The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Faust, Johann

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FAUST, or FUST, Johann, German goldsmith of the 15th century and one of the persons to whom the invention of printing was long mistakenly ascribed. It is now well established that he loaned money to Gutenberg, who had previously made some attempts with movable types at Strassburg, and took a mortgage on the business. In 1455 Faust prosecuted Gutenberg for money advanced, and seized enough of the apparatus to cover the mortgage. He improved and used the apparatus, and in the 16th century was hailed as the inventor of printing but modern research has established Gutenberg's claims on a firm basis. The third person concerned was Schöffer, who married the daughter of Faust, and who is allowed the honor of having invented punches and matrices for casting types, by means of which this grand art was carried to perfection. The first fruits of the new process, that is, a work printed with cast letters, appears to have been the ‘Mazarin Bible,’ or ‘Forty-two-line Bible’ (the latter name from the number of lines in a column) completed about 1455. Another early work was ‘Durandi Rationale Divinorum Officiorum,’ published by Faust and Schöffer 1459, followed a year or two after by the ‘Catholicon Johannis Januensis’; after which, in 1462, succeeded the ‘Latin and German Bible,’ so much sought for by those fond of early specimens of typography. There is reason to believe that Faust died of the plague in 1466, as the name of Schöffer alone is found in the books printed after that time at Maintz. Owing, perhaps, to a similarity of name some of the noted deeds of Dr. Faust have been ascribed in popular German legends to the printer.