“Thou hast caused
printing to be used.”


The Printers’ Devil.

This trade term origi­nated in Italy. Aldus Manutius was a printer in Venice. He owned a negro boy, who helped him in his office; and some of his customers were superstitious enough to believe that the boy was an emissary of Satan. He was known all over the city as “the little black devil” from his dirty appearance, as his face and hands were generally well smudged with print­ing ink. Desiring to satisfy the curiosity of his patrons, Manutius one day exhibited the boy in the streets, and proclaimed as follows: “I, Aldus Manutius, Printer to the Holy Church and the Doge, have this day made public ex­posure of the Printers’ Devil. All who think he is not flesh and blood may come and prick him!”

The decree of the Star Chamber

, limiting the number of printers in England to twenty was made in 1637.

The first book produced in England

was printed by William Caxton, in the Almonry, at Westminster, in the year 1477, and was en­titled “Dictes and Sayings of the Philosophers.” It is a small folio volume, very beautifully printed on ash-gray paper, with red initial letters, and is remarkable for its evenness of colour and distinctness of type.

Early Printing

. When the art of printing was first applied in Europe to the production of books, they were in imitation of, and sold as, manuscripts; and blanks were left at the com­mencement of the respective divisions of the work, for the illuminator to fill in with the proper letters and ornaments, as was usual in manu­scripts, and so close was the imitation that, even in our own time, it has required the assistance of a chemical test to ascertain which was manu­script and which was printed. When the secret of printing was divulged, and the decep­tion could not be continued, ornamental letters of a large size were introduced, and printed with two colours, generally red and blue, the letter being of one colour, and flourishes, extending the whole length of the page, in the other, so as to have the appearance of being done with a pen; then succeeded various grotesque figures, in attitudes to resemble letters; afterwards small Roman capital letters, with ornaments round them forming a square design; subsequently the block was pierced so that any letter could be introduced, and the ornamented part could be used for any initial; the next descent was for the letter-founders to cast the ornament in type metal, and pierce it for general use, and these cast ornaments for letters were called Facs, as an abbreviation, it is believed, for facsimile. The last descent was to the extreme, to put a plain Roman capital letter, frequently extending four or five lines in depth; and this is the substitute for a beautiful coloured drawing.


The origin of this word is not generally known. On the authority of Bailey the signification of the term is a “stubble-goose.” Moxon, writing in 1683, gives an early example of its use in connection with the annual dinners of the printers of that time. He says: “It is also customary for all the Journeymen to make every Year new Paper Windows, whether the old ones will serve again or no; Because, that day they make them the Master Printer gives them a Way-goose; that is, he makes them a good Feast, and not only entertains them at his own House, but, besides, gives them money to spend at the Alehouse or Tavern at Night; and to this Feast they invite the Corrector, Founder, Smith, Joyner, and Inkmaker, who all of them severally (except the Corrector in his own Civility) open their Purse-strings and add their Benevolence (which Workmen ac­count their duty, because they generally chuse these Workmen) to the Master Printer’s: But from the Corrector they expect nothing, be­cause, the Master Printer chusing him, the Workmen can do him no kindness. These Way-goose are always kept about Bartholo­mew-tide. And till the Master Printer hath given this Way-goose the journeymen do not chuse to work by Candle Light.” Other authors have quoted Moxon on the above, adding, however, riders of their own composi­tion, more fully explaining the meaning of the term. Thus Timperley, writing in 1839, in a footnote, says: “The derivation of this term is not generally known. It is from an old English word Wayz, stubble. A stubble-goose is a known dainty in our days. A wayz-goose was the head dish at the annual feasts of the forefathers of our fraternity.” From this it would appear that the original deriva­tion was from the goose which occupied the place of honour at the dinner, and not, as some have striven to show, from the excursion which usually forms part of their festival.


The first productions of the press were printed on one side of the paper only; as the art improved among the early printers they impressed both sides: and those early productions, when they are printed on both sides of the paper, are styled Opistho­graphic.

The first newspaper in England

was the “News out of Holland,” published in 1619.


. A very great inconvenience of the Gothic impressions of the latter half of the fifteenth century arose from the numerous and continual abbreviations in which a great part of them abound. But this disadvantage is not chargeable exclusively to Gothic, but is sometimes found in early editions of the Roman character. Chevillier particularizes a folio edition of the “Logic” of Ockham, printed in 1488 at Paris, in a handsome letter; but in which scarcely a single word is found unab­breviated. He adduces, for instance, two lines taken at hazard from folio 121. They are printed in the following manner: “Sic hie e sal im qd ad simplr a e pducibile a Deo g a e & silr hic a n e g a n e pducibile a Deo.” At length thus: “Sicut hic est fallacia secundum quid ad simpliciter. A est producibile a Deo. Ergo A est. Et similiter hic. A non est. Ergo A non est producibile a Deo.

