Teacher's Guide for CALLIOPE: Gutenberg and Printing
Teacher's guide prepared by: Gloria W. Lannom, a frequent contributor to Cobblestone publications.
Let's begin by looking at the reproduction on the front and back covers of CALLIOPE® showing a print shop in about 1600. "About the cover," page 1, tells you what the workers are doing. Thanks to modern technology, today's print shop requires fewer workers.
Now look at the article titled "Printing After Gutenberg," beginning on page 34. What important invention is credited to Alois Senefelder? (lithography) Describe this process. You will need to look in your dictionary. (writing or designs are put on stone with a greasy ink material to make a printed image) What is the advantage of this method over earlier techniques? (it can produce greater detail and later led to less costly color processes) What two 19th century inventions led to the development of printing plates enabling more realistic illustrations? (camera and light-sensitive materials) Name two typesetting devices and what they were primarily used for. (Linotype for newspapers, Monotype for books) What 20th century invention led to the most important changes in the printing industry? (computer) Gutenberg's invention caused a revolution in the dissemination of information and the computer has expanded dissemination in a way unimaginable to the people of Gutenberg's time. What one word could describe the way information is disseminated in this period of computers and the Internet? (instant or instantaneous) How do you get your information about what is going on in today's world? (from newspapers, magazines, the Internet)
"Books before Printing," page 3, underscores the great difference between books before and after the invention of the printing press. How were books produced before Gutenberg? (by hand, hand-written) What are two ways people obtained copies of books in the 15th century? (they made a copy or they paid a scribe to make a copy) What two materials were books written on? (paper and vellum - see the sidebar telling you what vellum is and look at the illustration of a man preparing vellum) Can you think of one problem that might occur in the copying process? (the possibility of mistakes in copying the text)
What two legal protections of today, mentioned in "Keep it Secret," page 6, were not available during the time of Gutenberg? (patents and copyrights) What is the difference between the two? (patents are issued for inventions, copyrights are given to literary and artistic material)
Let's see how many bits of information you can find about Gutenberg the man when you read "At Odds with Mainz," page 8. (born about 1400; spent early years in Mainz; son of a well-to-do family of a patrician class of merchants and officials; probable contact with gold and metal-smiths; probably studied Latin and arithmetic and was familiar with the Bible; father forced to leave Mainz in 1411 for political reasons; probable move to Strassburg about 1428; 1444 eligible for military service and connected with crafts guild)
You can add to this biography by reading "Investing in Mirrors," page 10. More biographic information: (had a partnership with other investors to sell "pilgrim mirrors"; borrowed money for business purposes; probably working on printing experiments) What are "pilgrim mirrors?" (mirrors held up by pilgrims to "capture" the power of a holy image)
"The Invention," beginning on page 15, tells us a lot about the way text was written for readers during the Middle Ages. What style of handwriting was used in the Middle Ages? (gothic) What was one important usage in gothic writing? (abbreviation) Find an example of a character that is not a letter. (9 at the end of a word) What does it stand for? (-us, a common Latin ending) What other characteristic of gothic text does the article talk about? (Variations in the way certain words could be written) Why did the first font (casting) Gutenberg designed have 180 to 190 characters when the alphabet was composed of far fewer characters? Consult the inset "A Few Gothic Handwriting Rules," page 16, and the caption for the illustration on page 17 (to include the many different ways that characters were written and joined)
"The Gutenberg Bible" article beginning on page 24 provides some data that helps give us an idea of the magnitude of Gutenberg's accomplishment. How many volumes and how many pages long was the Gutenberg Bible? (two volumes, 1300 pages) What were its measurements? (16 by 12 inches) Why was it so large? (it was not designed for the individual reader but for a lectern or reading stand in monasteries) How long did it take to print? (about two years) How many copies were printed and what were they printed on? (180, 40 on vellum, 140 on paper) How many survive? (about 48) Why are no two copies of the Gutenberg Bible alike? (the decorations, binding, and inscriptions reflected the taste of each original buyer and were added after the pages were printed) Look at the round illustrations on pages 26 and 27. What is the language of the Gutenberg Bible? (Latin)