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  3. History of printing

History of printing

The history of printing collection includes printing presses and machines from five centuries, tools for creating type and documents related to typography. In addition, the collection includes a large number of items related to the development of book covers and paper.

From the printing press to the book cover

The collection highlights technical aspects of the history of printing and documents the evolution of printing technology after Gutenberg in the form of printing presses and machinery. In addition to typeface samples that document changes in the area of typography, the fascinating exhibits include around 70,000 book covers as well as an extensive collection of paper.

The collection

Typesetting and printing

The collection includes reconstructions of the wooden printing press of Johannes Gutenberg and iron manual printing presses of the 19th centuries, including toggle lever presses by the manufacturer Dingler (1834 and 1840), a Columbian press (around 1824), as well as a Stanhope press, the first letterpress printing press completely made of iron.

The collection also features typecasting, typesetting, and printing machines. These include a relief-printing machine by the machine manufacturer Klein & Forst (constructed in 1848) as well as two Linotype machines, which were invented by Ottmar Mergenthaler.

Typeface samples

Typeface samples were sample and advertising material from type foundries who wanted to provide information about their range of lead typefaces. The earliest samples were already created in the 15th century. The Gutenberg Museum's collection includes hundreds of typeface samples of German and European type foundries. They are the basis for the special exhibitions of the thematic focus typography that was newly created in 2010/11.

Book covers and paper

A collection of around 70,000 items documents the multifaceted development of book covers based on sample covers from the late Middle Ages via the 15th and 16th centuries to the 19th century and the present. The paper section offers a collection of European and international paper samples as well as watermarks, colored paper, paper borders, wallpaper, and luxury paper.