Simon Garfield

Pirates of the printing presses

A printer’s inky Kitemark was easily counterfeited, making the early days of commercial printing an extraordinary saga of piracy and fraud

Say what you like about the efficiency of the Kindle, one day we’re going to wake up and miss the lizards. Among the many lost methods of making an illuminated book in the pioneering days of Renaissance printing, the way we once obtained powdered gold may be the most lamented: ‘In a pot place nine lizards in the milk, put on the cover, and bury it in damp earth.

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