Etienne Dolet

. This author, bookseller, printer, and publisher was born at Orleans in 1509, and died in Paris in 1546. A “martyr of the Renaissance,” he was compelled for his heresy to carry a bundle of his publications to the market-place, where he and his books were burned together. Dolet was the author of twenty-four separate works. At the stake he uttered the line, Non dolet ipse Dolet, sed pia turba dolet (It is not Dolet who grieves, but a pious crowd). Dolet established his press at Lyons, and printed his first book in 1538.


. This word has a highly romantic origin. It is associated with the story of St. Martin’s sharing his cloak with a beggar. “Cloak,” in late Latin, is cappella, a little cloak, or cape, from cappa, cloak, cape, cope. The Frankish kings preserved St. Martin’s cloak as a sacred relic. They had it carried before them into battle, and used it to give sanctity to oaths. It was preserved in a sanctuary, under the care of special ministers called cappellani, or chaplains, and from the ministers the name came to be attached to the building, in old Norse French capele, Provençal capella, Italian cappella, and thence to any sanctuary containing relics, and so to any private sanctuary or holy place. The title of “Chapel” to the internal regulations of a printing-office, originated in Caxton’s exercis­ing the profession in one of the chapels in Westminster Abbey, and may be considered as an additional proof, from the antiquity of the custom, of his being the first English printer.


. Catchwords are found in a work entitled “Lilium Medicinæ,” printed at Ferrara, in 1486.

The first cylinder printing-machine

was made by Kœnig, in London, in 1812.

The first steam printing

was done at the “Times” office, in 1814.

Capitals and leads

. Capitals and distances between the lines were first used at Naples, about 1472.

About the Letters J and W

. It is a fact, not so well known but that it may be said to be curious, that the letters j and w are modern additions to our alphabet. The letter j only came into general use during the time of the Commonwealth, say between 1649 and 1658. From 1630 to 1646 its use is exceedingly rare, and we have never as yet seen a book printed prior to 1652 in which it appeared. In the century immediately preceding the seventeenth, it became the fashion to tail the last i when Roman numerals were used, as in this example: viij for 8 or xij in place of 12. This fashion still lingers, but only in physi­cians’ prescriptions, we believe. Where the French use j it has the power of s as we use it in the word “vision.” What nation was the first to use it as a new letter is an interesting, but perhaps unanswerable, query. In a like manner, the printers and language-makers of the latter part of the sixteenth century began to recognize the fact that there was a sound in spoken English which was without a representative in the shape of an alphabetical sign or character, as the first sound in the word “wet.” Prior to that time it had always been spelled as “vet,” the v having the long sound of u or of two u’s together. In order to convey an idea of the new sound they began to spell such words as “wet,” “weather,” “web,” etc., with two u’s, and as the u of that date was a typical v, the three words above looked like this: “vvet,” “vveather,” “vveb.” After a while the type­founders recognized the fact. that the double u had come to stay, so they joined the two u’s together, and made the character now so well known as the w. One book is extant in which three forms of the w are given. The first is the old double v (vv), the next is one in which the last stroke of the first v crosses the first stroke of the second, and the third is the common w we use to-day.

The Scriptures

were first written on skins, linen cloth, or papyrus, and rolled up as we do engravings. The Old Testament was written in the old Hebrew character—an offshoot of the Phoenician. It was a symbol language as written, and the vowel sound supplied by the voice. The words ran together in a continuous line. After the Hebrew became a dead lan­guage, vowels were supplied to preserve usage, which was passing away. After the Babylonish captivity, the written Hebrew was modified by the Aramaic, and schools of reading taught the accent and emphasis. Then came the separation of words from each other, then division into verses.

The first iron printing-press

was made by Earl Stanhope, in 1800.


. The ancient printers, or at least those of the fifteenth century, had only very small presses, and two folio pages, little larger than two pages of foolscap, formed the largest surface they could print. It is probable, also, that the system of laying down pages, or “imposing” them, that we now have was not then known. Their mode of procedure was as follows: They took a certain number of sheets of paper—three, four, five, or more—and folded them in the middle, the quantity forming a section. Three sheets thus folded or “quired” are called a ternion; four sheets a quaternion, and so on. Hence the first sheet would contain the first two pages of a ternion and the last two pages—that is, pages 1 and 2, and 11 and 12. The second sheet, lying inside the first, would contain pages 3 and 4, and 9 and 10; the third sheet having pages 5 and 6, and 7 and 8. If the reader will take three slips of paper and fold them in the same manner, marking the number of the pages, the process will be easily understood. It is obvious that when a system of this kind was adopted, there was danger lest the loose sheets should become disarranged, and not follow in their proper order. To obviate such an acci­dent there was written at the bottom of the first page of each leaf a Roman numeral, as j, ij, iij (1, 2, 3), and so on. This plan was originally adopted by the scribes, and the printers merely imitated it. But the book being made up of a number of quires, there was a danger lest the quires themselves should become disarranged. To prevent this there was at the foot of each page written a letter of the alphabet. The first sheet would bear the letter a, the second b, and so on. When these two indications were present the binder could never be in doubt as to the order of the dif­ferent sheets. The first page of the book was marked a j, the third page a ij, the fifth page a iij, and so forth. The next quire presented the letters b j, b ij, b iij, and so on. These indications at the feet of the pages are known as signatures. When the page bears one of them it is said to be “signed,” and where there is no mark of the kind it is said to be “unsigned.” In the earliest books the signa­tures were written with a pen, and the fact that many copies that have been preserved do not now bear signatures is because they were written so close to the margin that they have since been cut off while the book was being rebound. It was many years after the invention of typography that signatures were printed along with the matter of the pages. The earliest instance we have of the use of printed signatures is the “Præceptorium Divinæ Legis” Of Johannes Nider, printed at Cologne, by Johann Koelhof, in 1472.

