Gone Dutch? Letterpress' history up for debate

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Big questions about the origins of printing in the western world are on the agenda for members of Sydney's Penrith Museum of Printing on Saturday.

Gutenberg vs. Coster - was Dutchman Coster (or Koster) an imposter - will occupy an afternoon discussion on July 14 at 2.30pm.

Speaker is museum volunteer Peter Butterworth (pictured), whose career started with the UK's printing strike of 1959 and continued as an apprentice compositor until moving to Australia in 1966. Since arriving, he has worked in newspaper, magazine and general print and owned design, art and print company Artwise for ten years, the last of which were spent in sales.

The discussion will pose the question of whether Johann Gutenberg was really the first printer in the West... or whether that title belongs to another, such as Laurens Janszoon Koster (1370-1440) in Haarlem, Holland, or Pamfilo Castaldi (1398-1490) of Feltre, Italy.

History is a subjective topic, and no doubt there will be those at the event with views on both sides at what has been dubbed a Cogitamus (thinking) meeting for the museum's members and supporters. Details from Stephan Peters, email stephanus.peters@sifan.org

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