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The Uses of Italic - A Primer of Information Regarding the Origin and Uses of Italic Letters

The Uses of Italic - A Primer of Information Regarding the Origin and Uses of Italic Letters
  • #: 124755
  • Price: $2.99 In Apple Store
  • Category: Books
  • Updated: 2009-04-08
  • Current Version: 1.0
  • 1.0
  • Size: 1.00 MB
  • Language: English
  • Seller: Roger Lichfield
  • Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 2.2 or later
  • © 2009
  •  Add to Favorite apps

 

Description

Here are few paragraphs from the book:

The cost of materials and the unwieldiness of the great folio volumes soon caused a demand for smaller books. Gutenberg's 36-line Bible was almost immediately replaced by the 42-line Bible. A reduction of one sixth in the number of pages of a book as large as the Bible would effect a very important saving in the cost of material and labor, especially when we remember that the early printing press was a very laborious and slow affair. Gutenberg's press was capable of printing only twenty sheets an hour, or one sheet every three minutes. The invention of the movable bed, about the year 1500, increased the output of the press to two hundred sheets an hour. In 1786 the speed had risen only to two hundred and fifty sheets an hour. Cheap printing waited for the application of power to machinery.

The big book with the big type was well enough for churches and libraries. But the purpose of printing was soon seen to be the spread of intelligence through the popularizing of literature. Books were to be placed in the hands of the people, not simply of the priests, nobles, and professional men. That end could only be accomplished by making books cheap and portable, that is to say small. To this end the printers soon addressed themselves to the task of devising forms of type which should be smaller, so as to reduce the number and size of pages required for a book without sacrifice of legibility. A clear, clean cut type, with sharp lines and simple forms, capable of compression without loss of distinction, was the great need.

The first important departure was the cutting of Roman type. The capitals were imitated from the letter forms used in Roman inscriptions. In the earlier forms the lower-case letters were rough and uncouth, much resembling the Gothic forms. The inventor of this form is not known, but it was certainly employed by the German printers Sweynheim and Pannartz at Subiaco, near Rome, as early as 1467. Their example was followed by several imitators and improvers, but its form was not definitely settled until Nicholas Jenson cast his fonts in Venice in 1470 or 1471. It is doubtful if any more perfect Roman types than those of Jenson have ever been produced. The superiority of this type soon caused its general adoption except in Germany. England was slow in coming into line. Caxton never used anything but Gothic type. Roman type was not introduced into England at all until 1509, and then had to make its way against the older forms backed by English conservatism. Germany has never adopted the Roman letter for general use but makes some use of it in scientific works.

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