Gothic Letters

. The ancient Goths were converted to Christianity by the Greek priests, and they probably introduced their letters with their religion, about the reign of Galienus. Towards the middle of the third century, Ascholius, Bishop of Thessalonica, and a Greek priest named Audius, spread Christianity among the Goths; the former of these is much extolled by Basil the Great, and the latter by Epiphanius. The ancient Gothic alphabet consisted of six­teen letters; they are so similar to the Greek that their derivation cannot be doubted. Those writers are certainly mistaken who attribute the invention of the Gothic letters to Ulphilas, Bishop of Mœsia, who lived in the fourth century. The gospels translated by him into the Gothic language, and written in ancient Gothic characters about the year 370, were formerly kept in the library of the monastery of Werden; but this MS. is now preserved in the library of Upsal, and is known among the learned by the title of the “Silver Book of Ulphilas,” because it is bound in massive silver. Several editions of this MS. have been printed. See a specimen of it in Hickes’s “Thesaurus,” vol. i., pref. p. 8. Dr. Hickes positively disallows this translation to be Ulphilas’, but says it was made by some Teuton or German, either as old, or perhaps older than Ulphilas; but whether this was so or not, the characters are apparently of Greek original.

Type Founding in Europe

. For a long period after the discovery of printing, it seems that type-founding, printing, and binding went under the general term of Printing; printers cast the types used by them, and printed and bound the works executed in their establish­ments. Type-founding became a distinct call­ing early in the seventeenth century. A decree of the Star Chamber, made July 11th, 1637, ordained the following regulations concerning English founders: “That there shall be four founders of letters for printing, and no more: That the Archbishop of Canterbury, or the Bishop of London, with six other high com­missioners, shall supply the places of those four as they shall become void: That no master-founder shall keep above two appren­tices at one time. That all journeyman-founders be employed by the masters of the trade, and idle journeymen be compelled to work, upon pain of imprisonment and such other punishment as the court shall think fit. That no master-founder of letters shall employ any other person in any work belonging to the casting or founding of letters than freemen or apprentices to the trade, save only in pulling off the knots of metal hanging at the end of the letters when they are first cast; in which work every master-founder may employ one boy only, not bound to the trade.” By the same decree, the number of master-printers in England was limited to twenty. Regulations like the above were in force till 1693. The “polyglot founders,” as they have been called, were succeeded by Joseph Moxon and others. But the English were unable to compete with the superior productions of the Dutch founders until the advent of William Caslon.

Pica Type

. The Rev. E. Mores Rowe, a great literary author and antiquarian, born in Kent in 1729, in his “Dissertation upon English Typographical Founders,” says, “The Pie was a table showing the course of the service in the Church in the times of darkness, and was written in narrow columns of black and red. There were some Friars in England called Friars de Pie, so called from their party-coloured raiment, black and white striped (like the plumage of a magpie). Another definition is from Pie, an old Roman Catholic service-book, so called from the manner of its printing, presenting an appearance like the colours of a magpie.” An old placard of Caxton’s pre­served at Oxford reads thus, “If it please any man spirituelle or temporal to buy any pyes, two or three, let him come to Westminster and he shall have them good and chepe.” The French and Germans call it “Cicero,” so possibly the writings of that philosopher were printed in it.

Long Primer

. The Rev. E. Mores Rowe suggests that long means that religious works first set in it were in long lines across the page instead of double columns as previously. It is called Corpus in German, possibly because their “Corpus Juris” was printed in it, a custom still continued. It is also called Garamond, doubtless in honour of the name either of the punch-cutter or founder. The French call it petit Romain and Great Primer gros Romain.


. Said to derive its name from extensive use in printing Roman Catholic Breviaries or prayer books, although this definition is now questioned. We know that our trade owes many of its restrictions to clerical influence as well as some of its privi­leges to their assistance, and of course we have used some technical names as tokens of remem­brance. For instance, chapel, justify, monks, friars, etc. In Germany it is called “jungfer,” signifying “maiden letter,” on account of its comeliness.


