History of Printing (Imprimerie)

Vol. 8, History of Printing (Imprimerie) pp. 607

In the text entry Imprimerie, or the Print Shop, the Chevalier de Jaucourt attributes the creation of printing to Johannes Gutenberg in the mid-15th century. While previous methods of printing had already been created, including engraved metal or carved wood, Jaucourt dismisses these outright, assigning the true basis of printing to Gutenberg’s innovative combination of a printing press with movable, cast-metal type cut in relief.

As Jaucourt explains, “Thus, by means of printing, there came about rapidly not only the multiplication of knowledge but also the preservation and transmission until the end of time of the thoughts of men whose bodies had long become merged into Nature and their souls departed to the realm of the spirits.” 2 It is precisely this accomplishment that enables exhibits such as this to exist.

2 Jaucourt, Louis, chevalier de. "Printing, history of." The Encyclopedia of Diderot & d'Alembert Collaborative Translation Project. Translated by IML Donaldson. Ann Arbor: Michigan Publishing, University of Michigan Library, 2010. http://hdl.handle.net/2027/spo.did2222.0000.090 (accessed [fill in today's date in the form April 18, 2009 and remove square brackets]). Originally published as "Imprimerie," Encyclopédie ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers, 8:607–609 (Paris, 1765).

Denis Diderot (1713-1784)
Encyclopédie. Vol. 8, History of Printing (Imprimerie) pp. 607–609
Paris: Briasson [etc.], 1751-1772