The Scriptorium Collection The Special Collections and Archives Gallery Exhibit
Brigham Young University-Idaho

The Scriptorium Collection
A History of the Written Word

Printing Tools

Scriptorium Exhibit Homepage
moveable type
Wood and Lead Type
These pieces of type are similar to what Gutenberg would have used for printing. The concept of moveable type, combined with printing press technology and stiffer oil-based inks develped for printing, allow quicker, standardized, reproduction of a text at a much lower cost.
letterpress tools
Letterpress Tools
Left to right: Furniture, lead type, quoin, and key.
small letterpress
Letterpress Baltimore no. 14 (c. 1890)
A hobby press from the Victorian Era when printing was sometimes a parlor amusement.
A Cost Comparison of
Hand Lettered Manuscript vs. Printed Text
    Hand Lettered Manuscript:
  • In 1274 a bible in Latin would cost about 30 (about $42.60)
  • A typical workman would earn about 2 a year (about $2.84)
  • In 1420 a bible in English would cost about 7-10 (about $9.94)
    Printed Text:
  • About 1450 printing from moveable type by Gutenberg
  • By 1520 a printed Tyndale's New Testament cost about .05 - .02 (about 7-28 cents)
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