. An account by Savage, in his “Dictionary of Printing,” 1841, says: “Cylin­drical printing, or, as it is generally termed, Machine printing, is a new mode of obtaining which took place in the year 1814. It has caused a great revolution in the art, from the facilities which it affords for printing sheets of paper of a size of which no press worked by manual labour is capable, nor, were it capable, is the strength of one man equal to the exertion requisite for the pressure necessary to produce a respectable impression. In addition to this ad­vantage of printing sheets of such larger dimen­sions, it possesses the power of multiplying impressions so rapidly as to appear like the work of magic. This may seem hyperbolical; but the average rate of working at a press for common work, that is, the general run of book work, with two men, one to ink the types, and the other to work the press, is but 250 copies an hour, while a machine will produce 1,250 copies in the same time; and considerably more might be obtained, were not its powers restrained by the limited human means of feeding it with paper, it being found by experience that the number stated is the extent to which one person could supply it, he having regard to laying on the sheets evenly, so as to preserve a regular margin: but this speed was not deemed suffi­cient to meet the wants that were felt, and the ‘Times’ newspaper is now printed at a machine where the paper is laid on at four places, one forme of which, consisting of four pages, is printed at the astonishing rate of 4,320 an hour at its ordinary rate of working, a fact which I have seen and ascertained myself, by counting its motions with a seconds watch in my hand. Mr. Richard Taylor has also a similar machine at which the ‘Weekly Dis­patch’ is printed. Considering what has been done, I cannot see a reason why the paper should not be supplied at six or eight places, if found necessary, so as to increase the number printed to 6,000 or 8,000 in an hour; as the wonder ceases when we remember that steam is the moving power.” A comparison of these facts with the methods employed and the results attained nowadays is very curious.

Newspapers were first printed

in Venice, 1556; in England, 1619; United States, at Boston, 1690.

The Vatican Press.

It is not generally known that the Vatican possesses one of the finest printing establish­ments in the world. It was founded in 1626, and only one year after its foundation already possessed the characters of twenty-three dif­ferent languages. In 1811, when Pius VII. was Napoleon’s prisoner at Fontainebleau, the Propaganda Press was abolished, and its imple­ments were carried off to Paris. It was re­stored under Louis XVIII., and is now one of the marvels of Rome.


. According to Moxon, 1683, this was “Half a crown paid by a new workman to the chapel when he commences, which is always spent. If a journeyman wrought formerly in the same printing house, and comes again to work in it, he pays but half a benvenue. If a journeyman smout more or less on another printing house, he pays half a benvenue.” This custom, somewhat modified, is still retained in printing-offices, and the amount generally paid is the same as it was in the seventeenth century, though the value of half a crown then was considerably more than it is now. Under particular circumstances the chapel sometimes takes less; and the work­men always add something each, so as to be able to provide bread and cheese and a draught of porter to welcome the new comer. The word is now pronounced bevénue; it is evidently a corruption of the French bien venu, or wel­come.

Richard Pynson

. This printer was born in Normandy, but was naturalized in England by letters patent. He was also appointed king’s printer, and was the first that introduced the Roman letter into this country. He chiefly printed law books, which were at that time in Norman French. He died about 1529.

Some Numerals

. Some of these Roman numerals used in old titles and colophons are difficult to read:



IↃ or D500
DCCCC or CM900
M or CIↃ1,000
IↃↃ or5,000
CCIↃↃ or10,000
IↃↃↃ or50,000
CCCIↃↃↃ or100,000
IↃↃↃↃ or500,000
CCCCIↃↃↃↃ or1,000,000

The roman numerals have their own cozy little home in Unicode: I is U+2160 (Ⅰ), II is U+2161 (Ⅱ), and so on; I have used U+2183 Roman numeral reversed one hundred (Ↄ) for the backwards C. On my computer it is supplied by the DejaVu Sans font. In the book, the reversed C sits lower than other letters, but is the same size as a capital letter C; it is rotated through 180 degrees, which would have made it sit lower than the other letters.

There is also a Unicode character for CD, or CIↃ, which should look a little like an uncial M: U+2180 roman numeral one thousand C D (ↀ).

V̄ should be a V with a bar over it.

If the letter number be placed before the greater, the lesser is to be deducted from the greater; thus IV signifies one less than five, i.e. four; IX, nine; XC, ninety. If the lesser number be placed after the greater, the lesser is to be added to the greater; thus VI signifies one more than five, i.e. six; XI, eleven; CX, one hundred and ten. An horizontal stroke over a numeral denotes a thousand; thus V̄ signifies five thousand; L̄ fifty thousand; M̄ a thousand times a thousand, or a million. IↃ or D signifies five hundred, the half of CIↃ. M or CIↃ, a thousand, from mille. The latter figures joined at the top [uncial M], formed the ancient M.

John Gutenberg

. He was born near Mentz, 1397, and was bred a Merchant, which pro­fession he followed at Strasburg and Mentz alternately. He is believed to have discovered the art of printing with movable types about 1439; and it certain that he entered into partnership with Fust, for the prosecution of the art, before 1455, in which year the cele­brated Bible was executed by them. Gutenberg died February 24, 1468.


was invented, in 1725, by W. Ged.

