Johann Gutemberg, the first German printer

   Johann Gutemberg (1400?-1468) is credited with the invention of printing with movable type. He was born at Mainz. The Gutenbergs with others were expelled from that city in 1420, and appear to have removed to Strasburg. We hear of young Gutenberg imprisoning the town clerk for a debt due him by that city, and of his being sued for a breach of promise. The former affair was settled by the mayor of the city; the latter was adjusted by marriage.
   Gutenberg appears to have been an inventive sort of man. He had a plan for polishing precious cut stones, and another for manufacturing looking glasses to be sold to pilgrims. He aimed to form a company for the manufacture of type, but, failing in this, returned to Mainz where he formed a partnership with a wealthy and shrewd goldsmith named John Fust. Types were cast and the first printing office opened. The first book printed was a large Latin Bible, the printing of which occupied from 1450-1455. Gutenberg and Fust appear to have had a falling out; the latter, having advanced the money, kept possession of the type and press. Gutenberg was turned out in the world penniless. He made other attempts, unsuccessfully however, to engage in business. In 1465 we find him in the service of the archbishop, who gave him a suit of clothes and a fixed allowance of corn and wine annually. Although the value of his invention was priceless Gutenberg died poor, childless, almost friendless, and quite unknown. It is said that his name did not even appear on the title page of anything that he printed.
   In 1858 a fine monument was erected in his memory in the chief square of Frankfurt, a city in which printing has ever been held in repute. The monument is a work of art well worth examination. It consists of a group. The central figure is, of course, Gutenberg, holding a handful of type. No portrait or picture is known. The face that appears on medals, statues, etc., is entirely suppositious.