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It was quite late in Colonial American history when the first English language Bible was printed in America. Robert Aitken did so in 1782 under an authorization by the United States Congress. Prior to this time, English language Bibles were available in the Colonies, but had to be imported from England. What followed Aitkin's work were printings by Matthew Carey [1790], William Young [1790], Isaac Collins [1791], Isaiah Thomas [1791], and Jacob Berriman [1796]. These were all printings of the King James Bible, some in personal size and others in family Bible size.

In November of 1798, John Thompson of Philadelphia produced the first King James Bible ever to be "hot-pressed" in America. This printing technique helped to sear the ink clearly into the paper with heat. This printing was a large pulpit folio Bible, the largest Bible printed in America up until that time. The Thompson Hot-Press Bible remains a very rare collector's item.

Item Description

This Centennial Library copy of the King James Bible was printed by John Thompson in Philadelphia in 1798, the first hot-pressed printing of the Bible in the Colonies. This copy was professionally re-bound in leather in 2004 by the artisans at the Ohio Book Store in Cincinnati.


Biblical Heritage Gallery, Cedarville University, Thompson Hot Press Bible