The first work printed in Germany in the Roman characters

was “Isodori Episcopi His­palensis Etymologia,” issued by Gunther Za­nier in 1472.

John Fust, or Faust

. A goldsmith of Mentz, who is said by some to have been the inventor of printing by means of movable metal types. Others, however, are of opinion that he only aisisted Gutenberg and his son-in-law, Schoeffer, in bringing the discovery to perfection. He was living at Paris in 1466, and is supposed to have died soon afterwards.

The first work in the English language

was Caxton’s “Game of Chesse,” issued in 1474.

The letters in the alphabets of the different nations

vary in number from 12 to 202. The Sandwich Islanders have the first named number, the Burmese 19, Italian 20, Ben­galese 21, Hebrew, Syrian, Chaldean, and Samaritan 22 each, Latin 26, Greek 24, Ger­man, Dutch, and English 26 each, Spanish and Slavonic 27 each, Arabian 28, Persian and Coptic 32, Georgian 35, Armenian 38, Russian 41, old Muscovite 43, and Sanskrit and many other Oriental languages have 50 each. Ethio­pian and Tartarian have 2O2 each.

Henry Stephens, Stephanus, or Étienne

. A learned printer, who was born at Paris in 1470. He began business about 1503, and the first production of his press was the “Arithmetic” of Boethius. He died in 1520.

Robert Stephens

. The second son of Henry; he was born at Paris in 1503. After his father’s death he carried on the business with De Colines, who married his mother. During that connection, Robert published, in 1522, an edition of the Greek Testament, which drew upon him the enmity of the doctors of the Sorbonne. He married the daughter of Badius, the printer. In 1526 Stephens dissolved partnership with De Colines, and set up a printing-offie of his own. In 1539 he was appointed king’s printer of Latin and Hebrew; but on the death of his royal protector Robert removed to Geneva, where he died in 1559.

Charles Stephens

. The brother of Robert; he was brought up to medicine, in which faculty he took his doctor’s degree at Paris; but in 1551 he also set up as a printer. His speculations, particularly the “Thesaurus Ciceronis,” proved his ruin, and he died in prison in 1564.

Henry Stephens

. Robert’s eldest son; he was born at Paris in 1528. At twenty he published notes on Horace. In 1557 he printed at Paris several works, the expense of which was borne by Ulric Fugger; and Henry, out of gratitude, subscribed himself his printer. He now began the “Greek Thesaurus,” which great work was completed by him in twelve years, but proved his ruin, and after leading a wandering life, he died in a hospital at Lyons in 1598.

Robert Stephens

. He was a brother of the second Henry. He adhered to the Catholic religion, for which his father disinherited him. He became king’s printer, and died in 1571. He had a son of both his names, who was also king’s printer; he died in 1629.

Francis Stephens

. Another son of the first Robert. He went with his father to Geneva, where he carried on busineis with Perrin.


. As much good printing was done with these, a short account may not be unin­teresting. They consisted of two circular pieces of felt, leather, or canvas covered with com­position, stuffed with wool and nailed to the ball stocks, used to cover the surface of the article to be printed with ink, in order to obtain an impression from it. Moxon says they were occasionally stuffed with hair; and that if the ball stocks were six inches in diameter the ball leathers were cut about nine inches and a half in diameter. They were made larger, according to the work they were required for; those used for newspapers were the largest.

The Stationers’ Company

. In 1403, by the authority of the Lord Mayor and Court of Aldermen of the City of London, the stationers were formed into a guild or fraternity, and had their ordinances made for the good government of their fellowship. Thus constituted, they regularly assembled, under the government of a master and two wardens. Their first hall was in Milk Street; but, notwithstanding all the endeavours that have been made, no privi­lege or charter has yet been discovered under which they acted as a corporate body. It appears from the most authentic records that the Company of Stationers, or text-writers who wrote and sold all sorts of books then in use, namely, A. B. C. with the Paternoster, Ave, Creed, Grace, etc., to large portions of the Bible, even to the whole Bible itself, dwelt in and about Paternoster Row. Hence we have, in that neighbourhood, Creed Lane, Amen Corner, Ave Maria Lane, etc., all places named after some Scripture allusions.

Benjamin Franklin

. This most prominent American philosopher and statesman was born at Boston, New England, January 6, 1706. He was well educated under his father, who was a tallow-chandler and soap-boiler, and after being engaged in that business he was bound to his father’s elder brother, a printer. A difference with his uncle removed him from New York to Philadelphia, where he was noticed by the governor, Keith, and encouraged to set up in business for himself. With this view he came to London; but soon discovered that the promises of his patron were the unmeaning professions of polished life, and, after working as a journeyman printer, he, in 1726, returned to Philadelphia. He began business, and pub­lished a periodical paper, which was read with avidity. He was married in 1730, and the next year he began the public library of Philadelphia. After this he devoted himself to the interests of his country, being instrumental in bringing about the Declaration of Independ­ence. He died April 17, 1790, and his country­men ordered, on this occasion, a public mourn­ing for two months.

