What happened to Johann Fust?

All we know about Fust is that he gave Gutenberg money to borrow for his printing business. Gutenberg couldn’t pay Fust back therefore defaulting in giving him his printing press, printing materials and anything dealing with what made Gutenberg famous. Where does Fust go from there? Well, he gets a new partner who I’m guessing can pay the bills. This gentleman was named Peter Schoffer. They printed apiece called Mainz Psalter in 1457 with wooden cut illustrations and metal type. A different collaboration than having everything printed from either all metal or all wood type and illustrations. After that short description in chapter one about what happened after Fust took everything Gutenberg, we don’t hear anything else from him or what he did next. So sit back and leave the Fust digging to me.

Johann Fust was a German printer from a wealthy family extending as far back as the 13th century. His printing or his name wasn’t as well known until he got involved as a banker for Gutenberg’s printing business. After the lawsuit against Gutenberg, Fust then continued his “newly” stolen printing business with his partner named Peter Schoeffer. They crossed paths in a twisted rumor where Schoeffer was assisting Gutenberg during the time he was borrowing money from Fust for his printing business. Schoeffer basically got a front row seat on ‘how to use a printing press for dummies’. He then stood with Fust when the lawsuit against Gutenberg came out. Can we stop for a minute and recognize the amount of shade that both Gutenberg’s former business partner and assistant threw. What was the point of all of this? The answer is greed and basically to be famous for “supposedly” creating the printing press. Moving forward, Gutenberg was non-existent after that and was never to be heard from again. Fust and Schoeffer on the other hand flew with the business by making identical pieces just as Gutenberg would have printed them as well as setting the books at a price. Fust used his business salesman skills to sweep the nation with selling the “42-Line Bible”

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on both paper and vellum copies. Paper was sold for 40 guiders while vellum was sold for 75 guiders a piece. I’m not entirely sure what “guiders” are but I’m guessing it’s the word they use for dollars.

The printing press sped up production, which was something the world wasn’t used too and that resulted in more rumors. Fust was accused of doing witchcraft. The reason behind this accusation was the red ink that was used on the printed pages was referred to blood. Another reason why he was accused, was the actual speed books were being printed. Fust served some jail time for black magic but then released when the accounts against him were wrong. Apparently the devil is the only reason behind the speedy printing process when in reality it was some non-experienced guy with one job, which was to press the typeset to the paper.

In the year 1466, Fust died. Although, he died his business was run by his son-in-law, which happened to be Peter Schoeffer who married his only daughter Christina. They had children who invested their lives in the business. Their way of printing stayed within their family but also with their sworn in employees. Yes, sworn in like how the president swears he will be a good person and protect America, basically on the same level as that. Well, some people in the business weren’t good people and allowed the secret to flow from their lips. The secret of the printing press was released to the world which developed multiple different printing businesses and different ways of printing with metal type. Even though their secret wasn’t theirs originally maybe that was the reason why it happened. Karma came back to bite them, I mean what else do you expect?

Sources found here:
https://www.britannica.com/biography/Johann-Fust
http://www.historygraphicdesign.com/a-graphic-renaissance/printing-comes-to-europe/622-johann-fust

 

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