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Till after the time of the prophet Mahommed, writing was in a very imperfect state in Arabia ; and in the rude condition of that country, sentiments and couplets were inscribed upon the scapula, or shoulder blades.
In the Egyptian progress of improvements, the Papyrus, which grew in the marshes of the Delta, was applied to the purposes of writing, instead of the more inconvenient materials which have already been mentioned. Two or more coats of the rind, being moistened or pressed together, were formed into sheets of a convenient size, and devoted to the purposes of literary pursuits. * When a king of
* Some say they were made of the pith.
Pergamus, and one of the Ptolemies were vying with each other, in forming a library and encouraging learning, the Egyptian king refused to supply the Grecian prince with the quantity of Papyrus which his wants demanded. We shall not ascribe this conduct of Ptolemy to the influence of any ungenerous principle; for the scarcity of the materials, or the confined nature of the manufacturein Egypt, might afford no greater a supply than was necessary for the demands of the museum at Alexandria.
But the refusal on the part of the Egyptian king was productive of benefit to the interests of science; for Eumenes, the prince of Pergamus, brought into use, in Greece, skins of animals, prepared to answer the purpose of writing ; and thus a more lasting and valuable material was easily provided for books and records of importance.
For more common and less durable purposes, a substance was at length prepared from the pulp of cotton, silk, or linen; and vellum, . as well as parchment was reserved for deeds which required durable materials. In reference to the Papyrus of Egypt, the newlyinvented manufacture was denominated Paper; and thus the facilities of multiplying writing being increased, a rapid progress of improvement ensued, till the art of writing and printing has adorned the age in which we live, and made
the avenues of science both easy and delightful. In writing upon soft substances, reeds with ink were employed instead of the stylus; and even in these respects very important improvements have followed, which produce expedition as well as beauty. Ancient writings when finished, were wrapt up in a roll on a cylinder or staff; and in allusion to that old and superseded practice, books, though now made in a different form, are still denominated Volumes.
See WILSON'S “ History of Egypt."
Printing arose and shed its learned light,
THE FIRST PRINTER.
HAARLEM had the singular honour of producing the first Printer; and on one side of the market place appears the statue of LAWRENCE Koster, the original inventor of the art. According to the history of the case, he is represented leaning with one arm upon the stump of a tree which had received the initials of a former visitor. The sap oozing from the incision made an imprint on Koster's coat, of which at the time