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Subject: Identification and dating of 19th century publishers' bindings

Identification and dating of 19th century publishers' bindings

From: Charlotte Brown <ecz5cbb>
Date: Thursday, June 15, 1995
Here is the revision of the 19th c. publishers' guidelines,
originally posted in Conservation DistList Instance: 8:51, prior to
the American Library Association (ALA) midwinter meeting (Feb 1995).
Changes reflect comments/edits by attendees at the midwinter meeting
and notices (gratefully) received from readers of this list.

Should you have comments on this version, please contact Charlotte
Brown directly.

For those attending ALA in Chicago, the Rare Books and Manuscripts
Section (RBMS) Curators-Conservators Discussion Group will meet on
Sunday, June 25th, 8:30 am to 11 am (Plamer House, Parlor F) to
review this draft.

American Library Association
Association for College & Research Libraries (ACRL)
Rare Books & Manuscripts Section (RBMS)
Curator-Conservator Discussion Group


The following guidelines are based upon a June 1994 presentation by
Randy Silverman, Preservation Librarian/University of Utah, and
reflect subsequent review and discussion by the RBMS
Curator-Conservator Discussion Group at the February 1995 ALA
midwinter meeting.

The revised draft guidelines will be posted on the EXLIBRIS,
ARCHIVES, and Conservation DistList electronic bulletin boards.  Copies are
available by sending a self-addressed stamped envelope to:

    Charlotte B. Brown
    Department of Special Collections-URL
    UCLA Library
    Box 951575
    Los Angeles,   CA  90095-1575

    (1st revision)

    Guidelines: The Identification and Dating of 19th Century
    Publishers' Bindings

    Date                    Name/Description of Binding
    ----                    ---------------------------

    ca. 1815? - 1830?       cloth spines with paper covered boards

                            (Note:  produced by publisher;  often
                            used as temporary covers with an
                            untrimmed textblock.)

    ca. 1823-28             Pickering is first publisher to use
                            cloth covers

                            *supply citation?*

    ca. 1830                first appearance of gilding (gold
                            stamping) of cloth by a blocking press.

                            (Note:  generally between ca. 1830-1834
                            many examples of gilding are "off
                            center" and/or incomplete due to the
                            uneven heat of the stamp.  Blocking
                            presses are used for gold stamping from
                            relief dies.)

    early 1830's            first appearance of case bindings (vs.
                            in board); case binding quickly becomes
                            standard;  allows mechanized stamping on
                            spine and covers.

    1833                    first instance of "decorated" cloth:
                            simulated moire silk using a water

                            (Note:  in general, U.S. publishers used
                            cloths manufactured in England until ca.
                            1870 when several U.S. manufacturers
                            began making cloths for publishing.
                            Exceptions:  Harpers manufactured own
                            cloth ca. 1840's;  Lea &
                            Blanchard/Philadelphia, T. B.
                            Peterson/Philadelphia, and
                            Ticknor/Boston were early users of

    1833                    embossed cloth first appears:  simulated
                            leather (morocco grain), diaper grain,
                            checkerboard pattern, simulated ribbons,
                            grape cluster, scallop & tile (very

    ca. 1834                stamping images become consistent.

    ca. 1834                first appearance of publisher stamping
                            spine with name.

    ca. 1835                first appearance of highly decorated
                            gift books.

    ca. 1835                first appearance of blind embossing.

    ca. 1835                first appearance of "binder's ticket"
                            listing the name of the binder;  usually
                            located inside front cover.

                            (Note: pasted-in paper label or stamp.)

    ca. 1839                first appearance of "gutta percha" (less
                            familiarly called "caoutchouc") binding.

                            (Note:  an adhesive binding, usually
                            dark brown, using vulcanized rubber;
                            usually found on oversized volumes which
                            include plates;  very rare.)

    1844 (?)                first appearance of onlays using paper
                            or chromolithograph.

                            *supply citation?*

    1844 - ca. 1858         first appearance of mosaic bindings
                            employing multiple paper dye cuts with

                            (Note:  primarily used by French
                            binders;  mosaic bindings lose
                            popularity by 1858.)

    ca. 1845                paper text block trimmer invented.

                            *clarify whether "three-knife trimmer"
                            or flat bed cutters were used?*

                            (Note:  mechanically trimmed books
                            printed prior to ca. 1865 were rare
                            since it usually takes twenty years for
                            new machinery to be acquired by a
                            majority of U. S. publishers/binders.

    1847                    first appearance of U. S. onlay
                            employing colored dyes applied to

    1847 / England          first appearance of colored ink on cloth
    18__ / United States

                            *supply citations?*

    ca. 1848                first appearance of calico cloth

                            (Note:  very common at the time, but few
                            examples are extant today.)

    18__ (?)                first appearance of photographic onlays

    1850's - 18__           first appearance of "Silver stamping"
                            (very rare - silver tarnishes).

    1850's - 1860's         covers designed by John Leighton.

                            (Note:  Leighton made ca. 1,000 designs
                            of which ca. 500 have been described.)

    185__ / France          first appearance of papier-mache
                            bindings (employ metal wire supports;

    1853                    first appearance of "yellow back" covers
                            by Edmund Evans, Publisher/England.

                            (Note:  yellow back covers were cheaper
                            to manufacture: the paper was made of
                            wood pulp and usually colored yellow;
                            often the boards were made of straw;
                            color woodblocks were used on the

    1856                    introduction of coal tar ink dyes (more

    ca. 1859                black ink on cloth becomes prevalent.

                            (Note:  prior uses of black ink resulted
                            in smearing)

    ca. 1860                first appearance of beveled edges

                            (Note:  often found on oversized volumes
                            such as Bibles;  can be located on all
                            fore edges.)

    1880                    Sarah Wyman Whitman/Boston, MA begins to
                            design books.

                            *supply citations:  first design, first

                            (Note:  pre-18__ Whitman designed
                            publications not signed.)

    ca. 1880's              first appearance of "split fountain;"
                            use of colored inks from one color to
                            another in the same design.

                            (Note:  the "split fountain" process was
                            created to print more than one color on
                            an otherwise single-color press and kept
                            the colors separate. The "rainbow
                            fountain" allowed the blending of inks.
                            source: Dick Laws/Tuscon, AZ)


    Glossary:   (*to be compiled*)


    Additional Readings:

        Allen, Sue. _Decorated Cloth in America:  Publishers'
            Bindings, 1840- 1910_. (UCLA Center for 17th and 18th
            Century Studies, Los Angeles) 1994.

        __________. _Victorian Bookbindings:  a Pictorial Survey_.
            (Univ. of Chicago Press, Chicago) c.1976.

        Middleton, Bernard. _A History of English Craft Bookbinding
            Technique_. (Holland Press, London) 1978.

    List of popular 19th c. binding designers most likely to be
    found in U.S. general stack collections:  (*incomplete*)

          Leighton, John
          Whitman, Sarah Wyman

Charlotte B. Brown

                   Conservation DistList Instance 9:2
                  Distributed: Saturday, June 17, 1995
                        Message Id: cdl-9-2-018
Received on Thursday, 15 June, 1995

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