I'm not certain about the timeline in the evolution of the book form
in various parts of the world, but I suppose I could walk over to my
library; but it is too hot to make the effort.
It's quite possible that some enterprising young Roman did come up
with a way to use multiple punches for such a purpose. The way it
worked out successfully though, is all that matters. 14th century
Europe, not the Roman Empire, not Asia, was prime for the development.
Printing preses were in existenceall that was required was to work
out the complexities of the hose. Punchcutting and casting technology
had been perfected. Paper had been used for writing, and for printing,
for some time. The casting properties of lead were clearly understood.
The use of ink for painting on metal was known. A well developed
knowledge of metallurgy and mechanics, an effective mercantile
structure, unrestricted trade channels, standardization of mechanical
parts and tools that could be used without specific application,
etc.all in place.
All was there, it seems, except for the adjustable casting mould, the
tool that would allow letters to be spaced as if they were hand written.
--- In PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com, Peter Fraterdeus <peterf@...> wrote:
> Hi Gerald
> At 4:17 PM -0700 3 09 07, Gerald Lange wrote:
> >...Even the medallions that protected Marco Polo and
> >other westerns in their journeys, the paiza, issued by the Khan, appear
> >to have been cast from punches. It is uncertain if any of the Asian
> >paper materials that had been printed from cast type made their way to
> Yes, it's really fascinating to see the wax "punches" used by the
Romans*, and consider how matters might have turned out if some
enterprising Roman had thought to use multiples of these things to
produce movable type -- rudimentary as it may have been -- 1500 years
> *I recall the example in Fred Goudy's "The Alphabet and Elements of
> However, the 'books' I was thinking of were the woodcut books, full
pages from each block, regarding Mr. David's attitude about
impressions from calligraphic originals, regardless of the form,
scroll or codex.
> As far as the codex, I'm not sure that it was exclusive to the West
*, in any case, as there are plenty of examples of Oriental scrolls
bound as 'accordion' books, or in fact, of accordions punched through
and sewn. (Of which, I'm sure sure you are aware!)
> However, I don't recall the time line of when these are known.
Perhaps it's after contact with the West...
> *unless the technical definition precludes accordion books in favor
of collections of signatures...
> Not my area of expertise, but I'm interested ;-)