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A: Saint-Omer, Hauts-de-France, France

Martin-Dominique Fertel Issues the First Major French Manual on Printing and the First Book on Book Design


In 1723 printer and bookseller Martin-Dominique Fertel issued La Science pratique de l'imprimérie contenant des instructions très faciles pour se perfectionner dans cet art. On y trouvera une description de toutes les pieces dont une presse est construire, avec le moyen de remedier à tous les défauts qui peuvent y s. from Saint-Omer, France.  

This was the first major manual on printing published in French, and the first book on book design in any language, though the author probably did not think of it as a design manual per se. The four parts of Fertel's work cover type and composition, imposition and press correction, accentuated letters and punctuation, and press work.  Fertel (1648-1752) had a shop in St. Omer from 1713 until his death in 1752. After becoming a printer in 1704 he travelled for about 10 years through France, Italy and Flanders, familiarizing himself with printing techniques and products. Not finding a printing manual anywhere, he decided to print his own.

Barber, French Letterpress Printing (1969) 8.

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