The paper duty

. was abolished in 1861.

The first book printed in Europe

from movable types was the Bible, printed by Gutenberg, at Strasburg, in 1455. This work is sometimes described as the Mazarine Bible, and occasionally as the “forty-two line” Bible.

The Stanhope Press

. This was the invention of the patriotic nobleman whose name it bears, and which will be handed down to posterity. After many expensive and laborious experi­ments he succeeded, with the assistance of a very ingenious mechanist (the late Mr. Walker) in bringing it to a state of perfection. The first press was finished in 1800, and its powers were tried at the office of William Bulmer (the Shakespeare Press) in Cleveland Row, St. James’s, London. In the formation of his iron press Earl Stanhope must have found many useful hints in M. Anisson’s “Premier Mémoire sur l’Impression en Lettres, suivi de la Descrip­tion d’une Nouvelle Presse executée pour le Service du Roi,” in which he says: “Je me suis attaché principalement à rendre son action et ses mouvemens les plus indépendans qu’il m’a été possible du maniement déréglé des ouvriers auxquels elle est confiée.” This has been particularly attended to in the Stanhope press, and nothing is left to the judgment of the pressman but the colouring.

Laurence Coster or Laurent Janszoon Koster

. A native of Haerlem, who died about 1440. The Dutch affirm that he invented block-printing in 1430, of which, they say, he caught the idea by cutting letters upon the bark of a tree, and then impressing the same upon paper. This, however, is now generally treated as a fable, and given up by all who have considered the subject.

John Baskerville

. This celebrated printer was born at Wolverley, Worcestershire, in 1706. In 1726 he kept a writing school at Birmingham, but in 1745 he engaged in the japanning busi­ness, to which in 1750 he added the profession of type-founding. After expending a consider­able sum in this pursuit he succeeded, and the works printed by him obtained celebrity. The first of these was Virgil, in 1756, which answered so well that he reprinted it in 1758. In the latter year he was employed by the University of Oxford on a new-faced Greek type, and soon afterwards he obtained leave from the syndicate of Cambridge to print a Bible and two editions of the Common Prayer. The other productions of his press were, Newton’s “Milton,” 2 vols. 4to; Dodsley’s “Fables,” 8vo; Juvenal and Persius, 8vo; Congreve’s Works, 3 vols. 8vo ; Horace, 8vo; Addison’s Works, 4 vols. 4to; a Pocket Dictionary, 12mo; “Jennings on Medals,” 8vo. He also printed editions of Terence, Catullus, Lucretius, Sallust, and Florus, in 4to. Mr. Baskerville died at Bir­mingham, January 8, 1775, and his types were sold to a society at Paris, by whom they were used in printing the works of Voltaire.


. Everybody knows what “fools­cap” paper is, but everybody does not know how it came to bear that name. In order to increase his revenues, Charles I. granted cer­tain privileges, amounting to monopolies, and among these was the manufacture of paper the exclusive right of which was sold to certain parties, who grew rich, and enriched the government at the expense of those who were obliged to use paper. At that time all English paper bore the royal arms in water-marks. The Parliament under Cromwell made sport of this law in every possible manner, and, among other indignities to the memory of Charles, it was ordered that the royal arms be removed from the paper, and that the fool’s cap and bells should be used as a substitute. When the Rump Parliament was prorogued, these were also removed; but paper of the size of the parliamentary journals, which are usually about seventeen by fourteen inches, still bears the name of “foolscap.”

Joha Baptist Bodoni

. This celebrated printer of Parma was, no doubt, the most distinguished in his profession during the eighteenth century. He was bom at Saluzzo in the Sardinian states, February 16, 1740, of a respectable but humble family. He learned the rudiments of his art in the office of his father. At eighteen years of age a desire to improve his condition induced him to undertake a journey to Rome. There he visited the printing house of the Propaganda. His general demeanour and vivacity attracted the notice of the abbate Ruggieri, the super­intendent of that establishment, and he was engaged there as a workman. In 1766 the suicide of Ruggieri rendered Bodoni’s longer stay at Rome insupportable from regret. He accepted an offer, made by the Marquis de Felino, whereby he was placed at the head of the press intended to be established at Parma, and settled there in 1768. Hence he issued some beautiful specimens of his art. His most sumptuous work was his Homer, in three volumes folio, printed in 1808. He was a sufferer from gout, to which a fever was at last superadded, which terminated the life of this eminent typographer in 1813.

The Mazarine Bible.

The first important specimen of printing was the celebrated Bible of 637 leaves, with large cut metal types, which was executed between Gutenberg and Fust. It is known by the number of its leaves to distinguish it more accurately from other editions without date. This Bible is an edition of the Latin Vulgate, and was executed between the years 1450 and 1455. It forms two volumes in folio, is printed in large Gothic or German character, and is a remarkable specimen of beautiful printing. A copy at Lord Ashburn­ham’s sale recently fetched £4,000. This particular edition is sometimes called the “forty-two line” Bible.

