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     The rise of the Netherlands as a mercantile power, and the nation's eventual prosperity all led to advances in typography. Books became export trade items, and the need for better quantity and quality was evident. It was the Elzevir family that came to meet those needs.
     This printing dynasty was founded by Lois Elzevir, who issued his first book in 1593. The Elzevir family (father, sons, and nephews) produced neat, attractive, inexpensive books for more than 100 years, expanding the book buying market. Their business was located in Leiden and reached its peak between 1592 and 1649 when the Elzevirs were the official printers of the university. Branches of the Elzevir's printing business were also located at the Hague, Amsterdam and Utrecht.
      The main feature of their books was their consistency, quality, and multilanguages; for they employed editors, who produced texts in Latin, English, French, German, and Dutch. The page's margins were narrow (economical) with engraved title pages.
Christoffel van Dyck was the punch cutter who designed their typeface, which were to resist the wear and tear of printing. Those Font's characters were characterized by their stubby serifs with heavy bracketing and fairly stout hairline elements. In fact, those characters were in use until 1810.
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Jan Jacob Schipper, page from Calvin's Commentary, 1667
Jacob Tonson, London 1712
Julius Caesar: Opera
12 x 19
© 2004 Natalia Rifai