Printer’s Press from Strada, 1845-1850
Our exhibit is a 19th-century spindle press made of larchwood which stood in the printer’s shop of Strada in the Lower Engadine Valley. Its functioning principle is based on that of Johannes Gutenberg who had invented letterpress printing in the 15th century. His invention has since helped spread the printed word and thus knowledge and religious views.
The cultural significance of book printing varied within the different linguistic areas of Grisons. Documents printed in German could be obtained with relative ease from abroad. The situation in the southern valleys of Grisons - where Italian is spoken - was made more complicated by the different confessions of the Christian faith. So it happened that Dolfino Landolfi from Poschiavo, founder of Grisons’ first printing shop in 1547, produced mainly Protestant writings for local use. He also spread them secretly in neighbouring Catholic Lumbardy.
Books and other documents printed in Raeto-Romansh, on the other hand, were produced almost entirely by local printers. Their printed matter had a significant influence on the development of Romansh, and the linguistic identity of the people who spoke it. Bible translations into Raeto-Romansh were particularly important ever since 1560, when Jachiam Bifrun had published the New Testament in his native tongue.
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