One of the most asked questions in the Library is about when printing began, so imagine our joy when we came across this lovely description, complete with references, in A Geographical Description of the all the countries in the knowne world, by Sa. Clarke London 1657. The volume is bound with The Looking Glasse for Saints and Sinners and we hadn’t come across the other part until today. Full of treats including ‘Greatest Rivers, Strangest Fountaines’ and this -
The First invention of Printing
Laurence Jans, a rich Citizen of Harlem in the Low-Countreys, walking forth one day into the neighbouring Woods for recreation, began to cut in pieces of wood the letters of his name, printing them on the back of his hand, which pleasing him well, hee cut three of four lines which beat with Ink, and printed them upon Paper, wherewith he much joyed, and determined to find out another kind of Ink more fastening and holding, and so, with his Kinsman Thomas Peterse, found another way to print whole Sheets but of one side only, which are yet to be seen in the said town; afterwards he changed his letters of Wood into Lead and after that into Tin, and so by degrees this famous Art of Printing grew to perfection. Belg. Common-Wealth p57
Some say that John Guttenberg of Strasburg was the first Inventor of it, Anno Christi 1440. In which City he first practised it, and removed from thence to Mentz, there perefetced it. They say that Tullies Offices was the first book that everwas printed. P. Ramus Schol. Math. L2
It doth with Wonderful Celerity convey learning from one Country, and age to another.