-dimensional trace, and even in three-dimensional inscriptions,
one dimension is weaker than the rest.
Though the third dimension is subtle in letterpress printing, it is
always present. In offset printing, it is always absent. If type design
were less conservative than it is, the rise of offset printing might
have provoked an immediate abandonment of letterpress tradition.
Type designers and typographers might have taken as their models
all the best surviving Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts. But as
Marshall McLuhan observed, the primary content of any new
medium is usually aform made familiar by the medium that imme­
diately precedes. Gutenberg imitated the scribes whom he intended
to displace, and offset printers, by and large, have imitated the work
of their contemporaries and predecessors in letterpress.
As the two-dimensionality of offset became routine, it was rein­
forced by the two-dimensionality of adhesive bindi ng, which pro­
hibits pages and texts from flowing through space as they do in sewn
books. Then it was further reinforced by the two-dimensionality of
computer screens. W ith the popularization of the computer and
the laser printer, the habitual distinction between printing and

Ut picture poesis: ertt quae si proplus stes

te capiat magis, et quaedam, si Longius abstes.
haec amat obscurum, volet haec sub luce viderl,
iudicis argutum quae non forrmdat acumen;
haec placuLt semel haec deciens repetita placebit
T i n Smivito , a digital type designed by Robert Slimbach , based on the script o f
Bartolomeo Smivito. Adobe Systems, M ountain View, California . 1993*

chapter xi * The Digital Revolution

writing was further decreased. Printing came to be something done

by individuals sitting at desks, and the printed work was then more
likely to be a letter or a memo meant for only a few recipients
instead of a public document such as a magazine or book. All this
created an atmosphere in which the scribal page and the pre-
typograpliic letter became increasingly potent models.
All printing types are in some degree imitations of'writing, and in
some degree they are substitutes for writing. They answer in part to
the memory of the writing hand, and in part to an aesthetic that is
based on the machine. But types that gesture strongly toward hand-
written forms are generally known as script types. In the age of the
personal computer, these have flourished as never before. Robert
Slimbach’s Sanvito is one example. It is a digital type inspired by the
hand (or by some of the many han ds) of the scribe Bartolomeo San­
vito, who was born in Padova in 1435- Another example is the same
designer’s Caflisch, based on the hand of the Swiss type historian
Max Caflisch, who was born near Zürich in 1916. T he repertoire,
however, is much wider. It includes types based on the lettering of
: architects and on the script of children and adolescents. There are
also now designers who, for a fee, will create a digital type from the
hand of anyone who asks. Those who prefer computer simulations
; ; of themselves to the real tiling now have that option.

■ Wkai:a,painting a,poemisIThisonnhere,mil caidvyotr

% )whenyonstandclose) that ottowhenyonbarkarmy.
\ . infulllight,fearlessofethe*oritbo’
ifOnewillonlycharigoyonottce) anothertentimes over.
-- 11.1 Caflisch, designed by Robert Slmibach based on the script o f M a x Caflisch.
Adobe Systems, M ountain View, California. 1993-
A Short History of the Printed Word i

Many of these types are handsome pieces of design, highly legi- |

ble, pleasant to look at and technically successful. None of them, f
however, actually replicates a living human’s hand. They do instead f
what able type designs have always done. They create an illusion, f
which sooner or later is seen, and then accepted and admired, for |
what it is. Jovica Veljovic s Ex Ponto, to take another example, is |
widely regarded as one of the most beautiful script types ever made. 1
T hat is what it is - though it pales to insi gnificance when placed be- |
side Veljovic’s own calligraphy, from which it is derived.

Unserifed Types in the Digital Age

The history of the English word serif remains unclear, but it is
almost certainly connected with the German word Scbrifi, meaning
script, and the Dutch word schreef meaning stroke or line. A serif is
a subsidiary stroke. It can emphasize a stroke end, by enlarging it or i
capping it off. At the base of the letter A, for example, there are ser­
ifs that quite literally underline the stroke ends. A serif can also do
the opposite : deemphasize a stroke end by tracing the entiy or exit
of the pen. Serifs (as explained on pages 27 and 28) can be transitive
or intransitive, and unilateral or bilateral. Transitive, unilateral ser­
ifs are the most common form in italic. Intransitive serifs, both
bilateral and unilateral, are more often found in roman.
Unserifed letters - often called sanserifs or simply sans - are an
ancient tradition. They are found in Etruscan and Greek inscrip­
tions from as early as the seventh century b c , and in N orth Italian
paintings, medals and inscriptions of die fifteenth century a d . U n­
serifed printing types, however, were a late development. William
Caslon cut an unserifed Etruscan type for Oxford University Press
about 1745, and his great-grandson, William Caslon IV, cut unser-
ifed roman capitals for the advertising trade perhaps as early as 1812.
Unserifed roman fonts with both an upper and a lower case were ;
common by the middle of the nineteendi century, but they were

c h a p te r xi * The Digital Revolution

afgep afgep
afgep afgep
. 11.3 Four unserifed types: Eric Gill’s Gill Sans and Paid Renner’s Futura
\ (above); Hermann Zapf’s Optima and Hans-Eduard Meier’s Syntax {below).

only used in advertising work. Sanserif types for setting text are a
twentieth-century phenomenon, and a slow-blooming one at that.
Important steps along the way include Eric Gill’s Gill Sans (1927),
Paul Renner’s Futura (1927), Adrian Frutiger’s Univers (1957),
Hermann Zapf’s Optima (1958) and Hans-Eduard Meier’s Syntax
{1969). Gill Sans was die first sanserif type designed on a humanist
model, and Syntax, forty-two years later, was the second. Even
• these types, however, were issued without the usual accoutrements
. of humanist text faces. They had no text figures (123 instead of 123)
and no small capitals. For that reason alone, skilled typographers
; seldom used them for setting books. (W ithout text figures and small
caps, such things as dates and times stand out like prices in an adver­
tisement rather than blending into the text.)
In the 1990s, several digital foundries issued large type families
f which include matching serifed and unserifed forms with a full
typographic palette. Some of diese families of type are essentially
humanist in form. Others owe their basic structure to the Dutch
Baroque. In each of them, however, the design has been successfully
translated across the boundary between serif and sanserif. One of
these families was designed by jean-François Porchez for the lead-

A. Short H isto ry of the Printed Word

ing French newspaper, and bears the paper’s name, Le Monde.

These types do not exist in any material form; they are purely digi­
tal ; but of all the types created for newspaper use in the past century,
these may be the best. Two families of type with a similar range,
though meant for other uses, are Scala, designed by Martin Majoor,
and Quadraat, designed by Fred Smeijers.
Sanserif letters were revived for inscriptional use in Europe late
in the eighteenth century. They have been linked since then with
public and commercial signage. The most familiar sanserif letters in
N orth America are probably the ones now used for highway signs.
In continuous text, however, serifs are helpful. T hat is why the
news, where rapid reading is essential, is always set primarily in ser-
ifed types. Roman serifs tie the letters to the line that ties the letters
to each other. W hen the serifs are left off, we come a little closer to
spelling everything out. That indeed is the rationale behind sanserif
highway signs, which are chiefly lists of names. But in the world of
digital type and offset printing, unserifed forms have another im­
portant function. Amputating the serifs can sharpen and fix a two-
dimensional form. Humanist sanserifs are a way of reasserting the
inscriptional tradi tion, even in a world of two dimensions.

a% P afgep
afgep afgep
11.4 Scala Serif and Scala Sam, designed by Martin Majoor, issued by
Font-Shop, Berlin, 1991-94.

c h a p t e r xï ♦ T h e D ig i t a l R evo lu tio n

Computerized Design
As the twentieth centuiy ends, close to 50,000 different type
fonts are available in the marketplace. This is a dumbfounding
number by incunabular standards, though in the terms of modem
commerce it is modest. Far more than 50,000 books are published
every year. The vice president of marketing could worry there is not
enough new type to go around. Shoddy workmanship and plagia­
rism are rampant, in type design as elsewhere, but the best type
available covers a large range. ïn spite of this variety, the books
and other documents that pour from the world’s laser printers
and presses look astonishingly bland. One reason is that many of
these documents are set in a few bland faces (Times Roman and
Helvetica, together with their many imitations, such as Arial and
Geneva, are most common). Another reason is, again, that all these
, documents are flat. They lack the dawmark of meanings which the
y letterpress, in skillful hands, so readily provides,
y To those who learn to use it, the computer gives considerable
control over type and its placement on the page. It gives no control
at all over paper and presswork, and only the illusion of control over

afgep afgep
I afgep afgep
y n . 5 Quadrant Serif and Quadraat Sans, designed by Fred Smeijers, issued by
g FontShop, Berlin, ujgi-yb.

