Classifying the typefaces of the Gutenberg 42-line bible

Original Paper
  • 164 Downloads

Abstract

We have measured the dissimilarities among several printed characters of a single page in the Gutenberg 42-line bible, and we prove statistically the existence of several different matrices from which the metal types were constructed. This is in contrast with the prevailing theory, which states that only one matrix per character was used in the printing process of Gutenberg’s greatest work. The main mathematical tool for this purpose is cluster analysis, combined with a statistical test for outliers. We carry out the research with two letters, \({\texttt{i}}\) and \({\texttt{a}}\). In the first case, an exact clustering method is employed; in the second, with more specimens to be classified, we resort to an approximate agglomerative clustering method. The results show that the letters form clusters according to their shape, with significant shape differences among clusters, and allow to conclude, with a very small probability of error, that indeed the metal types used to print them were cast from several different matrices.

Keywords

Classification Cluster analysis Outlier testing Johannes Gutenberg 42-line bible Movable types 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. 1.
    Baines P., Haslam A.: Type and Typography. Laurence King Publishing, London (2002)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Barnett V., Lewis T.: Outliers in Statistical Data. Wiley, Chichester (1984)MATHGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Biblia, L.: [Moguntiae : Eponymous Typography (=Johannes Gutenberg)], ca. 1454—August 1456 [Microfilm] Universidad de Sevilla (2004)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Classifying the typefaces of the Gutenberg 42-line bible [pdf online]. In: The B-42: the origins of the graphical industry. http://gutenberginy.sourceforge.net
  5. 5.
    Cox T.F., Cox M.A.A.: Multidimensional scaling, 2nd edn. Chapman and Hall / CRC, Boca Raton (2001)MATHGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    De Hamel C.: The Book A History of The Bible, 1st edn. Phaidon Press Inc., London (2001)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Friedman J., Hastie T., Tibshirani R.: The Elements of Statistical Learning. Springer, New York (2001)MATHGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Gordon A.D.: Classification. Chapman and Hall / CRC, Boca Raton (1999)MATHGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Machines de mesure par analyse d’image Mitutoyo [online]. France. ©2007. http://www.mitutoyo.fr/telechargement-catalogueue.php
  10. 10.
    Schwab, R.N., Cahill, T.A., Kusko, B.H., Eldred, R.A., Wick, D.L.: The Proton Milliprobe Analysis of the Harvard B42, vol. II. PBSA. 81:4, 403–432 (1987)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Schwenke P.: Johannes Gutenbergs Zweiundvierzigzeilige Bibel: Ergänzungsband zur Faksimile Ausgabe. Iminsel, Leipzig (1923)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Smeijers F.: Counterpunch. Hyphen Press, London (1996)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    The R Project for Statistical Computing [online]. Viena: The R Foundation for Statistical Computing. http://www.r-project.org
  14. 14.
    Venables W.N., Ripley B.D.: Modern Applied Statistics with S. Springer, New York (2002)MATHGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Zedler G.: Die Sogenannte Gutenbergbibel, XX. Verlag der Gutenberg-Gesellschaft, Mainz (1929)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of MathematicsUniversitat Autònoma de BarcelonaBellaterraCatalonia
  2. 2.Department of Design and ImageUniversitat de BarcelonaBarcelonaCatalonia

Personalised recommendations