The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Sower, Christopher

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SOWER, or SAUR, Christopher, German-American printer; b. Laasphe, near Marburg, Germany, 1693; d. Germantown, Pa., 25 Sept. 1758. After a study of medicine at Halle, he came to Philadelphia in 1724, was for a time a farmer in Lancaster County, but in 1731 removed to Germantown, where he acted as an importer of German Bibles and religious works. In 1738 he obtained a printing-press and began the publication in German of a 24-page almanac, which continued to appear until 1798. He began in 1739 Der Hoch-Deutsch Pennsylvanische Geschichtschreiber, a religious and secular magazine, the first periodical in German in the United States. It was published at first quarterly at three, shillings per annum and afterward monthly. He established (1738) the first type-foundry in America, made his own ink for printing and later manufactured his paper and did his binding. In 1743 he published, in German, a Bible of small quarto size, Luther's translation, the edition being limited to 1,200 copies of 1,284 pages. With the exception of Eliot's Indian Bible, this was the first Bible printed in the colonies and it was the largest work that had then been attempted. An English Bible was not printed until 1781 by Robert Aitken at Philadelphia. Sower may have invented cast-iron stoves; he introduced them into general use. Consult Thomas, ‘History of Printing in America’ (1870); Ringwalt, ‘Encyclopædia of Printing’ (1871).