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Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg
Born c. 1398
Mainz, Electorate of Mainz
Died February 3, 1468 (aged about 70)
Mainz, Electorate of Mainz
Occupation Engraver, Inventor, and Printer

Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg (c. 1398 - February 3, 1468) was a German goldsmith and printer who introduced modern book printing. His invention of mechanical movable type printing started the Printing Revolution and is widely regarded the most important event of the modern period.[1] It played a key role in the development of the Renaissance, Reformation and the Scientific Revolution and layed the material basis for the modern knowledge-based economy and the spread of learning to the masses.[2]

Gutenberg was the first European to use movable type printing, in around 1439, and the global inventor of the printing press. Among his many contributions to printing are: the invention of a process for mass-producing movable type; the use of oil-based ink; and the use of a wooden printing press similar to the agricultural screw presses of the period. His truly epochal invention was the combination of these elements into a practical system which allowed the mass production of printed books and was economically profitable for printers and readers alike. Gutenberg's method for making type is traditionally considered to have included a type metal alloy and a hand mould for casting type.

The use of movable type was a marked improvement on the handwritten manuscript, which was the existing method of book production in Europe, and upon woodblock printing, and revolutionized European book-making. Gutenberg's printing technology spread rapidly throughout Europe and later the world.

His major work, the Gutenberg Bible (also known as the 42-line Bible), has been acclaimed for its high aesthetic and technical quality.




Early life

Gutenberg in a 16th century copper engraving

Gutenberg was born in the German city of Mainz, the youngest son of the upper-class merchant Friele Gensfleisch zur Laden, and his second wife Else Wyrich, who was the daughter of a shopkeeper. According to some accounts Friele was a goldsmith for the bishop at Mainz, but most likely he was involved in the cloth trade.[3] Gutenberg's year of birth is not precisely known but was most likely around 1398.

John Lienhard, technology historian, says "Most of Gutenberg's early life is a mystery. His father worked with the ecclesiastic mint. Gutenberg grew up knowing the trade of goldsmithing."[4] This is supported by historian Heinrich Wallau, who adds, "In the 14th and 15th centuries his [descendants] claimed an hereditary position as ...the master of the archiepiscopal mint. In this capacity they doubtless acquired considerable knowledge and technical skill in metal working. They supplied the mint with the metal to be coined, changed the various species of coins, and had a seat at the assizes in forgery cases." [5].

Wallau adds, "His surname was derived from the house inhabited by his father and his paternal ancestors 'zu Laden, zu Gutenberg'. The house of Gänsfleisch was one of the patrician families of the town, tracing its lineage back to the thirteenth century."[5] Patricians (aristocrats) in Mainz were often named after houses they owned. Around 1427, the name zu Gutenberg, after the family house in Mainz, is documented to have been used for the first time.[3]

In 1411, there was an uprising in Mainz against the patricians, and more than a hundred families were forced to leave. As a result, the Gutenbergs are thought to have moved to Eltville am Rhein (Alta Villa), where his mother had an inherited estate. According to historian Heinrich Wallau, "All that is known of his youth is that he was not in Mainz in 1430. It is presumed that he migrated for political reasons to Strasburg, where the family probably had connections." [5] He is assumed to have studied at the University of Erfurt, where there is a record of a student, in 1419, named Johannes de Alta villa.

Nothing is now known of Gutenberg's life for the next fifteen years, but in March 1434, a letter by him indicates that he was living in Strasbourg, where he had some relatives on his mother's side. He also appears to have been a goldsmith member enrolled in the Strasbourg militia. In 1437, there is evidence that he was instructing a wealthy tradesman on polishing gems, but where he had acquired this knowledge is unknown. In 1436/37 his name also comes up in court in connection with a broken promise of marriage to a woman from Strasbourg, Ennelin.[6] Whether the marriage actually took place is not recorded. Following his father's death in 1419, he is mentioned in the inheritance proceedings.

Printing press

Gutenberg-style printing press from 1568. Such presses could make 240 prints per hour.[7]

Around 1439, Gutenberg was involved in a financial misadventure making polished metal mirrors (which were believed to capture holy light from religious relics) for sale to pilgrims to Aachen: in 1439 the city was planning to exhibit its collection of relics from Emperor Charlemagne but the event was delayed by one year and the capital already spent could not be repaid. When the question of satisfying the investors came up, Gutenberg is said to have promised to share a "secret". It has been widely speculated that this secret may have been the idea of printing with movable type.[8] Legend has it that the idea came to him "like a ray of light".[9]

At least up to 1444, he lived in Strasbourg, most likely in the St. Arbogast suburb. It was in Strasbourg in 1440 that Gutenberg perfected and unveiled the secret of printing based on his research, mysteriously entitled Kunst und Aventur (art and enterprise). It is not clear what work he was engaged in, or whether some early trials with printing from movable type may have been conducted there. After this, there is a gap of four years in the record. In 1448, he was back in Mainz, where he took out a loan from his brother-in-law Arnold Gelthus, presumably for a printing press. Gutenberg may have been familiar with printing; it is claimed that he had worked on copper engravings with an artist known as the Master of the Playing Cards.[10]

"All that has been written to me about that marvelous man seen at Frankfurt [sic] is true. I have not seen complete Bibles but only a number of quires of various books of the Bible. The script was very neat and legible, not at all difficult to follow—your grace would be able to read it without effort, and indeed without glasses."

