15th Century CE

Indices : History : Chronology : 15th Century CE

1436 Johannes Gutenberg began experimenting with movable type designs.
1438 Gutenberg designed his first printing press.
1455 Gutenberg produced the 42-line bible, the first book printed with movable type. Shortly afterward his financier foreclosed, sold the bibles, and became the first commercially successful printer.
1458 Nicholas Jenson went to Mainz, Germany to study type-casting.
1462 Rebellion in the city of Mainz causes many of the typefounders their to flee (or be expelled). Gutenberg moves downriver to Eltville. Conrad Sweynheym, Arnold Pannartz, and Nicholas Jenson move to Italy.
1465 Conrad Sweynheym and Arnold Pannartz are hired by a monastery in Subiaco, Italy. Seeking to find a more Italian alphabet for their new employers (as opposed to the Teutonic blackletter type of their homeland), the two sought to research classical Roman literature. However they unknowingly were reading ninth-century transcriptions in Carolingian Minuscule and falsely assumed that this was actually an Ancient Roman invention, just like "capital" monumental letters. The two combined the two alphabet forms in text—upper and lowercase—just like we do today (actually, we only do it because they started it…). The first italian "Roman" typefaces (like Nicholas Jenson's later work in Venice), borrowed this two-case innovation from the scribes.
1469 Johannes da Spira established the first press in Venice.
1470 Johannes da Spira died and Nicholas Jenson took over the press.

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