Gutenberg, Fust and Schoeffer

The top portion of this pane depicts Johann Gutenberg taking a proof from the first printing press. Gutenberg conceived and executed the idea of using moveable single letter type. This made it possible to use each character in many combinations. Gutenberg began using movable type in Mainz, Germany, in 1450. Associated with him was Johann Fust, a wealthy goldsmith, who financially supported his establishment.  In the lower half of this pane is the device of the creditor successor of Gutenberg, Johann Fust and Fust’s son-in-law Peter Schoeffer, who are supposed to have shared in the invention of printing, having gained possession of the Gutenberg press through lawsuit. This mark has the distinction of being the first known printers’ device. The Fust-Schoeffer device consists of two shields supported by a stump. Incidentally, this design has been adopted as the emblem of printing craftsmen in America.


The stained glass panel highlighted here once hung in the windows of Kent Library when it was originally installed in 1939. In 1968, the panes were placed into walnut frames and displayed on the mezzanine level of the renovated library until 2007 when they were removed for safety during library remodeling.



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