Future pope Pius II in a letter to Cardinal Carvajal, March 1455[11]

By 1450, the press was in operation, and a German poem had been printed, possibly the first item to be printed there. Gutenberg was able to convince the wealthy moneylender Johann Fust for a loan of 800 guilders. Peter Schöffer, who became Fust's son-in-law, also joined the enterprise. Schöffer had worked as a scribe in Paris and designed some of the first typefaces.

Gutenberg's workshop was set up at Hof Humbrecht, a property belonging to a distant relative. It is not clear when Gutenberg conceived the Bible project, but for this he borrowed another 800 guilders from Fust, and work commenced in 1452. At the same time, the press was also printing other, more lucrative texts (possibly Latin grammars). There is also some speculation that there may have been two presses, one for the pedestrian texts, and one for the Bible. One of the profit-making enterprises of the new press was the printing of thousands of indulgences for the church, documented from 1454–55.

In 1455 Gutenberg published his 42-line Bible, commonly known as the Gutenberg Bible. About 180 were printed, most on paper and some on vellum.

Court case

Sometime in 1455, there was a dispute between Gutenberg and Fust, and Fust demanded his money back, accusing Gutenberg of misusing the funds. Meanwhile the expenses of the Bible project had proliferated, and Gutenberg's debt now exceeded 2,000 guilders. Fust sued at the archbishop's court. A November 1455 legal document records that there was a partnership for a "project of the books," the funds for which Gutenberg had used for other purposes, according to Fust. The court decided in favor of Fust, giving him control over the Bible printing workshop and half of all printed Bibles.

Thus Gutenberg was effectively bankrupt, but it appears he retained (or re-started) a small printing shop, and participated in the printing of a Bible in the town of Bamberg around 1459, for which he at least supplied the type. But since his printed books never carry his name or a date, it is difficult to be certain, and there is consequently a considerable amount of scholarly literature on this subject. It is also possible that the large Catholicon dictionary, 300 copies of 744 pages, printed in Mainz in 1460, may have been executed in his workshop.

Meanwhile, the Fust–Schöffer shop was the first in Europe to bring out a book with the printer's name and date, the Mainz Psalter of August 1457, and while proudly proclaiming the mechanical process by which it had been produced, it made no mention of Gutenberg.

Later life

In 1462, during a conflict between two archbishops, Mainz was sacked by archbishop Adolph von Nassau, and Gutenberg was exiled. An old man by now, he moved to Eltville where he may have initiated and supervised a new printing press belonging to the brothers Bechtermünze.

In January 1465, Gutenberg's achievements were recognized and he was given the title Hofmann (gentleman of the court) by von Nassau. This honor included a stipend, an annual court outfit, as well as 2,180 liters of grain and 2,000 liters of wine tax-free. It is believed he may have moved back to Mainz around this time, but this is not certain.

Gutenberg died in 1468 and was buried in the Franciscan church at Mainz, his contributions largely unknown. This church and the cemetery were later destroyed, and Gutenberg's grave is now lost.

In 1504, he was mentioned as the inventor of typography in a book by Professor Ivo Wittig. It was not until 1567 that the first portrait of Gutenberg, almost certainly an imaginary reconstruction, appeared in Heinrich Pantaleon's biography of famous Germans.

Printed books

Between 1450 and 1455, Gutenberg printed several texts, which are not known; his texts did not bear the printer's name or date, so attribution is possible only through external references. Certainly several church documents including a papal letter and two indulgences were printed. Some printed editions of Ars Minor, a schoolbook on Latin grammar by Aelius Donatus may have been printed by Gutenberg; these have been dated either 1451–52 or 1455.

In 1455 (possibly starting 1454), Gutenberg brought out copies of a beautifully executed folio Bible (Biblia Sacra), with 42 lines on each page. The pages of the books were not bound, and the date 1455 is documented on the spine by the binder for a copy bound in Paris.

The Bible sold for 30 florins each,[12] which was roughly three years' wages for an average clerk. Nonetheless, it was significantly cheaper than a handwritten Bible that could take a single scribe over a year to prepare. After printing the text portions, each book was hand illustrated in the same elegant way as manuscript Bibles from the same period written by scribes.

