Three times, between 1777 and 1779, the German music publisher Johann Gottlieb Immanuel Breitkopf (1719-1794) set and printed a map with moveable type. It’s hard to imagine the time and trouble such type-setting would take. Breitkopf thought he had developed a method to speed map production but in the end, it took much longer and was discontinued. Princeton has just acquired a new volume with all three Breitkopf maps bound together.
According to Bigmore & Wyman’s Bibliography of Printing, “Breitkopf claimed to have been the inventor of map-printing by the use of types, or what is known as ‘typometry’. William Haas, a type-founder of Basle, appears to have previously published a method somewhat similar, but Breitkopf had been experimenting on the matter for some twelve years previously, and it was only his dissatisfaction with the result obtained that induced him to keep his achievements to himself.”
In the first book, Breitkopf gives an overview of the use of woodcuts and copperplate engravings for map printing. Then, he describes his own letterpress process, which is illustrated with a map of Leipzig and its surroundings.
In the second book is a map of the Empire of Love “written, drawn, composed, and printed within three days, on the occasion of a wedding.”
The third volume and its map illustrate the origin of desires, from enthusiasms to money, happiness to peace & quiet.
See also Edward Clements Bigmore (1838?-1899) and Charles William Henry Wyman (1832-1909), A Bibliography of Printing. 3rd ed. (New Castle, Del.: Oak Knoll Press, 2001). Graphic Arts: Reference Collection (GARF) Z117 .B59 2001
Johann Gottlob Immanuel Breitkopf (1719-1794), Ueber den Druck der geographischen Charten. Nebst beygefügter Probe einer durch die Buchdruckerkunst gesetzten und gedruckten Landcharte. Leipzig: Breitkopf, 1777.
Beschreibung des Reichs der Liebe, mit beygefügter Landcharte. Ein Zweyter Versuch im Satz und Druck geographischer Charten durch die Buchdruckerkunst. Mit doppelblattgroßer kolorierter gestochener Karte. Leipzig: Breitkopf, 1777.
Der Quell der Wünsche. Zum Neuenjahr. Nebst einer Landcharte. Mit kolorierter gestochener Karte. Leipzig, Breitkopf, 1779. Graphic Arts GAX 2011- in process