Skip to main content

Printers' Marks

PRINTERS' MARKS

PRINTERS' MARKS , the devices or badges used by early printers to distinguish their productions. The first known printers' mark in Hebrew printing is the lion rampant within a red shield, which was used by Eliezer Alantansi at Híjar in and after 1485. The *Soncino family of printers, both in Italy and in other countries, used a tower, probably the badge of the city of Soncino in Lombardy; this was subsequently adopted by the Soncino Gesellschaft in Germany and by the 20th-century Soncino Press in London. Later, various printers of the Kohen family, especially the Proops of Amsterdam, used a printers' mark of the hands spread in priestly benediction. The Giustiniani Press in Venice employed a conventional representation of the Temple in Jerusalem – subsequently much copied – and the Bragadini used three crowns symbolizing the diadem of royalty, priesthood, and Torah (cf. Avot 4:13). At a later time Italian printers often employed their family badges as printers' marks. Thus, the productions of the Foa family, from the middle of the 16th century down to the 18th, were distinguished by a badge showing two lions rampant against a palm tree supporting the shield of David, with various permutations. Abraham Usque of Ferrara adopted the Portuguese royal badge of a sphere, losing the significance of the punning motto spera in dominum by translating it back into the Hebrew original kavveh el Adonai (Ps. 27:14). The Basevi brothers of Verona used their family badge, subsequently incorporated into their coat of arms, of a white lion back to back with a black eagle, both crowned. The badge of Manasseh Ben Israel was memorable, with the words emet me-ereẓ tiẓmaḥ ("Truth springeth out of the earth," Ps. 85:12) shown as a rebus, or in his non-Hebrew productions, a pilgrim with the motto Apercebido como hu romeiro. The Benveniste family of Amsterdam used a lion rampant against a tower, surmounted by a star, which presumably was their coat of arms. The symbols of fertility, fish, were common throughout the 17th and 18th centuries in various countries. Monograms in Latin characters were sometimes used. The Eastern European printers' marks were for the most part unoriginal and often poorly printed and designed. Among the Christian printers of Hebrew books, Froben used intertwined serpents, and *Fagius a leafy tree. From the 18th century, the use of printers' marks became less common and their designs less distinctive.

bibliography:

A. Yaari, Hebrew Printers' Marks from the Beginnings of Hebrew Printing to the End of the 19thCentury (Heb. and Eng., 1943), with 208 reproductions.

[Cecil Roth]

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Printers' Marks." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Jun. 2019 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Printers' Marks." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 20, 2019). https://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/printers-marks

"Printers' Marks." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Retrieved June 20, 2019 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/printers-marks

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.