48 substantially complete copies are known to exist, including two at the British Library that can be viewed and compared online.[13] The text lacks modern features such as pagination, indentations, and paragraph breaks.

Another, 36-line edition of the Bible was also printed, some years after the first edition, and in large part set from a copy of it, thus disproving earlier speculation that this may have been the first Bible of the two.[14]

Printing method with movable type

Movable metal type, and composing stick, descended from Gutenberg's press.

Gutenberg's early printing process, and what tests he may have made with movable type, are not known in great detail. His later Bibles were printed six pages at a time, and would have required 100,000 pieces of type—making the type alone would take years.[15] Setting each page would take at least half a day, and considering all the work in loading the press, inking the type, hanging up the sheets, etc., it is thought that the Gutenberg–Fust shop might have employed about 25 craftsmen.

Gutenberg's technique of making movable type remains unclear. In the following decades, punches and copper matrices became standardized in the rapidly disseminating printing presses across Europe. Whether Gutenberg used this sophisticated technique or a somewhat primitive version has been the subject of considerable debate.

In the standard process of making type, a hard metal punch (with the letter carved back to front) is hammered into the soft metal copper, creating a mould or matrix. This is then placed into a holder, and cast by filling with hot type-metal, which cooled down to create a piece of type. The matrix can now be reused to create hundreds of identical letters, so that the same type appearing anywhere in the book will appear similar, giving rise to the growth of fonts. Subsequently, these letters are placed on a rack and inked; using a press, many hundred copies can be made. The letters can be reused in any combination, earning the process the name of 'movable type'. (For details, see Typography).

Was the type produced by punches and copper matrices?

"Modern Book Printing" − sculpture commemorating its inventor Gutenberg

Such is the process that has been widely attributed to have been Gutenberg's invention, but it appears from recent evidence that Gutenberg's actual process was somewhat different. If he used the punch and matrix approach, all his letters should have been identical, within some variation possibly due to inking. However, the type used in Gutenberg's printed Bibles were quite irregular.

In 2001, the physicist Blaise Aguera y Arcas and Princeton librarian Paul Needham, used digital scans of the Gutenberg Bible in the Scheide Library, Princeton, to carefully compare the same letters (types) appearing in different parts of the Gutenberg 42-line Bible.[16][17] The irregularities in Gutenberg's type, particularly in simple characters such as the hyphen, made it clear that the variations could not have come from either ink smear or from wear and damage on the pieces of metal on the types themselves. While some identical types are clearly used on other pages, other variations, subjected to detailed image analysis, made for only one conclusion: that they could not have been produced from the same matrix. Transmitted light pictures of the page also revealed substructures in the type that could not arise from punchcutting techniques. They hypothesized that the method involved impressing simple shapes to create alphabets in "cuneiform" style in a mould like sand. Casting the type would destroy the mould, and the alphabet would need to be recreated to make additional type. This would explain the non-identical type, as well as the substructures observed in the printed type.

Thus, they feel that "the decisive factor for the birth of typography", the use of reusable moulds for casting type, might have been a more progressive process than was previously thought.[18] They suggest that the additional step of using the punch to create a mould that could be reused many times was not taken until twenty years later, in the 1470s.

Other hypotheses about European origins

The 19th century printer and typefounder Fournier Le Jeune suggested that Gutenberg might not have been using type cast with a reusable matrix, but possibly wooden types that were carved individually. However, this appears unlikely given the uniformity of the bulk of the type he used.

It has also been questioned whether Gutenberg used movable types at all. In 2004, Italian professor Bruno Fabbiani claimed that examination of the 42-line Bible revealed an overlapping of letters, suggesting that Gutenberg did not in fact use movable type (individual cast characters) but rather used whole plates made from a system somewhat like a modern typewriter, whereby the letters were stamped successively into the plate and then printed. However, most specialists regard the occasional overlapping of type as caused by paper movement over pieces of type of slightly unequal height.

A 1568 history by Hadrianus Junius of Holland claims that the basic idea of the movable type came to Gutenberg from Laurens Janszoon Coster via Fust, who was apprenticed to Coster in the 1430s and may have brought some of his equipment from Haarlem to Mainz. While Coster appears to have experimented with moulds and castable metal type, there is no evidence that he had actually printed anything with this technology. He was an inventor and a goldsmith. However, there is one supporter of the claim that Coster might be the inventor. In the Kölner Chronik of 1499 Ulrich Zell, the first printer of Cologne, mentions that printing was performed in Mainz in 1450, but that some type of printing of lower quality had previously occurred in the Netherlands. However the name of Coster is not mentioned in that chronicle.[14]


"What the world is today, good and bad, it owes to Gutenberg. Everything can be traced to this source, but we are bound to bring him homage, ... for the bad that his colossal invention has brought about is overshadowed a thousand times by the good with which mankind has been favored."

