The etymological root of the term incunable comes from the Latin word incunabula, which can be translated as "Diapers" . The concept is used to rate those books that were published in the period between the creation of printing and the early 16th century .
Incunable, therefore, is a adjective that applies to printed works between 1450 and 1500 approximately . Sometimes, the temporal delimitation is simplified indicating that the incunabula are books of the XV century .
It is estimated that the idea of incunable was coined in the XVII century . Bernhard von Mallinckrodt and Cornelius Beughem They are usually indicated as the first to capture the notion in a publication.
At weather of the incunabula, the printer was in charge of the whole process. Not only was he the owner of the press, but he also made the paper, was in charge of the casting of the types and was the bookbinder, the editor and the bookseller. The relevance of the incunabula is given to be the first documents that massified the scope of the culture.
As the etymology suggests, the idea of incunable is linked to the fact that the printed books were "Diapers" or in the "cradle". At XV century there were some 1,200 printers that allowed to present thousands of works: all of them, classified as incunabula.
The Bavarian State Library , in Germany , is one of the institutions that holds the largest number of incunabula, housing more than 18,000. Among them is the Gutenberg Bible , considered the most famous incunable since it was the first book that was printed on a large scale appealing to a system of mobile types.