A Short History of the Printed Word

ink and color. Yet these factors lie at the heart of the book, along
with type and text.
The computer is a simulator of tools and can simulate much else,
but it cannot, at present, simulate everything well. It cannot, for in­
stance, do a decent job of turning one type design into another.
That is a task not for a tool but for the mind and eye and hand of a
designer. Good typographers know that when the computer offers
to simulate a bold weight, italic, or small caps, they must turn this
offer down. The software is incapable of doing everything it claims.
The typographer who wants text figures and italic and small caps -
as nearly every text typographer will - must buy or make a digital
simulation of the real thing, not accept a simulation of a simulation.

The Persistence of the Hand

In spite of elevators, escalators, jet planes, buses, cars and roads,
there are those who love to walk, and there are those who love to
learn what they can only learn by traveling on foot. The paint-
brush has survived and even flourished in the era of the camera,
and the handpress has survived and even flourished in the era of the
laser printer, modem and worldwide web. In N orth America and
Europe, a substantial number of masterpieces have come from the

son ofAriston & Periktione

f. 4 2 8 > e U * f . 3 4 7 BCE
11.6 True andfake small capitals. The small caps on the right are digital but
real; the others {stricken, through) arefakes produced by typesetting software.

28 6
11.7 Paul Blackburn^ T h e O m itted Journals. W alter Hamady, Perishable
Presi\ M tH o reb , Wisconsin, 1983.

private presses in the past quarter century. Two eminent examples

are Jack Stauffacher’s edition of Plato's Phaedrus, published in San
Francisco in 1975, and William Everson’s edition of Robinson Jef­
fers’s Granite and Cypress, completed in Santa Cruz in 1976, Some
of my own favorites among the private presses active in more
recent years are Walter Hamady’s Perishable Press in M t Horeb,
Wisconsin; Claire Van Vliet’s Janus Press near West Burke, Ver­
mont; Carolee Campbell’s Ninja Press in Los Angeles; Barbarian
Press in Mission, British Columbia; and the press of Peter Koch in
Berkeley. Each of these printers has a playful side. Each is at the
same time a master of austere and pure typography.
Though they are practicing a craft that is centuries old, the
artists among the printers, like the artists among the writers, musi­
cians and painters, continue to uncover new perspectives, new
ideas, new possibilities of form. By making their own papers and
mixing their inks with painterly skill, both Hamady and Van Vliet
have made the printed book more colorful, more varied, yet more


À Short History of the Printed Word

11.8 The Fragments ofHerakleitos. Greek text with an English translation by

Guy D avenport. Book {left) and prospectus {right). Peter Koch, Berkeley, ip yo .

integral than it had ever been before. By rethinking the ways in

which books are assembled and bound, Campbell and Koch have
provoked many readers to see afresh what it means to read.
Koch’s edition of the fragments ofHerakleitos looks as simple as
a slab of wood and opens as abruptly as a door, yet it has all the sub­
stance of a book and the grace of an archaic Greek inscription. In
Campbell’s edition of W. S. Merwin’s Real World of Manuel Cordova,
the 602 lines of text flow like the river that flows through the poem.
Closed, Manuel Cordova is fÆ x i f A inches (9 x 34 cm), an unusual
shape for a book in North America and Europe but quite familiar in
the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, in which Merwin has been trained.

11.9 W .S. M etsvin, T h e Real World o f M anuel C ordova. Cardee
Campbell, N inja Press, Los Angeles,

Fully opened, the fifty-six accordion-fold pages extend more than

15 feet (4.5 m).
|y N ot all private press books are produced by letterpress, of
course. In the early 1980s, working with photosetting equipment
•and a process camera at the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester,
New York, Warren Lehrer designed and set the text of a play he had
cowritten with Dennis Bernstein. The title of the play is French
Fries, and its setting a fast-food joint. The printed text is less a script
than a typographic performance, full of drama, foil of action, and
every bit as garish as the setting may deserve. The tradition of typo­
graphic theater to which French Fries belongs is at least a century

À Short History o f the Printed Wbi d Warren Lehrer i f De?mis Bernstein, French Fries. Visual Studies

Workshop, Rochester, New York, 1984.

old, and probably m uch older. In Paris in 1923, th e R ussian p rin te r

and playwright Ilya Zdanevich painstakingly p ro d u c e d a ty p o ­
graphic perform ance o f his play IJdantyu faram . F o rty years later,
for the Paris publisher G allim ard, R o b ert M assin created ty p o ­
graphic performances o f two plays by E ugèn e Ionesco.

N o m atter how short the ru n and how careful th e p rin ter, m etal
type wears as it is used. W orn type prints p o o rly I t n eed s to b e
melted and recast. As the foundries closed, th e supply o f g e n u in e
foundry type available to letterpress p rin ters th ro u g h o u t th e w o rld
dwindled severely. M any turned to M o n o ty p e and L in o ty p e, b u t
these alternatives were dw indling as w e ll K n ow ing th ey co u ld n o t
replace their type made m any prin ters nervous a b o u t u sin g w h a t
they had. M any also observed w ith som e envy th e in creasin g a rray

I c h a p t e r xi « The Digital Revolution

of good digital text types. A link between the handpress and com-
V; puter seemed in order. Photopolymers provided it.
Early photoengravings were made from metal, usually zinc. A
photopolymer printing plate is a photoengraving made instead
/ from a photosensitive resin, rather like a slab of solid nylon. The
technology involved was developed in the 1950s and is regularly
used to print commercial packaging. In the late 1980s, artist print­
ers in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Colorado Springs began ex­
periments with other ends in mind,
t The advantage of photopolymer over metal photoengraving is
that the machinery required is modest and no toxic chemicals are
used. The only solid substances involved are rubber, steel, and the
photopolymer itself; the only fluids are printing ink and water. The
polymer block as it comes from the manufacturer is water soluble
and photosensitive. If the blank block is covered with a photo­
graphic negative and exposed to a strong light, the character of the
polymer in die exposed areas changes. These areas lose their solu­
bility, T he unexposed areas can then be washed away, leaving a pre­
cise three-dimensional mirror image of whatever was on the film.
After drying and curing, the block is ready to be inked and printed.
Blocks are usually mounted in the press with a rubber or magnetic
steel backing.
The starting point can be anything photographable - a hand­
written text or a drawing, for instance - or anything produced by
any means in photonegative form. That is precisely the form in
which digital type is usually generated for high-grade printing.
In Merwins Manuel Cordova, printed by Carolee Campbell, the
river that runs beside the poem and gives the text its shape is printed
from photopolymer blocks, but the text is handset metal. Some
other books of interest have been built the other way around: the
text set on a computer and printed from photopolymer side by side
a*. with illustrations that were cut bvv hand - in wood or linoleum,7or in
blocks of synthetic resin.

À Short History o f the Printed Word

The Trade and Academic Press

Most readers nowadays, alas, have never touched nor even seen
a book made by hand from handmade materials. T hat means most
readers have never encountered a book made to be read with the
whole sensorium. The books of trade and academic publishers are
as a rule now designed for the eye alone - and often for an inatten­
tive eye that looks no further than the jacket. Trade books that are
designed with care and imagination are prone to overdo the visual
element, because when books are manufactured by an automated
process from machine-made paper, chopped into pages and bound
with a strip of glue, the visual is the only element left. This accounts
for a curious paradox: some of the best-designed trade and acad­
emic books of recent years are also some of the worst designed.
In 1974, Jacques Derrida’s book Glas was issued by a small
French publisher, Editions Galilée, in Paris. Glas (meaning Knell) is
an essay written in four simultaneous voices, rendered in four dif­
ferent types. There are two parallel texts, but each has a subsidiary
voice which frequently intrudes, as if the footnotes had revolted.
The subsidiary texts comment on the main texts, while the main
texts comment on each other (and, of course, on many other texts as
well). This prosaic hall of mirrors has no marked entrances or exits;
both main texts start and stop in the middle of a sentence.

