Post Medieval printing type from Mainz and Uberusel, Germany, and the composition of early German type metal.
Historical Metallurgy Journal Volume 49, Issue 2
Early post-medieval type pieces used for printing have rarely been the topic of archaeometric research due to the scarcity of archaeological evidence. Extensive finds from Wittenberg, Germany, in recent years, however, stimulated far-reaching interdisciplinary research into early book printing history which brought together results from typographical, typometrical, historical and archaeometallurgical examination. As a consequence, three older finds from Mainz and Oberursel are reappraised archaeometallurgically. Chemical analysis shows that type composition is rather homogenous within single finds, but differs between find locations. Two major groups of ternary type metal containing lead, antimony and tin are identified, differing in the content of alloy additives and their ratios. The results suggest, however, that alloy compositions have been chosen carefully in order to provide low-fusing metals with acceptable hardness and good wear resistance. Comparisons with the Wittenberg type pieces indicates probable interaction of craftsmen from different regions.