John Bagford

. An antiquarian collector, who had a mania for mutilating all the books he could lay hands on, in order to collect title-pages, old types, printers’ colophons, etc. Bagford was born at London in October, 1675. He was bred a shoemaker, but afterwards became a bookseller, and a great collector of curiosities. He was employed by Moore, Bishop of Norwich, and the Earl of Oxford, to enrich their libraries with scarce books and MSS. For his services the bishop placed him in the Charterhouse. He died May 15, 1716. His collections respecting the history of typography are preserved among the Harleian MSS., and there are two volumes by him in the University Library at Cambridge (Dd. x. 56, 57). The title of one of the latter will give a fair idea of the extent of Bagford’s orthographical acquire­ments. It is as follows: “The Hihstory of Tipography, its Originall and prograse from athentick recordes, maniscriptes, and printed bookes, collected with grate paynes, by Jo. Bagford.”

Printing was introduced into Scotland

by Chepman in 1507.

William Caxton

. He was the first English printer, and was born in the Weald of Kent, probably in 1412. At the age of fifteen he was apprenticed to a mercer in London, and on the death of his master travelled in the Low Countries for a short time. While abroad he was employed to continue and confirm a treaty of trade and commerce between Edward IV. and Philip, Duke of Burgundy. During his residence in Flanders he acquired a knowledge of the new invention of printing, and the first book he executed was the “Recueil des Histoires de Troyes,” by Raoul le Fevre, 1465-67. In 1472 he published his own translation of the same work. The time of his return to his native country is not known with certainty, but the usual supposition has been that he brought the art of printing into England in 1474. Shortly afterwards he was residing near Westminster Abbey, where he set up his press. A list of the works printed by him, sixty-seven in number, is given in Lowndes’s “Biblio­grapher’s Manual,” ed. Bohn. Caxton died either in 1491 or 1492.

The First Edition of the New Testament in Greek

. This was published in 1516 by John Froben, at Basle. The design of publishing this edition originated with Froben, who en­gaged Erasmus as the editor; for Beatus Rhenanus, who was for some time one of the correctors of Froben’s press, in a letter addressed to Erasmus, dated April 17th, 1515, makes the proposal, in the following terms: “Petit Frobenius abs te ‘Novum Testamentum’ pro quo tantum se daturum pollicetur, quantum alius quisquam”: “Froben requests you to undertake the ‘New Testament,’ for which he promises to give you as much as any other person.” During the time he was employed upon it, Erasmus lodged in the house of Froben, as appears from the subscription at the end of the first edition, which is, “Basiliæ, in ædibus Johannis Frobenii Hammelburgensis, Mense Februario, anno MDXVI.”

Aldus Manutius

. This celebrated printer was born in 1449, at Bassiano, in the duchy of Sermonetta. He received a liberal education, and on the completion of his studies became preceptor to the Prince of Carpi, nephew of Picus of Mirandola. In 1488 he set up a printing-office at Venice, and the first book that issued from his press was the Greek poem of Musæus, with a Latin version in 410. This was followed by a number of valuable works, and the house of Aldus was the resort of learned men from all parts of Europe, among whom was Erasmus, who resided there a considerable time, while publishing his “Adagia.” Aldus died Feb­ruary 3, 1515. He was the author of a Latin grammar ; a treatise, “De Metris Horatianis;” and a Greek dictionary.

Italic Type

, We are indebted to the above-named printer for the invention of this beau­tiful type. It was at his printing-office in Venice that he introduced the particular letter which is known to most of the nations in Europe as “Italic.” By the Germans it is called “Cursiv.” It was dedicated to the State of Italy to prevent any dispute that might arise from other nations claiming a priority, as was the case concerning the first inventor of print­ing. As soon as Aldus perfected this fount, he obtained a privilege from three several popes for the sole use of it during the space of fifteen years; and these pontiffs give him great en­comiums on the invention.


. This word, literally “little vine,” was originally applied to small copperplate engravings used to embellish title-pages, it being a fashion of the French engravers to surround such designs with a running border of vine leaves. The word is still specifically applied to the small engraving on a title-page, though the vine-leaf border in such a position has long since been discarded. Generally, it includes any kind of engraving or ornament not enclosed in a definite border. This limita­tion of meaning is not, however, observed in typography. An ornament is none the less a vignette because it takes the form of a shield or a medallion or any other figure. The word “vignette” should not be applied to diagrams or illustrative designs or initial ornaments—but to a picture introduced solely for decorative purposes.

Wynkyn de Worde

was the first assistant, and successor of Caxton. He was born in the duke­dom of Lorraine, and became a denizen of England in 1496. Throughout the whole range of our ancient typographers, there is scarcely one whose memory beams with greater effulgence than that of Wynkyn de Worde: he gained this high distinction not only from the number of his publications, but also from the typographical excellence which they ex­hibit. On the death of Caxton, he successfully practised the art of printing on his own account in his master’s house. In this office he appears to have continued until the year 1499, when he removed to the “sign of the Golden Sun, in the parish of St. Bride, in the Fletestrete, London,” He does not appear to have left this neighbourhood, as in his will he directs his body to be buried in the parochial church of St. Bride, Fleet Street, before the high altar of St. Katharine. He died in 1534.