11.11 Jacqiie Derrida , G l a s . English translation hyJ.R heavy J r & Richard

Rand, University o f Nebraska Press, Lincoln, i<)86.

chapter x i * The Digital Revolution

ÿv ÏÏ.Ï2 Avital Ronell, The Telephone Book: Technology, Schizophrenia,

f, Electric Speech. University ofNebraska Press, Lincoln, iç8ÿ.

g In 198 6, the University of Nebraska Press issued an English ver-
%> sion of Glasy recreating with great care the design of the original.
:: Other works have followed, in English as in French, which likewise
mate complex and sometimes lively typography with dense and of-
" " ten turgid academic prose. But Derrida’s book owes its typographic
" form (and its textual turgidity) to the Medieval manuscript tradi-
, tion, in which texts are frequently encrusted with a commentary
g and learned annotations. Other books in the same vein, especially
y; those produced in the English-speaking world, have been more bla-
tant, mating academic prose with the typography of advertisement.
|K There is nothing new and unusual in writers, including acad-
jj; emies, having outsized egos and an appetite for fame. W hat is new
in the twentieth century is the way in which these yearnings have
m: come forward in their published works. Derrida’s self-indulgence is
r immense, but its visual manifestations have been relatively subtle.
This is not the case with Avital Ronell’s Telephone Book, a study of

A Short H i s to r y of the Printed Word

11,13 M ark C. Taylor & Esa Saarinen, Im agologies: M edia P hilosophy,

Routledge, London,

Derrida and Heidegger in which the disembodied connectivity

provided by the telephone becomes a basic metaphor. This book
was published by Nebraska in 1989, brilliantly designed by Richard
Eckersley. Typographically, The Telephone Book belongs to a tradi­
tion that begins in 1499, with Aldus’s Hypnerotmmchia Poliphili. It
has a far more abrasive typographic edge than the Hypnerotomachia,
but it is in this respect both honest with the reader and faithful to
the text. That harsh edge suits the author’s posture to a tee.
Mark Taylor and Esa Saarinen’s Imagologies: Media Philosophy is
visually much louder than The Telephone Book. In the fall of 1992,
Taylor and Saarinen team-taught a philosophy seminar. Video links
and electronic mail enabled both professors and their students to
remain at their respective universities, one in Massachusetts, one in
Finland. The resulting publication, designed by Marjaana Virta in
Helsinki and published by Routl edge in London in 1994, is an effort
to philosophize about and within the world of electronic media and

fr c h a p t e r xi * The Digital Revolution

■ 1still produce the tangible, heftable emblem of self-worth (and the

eternal tool of academic advancement) known as a book.

The Ecology ofthe Printed Word

In recent years, software engineering has placed typesetting
capability - and even typ ^founding capability - into the hands of any
author who desires it. Freedom to publish is also now, in many
countries, almost absolute. Yet in the English-speaking world, the
printing, publishing and marketing of books is largely in the hands
of a few gigantic firms. Oddly, these are not firms for whom books
and publishing as such are primary interests. The companies most
prominent in publishing are owned by other companies and man­
aged as a consequence by persons whose profession is not publish­
ing but managing. A publisher’s goals are, as a rule, to contribute to
the culture by publishing good books, to enjoy the many pleasures
of a literary life, and to make a little money in the process. A man­
ager’s goals, as a rale, are maximum market penetration, maximum
market share, and maximum profit. These aims are not quite dia­
metrically opposed, but they are different enough that, through
their interaction, the face of publishing has changed.
To publish has traditionally meant - and to most publishers still
means - to make public, on the simple understanding that what is
openly known and valued has its own life and its own chance for a
future. That is all the immortality culture can provide. To publish is
not to preach, nor even to publicize, though both those things may
also be involved. But when its public spirit is withdrawn, publishing
becomes another enterprise and needs another name.
Great books still come from the largest houses, but there is am­
ple proof that publishing, like writing, is done best by those for
whom a book is something more than just a marketable product,
and by those for whom the beating of the heart and the singing of
ideas are sweeter than the sweetest purr of money. As larger pub-

A S h o r t H i s to r y o f t h e P r in t e d W o r d

lishers have lost dieir independence, smaller publishers have grown

substantially in cultural importance. Many of the finest trade books
issued in N orth America in the past quarter century have come
from very modest operations. The firm of David Godine, founded
in a barn in Brookline, Massachusetts, in 1969, is one eminent ex­
ample. Another is Coach House Press, begun in a Toronto alley by
Stan Bevington in 1965. A third is Copper Canyon Press, founded
by Sam Hamill and Tree Swenson in a Denver tenement in 1972
and transplanted in 1974 to subsidized quarters in Port Townsend,
Washington. N orth Point Press, founded in San Francisco by Jack
Shoemaker, with David Bullen as designer, joined these ranks bela­
tedly in 1980 and expired prematurely in 1991. All made books ex­
emplary in physical and literary terms.
W hy so much emphasis here on the physical quality of books?
Durability and beauty, like intelligence, are something more than
luxuries. They are tactics for survival. Books are part of culture, and
culture is part of propagation. Culture - something common to all
mammals and all birds - is the part of any species’ propagation con­
ducted by nongenetic means. Writers, typographers, printers and
publishers make their books to last (if they know what a book is) for
the same reason that they feed and clothe their children. The degra­
dation of the book goes hand in hand with the destruction of the
forests, the pollution of die water, the pollution of the air. It is one
more way of reaping profits now and leaving nothing to the people
of the future.

The Typography ofBody, Speech and Mind

The roots of literature are oral rather than scribal. The printed
word is an outgrowth of the written, and the written word an out­
growth of the spoken. Speech separates and joins ideas in space and
time, and memory rearranges them. W riting joins and separates
them too - and typography can hold them in position.

•c h a p t e r x i # The Digital Revolution

The arrangement of words on the page can be purely visual and

formal. It often consists in making pleasing shapes without regard
to what is said. But it can also be highly expressive or analytical.
Typography, like speech, can be expository or narrative, lyrical or
dramatic. In the twentieth century, poets have explored the re­
sources of typography more fully than ever before - but so have
novelists, playwrights, musicians, mathematicians, linguists, chem­
ists and other scientists. At least one philosopher of consequence,
Jan Zwicky (in Lyric Philosophy, published in 1992 by the University
ofToronto Press), has done the same.
One of the most thoroughgoing studies of the literary value of
typographic space is Ezra Pound’s long poem The Cantos, published
in instalments from 1925 to 1969 and in whole form in 1970. The
poem is to be spoken; it is also to be thought. Its appearance -
sketched by Pound with a manual typewriter - tells us how. Words
..and ideas are placed on the page like notes on a musical score.
À S h o r t H i s to r y o f t h e P r in t e d W o r d

A charter of sorts for all this creative and inquisitive use of typo­
graphic space was provided at the end of the last century by the poet
Stéphane Mallarmé. His poem Un Coup de des, published in Paris in
1897, seemed in its time the most visually daring work of literature
ever published. Mallarmé’s preface to the poem reveals quite a bit
about what he and his successors have been doing.

The white spaces do indeed assert themselves, insistently at first. The ver­
sification required them, like a surrounding hush. It is usually the same
with a short lyric or apoemjust afew measures long; which on the average
occupies about a third ofa page. I donH departfrom that proportion; I only
spread it out. The paper intervenes whenever an image halts or recedes of
its cram accordletting others take their turn. It is not a matter - as always
in the past - of regulated elements of sound (that is, ofverse), but rather of
prismatic subdivisions of the Idea, whenever they appear.; andfor as long as
their conjunction lasts, in this or that specific spiritual setting. Here and
there, closer to or farther away from the invisible connecting thread, the
text sets itself, wherever seems most true. The - i f I may say so - literary
advantage of this reiterated distance, mentally separating word-clusters or
wordsfrom one another, is this: it appears now to accelerate, now to retard,
movement. The poem is scanned and transmitted in terms of a simultane­
ous vision of the Page. This is apprehended as a unity, the same way a
stanza or a self-sufficient line would be in other writing. The fiction wells
up and ebbs away, quickly, keepingpace with the mutability ofthe writing.
It flows around thefragmentary rests in one uppercase sentence that starts
with the title and goesfrom there. Everything happens throughforeshort­
ening, hypothetically; narrative is eschewed. Moreover, when thought can
operate naked in this way, with retreats; delays,jumps, or in whatever way
it will, it produces a musical scorefor anyone wishing to read it aloud. The
use of differentfontsfor dominant and secondary and supplemental themes
reveals the weight appropriate to each in speaking the poem, and the tack
the text takes - across, upward or downward over the page - will tell
whether intonation rises orfalls.

II.15 D e// Hymes, “Victoria Howard's ‘Gitskux and H is O lder Brother’” in
S m ooth in g the G round, edited by Brian Swann. Typography by Charles
Bigelow. University o f California Press, Berkeley, ipS y.