American writer Mark Twain (1835−1910)[19]
Printed 1522 edition of Martin Luther's 95 Theses which sparked off the Reformation. Within the span of only two years, Luther's tracts were distributed in 300,000 printed copies throughout Germany and Europe.[20]

Although Gutenberg was financially unsuccessful in his lifetime, the printing technologies spread quickly, and news and books began to travel across Europe much faster than before. It fed the growing Renaissance, and since it greatly facilitated scientific publishing, it was a major catalyst for the later scientific revolution.

The capital of printing in Europe shifted to Venice, where visionary printers like Aldus Manutius ensured widespread availability of the major Greek and Latin texts. The claims of an Italian origin for movable type have also focused on this rapid rise of Italy in movable-type printing. This may perhaps be explained by the prior eminence of Italy in the paper and printing trade. Additionally, Italy's economy was growing rapidly at the time, facilitating the spread of literacy. Christopher Columbus had a geographical book (printed by movable types) bought by his father, and fortunately he got stimulated by it. That book is in a Spanish museum. Finally, the city of Mainz was sacked in 1462, driving many (including a number of printers and punch cutters) into exile.

Printing was also a factor in the Reformation: Martin Luther found that the 95 Theses, which he posted on the door of his church, were printed and circulated widely; subsequently he also issued broadsheets outlining his anti-indulgences position (ironically, indulgences were one of the first items Gutenberg had printed). The broadsheet evolved into newspapers and defined the mass media we know today.

Gutenberg monument in Mainz (1837) by Thorvaldsen

In the decades after Gutenberg, many conservative patrons looked down on cheap printed books; books produced by hand were considered more desirable. At one point the papal court debated a policy of requiring printing presses to obtain a license, but this could not be decreed.

Today there is a large antique market for the earliest printed objects. Books printed prior to 1500 are known as incunabula.

There are many statues of Gutenberg in Germany, including the famous one by Bertel Thorvaldsen (1837) in Mainz, home to the eponymous Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz and the Gutenberg Museum on the history of early printing. The later publishes the Gutenberg-Jahrbuch, the leading periodical in the field.

Project Gutenberg, the oldest digital library,[21] commemorates Gutenberg's name.

In 1961 the Canadian philosopher and scholar Marshall McLuhan entitled his pioneering study in the fields of print culture, cultural studies, and media ecology, The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man.

Gutenberg remains a towering figure in the popular image; in 1999, the A&E Network ranked Gutenberg no. 1 on their "People of the Millennium" countdown, and in 1997, Time–Life magazine picked Gutenberg's invention as the most important of the second millennium.[1]

In 2006, Gutenberg! The Musical!, a musical about two people who wrote a musical about Johann Gutenberg inventing the printing press, began its Off-Broadway run in New York City.

See also


  1. ^ a b See People of the Millenium for an overview of the wide acclaim. In 1999, the A&E Network ranked Gutenberg no. 1 on their "People of the Millennium" countdown. In 1997, Time–Life magazine picked Gutenberg's invention as the most important of the second millennium; the same did four prominent US journalists in their 1998 resume 1,000 Years, 1,000 People: Ranking The Men and Women Who Shaped The Millennium. The Johann Gutenberg entry of the Catholic Encyclopedia describes his invention as having made a practically unparalled cultural impact in the Christian era.
  2. ^ McLuhan 1962; Eisenstein 1980; Febvre & Martin 1997; Man 2002
  3. ^ a b Hanebutt-Benz, Eva-Maria. "Gutenberg and Mainz". Retrieved 2006-11-24. 
  4. ^ Lienhard, John H. [1]
  5. ^ a b c Wallau, Heinrich. Johann Gutenberg. The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 7. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. [2]
  6. ^ "Gutenberg und seine Zeit in Daten (Gutenberg and his times; Timeline)". Gutenberg Museum. Retrieved 2006-11-24. 
  7. ^ Wolf 1974, pp. 67f.
  8. ^ Burke, James (1978). Connections. London: Macmillan Publishers. p. 101. ISBN 0-333-24827-9. 
  9. ^ Burke, James (1985). The Day the Universe Changed. Boston, Toronto: Little, Brown and Company. 
  10. ^ Lehmann-Haupt, Hellmut (1966). Gutenberg and the Master of the Playing Cards. New Haven: Yale University Press. 
  11. ^ Childress 2008, p. 62
  12. ^ Cormack, Lesley B.; Ede, Andrew (2004). A History of Science in Society: From Philosophy to Utility. Broadview Press. ISBN 1-55111-332-5. 
  13. ^ "Treasures in Full: Gutenberg Bible". British Library. Retrieved 2006-10-19. 
  14. ^ a b Kapr, Albert (1996). Johannes Gutenberg: the Man and His Invention. Scolar Press. p. 322. ISBN 1-85928-114-1. 
  15. ^ Singer, C.; Holmyard, E.; Hall, A.; Williams, T. (1958). A History of Technology, vol.3. Oxford University Press. 
  16. ^ Agüera y Arcas, Blaise; Needham, Paul (November 2002). "Computational analytical bibliography". Proceedings Bibliopolis Conference The future history of the book. The Hague (Netherlands): Koninklijke Bibliotheek. 
  17. ^ "What Did Gutenberg Invent? - Discovery". BBC. 2006. Retrieved 2006-10-25. 
  18. ^ Adams, James L. (1991). Flying Buttresses, Entropy and O-Rings: the World of an Engineer. Harvard University Press. 
  19. ^ Childress 2008, p. 122
  20. ^ Duchesne 2006, p. 83
  21. ^ Thomas, Jeffrey (20 June 2007). "Project Gutenberg Digital Library Seeks To Spur Literacy". U.S. Department of State, Bureau of International Information Programs. Retrieved 20 August 2007. 


