The Origins of Printing and Engraving

The Origins of Printing and Engraving

The Origins of Printing and Engraving

The Origins of Printing and Engraving

Excerpt

For almost five hundred years the learned world has been discussing the history of a discovery that has transformed civilization. Passing over its distant origins, which some wish to trace back to classical antiquity or to a more recent period in the history of the East, we find that not until the middle of the fifteenth century are we able in Europe to locate printed documents or contemporary evidence of the origin of printing.

Germany, the Low Countries, France, all have supporters for the honor of the invention. But what we know at present seems to indicate that Gutenberg may still be looked on as the inventor of the new technique. The theory of its discovery in the Netherlands, supported by Paeile (1), Hessels (2), Hubbens (3), Zeller (4), Campbell (5) credits the discovery to Lourens Coster of Haarlem. It rests on this dubious passage in a work of the middle of the sixteenth century called Batavia (6):

"Habitauit ante annos centum duodetrigenta Harlemi in ædibus satis splendidis (vt documento esse potest fabrica quæ in hunc vsque diem perstat integra) foro imminentibus è regione Palatiji Regalis, Lavrentivs Ioannes cognomento Ædituus Custósve, (quod tunc opimum & honorificum munus familia eo nomine clara hæreditario iure possidebat) is ipse qui nunc laudem inuentæ artis Typographicæ recidiuá iustis vindicijs ac sacramentis repetit, ab alijs nefariè possessam & occupatam, summo iure omnium triumphorum laurea maiore donandus. Is fortè in suburbano nemore spatiatus (vt solent sumpto cibo aut festis diebus . . .

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