And Father Gottlieb, too, when they talked to him of the fame which his nephew had gained, and how that his native town felt proud that one of her citizens should had discovered and made perfect so wonderful and useful an art, so that he was looked upon as a great and famous man—the good Father would thank God that the fame and the greatness he had gained stood not in the way of his being likewise a duteous, loving son, and a good and pious man.
* * * * *
And thus our story ends—but we will venture to add something of the history of Johann or John Gutenberg. Nothing, we believe, in the foregoing story is contrary to what is known of the real history of the first inventor of printing, and it is certain that after his return from Strasburg to his native city in the year 1438, he established a printing-press in Mainz, and produced from it many printed books, principally in Latin. He had for some time as a kind of partner in his art, a man of the name of Faust, or Fust, the son of a goldsmith of Mainz, who afterwards separating from Gutenberg went to Paris, where he printed books, and in consequence was persecuted as a magician or sorcerer; so wonderful was it thought to produce books so easily, and so much like each other.
Gutenberg was afterwards assisted in the carrying on of his printing by a rich burgher of Mainz of the name of Conrad Hammer, whom we may suppose to have been the early friend through defence of whom he was obliged to fly from home.
Shortly after the invention of printing, it would appear that paper was made in sufficient perfection to be employed instead of parchment in the formation of books. A celebrated Latin Bible, printed by Gutenberg in 1450, of which a very perfect copy is to be seen in the public library at Frankfort, is beautifully printed on paper: and it must strike every one with astonishment that such great perfection could have been attained in so short a time in so difficult an art—especially when we call to mind that each of the little letters with which it was printed, had to be carved separately out of wood, since metal letters or type were not used till a few years later. The printing, too, is remarkably clear, distinct, and regular, and is a striking proof of the extraordinary skill and industry—and as he himself says in our story, patience—which must have been employed over it.
The great superiority of printing over writing was so generally felt and acknowledged, that before the end of the century in which Gutenberg lived, printed books began to be common, and in the year 1471, an Englishman of the name of Caxton, introduced the art into England, and set up a printing press in Westminster.