Monday, 2 May 2011

some more quotes and images from sites

Some of the questions that I wanted answers to in order to complete my essay on the invention of metal movable type.

"Bruno Fabbiani has devised 30 experiments that show Gutenberg did not use moveable type to print the bible," Francesco Pirella of Genoa's Museum of Print said

Picture of the overlap that Bruno found when studying Gutenberg's Bible. From the Discovery Channel.

China is where the discovery of the first movable type. Hua Sui is credited with being the creator of movable type in the East.
Picture from Cultural

Why the pre discovered movable type did not catch on to the same extent as Gutenberg's.
"In the Far East, movable type and printing presses were known but did not replace printing from individually carved wooden blocks, from movable clay type, processes much more efficient than hand copying. The use of movable type in printing was invented in 1041 AD by Bi Sheng in China. Since there are thousands of Chinese characters, the benefit of the technique is not as obvious as in European languages." - The great Idea finder - The history of the printing press.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Koster background notes

Source - Article "The legend of Koster" by psyner

- Born 1370 in Haarlem in Netherlands.
- He had a large list of job titles; Candle maker, innkeeper, Sheriff, treasurer, officer of the city guard and most importantly the position of what was referred to in dutch as Koster meaning  the warden of the great church of Haarlem.
- Around the year 1423 (though some versions of events date it as 1428 or 1430) Koster was walking through the a nearby wood with his grandchildren. To keep them amused he carved some letters into the bark of a tree, when the letters fell to the sand, he noticed the impression they left which gave him the idea that the same could happen on paper to make books. That one moment later became the what many believe to be the invention in Europe of printing with movable type. This would make it an innovation that came a dozen years before Gutenberg printed his 42-line bible.
-Hadrianus Junius, has the noble reputation of the most learned man in Netherlands after Erasmus was the first person to give a full account of the Koster in "Batavia" published 1568 (this seems to me to be a reliable source of information so good for getting a feel for the argument that Gutenberg did not invent movable type, however the fact that he is from the Netherlands like Koster must be taken into account as he may be biased)
- He mentions in his findings as well as the above story that Koster went on to then experiment with block printing and to improve the quality of the ink as he found that used by scribes tended to run when used by a press.
- His son in law Thomas pieter helped him to produce the book 'Speculum Humanae Salvationis'
-He then continued to improve the methods with different types of wood, followed by lead and then mixtures of lead and tin.
- As his business blossomed and grew he hired a number of assistants, including Johannes Fust.
- If the myth is to believed it was Johannes Fust who broke into his masters print workshop in 1441 and stole all of his types and equipment before fleeing to Amsterdam, onto Cologne and finally onto Mainz.
-Could this be true? - There are no books in existence bearing Koster's name as a printer but neither are there any which have Gutenbergs name so it does not give evidence in Gutenberg's favour either.
- Although Koster is not mentioned specifically until Junius' Batavia in 1568 the suggestion of Haarlem being the birthplace of printing had arisen quite a while earlier in Jan Van Zuyren's work on the 'Invention of Typography' he wrote in relation to the cities claim " this day fresh in the remembrance of our fathers, to whom, so to express myself, they have transmitted from hand to hand from their ancestors."
-Another supporter of this appeal is Dirck Volckertszoon Coornhert in his preface to a translation of Cicero which he printed himself in 1561 where he states refering to Koster and Haarlem that "....the faithful testimonies of men alike respectable from their age and authority, who not only have often told me of the family of the inventor, and of his name and surname, but have even described to me the rude manner of printing first used, and pointed out to me with their fingers the abode of the first printer."
-Despite this story today the most wide spread thought and teaching is directed towards the idea that printing was invented in Mainz Germany around 1452 by Johann Gutenberg.
- Even modern scholarly texts on the topic admit that this theory is possible and that Gutenberg was maybe not the first.
- Warren Chappell's 'A Short History of the Printed World' which was published in 1970 states that the "quality of the early Dutch type-making and printing still extant is so markedly inferior to Gutenberg's that the possibility of a few years' priority is less important than Gutenberg's results."
- he then goes on to defend this not wholly neutral position with the justification that the "Chief value of establishing earlier experiments lies in their helping to explain the extraordinary quality of the great 42-line Bible [of Gutenberg]"
- In Summary Warren feels that Gutenberg should be recognised as the principle inventor of movable type for aesthetic purposes more than any reason to do with historical accuracy or fact.
- Dispite the wide belief in Gutenberg as the inventor for hundreds of years believers in the story of Koster have stood by him and also believe that he also printed the 'Biblia Pauperum', the 'Ars Moriendi' and the 'Donatus' as well as the 'Speculum.'
- Among those believers are said to have been scholars equally as eminent and qualified as those who support the case of Gutenberg inventing movable type.
- There are holidays, celebrations and centenaries all help in Haarlem and all over the Netherlands as well as countless tributes in the form of books, paintings, sculpture, coins, medals and memorial statues all created in his honour. Dutch school children are taught all about their fellow countryman's great achievement.
-I guess we are left with never truly knowing which of the two candidates really was the inventor of movable type in Europe.
- Whether it is a myth or fact the story of Laurens Janszoon Koster is certainly the stuff of legend.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Movable type in the East