  • Childress, Diana (2008), Johannes Gutenberg and the Printing Press, Minneapolis: Twenty-First Century Books, ISBN 978-0-7613-4024-9 
  • Duchesne, Ricardo (2006), "Asia First?", The Journal of the Historical Society 6 (1): 69–91 
  • Wolf, Hans-Jürgen (1974), Geschichte der Druckpressen (1st ed.), Frankfurt/Main: Interprint 

Further reading

Standard biographic works on Gutenberg

  • Albert Kapr, Johann Gutenberg: the Man and his Invention. Translated from the German by Douglas Martin, Scolar Press, 1996. "Third ed., revised by the author for...the English translation.

On the effects of Gutenberg's printing

  • Eisenstein, Elizabeth L. (1980), The Printing Press as an Agent of Change, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-29955-1 
  • Eisenstein, Elizabeth L. (2005), The Printing Revolution in Early Modern Europe (2nd, rev. ed.), Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-60774-4  [More recent, abridged version]
  • Febvre, Lucien; Martin, Henri-Jean (1997), The Coming of the Book: The Impact of Printing 1450-1800, London: Verso, ISBN 1-85984-108-2 
  • Man, John (2002), The Gutenberg Revolution: The Story of a Genius and an Invention that Changed the World, London: Headline Review, ISBN 978-0747245049 
  • McLuhan, Marshall (1962), The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man (1st ed.), University of Toronto Press, ISBN 978-0802060419 

