3 June 2009
WETTER, Johann. Kritische Geschichte der Erfindung der Buchdruckerkunst durch Johann Gutenberg zu Mainz. Mainz: J. Wirth, 1836.
2 volumes, text: 8° (215 x 135mm), and atlas: oblong 2° (300 x 355mm). 13 plates, some of these printed in red and blue. (Some spotting in the plates.) Uniform contemporary russia, sides panelled in gilt and blind, the sides of the text volume centred with a gilt tool showing a statue of Gutenberg, sprinkled edges (the upper cover of the atlas with some fading, spines lightly faded).
FIRST EDITION. The author establishes the origin of printing at Mainz, annihilating the claims of Strasbourg and Haarlem to be considered the scene of the invention. To confirm the practicality of printing with separate letters, Wetter had types carved in pear-tree wood of the size of the type of the 42-line Bible; a specimen of these types appears among the plates. The atlas reproduces types used by many of the printers from the incunabula period throughout Europe, including Caxton. The design on the binding reproduces the monument by Thorvaldsen erected in Mainz in Gutenberg's memory, raised March 1837. (2)
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