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Books Before Typography A Primer of Information About the Invention of the Alphabet   By: (1860-1940)

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First Page:

TYPOGRAPHIC TECHNICAL SERIES FOR APPRENTICES PART VIII NO. 49

BOOKS BEFORE TYPOGRAPHY

A PRIMER of INFORMATION ABOUT THE INVENTION OF THE ALPHABET AND THE HISTORY OF BOOK MAKING UP TO THE INVENTION OF MOVABLE TYPES

BY FREDERICK W. HAMILTON, LL.D.

EDUCATIONAL DIRECTOR UNITED TYPOTHETÆ OF AMERICA

PUBLISHED BY THE COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION UNITED TYPOTHETAE OF AMERICA 1918

COPYRIGHT, 1918 UNITED TYPOTHETAE OF AMERICA CHICAGO, ILL.

PREFACE

An attempt has been made in this book to trace briefly the story of the book from the earliest attempts made by mankind to convey a message by marks on some substance down to the invention of movable types. The development of writing is rapidly traced from the earliest known pictures and sign marks to the present day. The discussion covers the subjects of writing materials and how they were made; the evolution of the book; the conditions of manufacture, distribution, and preservation of books before printing, and the conditions out of which sprang the invention of typographic printing.

It is believed that a comprehensive knowledge of the main facts in this long story will be of great value to the young printer, and it is hoped that he may be interested to continue the study in some of the many very excellent books which are available. A short list of a few of the best and most accessible authorities in English will be found on page 44. It has not been thought worth while to refer to books in other languages.

The story of the efforts of men to convey their thoughts to the absent is one of absorbing interest and leads into many pleasant byways of knowledge. While we are studying the processes and materials of a trade by which we hope to gain a livelihood it is well to know something about the men of the past whose accomplishments we inherit. To know something about the men of another time who made this time possible, what they did, what manner of men they were, how they lived, and what they created for us, is the task of this and the following volumes in Part VIII of this series.

CONTENTS

PAGE

CHAPTER I THE ORIGIN OF THE ALPHABET 1

CHAPTER II WRITING MATERIALS 9

CHAPTER III THE EVOLUTION OF THE BOOK 15

CHAPTER IV MAKING THE MANUSCRIPTS 20

CHAPTER V ANCIENT AND MEDIÆVAL LIBRARIES 27

CHAPTER VI THE DAWN OF A NEW ERA 37

BOOKS BEFORE TYPOGRAPHY

CHAPTER I

The Origin of the Alphabet

The story of printing really begins with the earliest dawn of civilization. As soon as men developed a language, even of the simplest sort, they felt the necessity of a means of communication with those who were not present. This would be needed for the identification of property, the making of records, the sending of orders or information, the making of appointments, and many other purposes which would be developed by the needs of even the most rudimentary civilization. We accordingly find evidences of devices to accomplish these ends associated with the earliest human remains. While the cave man was disputing food and shelter with the cave bear, the sabre tooth tiger, and the mammoth in those places which are now the seats of the most advanced civilizations, he scratched or painted outline sketches of the animals he fought, and perhaps worshipped, on the wall of a cave or on the flat surface of a spreading antler or a piece of bone.

[Illustration: The oldest known attempt to carve a picture. It dates from the cave period and was found at Dordogne, France.]

One of the greatest single steps in civilization was the advance from the use of rough stone implements and weapons to the use of chipped and finished stones for the same purpose, commonly referred to as the transition from the paleolithic to the neolithic age... Continue reading book >>




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