Plzeňské sympozia

Michael Wögerbauer

Innovations at the TIme of Privileges: Höchenberger’s Invention of a Field Printing Press

pp. 242–250, summary p. 250

The text analyses the attempts of the Prague book printer Jan Tomaáš Höchenberger to obtain the privileged position of a military book printer in the 1770s, hence at the time when it was difficult for new companies to win recognition against the obsolete system of privileges. After the first, unsuccessful attempt in 1779–1780, he applied for the privilege again with a ‘filed printing press on a cart’, which was labelled by both the author and the historian Josef Dobrovský as Höchenberger’s ‘own invention’. The attempt to obtain the privilege is analysed on the background of the stiffness of the existing system of privileges and on the basis of the thesis of the French book historian Frédéric Barbier that at the end of the 18th century there was ‘the second book revolution’, which however unlike the first (Gutenberg’s invention) and third (digitisation) was not characterised by technical progress but by the spreading and democratisation of printed communication. On this background, Höchenberger’s attempt is all the more remarkable in that field printing presses fulfil the need of administering the new ‘people’s’ armies and communicating with the growing number of the soldiers that do not fight as mercenaries for money but for their ‘country’ and ‘nation’.

Key words: Bohemian Lands, Austrian Monarchy, 19th century, history of the

printing press, propaganda, public

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