Some of the most exciting and potentially far-reaching develop­

ments in typography since i960 have involved giving typographic
form and identity to languages and literatures formerly unwritten.
When Europeans first arrived in North America, some 500 lan­
guages were spoken between the Arctic Ocean and the Isthmus of
Panama. Each one had a thriving oral literature, but very few (all in
Mesoamerica) had a script of any kind. Practical alphabets have
been devised in recent years for hundreds of Native American lan­
guages, and much work has been done in establishing typographic
forms appropriate to Native American oral literatures.
The chief pioneer in this field is a linguist named Dell Hymes.
Working mostly with older texts - including the Chinook and
Kathlamet texts dictated by Q ’ilti and published by Franz Boas at
the end of the nineteenth century - Hymes began in the late 1950s
to uncover the complex verbal and visionary patterns of Native
A Short History of the .Printed Word

American narrative. The language of these narratives, which

Hymes calls “measured verse/’ is in conventional terms neither
verse nor prose. It is another state of literary language, still ignored
by many linguists and literary critics. Yet the research and
others in the field of oral narrative has proven that this language is
abundant worldwide. There is good reason to believe it is an older
literary medium than either verse or prose. It is pre~typographic
language, only now developing a typographic form. As it does so, it
enlarges and enriches the world of the printed word.
Much the same is happening with letterforms themselves. Many
of the letterforms imported to the typographic realm by twentieth-
century designers are pre-typographic form s : old forms that are the
history of language and the future of the word.

A 31, 282 Bancroft, John Sellers 213
Addison, Joseph, 176-78 Barbarian Press 287
Adler, Elmer 87, 250 Baroque type 130,148,161,163,176,199,
Adobe Systems 278 203, 227, 249, 283
advertising 195, 212, 223, 283 Basel 1x5
Alenin of York 33,161 Baskerville, John 163-65
Aldine Press 90—92 Baskerville type, Great Primer 164.
Aldus (type) 266 Baskin, Leonard 260
Alexandre, Jean 158 bastarda types 43, 71, 83. 87, T20
Alphabet, The (Goudy) 233 bâtarde types: sec bastarda
alphabets 21, 22-38 Bauer type foundry 244, 246
American Magazine, The 180 Bauhaus 246
American Type Founders 260 Bay Psalm Book (Day) 155
Anchor Paperbacks 271 Beardsley, Aubrey 2x9
annealing 50, 52 bed 31,133
Antiquities of Athens (Revett) 200 Beilenson, Peter 259, 263
Antwerp 1.18-19 Belgium, printing in 81-82,118-19,129
Apocalypse (Dürer) 8ç, 101 Bell (type) 249
aquatint; see etching Bembo (type) 249
Areopagitka (Milton) 3,123-24 Bender, Richard 241
Arrighi, Ludovico degli 98, 99, Bentley s Miscellany 209
108 Benton. Linn Boyd 221, 223
art nouveau 21 Benton, Morris Fuller 221
Arte subtilissi?na (Yciar) 80 Berling (type) 266
Ashendene Press 227,128 Berner, Konrad 120
Athalie (Racine) 157 Bernstein, Dennis 289-90
Atlantic Monthly 220, 221 Bevington, Stan 296
Augereau, Antoine 113 Bewick, Thomas 184-87, 218
Augsburg 75 Bi Shêng 5, 84
Austin, Richard 202 Bibles: Biblia regia 118,119; Gutenberg 6,
Aventures de Télémaque, Les (Fénelon) 187 65-67 ; King James 124,12 7-2 8;
Avisa Relation oder Zeitung 141, iq i Native American 155; Oxford Lectern
axis 160—61,198,199; classical 31; vertical 231, 232
69,150 Biblia regia (Plantin) 118, 119
Biblioteca Real 775
Baldung, Hans (Hans Grien) 101 Bienewitz, Philipp X2i
ballpoint 276 binding 268-71, 275, 280

•Bktney, Archibald 187 Callot, Jacques 131,139,140
Blackburn, Paul 2#7 Cambridge University Press 232
: falackletter 35, 36,120-21; see also fraktur; cameras 21
lettre deforme; rotunda; textura Campbell, Carolee 287-89, 291
Blado, Antonio 108 Campbell, John 178
Blaeu, Willem 152 Canada, printing in 180,183, 220
- Blake, William 7, 206-7 Canadian Magazine 220
block printing: see woodblock printing Canadian Review 220
Bluntenbucb, Das (Koch) 242 cancellaresca: see chancery script
Blumenthal, Joseph 245, 250-51, 263 Cantos, The (Pound) 297
-Boas, Franz 154, 299 capitals: roman 22, 35, 40, 74; round 69;
Boccaccio, Giovanni 17, 72, 87 rustic 28, 29, 31; square 27-29,57,-
Bodoni, Giambattista 171-74, 200-201 Trajan 22,26, 27; see also small caps
Bodoni types 772 Capricbos (Goya) 190
body 48, 52, 54,170, 201 caractères A ugustaux 202
Bollmgen Foundation 266 caractères de l’Université 147
Book o f Hours: see Horae Cardinal, The (Lievens) 106
Book of Job (Blake) 206,207 Caricature, La 210
Book o f Ruth and Esther (Pissarro) 228 Caroline minuscules, the 3 2-34
Bordon, Benedetto 90 Carr, Dan 279
Boston Gazette 179-80 Carter, Matthew 279
Boston News-Letter 178-79 Caslon, William, foundry of 161-63
Bourgeois gentilhomme (Molière) 157 Caslon (types) 162, 202-3, 249> 282
bdustrophedon 23 casting 8, 52, 53-56, 214-15, 222
bowls 35,160 Catholicon (Balbus) 71
Boydeil & Nicol Shakespeare Printing Caxton, William 82-84
Office 183 censorship: in England 123-26,143; in
Bradford, William 156,180 Europe 113-15,147; in France 113-15,
breathing 25, 35,174 147-49; in Germany 142-43; in the
Bremer Presse 245, 247, 248 United States 145-47,5^; see also
brevier 57,170 press, freedom of
Brinton, Daniel 153 Centaur (type) 232
broadpen 27,198-99,277 Century' (type) 221
Brower, David 266-67 Century Illustrated Monthly 220, 221
Buckley, Samuel 181 Cervantes, Miguel de 127-28
.Buffon, George Louis 258 Champfleury (Tory) 107,113
Bullen, David 296 chancery' script 38-39, 95,9 S’, 99
fiulmer, William 183,184-85 Chappell, Warren, type by 241
:Burckhardt, Jacob 41-42 character set 8, 23, 57; see also alphabets
Burne-Jones, Edward 226 Charivari, Le 210
Butter, Nathaniel 141,143 Charlemagne 32-33
chase 61, 63
Caflisch, Max 281 Chase, The (Somerville) JS4
Caflisch (type) 281 chasing tools: see punches
Gài Lun 14 Chaucer, Geoffrey (Kelmscott Press
calendering 165,196 edition) 224, 226
calligraphy 27-39, 40-42, 87,106-7, Chaucer (type) 225
198-99, 234, 265-66; see also Chef-d’œuvre inconnu, Le (Picasso) 237
alphabets; scribes; scripts Chicago Tribune 253
A Short History of the Printed Word

