500 years

Its always nice to see that it’s only 500 years or so since the print industry established itself in England.  carbon colour have  been printing for a mere fraction of that time, but in contrast to Caxton it takes us only a fraction of the time it took him to produce whole books.  We apply the same attention to detail that Caxton became reknown for.  (But we print in full colour, very much a twentieth century invention)  Printing simultaneously in multiple colours was something that Caxton never achieved back in the thirteenth century.  See some examples of books we have produced here.

Caxton was both the first to print a book in English and the first English printer, according to the British Library. He realised the commercial potential of the new technology while working as a merchant in the Low Countries and Germany. Caxton set up his own printing press in London in late in 1475 or early in 1476.

William Caxton (c. 1422 – c. 1491) was an English merchant, diplomat, writer and printer. Thought to be the first Englishman to introduce a printing press into England, about 1476, he was the first English retailer of printed books.

The latest 500 year old fragment found in a collection bought by Reading University had been used as packing in the spine of a later book – and remained there for centuries until now.

According to the archivist who discovered it 500 years after it was produced, “Its condition is good, considering it spent some 300 years bound in the spine of a book and another 200 resting forgotten in an album of fragments rescued from other bindings.”

The new find will go on display at Reading University’s Merl museum on London Road from May 9 to May 30.

wiki tell us that Caxton set up a press at Westminster in 1476 due to the heavy demand in his translation on his return. The first book known to have been produced there was an edition of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales. He printed perhaps the earliest verses of the Bible to be printed in English, as well as chivalric romances, classical works and English and Roman histories. He translated into English and edited many of the works himself. He is credited with the first English translation of Aesop’s Fables, in 1484. The rushed publishing schedule and his inadequacies as a translator led both to wholesale transfers of French words into English and to misunderstandings. Caxton is credited with helping to standardise the various dialects of English through his printed works. In 2002, Caxton was named among the 100 Greatest Britons in a BBC poll.

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