Mrs. Prothro's Earliest Complete Printed Bible
[Strasbourg: Johann Mentelin and/or Adolf Rusch, c.1473]. (Prothro B-174)
During the first two decades of printing, Bibles adhered closely to the model established by Gutenberg. Ideally suited for refectory reading at a lectern, subsequent Bibles in large Royal folio format presented a similar layout with two columns of text with spaces left for large initials and other navigational elements to be added by hand. Continuing in this tradition, the earliest printed Bible in the Prothro Collection was published at Strasbourg c. 1473, probably by Johann Mentelin and/or his son-in-law Adolf Rusch. The main difference between this Bible and Gutenberg’s was the introduction of a smaller yet highly legible Roman type instead of Gothic. With fifty-six lines per column, as opposed to Gutenberg’s forty-two lines, this edition compressed the text into 425 printed leaves, reducing the use of paper by nearly one-third.