China 5, 8,9, 10, 14 da Spira, Giovanni; see van Speyer, Johann

Chinook Texts (Q ’ilti) 154 Daily Courant 181,182
chisels 28,102 Daily Universal Register 218: see also Times
Chiswick Press 203, 224 (London)
Chodowiecki, Daniel Nikolas 190 dandy roll 196
Choix de chansons (Laborde) 18$, 190 Dante (type) 266
Cbronik der Sachsen 70 Daumier, Honoré 204-5, 2IOj 264, 26$
Cicero 74, 75; (Estienne) i n Day, Stephen 155
Cirque de l’étoilefilante (Rouault) 25#, 267 De Aetna 92
Civilité Puérile, La (Erasmus) 118 De Civkate Dei (Augustine) 74, 75
civilité types 1x7-18 De Chris mulieribus (Boccaccio) 72
Clarendon Press 247 De Divinia proportione (PacioH) 107
Coach House Press 296 De Historia stirpium (Fuchs) 115
Cobden-Sanderson, T J. 226, 229 De Humant corporisfiabrica (Vesalius) ri5,
Cock, Jérôme 119 u6
codex 39 De Imitatione Christi (Thomas à Kempis)
Colines, Simon de 109-12 147
Colloquies (Erasmus) 20 De Oratore (Cicero) 74
collotype 217 De Praeparatione evangelica (Eusebius) 76,
color 26-27, 29, 35, 68 77» 7'^
composing stick 60 De Vinne, Theodore Low 221
composition: by hand 59-61, 214, 255; by Decameron (Boccaccio) 243-44, 245
machine 2x3-15, 26z, 285-86; Deepdene (type) 234
specialty houses for 255-56 Defoe, Daniel 176-78
computers 21, 257, 276-79, 280-81 Delacroix, Eugène 204
Connecticut Courant 181 diacritics 23
Contes drolatiques 211 Dih'ao 141
Cope, Richard 225 Dictes and Sayings of the Philosophers
Copper Canyon Press 296 (Caxton) 8y, 84
Corante 14T, 145 Didot, Firmin 168-71,197
Cornhdl Magazine 218 Didot, François-Ambroise 168-70
Cotyriana (PaDadius) 9 8 Didot, Pierre, l’aîné 168-71, 200
coiinter-counterpunch 49 Didot family 168-71,187, 196, 201
counterpunches 47-48,49-51 digital type 10, 57, 278-79, 281-84
counterpunching stake 47 Dijck: see Van Dijck
counters 26,48,49, 69 Diogenes (Parmigianino/da Carpi) 104,105
Coup de des, Un 298 Diotima (type) 266
Courante uyt Italien, Duytslandt Ï41 D mna Conrmedia (Dante) 247
Cranach, Lucas, the elder 94,10 x Don Quixote (Cervantes) 227,128,175
Cranach Press 235, 236 Doré, Paul Gustave 211
Cresd, Giovanni Francesco 108 Doubleday Books 2 72
Cromwell, Oliver 143 Doughty, William 138, 139
Cruikshank, George 208-9 Doves Press 226, 227
Cultee, Charles 154 Doves type 227, 229
cuneiform 279 dressing stick 54-55
cursive fonts 95, 9#, 99, 117-18 drypoint 133
Duncan, H arry 260,275-76
D 31 Dürer, Albrecht 24, 25, 89-90, i o o - i o x ,
da Carpi, Ugo 101,104,105 107

3 °4
Dutch Type Library 278 Fairbank, Alfred 234
Dwiggins, William Addison 249, 250 Fall of the Princes (Boccaccio) 87
Faust (Goethe) 190, 204
' E 27» 31 Feder tend Stichel (Zapf ) 245
Eckersley, Richard 294 Fell types 130, 132
Eclogues (Virgil) 160, 207, 275-76 Figurai (type) 266
Edelstein (Pfister) 72 figures 283
Edinburgh Review 218 files 45, 47, 50
éditions du Louvre (Racine) 157 First Folio (Shakespeare) 125,127
Eichenauer, Gustav 240, 241, 243-44 Fischer, Samuel 247
Eichenberg, Fritz 25 2 Fleischman, Johann Michael 174,175
Eickhoff, j.G.A. 2T2 jHong 197
Einaudi, Giulio, editore 266 Florence, printing in 40, 80
Electronic Revolution, T he 257 floret 108
electrotyping 198 font 57-60, i n
Elements (Euclid) 84 FontShop 278
Elements of Lettering (Gaudy) 233 form 194
Elzevir family Ï30, xpi Forsberg, Karl-Erik 266
Emerge (type) 259 42-line Bible: see Gutenberg Bible
. Emerson, Ralph Waldo 220 Foudrinier papermaking machine 196, 222
?■ England, printing in, 83-84, 86-87, Four Gospels, The (Gill) 248
161-63 Fournier (type) 249
- , English Monotype Corporation 249; see Fournier family x66-68,187
;; also Monotype Fournier’s scale 56,167
/-'•. English n" 2 type 201 fraktur type 43, 120, 190
engraving ï.29,133-34,139,192, 204; France, printing in 8 p -8 8 ,116-18, 238-40
> aquatint 137-38; copper 119; François 1 1x3,156
'■/.) pantographic machines 234, 255, 267; François peints par eux-mêmes, Les (Gavarni)
\\ “white line,” 185; wood 185-87 210
. Enschede, Isaak Johannes 174-75 Franklin, Benjamin 170,180,187
7:. . Enschedé en Zonen 243, 244, 259, 262 Franklin, James 180
-, Epistolae adfamiliares (Cicero) 75 French Fries (Lehrer ir Bernstein) 289-90
epistolary scripts: see italics ffisket 64
Eragny Press 227,228 Froben,Johan 115
?.. Erasmus, Desiderius 20, 91,115 Frosche, Die (Aristophanes) 263, 264, z65
Essais (Montaigne) 121, 122 frotton printing 12
Estienne, Henri 1x0 Frutiger, Adrian 57, 266, 279, 283
fs)'- Estienne, Robert 109, n o , in , 112-15 Fugère,Jean-Michel 202
etching 135-37, tp2, 204, 208; aquatint furniture 63
iS? I37“ 3^, 208, 258; mezzotint 137-39 Fust, Johann 67-70
|y, ' Euvres (Labé) 116 Fust i f Schoffer Psalter: see Mainz Psalter
Evans, Edmund 218 Future (type) 246, 284
Everson, William 287
)|y ; Ex Ponto (type) 282 galleys 61
f T eyes 160 Gallimard, Gaston 247,266,290
Garamond, Claude 109,149; type of 113;
'VV Fabiani 258 canon size type 114; grecs du roi 113;
I ■- Faber & Faber 252
!> face 46, 47, 50, 51
italic 113
gauges 46

A Short History of the Printed Word

Gavarni (Guillaume Sulpice Chevalier) H 31,49-50

2ÏO Haarlems Dagblad 142
Gazette 142 Haas, Wilhelm 183
Gazette (London) 144, 245,146 half uncials: see semiunctals
Ged, William 197 Hamady, Walter 2<¥7
General History of Quadrupeds (Bewick) 185 Hamill, Sam 296
General Magazine 180 hardening 47,49-50,52
Gering, Ulrich 87 Harper’s Monthly Magazine 220, 222
Germany, printing in, 75 Harris, Benjamin 146-47
Geschichte Friedrichs des Groszm (Kugler) Hartz, Sem 259, 266
2n Heath, Charles 204
Gil, Geronimo 175 Herakleitos (Koch) 288
Gill, Eric 234, 236-37, 243, 245, 248, 249, Heritage Club 259
283 Histoire naturelle (Buffon) iy 8
Gill Sans (type) 283 Historia naturalis (Pliny) 75
Gillot, Firrnin 216 Hoe, Richard 2x2
Glas (Derrida) 292 Hoeil, Louis 244
glyphic 8,279 Hogarth, William 1:8ÿ, 190
Godine, David 296 Holbein, Hans 75,101,115
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von 190 Holland, printing in 81,143
Golden Cockerel Press 248, 249 Homer 18,19
Golden type 225,227 Horace 3.34, 273
gothic script 8, 35-36,1x7 Florae 87
gothic type 43, 74, 83, 87,117-18; round Horae (Tory) 112
87 Horne, H erbert 230
Goudy, Frederic W. 233-34, 249 Hortus sanitatis 70-71
gouges 105 Hudibras (Flogarth) 190
Goya y Lucientes, Francisco 137, 138,190 Hudson, John 279
Grabhorn Press 249 humanism 18—20
Grandjean, Philippe 150,158,167 humanistic script: see scrittura umanistica
Granite and Cypress (Jeffers) 287 humanistic type 283, 284
Granjon, Robert 109,116-18,121 Hymes, Dell 299-300
graphic 8, 279 Hypnerotomaehia Poliphili (Colonna)
Grave, The (Blair) 207 90-92, 94,100, 243, 294
gravers 45, 46, 47,185-86
grecs du roi (types) 113 Ibarra, Joaquin 175
Greely, Horace 222 illumination 72, 87
Green, Samuel 155 Illustrated Daily News 253
Grien, Hans: see Baldung, Hans illustration 105,119, 204-5; tn England
Griffo, Francesco 91-92,94, 95 206-9; in France 87, 2x0-11, 238-40;
grisaille 105 in Germany 210-12; see also etching;
ground 135 engraving; intaglio; woodcuts
Gryphius, Sebastian 1x6 Imagologies (Taylor & Saarinen) 294-95
Gutenberg, Johann 5, 8,11, 65-67, 77,192, imposing scheme 63
272, 280; choice of letterforms by 59; impression 6-7, 262
movable type of 59; press of 61, 65; Imprimerie Impériale 201
workshop 62 Imprimerie Nationale 238-39,279
Gutenberg Bible 6, 21, 65-67 Imprimerie Royale 134,147-49,150, ï 6 i
Gutenberg Museum 4, 61, 62 incunabula 65-92