Points I have learnt from various sources about Movable type in the East before Gutenberg's time. With lots of conflicting ideas, i wanted to try and make sense of it all and form an opinion.

- The first believed movable type system was made during the Goryeo Dynasty around 1230 in Korea.
- There is another book called the Jikji that is thought to be the first book made from movable type dated from 1377, long before Gutenbergs bible.
- The first successful use of metal type was used in China by Hua Sui in 1490 AD with his bronze type.
- The transistion from wooden movable type to metal movable type was in 1234 in Korea during the Goryeo Dynasty, it is credited to Choe Yun-ui.
- Therer was a set of ritual books, Sangjeong gogeum Yemun printed with movable type in 1234, before Gutenbergs bible it is however Jikji that is the oldest still remaining so has solid evidence backing it up.
- There are examples of this early metal type in the Asian Reading Room of the Library of Congress in Washington D.C.
- The process for making coins at the time was adapted to making metal type. Scholar Seong Hyeon of the Joseon dynasty described the Korean font casting process of 1439-1504:

"At first, one cuts letters in beech wood. One fills a trough level with fine sandy [clay] of the
 reed-growing seashore. Wood-cut letters are pressed into the sand, then the impressions
 become negative and form letters [molds]. At this step, placing one trough together with
 another, one pours the molten bronze down into an opening. The fluid flows in, filling
 these negative molds, one by one becoming type. Lastly, one scrapes and files off the
 irregularities, and piles them up to be arranged."

- King Sejong the Great devised a simplified version of the alphabet with just 24 characters for use of the common people that could have made typecasting and compositing more feasible. However his creation did not get the attention it deserved as koreans were appalled at loosing their Chinese.
- In the early 15th Century however the Koreans created a form of movable type that French scholar   Henri-jean Martin described as "extremely similar to Gutenberg's" Could his invention have been stimulated by that of the East?
- On the other side of the argument there is no evidence to suggest that the easting type invention made it to Europe before Gutenbergs invention.
- Gutenberg also developed the invention with the use of a hand mould and an oil based ink that was more suitable for printing as well as the first Latin typefaces.
- Did he invent movable type and deserve the praise in his own right? or perfect what was already known to him? This is what I want to find out through more extensive research or through forming my own opinion after carrying out multiple research, hearing all sides of the debate.

Monday, 11 April 2011

The impact movable type had on the world.

Source - The History guide - The Printing Press

Dispite Gutenberg trying to keep his methods kept secret they spread quickly and by 1500 around 2500 cities in Europe had got presses.
Some of the changes these presses had on the nation as mentioned in the above article are:
- The increase in output and decrease in cost of books.
- Information became available to a wider population, who were of course eager to retrieve it.
- Libraries were able to store more information at a lower cost.
- "Printing also facilitated the dissemination and preservation of knowledge in standardised form especially when it came to science, technology and scholarship.
- It created what was described as a "information revolution" that has been likened to that of the internet today.
- Printing stimulated the literacy of lay people and eventually came to have a deep and lasting impact on their private lives.
- Most of the earliest printed books were on religious matters however students, businessmen, upper and middle class all bought books on a mixture of topics.
- Printers responded to demand with moralizing,medical, practical and travel manuals.
- Printing provided a superior basis for scholarship and prevented the further corruption of texts through hand copying which meant that the information made more progress and was more reliable as it would have echoed the original.

Summary of some areas outlined here and others that I believe that the printing press had a dramatic impact on. With further research I am sure I will discover some more.

-Religion - Eg Gutenbergs bible
-Ideas, knowledge, Facts
-Stories, tales
-Cultural awareness
- Language - Different words from different regions shared or acknowledged as a separate language

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Laurens Janzoon Coster

Was Laurens Janzoon Coster the real inventor of movable type?

I was very interested in the discovery in my previous blog entry that there was another names print designer that has also been credited with the invention of movable type so wanted to do a bit of investigation to discover more about him and this theory.

