Can’t tell a forme from a frisket? Don’t know the difference between a punch and a matrix? Our glossary will guide you through many of the technical terms relating to early books and printing.
A name (which came into use around 1600) for the form of type Gothic used by early printers, as distinguished from the ‘Roman’ type, which later prevailed.
A book in which each page was printed from a single block of wood, onto which both text and images were carved in reverse. Although it is often thought that blockbooks preceded the invention of printing from movable metal type, most surviving examples date from the period 1460 to 1480.
A book containing the texts used to celebrate Divine Office each day by members of monastic orders and clergy, consisting of Psalms, Collects, and readings from Scripture and the lives of the Saints.
A word printed at the end of a quire to indicate the first word of the next page; if the catchword does not tally with the first word, this suggests that a leaf is missing, or that the quires have been bound in the wrong order.
A rectangular metal frame (see image above) into which a forme, or body of type is locked, using wedges or quoins, ready for printing.
Read on via First Impressions | Glossary.
Samuel Hartlib, (pictured above) who was exiled in Britain and enthusiastic about social and cultural reforms, wrote in 1641 that “the art of printing will so spread knowledge that the common people, knowing their own rights and liberties, will not be governed by way of oppression”.
For both churchmen and governments, it was concerning that print allowed readers, eventually including those from all classes of society, to study religious texts and politically sensitive issues by themselves, instead of thinking mediated by the religious and political authorities.
It took a long long time for print to penetrate Russia and the Orthodox Christian world, a region (including modern Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria) where reading ability was largely restricted to the clergy.
In 1564, a White Russian brought a press to Moscow, and soon after that his workshop was destroyed by a mob.
In the Muslim world, printing, especially in Arabic or Turkish was strongly opposed throughout the early modern period (printing in Hebrew was sometimes permitted).
Indeed, the Muslim countries have been regarded as a barrier to the passage of printing from China to the West.
According to an imperial ambassador to Istanbul in the middle of the sixteenth century, it was a sin for the Turks to print religious books.
In 1515, Sultan Selim I issued a decree under which the practice of printing would be punishable by death.
At the end of the century, Sultan Murad III permitted the sale of non-religious printed books in Arabic characters, yet the majority were imported from Italy.
Jews were banned from German printing guilds; as a result Hebrew printing sprang up in Italy, beginning in 1470 in Rome, then spreading to other towns. Local rulers had the authority to grant or revoke licenses to publish Hebrew books.
It was thought that the introduction of the printing medium ‘would strengthen religion and enhance the power of monarchs.’ The majority of books were of religious nature with the church and crown regulating the content.
The consequences of printing wrong material were extreme. Meyrowitz used the example of William Carter who, in 1584, printed a pro-Catholic pamphlet in Protestant-dominated England.
The consequence of his action was torture and hanging.
The widespread distribution of the Bible ‘had a revolutionary impact, because it decreased the power of the Catholic Church as the prime possessor and interpreter of God’s word.’
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Bamberg is situated on the River Regnitz before it flows in to the River Main and many of its most important buildings were constructed on top of one of its seven hills.
The town established itself as an important religious centre and many manuscript books were written and illuminated in the religious houses, most notably by the monks of Michaelsberg Abbey.
It is therefore perhaps not surprising that a printing house was established in the city so soon after the exodus of printers from Mainz.
With an educated population, a number of religious houses and a wealthy Bishop as patron, the printer (Albrecht Pfister) had a ready market for the new technology of printing.
Bamberg was also the first place where books in the German language were printed, illustrated by woodcuts.
Lucky Strike, 1930. To counter the health concerns around smoking, ad men simply enlisted their own men in white coats.
Photograph: Lord, Thomas & Logan Agency, 1930
Elliott’s White Veneer paint, 1930s. Pears soap was sold as being so effective that black skin could be scrubbed clean. This advert for paint plumbs similar depths of offensiveness.
Photograph: Lake County Museum/Corbis
from the book Beyond Belief: Racist, Sexist, Rude, Crude and Dishonest, The Golden Age of Madison Avenue by Charles Saatchi, Published by Booth Clibborn Editions £25.