The University of Manchester - The University of Manchester Library
First Impressions

Technology of the Book

Vellum

Vellum

Paper was not widely used in Europe until around 1450. Most medieval manuscripts were written on specially treated...

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Paper

Paper

Paper was a Chinese invention with its origins in the 2nd century AD. The Chinese were reluctant to share the secrets...

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Gatherings or quires - the building
blocks of books

Gatherings or quires - the building blocks of books

The prepared rectangular sheets of vellum were folded in a particular way to ensure that in a made-up manuscript facing...

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Ink

Ink

Medieval recipes for making the black ink used for writing manuscripts can be found in a number of sources. There were...

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Movable metal type

Movable metal type

The invention of printing with movable type in Europe in the 1450s revolutionised the production, movement...

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Composing - how type was set

Composing - how type was set

Making up the pages of type for a book was demanding and skilful work. The compositor had to read the manuscript...

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The printing press

The printing press

Early printing presses were modelled on existing presses, which had been used for hundreds of years to press grapes...

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Binding

Binding

In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries customers would be offered their books in a variety of different states...

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Video of printing in action

Video of printing in action

Watch a video of Graham Moss from the Incline Press operating a Britannia Press...

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