Industrial Revolution, the 19, 21,193, 247 Koberger, Anton 90,100
Information Revolution, the 277 Koch, Peter Rutledge 287-88
initials 68, 69, 248 Koch, Rudolf 43, 49, 240-42, 243
inking 64,132,133,139,192 Koch Anti qua (type) 43, 240
InselVerlag 237,242 Konig, Friedrich 194
intaglio 6, 7,119,131-40,190, 204; .tee also Kfinig Agilulf(Boccaccio) 245
engraving Koran 1x5
Ionesco, Eugène 290 Korea 5, 8
Isingrin, Michel 115 Kranz 80, 87
italics 38,94, 95-100; capitals 99-100, Kredel, Frite 241, 242, 2 43-44,1Sl
213; lowercase 98 Kretzchmar, Eduard 212
Italy, printing in 72,73-74 Krimpen: see Van Krimpen

j 22 Labe, Louise 116

James foundry' 162 Lactantius 75, 74
Jannon,Jean 147-49,238 Landells, Ebenezer 218
janson, Anton 57 Lane, Allen 256-57
“Janson” {type) 57-58 Lange, Gerald 278
Janus Press (Van Viiet) 287 Lanston, Tolbert 213
Janus-Presse (Poeschel er Tiemann) 237 Laughlin, James 297
Jaugeon, Jacques 150 lead 49, 52
Jegher, Christopher 129 leading 167
Jenson, Nicolas 72,76-79,227 Le Bé, Guillaume 168
Jessen (type) 242 Lehrer, Warren 2 89-90
Jésus Christ m Flandre (Jan van Krimpen) Leipzig 237, 257
242, 243 Leipzig Academy 237
lets 54 Le Monde (type) 283-84
Johnson, Marmaduke 155 U Estrange, Roger 144
Johnston, Edward 234-36 letterforms 22, 24-38,106-8,161,193,
Jones, George 249 262, 279, 300
jonquières, Henri 240 letterpress 6, 7, 61,138,175, 2x2, 274, 280
Journal of Madam Knight (Rogers) 2 51 Lettersnider, Henric 82
Journal of the Plague Year, A (Defoe) lettre déformé 35,' see also blackletter;
176-77 texmra
Juliana (type) 259 Lewis, Allen 243
Library of Aboriginal American Literature
K 22 (Brinton) 153-54
Kulmdarius 84, 85 Lidantyu farami (Zdanevich) 290
Keerer see Van den Keere Li evens, Jan 301, 104, 105,106
Kelmseott Press 19,224-26,227 Life 253
Kennerley (type) 235 Life of Michdagnvlo Buonarroti (Condivi)
kerning 215 230
Kessler, Harry 236 ligatures 59, 99
King James Bible 124,127-28 limestone 191-92
King’s Roman (romain du roi) 150-52, 158 Limited Editions Club 250-51, 255, 259
Kis, Miklos Totfalusi 57-58, 251 Linotype 57, 212-15, 249, 254, 259, 278
Kleuken, Friedrich Wilhelm 242 Linotype “Janson” type 57-58
Klmgspor foundry 237, 244 lithography 191-93, 204; offset 205, 212,
Knopf, Alfred 247. 250 251-52, 268

A Short H i s to r y of the Printed Word

Livre d'heures 86, 88 Meaning in the Visual Arts (Panofsky )

livres de peintres (Voîkrd) 238-40 270-71
lo c k -u p 67 Mechankk Exercises (Moxon) 152, 153
loupe 49 Médailles sur les événements du règne de
lowercase letters 31, 33, 36,160 Louis-le-Grand 150, 259, 173
Luce, Louis-René 158,161 Meditationes de vita Christi 75
Lutetia (type) 242, 243 Meier, Hans-Eduard 283
Lux claustfi 139,140 Mellan, Claude 154
Lyon 87,116 Mena, Francisco Manuel de 175
Lyric Philosophy (Zwicky) 297 Menhart, Oldrich 266
Menzel, Adolph 211-12
M 27, 31 Mercure de France 142
McClelland & Stewart 266 Mergenthaler, Ottmar 212-15
McLean, Ruari 256 Méridien (type) 266
McLuhan, Marshal 280 Merrymount Press 230
Macy, George 250-51, 253, 255 Merwin, W.S. 288-89,291
magazines, printing of: in England Mêtamarph ose d'Ovide figurée 116, n y
218-20; in the United States 220-23, Aleynell, Francis 253
253 mezzotints: see etching
Maillol, Aristide 255,23 6 Mid-Week Pictorial 253
Mainz 65, 71-73 .Mills, William Ross 279
Mainz Psalter 68-70 M ilton,John 3,123-24
Maimer Press 242 minuscule 33, 60; see also Caroline
Majoor, Martin 284 minuscules; lowercase letters
majuscules 33, 36 60; see also capitals Miroiter de la rédemption, Le 87
makeready 64,133 Miscomini, Antonio 80,115
Malin, Charles 245 mise en page 74, 79
Mallarmé, Stéphane 298 Modèles des caractères (Fournier) 168
Mallet, Elizabeth 181 molds 44; handcasting 53-55
Manet, Edouard 239 Molière 157
manière criblée 88 Mondadori, Arnoldo 247
Mannerism 100 Monde, Le 284
Mansion, Colard 83 Monde illustré. Le 265
Mantegna, Andrea 100, io6 Monotype 213-15, 216, 217, 249, 278
Manuale tipografico (Bodoni) 175, 201 Montaigne, Michel de 121-22
Manuel Typographique (Fournier) Montaigne (type) 232
166-67 Montfort, Benito 175
manuscripts: see calligraphy Moreau, jean-Michel 188, 190
Manutius, Aldus 90-92, 95, too Moretus, Balthasar 119,130
Maori 212 More tu s, Jan 119
mapmaking 121 Morison, Stanley 245, 249, 254
Marathon (type) 242 Morning Chronicle 181-82
Mardersteig, Giovanni 245, 249, 261, 263, Morning Post 181-82
266 M om s, William 19, 20, 224-26
Marsh, Reginald 250, 2p movable type 3, 5, 8,10, 43, 44-61
Massin, Robert 290 Moxon, Joseph 152,155
matrices 44-46, 52-53,197, 255; justifying Mubashshir ibn Fâtik, Abui-Wafâ’ 84
53; striking 52-53 Muddiman, Henry 144
Matura (type) 264 Mueller, Hans Alexander 252

Nash, Ray, 260 Opera (Horace) 134
Nation, The 222 Opera (Virgil) 94
Native American languages 22,153-55, Oporinus, Johannes 115
299-300 Optima (type) 245, 283
Native American literature 153-55 ornaments 69, 226
n e o Caroline letters 36-39 overlays 64,133,187
Neoclassical type 150,160,161,164,169, Oxford Gazette 144
ty2>l75> l99> H 9 Oxford Lectern Bible 231,232
Neuîand (type) 240,242 Oxford University Press 130, 232, 247,
New Directions 297 282,
New England Courant 179, 180
New Testament (Froben) 115 Padoli, Luca 24,107
New York Advertiser 222 page, invention o f 39-40
New York Evening Post 221-22 Palatino (type) 245, 261, 266
New York Herald 22.2 Palatino, Giovanni Battista 98
New York Sun 222 Pannartz, Arnold 72, 73-74
New York Times 220, 222, 253 Panofsky, Erwin 270-71
New York Tribune 215, 222 pantographic machines 223, 234, 255,
New York World 222 267
New-York Gazette 180 paper 5,14-17,164-65,196, 269
New Zealand 212 paperbacks 269-71, 292
newspapers; in Canada 180,183; in China Papillon 185
141; in England 141,143-44,181-82, Parallèlement (Verlaine) 238
2ï 8, 254; in France 142; in Germany parchment 5
141,142-43; in Holland 141; in the Parmigianino 104,105
United States 145-47, 278-81, 220-23, Pareja, Francisco 153
253-54 Paris 72, 87,109-12
Nicholson, William 197 Pasiphaé (Montherlant) 258
nick 48 Patterson, Joseph M. 253
niello 88 Pelican History ofA rt 256
Night Thoughts (Young) 207 Penguin Books 256-57
Ninja Press 287 pens 27, 29,198-99, 276, 277
Nonesuch Press 253 Pennsylvania Gazette 180
nonpareil 57,170 Perfetto scrittore, II (Cresci) 108
North Briton 182 Perishable Press 287
N orth Point Press 296 Perkins, Jacob 204
Nouvelles ordinaires de divers endroits 142 Perpétua (type) 245
Nürnberg 17 Perrin, Louis 202
Nuthead, William 156 Peter Pauper Press 259
Petitot, Emile 154
O 26 Pfister, Albrecht 72
Oath of a Free Man, The 155 Phaednis (Plato) 287
Ohms sueltas ÇÏriarte) 175, 176 Philipon, Charles 210
octavo 40,175 phonograms 22
Offenbacher Werkstatt 240-42 photocomposition 267-69, 272
Offieina Bodoni 249, 261, 263 photoengraving 185, 216-17, 29z
offset printing 7, 205, 212, 251—52, 280 photography 205, 216-17
Oliver Twist (Dickens) 208-9 photogravure 217
Omitted Journals, The (Blackburn) 2Sy photolithography 217

