Wednesday, 10 January 2018

worshipful company of stationers and newspaper makers

Thanks to the latest instalment of the wonderful and engrossing History of English podcast, we learn why cut paper—and in general writing materials—is referred to as stationery.
From the thirteenth century on, booksellers who set up shop in a fixed spot, as opposed to itinerant peddlers and chapmen who frequented markets and had pop-up stalls but not a permanent location, were called stationers. In exchange for upholding pledges not to gouge students on required text books, universities allowed stationers a virtual monopoly on copyrights, and in the era before the printing press would loan students original manuscripts for use in exchange for producing a faithful duplicate that the stationer could later resell. Their wares and the tools that produced them were referred to a stationery.