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The Library World Volume 15 Issue 9

New Library World

ISSN: 0307-4803

Article publication date: 1 March 1913



JOHANN FROBEN, the famous printer of Basle, was born at Hammelburg, in Franconia, about the year 1460. The exact year of his birth is not definitely known, but 1460 is probably not far wrong, as we find him established at Basle as a printer in 1491. He was educated at Basle University, where he distinguished himself as a scholar, particularly in the Latin, Greek, and Hebrew languages. After finishing his studies at Basle, he turned his attention to the then new art of printing, and he showed such aptitude that Johann Amerbach, another well‐known printer of Basle, who had set up a press in that city in 1481, induced him to devote his energies to the art, and appointed him to a position in his own printing establishment. Froben thus had the advantage of learning the art of printing under one of the best known printers of the period. In 1491, Froben set up a press of his own in Basle, having become a naturalized citizen of that city the previous year. He had been used in Amerbach's establishment to print with gothic types, and it was, therefore, but natural that his first production should also be printed in that type. This was an octavo Latin Bible, with two columns to a page, printed in a very small gothic type. He afterwards introduced the type invented by Aldus, that known as italic, the first book to be printed with this type being the Adagia of Erasmus, issued in 1513, of which mention is made later. Froben was also instrumental in making the roman type more popular in Germany, as although roman type had been used by German printers for about 20 years, having been introduced by Mentelin at Strassburg, about the year 1470, it was not so much in favour as the gothic type.


(1913), "The Library World Volume 15 Issue 9", New Library World, Vol. 15 No. 9, pp. 256-288.




Copyright © 1913, MCB UP Limited

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