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John Fust

A partner of Gutenberg in promoting the art of printing, d. at Paris about 1466

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Fust (or FAUST), JOHN, a partner of Gutenberg in promoting the art of printing, d. at Paris about 1466. He belonged to a wealthy family of Mainz, but very little is known of his early life. In 1450 he became a partner of Gutenberg in the establishment of a printing plant at Mainz, Fust furnishing the capital and taking a mortgage on the tools and materials as security. The partners carried on the business for several years, but the partnership was dissolved in 1455, when Fust brought suit against Guttenberg for the money that he had advanced and obtained possession of the printing apparatus. The business was then continued by Fust with his son-in-law, Peter Schoffer, of Gernsheim, as partner. In 1462, when Mainz was sacked, Fust’s workmen were scattered, and they carried with them to various countries the printing process which had been guarded as a secret in Mainz. Fust continued the business, however, until about 1466, when he is thought to have gone to Paris and to have died there of the plague. Among the books that were issued from the press of Fust and Gutenberg the best known is the magnificent Latin “Bible of forty-two lines”, so called because it was printed forty-two lines to the page. It is known also as the Mazarin Bible, because the first known copy of it was discovered in Cardinal Mazarin’s library at Paris. It is a fine specimen of the early printer’s art. They also printed an indulgence granted by Pope Nicholas V to the King of Cyprus (1454-5). In partnership with Schoffer Fust published a Psalter (1457), the first printed book with a complete date; the “Rationale Divinorum Officiorum” of Durandus (1459); and Cicero’s “De Officiis” (1465), the first printed edition of a classical author. Several other books that were printed by Fust and his partners are still extant, some of them very beautiful in their execution.

EDMUND BURKE


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