À Short History of the Printed Word

photomechanical reproduction 217, 250 Princeton University Press 266

photopolymer printing 10, 290-91 Principaux points de lafoi (Richelieu) 149
Physiologie du Robert Macaire (Daumier) n o printing: benchmarks of 20-21; costs of
piano 183 254, 264, 272; defined 6-7;
pica 56-57,170, 223 electrotype 198; invention of 5-9,
Picasso, Pablo 257, 238, 258 61-64; laser 280, 286; multicolor 68,
Pickering, William 202-3, 224 268, z6p; photopolymer 10, 290-91;
pied du rot 170 pre-typographic 11-T4; purpose of
Piedra gloriosa, 0 de la estatua do 271-74; relief 138,192; resistance to
Nebucbadnesar, La (ben Israel) 137 h , 40-42, 64, 75,125; spread around
Pigouchet, Philippe 86, 88 the world 80-82, 86-87, 93> I2<F
pin 47, 48, 50 1:82-83, 2l2'i stereotype 197; see also
Pisani, Francesco 150,15 2 lithography; offset printing; wood­
Pissarro, Lucien 227, 228 block printing
planer 49, 51 printing, history of: before 14th century 5,
planographic printing 6, 7, 192, 293, 251 ; 8-10,13; in 14th century 13-14; in
see also lithography 15th century 8, ir, 35-92; in 16th
Plantin, Christophe 117, 118,129 century 93-122; in 17th century
platen 61,183,193 123-57; in *8th century 158-90;
plates 61, 121, 133,135-36, X37 journalism and pamphleteering in r8th
Plato 287 century 176-82,190; in 19th century
playing cards n , 13, 75 191-26; typographic revival of 1890s
Poems (Goldsmith & Parnell, illustrated 19-20, 224-26; before 1940 227-54;
by Bewick) 185 Offenbaeher Werkstatt in 1920s
Poeschel, Carl Ernst 237 240-42; type design in 1920s 243-45;
Poétiques (type) 161 Bauhaus in 1920s 246; 1940 to 1975
point system: American 56, 223; European 255-74; after *975 275-300; digital
170; Fournier system 56-57,167 type 278—84
point-set 223 Printing Types: Tbeir History, Forms and Use
Poliphilus (type) 249 (Updike) xi, 230
polyglot Bible; see Biblia regia prints: chiaroscuro 104, 105; devotional
Pompa introitus Ferdinandi (Plantin) 128 ii—12; multiple-block 105; see also
Porchez, Jean-François 279, 283 engraving; etching; intaglio; woodcuts
Pound, Ezra 297 Publkk Intelligencer 144
Poussin, Nicolas 131, 134 Publick Occurrences Both Forreign and
press, freedom of 3,123-24, ï 80-81, 221; Domestkk 146-47
see also censorship Pulitzer, Joseph 222
presses, printing: color 268, 269; Punch, or the London Charivari 208, 218
continuous 2 68; cylinder 194; double punchcutting 46-52; tools 45-47
194; hand 61-64, z)3>18 8-89,193, punches 46-52, 255
225, 254, 260, 274, 286; invention of Pynson, Richard 87, m
61-64; iron 183-84,193; Linotype Pynson Printers 87
212-15; lithographic 212; modern
275-76; offset 205, 267, 268, 272; Q 31
perfecting 212; power 193-95, 223> Q ’iltf 154, 299
254; rotary 212, 254; rotogravure 132, Quadraat (type) 284,285
253-54; steam-driven 222; stop- quarto 39-40,175
cylinder T94; web 212 Quebec Gazette 180
Prince, Edward 225, 227, 244 quills 198-99

3 ÎO
quoins 63 Rue Transonian (Daumier) 205
Racine {éditions du Louvre) 157 Ruppd, Berthold 75
Radisch, Paul Helmuth 243, 244 Rûzicka, Rudolph 249
Raphael 95, 96-97
Ratdok, Erhard 84 -85,115 S 27
rationalism 158-61,164 Sabon, Jacques 262
Raven, The (Poe) 279 Sabon (type) 261
:Raymond, Henry Jam s 230, 222 Saint Christopher, the xx, 12
reading vs looking 174 Saint Christopher c'a Horseback 88
Real World o f Manuel Cordova (Merwin) St John Hornby, C. H. 227
288-89, 29* Salomon, Bernard xx6
Recueil des histoires de Troyes (Le Eèvre) 82 Salter, George 252-53, 260
Reatyell o f the Historyes ofTroye (Caxton / Sancha, Gabriel de 175
LeFèvre) 82-83 sanserif types 163, 246, 282-85
Reiner, Imre 269, 264, 26y Sanvito, Bartolomeo 280,281
Rembolt, Berthold 87 Sanvito (type) 280, 281
Rembrandt ï o i , 104,131,135,136,137 Saspoch, Konrad 61
Renaissance xo, 18-20, 36,176; type 42, Scala (type) 284
99-100, m -14, i6ï, 176,199, 201, 227, Schneidler, Ernst 243, 264
249, 278 Schôffer, Peter, the elder 67-71, 93
Renner, Paul 243, 246, 283 Schoffer, Peter, the younger 71,115
Respublica (Elzevir) 131 Schônsperger, Johann 120
Review, The 176-77 schwabacher 43, 71,120
Revue canadienne 220 Scotch Roman type 202
Reynolds, Joshua 138 scribes 36, 40-42, 279; see also calligraphy
Ricketts, Charles 226 Scribner's Magazine 220, 22Ï
Riverside Press 232 Scribner's Monthly 221
Robert, Nicolas Louis 196 scriptorium 4
Robinson Crusoe (Defoe) 176 scripts 30-39,317, 280
Rockner, Vincenz 120 script types 281-82
Rogers, Bruce 19, 231-32, 249, 250, 255 scrittura umanistica 36-38, 74
romain du roi Louis X I V (type) 150-52, Sedan, Académie de 148
158,160 semiuncials 30, 31
roman letters 24-29, 40, 43 Senefelder, Aloys 191—92
roman type 76, 79, 87, 91-92, 114,149, serifs 27, 28,150,159-60, 282, 284
I5 O -5 Ï, l 6 z 7 202 Shakespeare, William 122, 125
Romantic type ï6i, 171,172-73,183,199, shank: see body
200-201, 227-28 ShënKuô 5
Rome 72 Shepard, Ernest 218
Ronaldson, James 187 Shoemaker,Jack 296
Rosenberger, August 245, 261 Shortest Way with the Dissenters, The
rotogravure 132, 253-54 (Defoe) 176
rotunda 35, 43, 79, 80, 81 Siegen, Ludwig von 137
Rouault, Georges 238, 264, 265- Sierra Club Books 267
Rowlandson, Thomas 207-8 Sigl, George 212
Ruhei, Ira 251-52 signature 39-40
Rubens, Peter Paul tox, 1x9, iz8, 129, 130, Simonneau, Louis 150, iyi
G1 Simons, Anna 234, 248
Rudge, William 232 Sinibaidi, Antonio 80