External links

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

JOHANN GUTENBERG (c. 1398-1468), German printer, is supposed to have been born c.1398-1399at Mainz of well-to-do parents, his father being Friele zum Gensfleisch and his mother Elsgen Wyrich (or, from her birthplace, zu Gutenberg, the name he adopted). He is assumed to be mentioned under the name of "Henchen" in a copy of a document of 1420, and again in a document of c. 1427-1428, but it is not stated where he then resided. On January 16, 1430, his mother arranged with the city of Mainz about an annuity belonging to him; but when, in the same year, some families who had been expelled a few years before were permitted to return to Mainz, Gutenberg appears not to have availed himself of the privilege, as he is described in the act of reconciliation (dated March 28) as "not being in Mainz." It is therefore assumed that the family had taken refuge in Strassburg, where Gutenberg was residing later. There he is said to have been in 1434, and to have seized and imprisoned the town clerk of Mainz for a debt due to him by the corporation of that city, releasing him, however, at the representations of the mayor and councillors of Strassburg, and relinquishing at the same time all claims to the money (310 Rhenish guilders = about 2400 mark). 1 Between 1436 and 1439 certain documents 1 It is difficult to know which of the Gutenberg documents can be trusted and which not. Schorbach, in his recent biography of Gutenberg, accepts and describes 27 of them (Festschrift, 1900, p. 163 sqq.), 17 of which are known only from (not always accurate) copies or transcripts. Under ordinary circumstances history might be based on them. But it is certain that some so-called Gutenberg documents, not included in the above 27, are forgeries. Fr. J. Bodmann (1754-1820), for many years professor and librarian at Mainz, forged at least two; one (dated July 20, 14J9) he even provided with four forged seals; the other (dated Strassburg, March 24, 142 4) purported to be an autograph letter of Gutenberg to a fictitious sister of his named Bertha. Of these two documents French and German texts were published about 1800-1802; the forger lived for twenty years afterwards but never undeceived the public. He enriched the Gutenberg literature with other fabrications. In fact Bodmann had trained himself for counterfeiting MSS. and documents; he openly boasted of his abilities in this respect, and used them, sometimes to amuse his friends who were searching for Gutenberg documents, sometimes for himself to fill up gaps in Gutenberg's life. (For two or three more specimens of his capacities see A. Wyss in Zeitschr. fiir Altert. u. Gesch. Schlesiens, xv. 9 sqq.) To one of his friends (Professor Gotthelf Fischer, who preceded him as librarian of Mainz) one or two other fabrications may be ascribed. There are, moreover, serious misgivings as to documents said to have been discovered about 1740 (when the citizens of Strassburg claimed the honour of the invention for their city) by Jacob Wencker (the then archivist of Strassburg) and J. D. Schoepflin (professor and canon of St Thomas's at Strassburg). For instance, of the above document of 1434 no original has ever come to light; while the draft of the transaction, alleged to have been written at the time in a register of contracts, and to have been found about 1740 by Wencker, has also disappeared with the register itself. The document (now only known from a copy said to have been taken by Wencker from the draft) is upheld as genuine by Schorbach, who favours an invention of printing at Strassburg, but Bockenheimer, though supporting Gutenberg and Mainz, declares it to be a fiction (Gutenberg- Mainz, 1900, pp. 24-33). Again, suspicions are justified represent him as having been engaged there in some experiments requiring money, with Andreas Dritzehn, a fellow-citizen, who became not only security for him but his partner to carry out Gutenberg's plan for polishing stones and the manufacture of looking-glasses, for which a lucrative sale was expected at the approaching pilgrimage of 1440 (subsequently postponed, according to the documents, although there is no evidence for this postponement) to Aix-la-Chapelle. Money was lent for this purpose by two other friends. In 1438 another partnership was arranged between Gutenberg, Andreas Dritzehn, and Andreas and Anton Heilmann, and that this had in view the art of printing has been inferred from the word "drucken" used by one of the witnesses in the law proceedings which soon after followed. An action was brought, after the death of Dritzehn, by his two brothers to force Gutenberg to accept them as partners in their brother's place, but the decision was in favour of the latter. In 1441 Gutenberg became surety to the St Thomas Chapter at Strassburg for Johann Karle, who borrowed 100 guilders (about X16) from the chapter, and on November 17, 1442, he himself borrowed 80 livres through Martin Brechter (or Brehter) from the same chapter. Of his whereabouts from the 12th of March 1 444 (when he paid a tax at Strassburg) to the 17th of October 1448 nothing certain is known. But on the latter date we find him at Mainz, borrowing 150 gold guilders of his kinsman, Arnold Gelthus, against an annual interest of 71gold guilders. We do not know whether the interest on this debt has ever been paid, but the debt itself appears never to have been paid off, as the contract of this loan was renewed (vidimused) on August 23, 1503, for other parties. It is supposed that soon afterwards Gutenberg must have been able to show some convincing results of his work, for it appears that about 1450 Johann Fust advanced him 800 guilders to promote it, on no security except that of "tools" still to be made. Fust seems also to have undertaken to advance him 300 guilders a year for expenses, wages, house-rent, parchment, paper, ink, &c., but he does not appear to have ever done so. If at any time they disagreed, Gutenberg was to return the Boo guilders, and the "tools" were to cease to be security. It is not known to what purpose Gutenberg devoted the money advanced to him. In the minutes of the law-suit of 1455 he himself says that he had to make his "tools" with it. But he is presumed to have begun a large folio Latin Bible, and to have printed during its progress some smaller books 1 and likewise the Letter of Indulgence (granted on the 12th of April 1451 by Pope Nicholas V. in aid of John II., king of Cyprus, against the Turks), of 31 lines, having the earliest printed date 1454, of which several copies are preserved in various European libraries. A copy of the 1455 issue of the same Indulgence is in the Rylands Library at Manchester (from the Althorp Library).

It is not known whether any books were printed while this partnership between Gutenberg and Fust lasted. Trithemius (Ann. Hirsaug. ii. 421) says they first printed, from wooden with respect to the documents recording Gutenberg's lawsuit of 1439 at Strassburg. Bockenheimer explains at great length (l.c. pp. 41-72) that they are forgeries. He even explains (ibid. pp. 97-107) that the so-called Helmasperger document of November 6, 1455, may be a fabrication of the Faust von Aschaffenburg family, who endeavoured to claim Johann Fust as their ancestor. There are also (1) a fragment of a fictitious "press," said to have been constructed by Gutenberg in 1441, and to have been discovered (!) at Mainz in 1856; (2) a forged imprint with the date 1458 in a copy of Pope Gregory's Dialogues, really printed at Strassburg about 1470; (3) a forged rubric in a copy of the Tractatus de celebratione missarum, from which it would appear that Johann Gutenberg and Johann Nummeister had presented it on June 19, 1463, to the Carthusian monastery near Mainz; (4) four forged copies of the Indulgence of 1455, in the Culemann Collection in the Kstner Museum at Hanover, &c. (see further, Hessels, "The so-called Gutenberg Documents," in The Library, 1909).