Classical Names of Towns and Cities

. These are some of the less obvious names one meets with on old title-pages:

Abbatis VillaAbbeville.
Albani FanumSt. Albans.
Augusta TiberiiRatisbon.
Haga ComitumThe Hague.
Londinium }London.
Londinum }
Lugdunum BatavorumLeyden.
Lutetia }Paris.
Lut. Par. }
Noriberga }Nuremberg.
Norica }
Padova }Padua.
Patavium }
SestiæAix, Provence.
Varsovia }Warsaw.
Warsovia }
Venetiæ }Venice
Vinegia }

The first almanack

was printed by George Van Purbach, in 1460.

Thomas Bawdier

. To “Bowdlerize” is an expression applied to the act of expurgating editions of the classics. Bowdler was born at Ashley, near Bath, July 11, 1754, and being intended for the medical profession, received a suitable education at St. Andrews and Edin­burgh. He then made a tour through a con­siderable part of Europe, and on his return renounced his profession, and fixed his residence in London, where he became a Fellow of the Royal and Antiquarian Societies. Subsequently he removed to St. Boniface, in the Isle of Wight, and finally to the Rhyddings, near Swansea, where he died February 24, 1825. Mr. Bowdler published “The Family Shakespeare,” in which edition the offensive passages have been removed with great judgment; and he performed the same work of expurgation to Gibbon’s “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.” He was also author of “Letters written in Holland in September and October, 1787”; a Memoir of Lieutenant-General Villettes; and some other works.

Christophe Plantin

. A printer who was born near Tours in 1514. He was brought up under Robert Macé at Caen, after which he went to Antwerp, where he established one of the first printing houses in Europe. The King of Spain gave him a pension and a patent for the exclusive printing of particular works. Plantin had also an office at Leyden, and another at Paris. He died July 1, 1589.

Exclamation and Interrogation Points

. Ac­cording to Bilderjik, a Dutch writer, the note of interrogation is an abbreviation of the Latin word questio, and consists of the letter Q with the o written under it, which o, afterwards filled up, becomes a full point, thus: %—then ? The exclamation point is the Latin Io (an interjection of joy) written in the same way: [I over o]—then ! The latter point was first used in the Catechism set forth by Edward VI., and printed by John Day, in 1553, and is found only once in that work. It is said that the interrogation point was first used by Schoeffer in the Psautier, but it is not found in his “Art Grammatical” of 1466. This statement, however, must be taken with a grain of salt, for it is known that the early printers had no punctuation marks except the virgule, or comma; even the semi­colon was unknown till the time of Aldus Manutius.

John Froben, or Frobenius

. This eminent and learned German printer was a native of Hammelburg, but settled at Basle, where he acquired the reputation of being uncommonly learned. With a view of promoting useful learning, for which he was very zealous, he applied himself to the art of printing. He was the first of the German printers who brought the art to any perfection. The great reputation and character of this printer was the principal motive which led Erasmus to fix his residence at Basle, in order to have his own works printed by him. He would never suffer libels, or any thing that might hurt the reputation of another, to go through his press for the sake of profit; and being a man of great probity and piety, as well as skill, he was particularly choice in the authors he printed. It is said of him, that he exposed his proof-sheets to public view, and offered a reward to any person that should discover an error. In his preface to “Celius Rodiginus,” he advises the learned against purchasing incorrect editions of books for the sake of their cheapness, and calls the printers of them pests of learning. He says, “Such wretched works cannot but be dearly bought, how cheap soever they are sold; whereas he that buys a correct copy, always buys it cheap, bow much soever he gives for it.” Froben died in 1527.


. There were five famous printers at Amsterdam and Leyden who bore this name, Lewies Bonaventure, Abraham, Lewis, and Daniel. Lewis began to be known at Leyden in 1595, and was the first who made the distinction between the v consonant and the u vowel. Daniel died 1680 or 1681. He pub­lished a catalogue of books printed by his family.

Old Style Printing

. In 1843 the revival took place under the following circumstances, which, as they initiated a new fashion in the trade generally, call for reference here. In the year 1843, Mr. Whittingham, of the Chiswick Press, called upon Mr. Caslon to ask his aid in carrying out the then new idea of printing in appropriate type “The Diary of Lady Willoughby,” a work of fiction, the period and diction of which were supposed to be of the reign of Charles I. The original matrices of the first William Caslon having been for­tunately preserved, Mr. Caslon undertook to supply a small fount of Great Primer. So well was Mr. Whittingham satisfied with the result of his experiment, that he determined on printing other volumes in the same style, and eventually he was supplied with the com­plete series of all the old founts. Then followed a demand for old faces, which has continued up to the present time.