Definitions for "Incunabulum"
A work of art or of human industry, of an early epoch; especially, a book printed before a. d. 1500.
pl. incunabula A book from the "cradle" time of printing (before 1500).
Literally, an incunabulum is a book, single sheet, or image that was printed — not handwritten — before the year 1501 in Europe. The origin of the word is the Latin incunabula for "swaddling clothes," used by extension for the infancy or early stages of something. It suggests a new medium for which conventions have yet to be agreed upon, or, in Murray's words, for which the "essential properties" have yet to be decided ( Hamlet 68). A time of "technical evolution, part of a struggle for conventions of coherent communication" (Murray Hamlet 28).