1540 is reported to have been the occa
sion of festive centenary celebrations inaugurated
by Hans Lufft and the printers of Wittenberg. A La
tin Ode by johann Arnold Bergellan extolling the
art of printing was printed in Mainz in 1541. It is so
to speak, the first Jubilee publication, and in a cer
tain sense, the first history of printing.
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Tabakpackung anlafilich des 300jahrigen Jubilaums der Erfindung der Buchdruckerkurist
Tobacco package designed to mark the 300 th anniversary of the invention of printing
is the year in which the art of printing
was invented at Mainz, so we are told in the
Cologne Chronicle published by Johann Koelhoff
in 1499. This date is not quite accurate; for we
know that Johannes Gutenberg was in Strassburg
engaged with "material pertaining to printing" in
1436, and that the first book to be printed with mo
vable types, the Sybillenbuch was produced in 1445.
Since, however, the year 1440 was accepted as the
year of the invention of printing at all subsequent
Gutenberg anniversary celebrations, we, faithful
to this tradition, will this year commemorate the
Gutenberg Jubilee half a millennium after the
invention of printing.
saw the Thirty Years' War still raging
in Germany where "types were melted down into
cannon balls" as Prof. Johann Schmidt stated in
Strassburg. Despite such adverse circumstances,
however the bi-centenary appears to have been
celebrated in one or two places. A Jubilee memorial
publication entitled "Jubilaeum Typographorum
Lipsiensium" was published in Leipzig, while Bres-
lau, Dresden, Cologne and Strassburg printed si
milar souvenirs of the centenary.
was a more auspicious year for cele
brating the third centenary which was observed as
a festive occasion in a large number of German
towns. Medals were struck and scores of Jubilee
publications were printed. The most valuable of
the books printed for this occasion is "die so nöthig
als nützliche Buchdruckerkunst und Schriftgiesserey"
(the so necessary and useful art of printing and
type-casting) published by Gessner, Leipzig. It con
tains in its four volumes the history of the art of print
ing and of numerous presses. Then in addition to
these publications leaflets and broadsheets were
printed many of which were of great interest typo
graphically. Perhaps the most important publica
tion on the fourth centenary, and one deserving of
very special mention is the "Hochverdiente und aus
bewahrten Urkunden wohlbeglaubte Ehrenrettung
Johann Gutenbergs" by Johann David Kohier in
Göttingen. The author denounces the legend which
would deny Gutenberg the honour of being the
actual inventor of printing.