1 Among these were perhaps (t) one or two editions of the work of Donatus, De octo partibus orationis, 27 lines to a page, of one of which two leaves, now in the Paris National Library, were discovered at Mainz in the original binding of an account book, one of them having, but in a later hand, the year 1451 (?); (2) the Turk-Kalendar for 1455 (preserved in the Hof-Bibliothek at Munich); (3) the Cisianus (preserved in the Cambridge Univ. Libr.), and perhaps others now lost.

blocks, a vocabulary called Catholicon, which cannot have been the Catholicon of Johannes de Janua, a folio of 748 pages in two columns of 66 lines each, printed in 1460, but was perhaps a small glossary now lost. 2 The Latin Bible of 42 lines, a folio of 1282 printed pages, in two columns with spaces left for illuminated initials (so called because each column contains 42 lines, and also known as the Mazarin Bible, because the first copy described was found in the library of Cardinal Mazarin), was finished before the 15th of August 1456; 3 German bibliographers now claim this Bible for Gutenberg, but, according to bibliographical rules, it must be ascribed to Peter Schdffer, perhaps in partnership with Fust. It is in smaller type than the Bible of 36 lines, which latter is called either (a) the Bamberg Bible, because nearly all the known copies were found in the neighbourhood of Bamberg, or (b) Schelhorn's Bible, because J. G. Schelhorn was the first who described it in 1760, or (c) Pfister's Bible, because its printing is ascribed to Albrecht Pfister of Bamberg, who used the same type for several small German books, the chief of which is Boner's Edelstein (1461, 4to), 88 leaves, with 85 woodcuts, a book of fables in German rhyme. Some bibliographers believe this 36-line Bible to have been begun, if not entirely printed, by Gutenberg during his partnership with Fust, as its type occurs in the 3 1-line Letters of Indulgence of 1454, was used for the 27-line Donatus (of 1451?), and, finally, when found in Pfister's possession in 1461, appears to be old and worn, except the additional letters k, w, z required for German, which are clear and sharp like the types used in the Bible. Again, others profess to prove (Dziatzko, Gutenberg's friiheste Druckerpraxis) that B 36 was a reprint of B42.

Gutenberg's work, whatever it may have been, was not a commercial success, and in 1452 Fust had to come forward with another 800 guilders to prevent a collapse. But some time before November 1455 the latter demanded repayment of his advances (see the Helmasperger Notarial Document of November 6, 1455, in Dziatzko's Beitrage zur Gutenbergfrage, Berlin, 1889), and took legal proceedings against Gutenberg. We do not know the end of these proceedings, but if Gutenberg had prepared any printing materials it would seem that he was compelled to yield up the whole of them to Fust; that the latter removed them to his own house at Mainz, and there, with the assistance of Peter Schdffer, issued various books until the sack of the city in 1462 by Adolphus II. caused a suspension of printing for three years, to be resumed again in 1465.

We have no information as to Gutenberg's activity, and very little of his whereabouts, after his separation from Fust. In a document dated June 21, 1457, he appears as witness on behalf of one of his relatives, which shows that he was then still at Mainz. Entries in the registers of the St Thomas Church at Strassburg make it clear that the annual interest on the money which Gutenberg on the 17th of November 1442 (see above) had borrowed from the chapter of that church was regularly paid till the 11th of November 1457, either by himself or by his 2 Ulric Zell states, in the Cologne Chronicle of 1499, that Gutenberg and Fust printed a Bible in large type like that used in missals. It has been said that this description applies to the 42-line Bible, as its type is as large as that of most missals printed before 1500, and that the size now called missal type (double pica) was not used in missals until late in the 16th century. This is no doubt true of the smaller missals printed before 1500, some of which are in even smaller type than the 42-line Bible. But many of the large folio missals, as that printed at Mainz by Peter Schdffer in 1483, the Carthusian missal printed at Spires by Peter Drach about 1490, and the Dominican missal printed by Andrea de Torresanis at Venice in 1496, are in as large type as the 36-line Bible. Peter Schdffer (1425-1502) of Gernsheim, between Mainz and Mannheim, who was a copyist in Paris in 1449, and whom Fust called his servant (famulus), is said by Trithemius to have discovered an easier way of founding characters, whence Lambinet and others concluded that Schafer invented the punch. Schafer himself, in the colophon of the Psalter of 1 457, a work which some suppose to have been planned and partly printed by Gutenberg, claims only the mode of printing rubrics and coloured capitals.

The Leipzig copy of this Bible (which formerly belonged to Herr Klemm of Dresden) has at the end the MS. year 1453 in old Arabic numerals. But certain circumstances connected with this date make it look very suspicious.

surety, Martin Brechter. But the payment due on the latter date appears to have been delayed, as an entry in the register of that year shows that the chapter had incurred expenses in taking steps to have both Gutenberg and Brechter arrested. This time the difficulties seem to have been removed, but on and after the r rth of November 1458 Gutenberg and Brechter remained in default. The chapter made various efforts, all recorded in their registers, to get their money, but in vain. Every year they recorded the arrears with the expenses to which they were put in their efforts to arrest the defaulters, till at last in 1474 (six years after Gutenberg's death) their names are no longer mentioned.

