Fournier, Pierre Simon

FOURNIER, PIERRE SIMON (1712-1768), French engraver and typefounder, was born at Paris on the 15th of September 1712. He was the son of a printer, and was brought up to his father's business. After studying drawing under the painter Colson, he practised for some time the art of wood-engraving, and ultimately turned his attention to the engraving and casting of types. He designed many new characters, and his foundry became celebrated not only in France, but in foreign countries. Not content with his practical achievements, he sought to stimulate public interest in his art by the production of various works on the subject. In 1737 he published his Table des proportions qu'il faut observer entre les caractères, which was followed by several other technical treatises. In 1758 he assailed the title of Gutenberg to the honour awarded him as inventor of printing, claiming it for Schöffer, in his Dissertation sur l'origine et les progrès de l'art de graver en bois. This gave rise to a controversy in which Schöpflin and Baer were his opponents. Fournier's contributions to this debate were collected and reprinted under the title of Traités historiques et critiques sur l'origine de l'imprimerie. His principal work, however, was the Manuel typographique, which appeared in 2 vols. 8vo in 1764, the first volume treating of engraving and type-founding, the second of printing, with examples of different alphabets. It was the author's design to complete the work in four volumes, but he did not live to execute it. He died at Paris on the 8th of October 1768.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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