A Short History of the Printed. Word

Sister Carrie (Dreiser) 250, 251 Tenniel, John 218

Siimbadh, Robert 280, 281 terminals 198
small caps in , 283, 286 textura 34, 68-69, &2>163
Smeijers, Fred 279, 284, 28 s; texture 69, 95
Smoothing the Ground (Hymes) 299-300 Thierry. Denys 157
Soncino, Gershom 100 Thorowgood, William, 201
Songs of Innocence (Blake) 206 Thresor literaire (van den Velde) 150
sorts 59,197 T ibet 8,10
Somhworth Anthoensen Press 263 Tiemann, Waiter 237, 243
Spain, printing in 8o-8i, 175-76 Time 253
Speckle, Rudolff Ï15 Times (London) 194, 195, 218, 222, 254
Spectator, The 176-78 T iro Typeworks 279
Spectrum (type) 266 title pages 75, top, u j , 126, :tj7, 159,169
Spiral Press 245, 263 Tory, Geofroy 24,107, no, 112,113
squares 46 touche 192
stake 50 Tournes, jean de 109,116-17
Stamperia Orientale 117 Tourte, François 199
Stamperia Reale 171 trade press 292; see also paperbacks
Standard Lining System 223 Traditions indiennes du Canada nard-ouest
Stanhope, Charles, Lord 183,197 (Petitot) 154
Stanhope press 183,193 Trajanus Presse 263-64
Star Chamber decree 126, 128 Tratteggiato da penna (Pisani) 150, ry2
Srauffadier, Jack 287 Tristam Shandy (Hogarth) 18% 190
Steele, Richard 176-78 Troy (type) 225,244
Steiner-Prag, Hugo 252 Trump, George 261
Stemp el foundry 245, 246, 260-62 Tschichold, Jan 257, 261-62
stems 33,159 tympan 63-64
Stephanus: see Estienne type: arrangement of at; cutting 48-56,
stereotyping 197 171-72, 243-46, 266, 267; foundries
Stone, Sumner 279 121, 161-75, 187-89, 202, 243-46,
Strasbourg 72 260-62; metal 53, 223, 267; original
Strawberry Hill Press 243 method of manufacture 43-56;
striking 46, 49, 50, 52 sculptural aspects of 21, 24, 51-52;
Suhiaco 73-74 specimen sheets 85,152, 162, 164,165,
Suhrkamp Verlag 266 172, 200; see also casting; and individual
Svensson, Georg 247 type names, foundry names, etc.
Swenson, Tree 296 typewriter 214, 215, 276-77
Sweynheym, Konrad 72, 73-74; type of typography 23, n o - li, 150,199-203,
74 224-26, 286, 292-94
Switzerland, printing in 75
Symonds, John Addington 18-19 U 22, 31
Syntax (type) 28$ uncials 29, 30-31
underlays 64
Tagliente, Giovanantonio 98 Undenveysung der Messung (Dürer) 25, 107
Talbot, W .H . Fox 205, 217 Unger, Johann Friedrich 190
Taller, 'The 176-77 United States Founders Association 223
Telephone Book (Rond I) 293-94 Univers (type) 283
television 257, 271 University of Nebraska Press 292-94
Temptation of Christ ( Jegher / Rubens) 129 University of Toronto Press 266

: unserifed types: see sanserif types Weekly Review of the Affairs of France: see
Unzclmann, Friedrich Ludwig 212 Review
Updike, Daniel Berkeley xi, 230 Weiss, Emil Rudolf 243, 244
Wesley, Edward 222
(§422 whiteietter types 36-39, 87, n o
Vâffiard, Jacques-Louis 168, 170 Wiegand, Willi 244, 247, 248
Vale Press 226 Wilkes, John 182
Vallet, Jacques 130 Wilson, Adrian 266
van Calcar, Jan. Stevenszoon 115 Wilson, Alexander, & Sons 202
van de Velde, Henry 246 Wind, Edgar 267-69
van den Keere, Hendrik vj6 Winnie the Pooh (Shepard) 218
van Dijck, Christoffel 130 Woellner, Etoile 242
van Dijck (type) 249 Wolpe, Berdiold 241, 252
van Krimpen, Jan 242. 243, 244, 249, 261, woodblock printing 8,10,11, 1 2 ,15, 68,
266 9#, 99, 206-7, i n , 242
van Speyer, Johann & Wendelin 72, 75-76 woodcuts 14, 70, 72, 75, 84, #9, too—5,
Van Vliet, Claire 287 140, 203, 255, 236, 243-44
Vasari 100 Worde, Wynkyn de 121
Vatican Library 18,41 World War I 236, 240, 243
Veljovic, jovica 282 World War II 252, 256, 270
vellum 5,14, 29 wove paper 164-65,169,196
Venice, printing in 11, 75-76, 84 writing: see calligraphy
Vergikios, Angelos .113 Writing and Illuminating, and Lettering
versais 70 (Johnston) 234
Vesalius, Andreas 115, 116
Vespasiano Amphiareo, frate 107 x-b eight 36
Vespasiano da Bisticci, Fiorentino 42, 67 xylographie books 14
Viart, Guyonne n o
Vibert, Joseph 201 Y 22
Vicar of Wakefield, The (Goldsmith) 20H Yale University Press 247
Village Press 233 Yeiar, Juan de 8o-8t
violin bows 199 Yellow Book 218-19
Virgil 9 4 ,16% 206, 207, 235 Yriarte, Juan de 175,276
Virta, Marjaana 294-95
Visual Studies Workshop 289-90 Z 22
Vollard, Ambroise 238-40, 253, 255 Zainer, Gimther 75
Zainer, Johann 72-73
W 22, 277 Zapf, Hermann 57, 245, 260-62, 266, 279,
Walker, Emery 19, 225, 227, 229, 232, 283
236-37 Zapf-Von Hesse, Gudrun 266, 279
Wallau (type) 243, 244, 245 Zdanevich, Ilya 290
Walpole Printing Office 263 Zell, Ulrich 83
Walter, John 218 Zenger, John Peter 180-81
Warde, Frederic 245 Zilver Distel Press 249
watermarks 16, 17,196 Zwicky,Jan 297
Wechel, Andreas 114,120
WeddingJourney of Charles' and Martha
Ammy, The 230
Weeckelycke Courante van Europa 141
w arren chappell w as b o r n in R ic h m o n d , V irg in ia , in 1 9 0 4 .

H e g r a d u a te d f r o m th e U n iv e r s ity o f V irg in ia , i n 1 9 2 6 a n d f o r th e

n e x t te n y e a rs c o n tin u e d h is s tu d ie s , firs t a t d ie A r t S tu d e n ts

L e a g u e in N e w Y o rk C ity , th e n w ith R u d o lf K o c h in O ffe n b a c h , a t

d ie B a u e r fo u n d ry in F ra n k fu rt, a n d w ith B o a rd m a n R o b in s o n in

C o lo r a d o S p rin g s . T h e r e a f te r , h e d e v o te d h im s e lf to th e d e s ig n

a n d illu s tra tio n o f b o o k s , m a in ta in in g a s tu d io in N e w Y o rk C ity

f o r fifte e n y e a r s a n d in n e a r b y N o r w a lk , C o n n e c tic u t, f o r a n o th e r

tw e n ty -fiv e y e a rs . I n a d d itio n , h e d e s ig n e d tw o fa m ilie s o f p r in tin g

ty p e s : L y d ia n ( n a m e d f o r h is w ife L y d ia ) a n d T r a ja n u s . I n 1 9 7 8 h e

m o v e d t o C h a r l o t t e s v i l l e a s t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f V i r g i n i a ’s a r t i s t - i n -

re s id e n c e . C h a p p e ll p u b lis h e d th e firs t e d itio n o f A Short History o f

the Printed Word i n 1 9 7 0 . H is o d ie r b o o k s in c lu d e The Anatomy of
Lettering (1 9 3 5 ), They Say Stories (i9 6 0 ) a n d The Living Alphabet
(1 9 7 5 ). H e d ie d in C h a r lo tte s v ille in 1991.

Ro b e r t b r i n g h u r st w a s b o r n in L o s A n g e le s in 1 9 4 6 a n d

r a is e d in A lb e r ta , M o n ta n a , U ta h a n d W y o m in g . H e is th e a u t h o r

o f m o r e th a n a d o z e n b o o k s o f p o e try , in c lu d in g The, Beauty o f the

Weapons ( 1 9 8 2 ) and The Calling: Selected Poems / p 7 0 -/9 9 5 . H e w as

c lo s e ly in v o lv e d w ith th e n o w - le g e n d a ry S a n F r a n c is c o m a g a z in e

Fine Print: A Review fo r the A tts o f the Book a n d is a l i f e l o n g s t u ­

d e n t o f b o th th e o r a l a n d th e v is u a l fa c e s o f lite r a tu r e . H is b o o k

The Elements ofTypographic Style , firs t p u b lis h e d in 1 9 92, a p p e a re d

in a re v is e d a n d e x p a n d e d e d itio n in 1 9 9 5 . I t h a s n o w b e e n tr a n s ­

la t e d i n t o s e v e r a l l a n g u a g e s a n d is u s e d a r o u n d t h e w o r l d a s t h e

s ta n d a rd re fe re n c e in its fie ld . A p r o g r a m o f re se a rc h th a t h e

b e g a n in 1 9 8 8 as a fe llo w o f th e G u g g e n h e im F o u n d a tio n fin a lly

b o r e f r u it in 1 9 9 9 , w ith th e p u b lic a tio n o f h is m o n u m e n ta l s tu d y

o f N a tiv e A m e ric a n o ra l lite ra tu re , A Story as Sharp as a Knife: The

Classical Haida Mythtellers and Their World.