The Well-Equipped Printing Shop

Johann Heinrich Gottfried Ernesti (1664-1723), Die wol-eingerichtete Buchdruckerey: mit hundert und achtzehen teutsch-, lateinisch-, griechisch-, und hebräischen Schrifften, vieler fremden Sprachen Alphabeten, musicalischen Noten, Calender-Zeichen, und medicinischen Characteren, ingleichen allen üblichen Formaten bestellet… (Nürnberg: Gedruckt und zu finden bey Johann Andreä Endters seel. Sohn und Erben, 1721). Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Oversize 2006-0269Q

This German printers’ manual describes an early 18th-century printing office. The shop, first owned by Michael Endter (fl. 1653-1662) and his family, was purchased by Johann Ernesti in 1717. As seen in the engraved frontispiece, Ernesti had two working presses. One is engraved with the dated 1440, for the beginning of printing, and the other 1730, to signify the printing of this issue of the manual. Nine men are working inside the shop setting the type, proofreading the copy, and printing the pages.

The manual begins with thirteen biographies and engraved portraits of early printers, including Laurens Janszoon Koster (ca. 1370-ca. 1440), Johannes Gutenberg (ca. 1398-1468), Johann Fust (ca. 1400-1466), Aldus Manutius (1449/1450-1515), Christophe Plantin (ca. 1520-1589), among others.

Over one hundred type specimens are introduced, including 47 Black Letter, 21 Roman, 14 Italic types, as well as Slavic, Greek, and Hebrew fonts. In addition, there are special calendar symbols, astrological signs, and engraved music fonts.