The "Work of the Books" - the 42-line Latin Bible

Page 4 of 4



On the first pages of the Bible, Gutenberg still experimented with the number of lines per column. In his first typesetting experiment he started with 40 lines (sheets 1-5 and sheets 129-132), then increased the number to 41 on sheet 5 (verso). Thereafter he printed 42 lines from sheet 6 on. This is why this Bible is called the "B42". However, he only experimented with the number of lines on the first paper copies. The Göttingen B42 is printed on vellum and has 42 lines per column from the start.

Moreover in the beginning he tried to economize and reduce the work of the rubricators by printing sheets 1, 4, and 5 as well as 129 and 130 with additonal red type. Apparently the result did not justifiy the effort expended so that afterwards he did not repeat this experiment. It was Johannes Fust and Peter Schoeffer - Gutenberg's financial backer and his former journeyman who, after the legal dispute together took over Gutenberg's workshop - who later developed a technique for two-color printing.

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4


Printing after Gutenberg

recto - verso
recto - right page
verso - left page