The Beginning of Printing in Mainz

We do not know when Gutenberg succeeded in creating a workable version of his first printing type, a large, square gothic commonly referred to as the “DK” (Donatus and Kalendar) type. It is probable but not provable that fragmentary survivals of the Latin grammar Donatus, and of a German prophetic text, the Sibyllenbuch, which display the DK type in a primitive, unperfected state, were produced and sold by 1453 and possibly a little earlier. By the fall of 1454, where our exhibition begins, Gutenberg’s shop had succeeded in creating a much improved version of this first European printing type.