Meantime Gutenberg appears to have been printing, as we learn from a document dated February 26, 1468, that a syndic of Mainz, Dr Conrad Homery (who had formerly been in the service of the elector Count Diether of Ysenburg), had at one time supplied him, not with money, but with some formes, types, tools, implements and other things belonging to printing, which Gutenberg had left after his death, and which had, and still, belonged to him (Homery); this material had come into the hands of Adolf, the archbishop of Mainz, who handed or sent it back to Homery, the latter undertaking to use it in no other town but Mainz, nor to sell it to any person except a citizen of Mainz, even if a stranger should offer him a higher price for the things. This material has never yet been identified, so that we do not know what types Gutenberg may have had at his disposal; they could hardly have included the types of the Catholicon of 1460, as is suggested, this work being probably executed by Heinrich Bechtermiinze (d. 1467), who afterwards removed to Eltville, or perhaps by Peter Schiffer, who, about 1470, advertises the book as his property (see K. Burger, Buchhdndler-Anzeigen). It is uncertain whether Gutenberg remained in Mainz or removed to the neighbouring town of Eltville, where he may have been engaged for a while with the brothers Bechtermiinze, who printed there for some time with the types of the 1460 Catholicon. On the 17th of January 1465 he accepted the post of salaried courtier from the archbishop Adolf, and in this capacity received annually a suit of livery together with a fixed allowance of corn and wine. Gutenberg seems to have died at Mainz at the beginning of 1468, and was, according to tradition, buried in the Franciscan church in that city. His relative Arnold Gelthus erected a monument to his memory near his supposed grave, and forty years afterwards No Wittig set up a memorial tablet at the legal college at Mainz. No books bearing the name of Gutenberg as printer are known, nor is any genuine portrait of him known, those appearing upon medals, statues or engraved plates being a]1 fictitious.

In 1898 the firm of L. Rosenthal, at Munich, acquired a Missale speciale on paper, which Otto Hupp, in two treatises published in 1898 and 1902, asserts to have been printed by Gutenberg about 1450, seven years before the 1457 Psalter. Various German bibliographers, however, think that it could not have been printed before 1480, and, judging from the facsimiles published by Hupp, this date seems to be approximately correct.

On the 24th of June 1900 the five-hundredth anniversary of Gutenberg's birth was celebrated in several German cities, notably in Mainz and Leipzig, and most of the recent literature on the invention of printing dates from that time.

So we may note that in 1902 a vellum fragment of an Astronomical Kalendar was discovered by the librarian of Wiesbaden, Dr G. Zedler (Die dlteste Gutenbergtype, Mainz, 1902), apparently printed in the 36-line Bible type, and as the position of the sun, moon and other planets described in this document suits the years 1429, 1448 and 1467, he ascribes the printing of this Kalendar to the year 1447. A paper fragment of a poem in German, entitled Weltgericht, said to be printed in the 36-line Bible type, appears to have come into the possession of Herr Eduard Beck at Mainz in 1892, and was presented by him in 1903 to the Gutenberg Museum in that city. Zedler published a facsimile of it in 1904 (for the Gutenberg Gesellschaft), with a description, in which he places it before the 1447 Kalendar, c. 1 444 - 1 447. Moreover, fragments of two editions of Donatus different from that of 1451 (?) have recently been found; see Schwenke in Centralbl. fair Bibliothekwesen (1908).

The recent literature upon Gutenberg's life and work and early printing in general includes the following: A. von der Linde, Geschichte and Erdichtung (Stuttgart, 1878); id. Geschichte der Buchdruckerkunst (Berlin, 1886); J. H. Hessels, Gutenberg, Was he the Inventor of Printing ? (London, 1882); id. Haarlem, the Birthplace of Printing, not Mentz (London, 1886); O. Hartwig, Festschrift zum fiinfhundertjcihrigen Geburtstag von Johann Gutenberg (Leipzig, 1900), which includes various treatises by Schenk zu Schweinsberg, K. Schorbach, &c.; P. Schwenke, Untersuchungen zur Geschichte des ersten Buchdrucks (Berlin, 1900); A. Borckel, Gutenberg, sein Leben, &c. (Giessen, 1897); id. Gutenberg and seine beriihmten Nachfolger im ersten Jahrhundert der Typographie (Frankfort, 1900); F. Schneider, Mainz and seine Drucker 0900); G. Zedler, GutenbergForschungen (Leipzig, 1901); J. H. Hessels, The so-called Gutenberg Documents (London, 1910). For other works on the subject see TYPOGRAPHY. (J. H. H.)

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