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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Time-consuming (02/24/11)

TITLE: “In Print” Points of View
By Coleene VanTilburg


The Money-lender
I, John Fust, being of sound mind and body do here by lend Johannes Gutenberg on this tenth day of March in the year of our Lord, 1450, this amount (see ledger). The purpose therefore; to start a business in which I am willing to invest, developing the idea of moveable print, thus progressing society and making the written word more accessible. In my opinion, this man is diligent and trustworthy; educated from his youth working at the mint, stamping currency and leather for bound manuscripts. This loan also underwrites his 16 skilled craftsmen and supplies.
The Carver
Journal entry: On the fourth day of fifth month in the year of our Lord 1451, today, the letter “G” took shape in my weary fingers. Thousands more characters and letters wait to be completed and cast into a moveable type. The “G” today is for “good.” Lord, allow me today to be a good servant of this job, for I feel your presence in this endeavor; bringing your glory to many unable to read your Word themselves. My hands Lord are raw, and the lard I use to soften the stinging cuts seems futile yet I must endure with your help.
The Mold-maker
Journal entry: Fourth day of September in the year of our Lord, 1452. Clay molds, maybe even sand Lord, for the production of this design Mr. Gutenberg has visualized, await me today. My hands are your hands. These molds must withstand the pouring of molten alloys and capture the letters carved by the craftsmen. We are creating progress Lord, your Word, worthy. Each letter must match perfectly in size and shape. My days are long yet purposeful. Mold me Lord into a man of reputable character. Amen.
The Blacksmith
Journal entry: On the 25th day of April in the year of our Lord 1453 in this town of Maize, Germany, J. Gutenberg, my employer and I continue to pour and forge the liquid metal alloy into the molds. Over 46,000 individual letters to create; a daunting task, yet so many scribes have known. Many long nights testing the frame and type with German poetry, rubbing the oil-based ink, also Johannes’s invention, with balls of horse hair onto the finished type; Your Words God, light our path.

Dear Giovanni of Venice, Italy, miller of fine paper,
Greetings from Germany. With my official seal, I am placing an order for your finest water-marked parchment, in need of 50,000 sheets. Sending a courier in two months time, you can expect receipt of payment and transport back to Germany. Enclosed, please find a substantial amount to begin this business partnership with my gratefulness.
Sincerely, Johannes Gutenberg, print maker, Mainz, Germany.
Dear Mr. Hans Vogtner, tanner,
I am in need of your finest vellum in which to use in my invention of a moveable print frame and press replacing manuscripts. Please expedite and relay your timetable.
Regards to your family, J. Gutenberg, proprietor.
Johannes Gutenberg, print maker
Journal entry: On this 24th day of August in the year of our Lord, 1455, the first pages came off the press today. With one hardy pull of the lever, the 42-line page of the Bible, printed with success. For over three years, my efforts along with my dedicated craftsmen have proved worthy of this tedious task. No longer will hand-written manuscripts be available to only those of wealth and importance, but reading and education and Scripture with this new invention, possibly to all of God’s children. May it continue to manifest.
Curator, Huntington Library, Pasadena, California.
“In this next case, a very rare Gutenberg Bible, the first book printed by moveable type. A single page could contain up to 2500 hand set characters. Gaps were left for the hand-drawn rubricating and wide margins for the illuminated decorations. Gutenberg printed 180 Bibles on paper and 30 or so on vellum, scraped calf skin. Only monasteries and churches were allowed to purchase the vellum editions. Twenty-one complete copies survive today, nine of which still retain their original 15th- century binding. The text is in two columns, tightly justified to the right, a process also invented by Gutenberg. Totaling over 1280 un-numbered pages in the German gothic style print, Gutenberg and his specially chosen craftsman changed history with this invention used in almost the same way for many more centuries to come, time- consuming but timeless indeed.”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Virgil Youngblood 03/03/11
Well done. I enjoyed the insight you have given and the way you presented it.
Noel Mitaxa 03/04/11
Very clever human portrayal of the people behind the printing process, with a great grasp of the detail and the blessing of God's word.
Sydney Avey03/07/11
This is wonderful. I appreciate the research you did and the facts you wove into a story that shows us how much time it takes to create something worthwhile. The number of people, the roles they play, all orchestrated by our great God.
One suggestion: Stay consistent with your format. You tag journal entries but seem to launch directly into letters (Dear so-and-so). Try tagging the letters as well.
Bonnie Bowden 03/09/11
I was thinking of doing this same story, but I couldn't figure out a way to proceed. You handled that brilliantly.