Junius's Story
Hadrianus Junius, wrote his story in 1588 in 'Batavia' His book and story was supported by some of his friends in the business. - Dirck Volckertszoon Coornhert - Samuel Ampzing - Petrus Scriverius are some of the notable names.
According to Junius, Coster was in Haarlemmerhout sometime in the 1420's carving letters from bark to amuse his grandchildren, he then noticed the impressions that the letters left of the sand.
He then proceeded to invent a new type of ink that didn't run and began a printing company using movable type. (he dated this as early in the 1420's due to a fire in 1426 during the Hook and Cod wars that burnt Haarlemmerhout during a seige)
Junius believes that he used wooden letters at first but later used lead and tin movable type. This company grew, he is said to have printed several books including Speculum Humanae Salvationis. He had several assistants including the letter cutter Johann Fust. Laurens broke his promise of secrecy to Fust when Laurens was nearing death by stealing his presses and type and took them to Mainz where he started his own printing company.

Ulrich Zell's Story
In the anonymous 'Kolner Chronik' of 1499 Ulrich Zell who was a printing assistant from Cologne in his sixties claimed that printing began in Mainz. This was based on the knowledge from Holland that was used to print Latin grammar texts (Donatus)
neither Coster nor Haarlem are mentioned in that chronicle which if true points to Johann Gutenberg around a decade after Coster's death.
However the first securely dated book by Dutch printers is from 1471, long after Gutenberg.
Either way Coster is considered a Haarlem local 'Hero' whos statue can be found in the city along with many other mentions of his name.

1823 Haarlem celebrated the 400th anniversary of Coster's invention with a monument which contained the symbolic 'A'

The History of the Printing Press

Milestones of printing- as laid out by

 888- The Diamond Sutra, a Buddhist scripture was the first example of black printing that has been dated.
1041 - Bi Sheng - invented movable clay type in China.
1423 - Europeans are using a process of block printing to make books using the art of graving which was known as xylography.
1439 - Gutenberg moves from Mainz to Strasberg
1436 - Gutenberg begins to work on his printing press.
1440 - Gutenberg finishes his wooden press which used metal movable type.
1440 - Laurens Janszoon Koster (Coster) is credited by some for inventing metal movable type.
1444 - Gutenberg returns to his Native maize and sets up a printing shop.
1446 - Gutenberg prints the "Poem of the last Judgment"
1448 - Gutenberg prints the "Calendar for 1448"
1450 - Gutenberg forms a partnership with a wealthy man called Johann Fust.
1450 - Gutenberg begins work on a bible - is first is 40 lines per page.
1452 - Gutenberg beings to work on the 42 lined bible in two volumes.
1454 - Gutenberg prints indulgences which were sold to the Christians by the Pope, pardoning their sins.
1455 - The Biblia Pauperum, the first block-printed Bible was published in Germany.
1455 - Gutenberg completed work on what is estimated to have been 200 copies of the bible.
1455 - Gutenberg became bankrupt which meant that investor Johann Faust gained control of the print business.
1457 - A Psalter introduced by Faust (collection of Psalms for devotional use) was the first known colour printing.
1460 - Gutenberg with the help and aid of Conrad Humery re-established himself in the printing business.
1461 - Albrecht Pfister printed Edelstein, the first illustrated book which featured a number of woodcuts.
1465 - Gutenberg is appointed to the court of Archbishop Adolf of Nassau.
1476 - 200 woodcuts were used in a edition of Aesop's Fables
1476 - First saw the use of copper engravings instead of woodcuts for illustration.
1476 - William Caxton sets up his printing press in Westminster in England.
1499 - Printing had become established in more than 2500 cities around Europe.
1499 - An estimated 15 million have been press printed from around thirty thousand book titles.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Did Gutenberg really invent the first movable type?

Italian researcher Bruno Fabbiani believes that Gutenberg used stamps with a metallographic invention rather than movable type for his 42 page bible that he is said to have invented between 1452 and 1455.
After studying one page from the bible closely Fabbiani noticed that some of the letters were superimposed.
Fabbiani said - "Movable type are metal blocks, sort of parallelepipeds put together, one attached to another, to form words. With this method, it is practically impossible for type to be superimposed,"
Instead he believed it would be a typewritter type process on a larger scale which could have possibly slipped slightly causing the slight imperfection.

His claim caused uproar in the industry, some experts were quick to dismiss his claims.

"Eva Hanebutt-Benz, director of the Gutenberg Museum in the German town of Mainz, where Gutenberg was born, told reporters that there are "many open questions" on how Gutenberg produced the Bible as no documents exist from the printer's workshop. But she was strongly skeptical about Fabbiani's claim."

other experts were more open minded and intrigued about Fabbiani's believes.
"This is very important and credible research. We should not be afraid to destroy the myths, " Francesco Pirella of Genoa's Museum of Print told Discovery News.