F&M College Library

History of the Book - Hand Press Period, 1450-1800

This guide is designed to provide a broad overview of printing technologies during the hand press period, and assist with the ENG 206 "Material Texts" assignment in particular.

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Edition

Edition: The total number of copies of a book printed, at any time, from substantially the same setting of type.  In the hand-press period, type was set by printers in formes, and would not normally remain set, or "standing", for very long.  Type represented a sizable capital investment for a printer, and type that remained standing eliminated the ability to print other works.

Three famous editions of the Saur Bible printed in 1743, 1763, 1776