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Subject: Stereographic binding

Stereographic binding

From: Randy Silverman <randy.silverman>
Date: Thursday, October 10, 2002
Julia Miller <juvam [at] comcast__net> writes

>I recently looked at a Victorian gift book titled 'The Rainbow',
>dated 1847. It was bound in tan calf with a very beautiful gilt
>design on the covers including some leather onlay.  On the bottom of
>the spine was 'Patented Stereographic Binding'; I have not been able
>to turn up any information on this process.  The design was very
>much out of character for the 1840s. Can anyone steer me to some
>information about the technique?

I came across a copy of A. J. McDonald's "The Rainbow, 1847" (New
York : Bell and Gould, Year: 1847) in the stacks at Brigham Young
University's Library ten years ago and was fascinated by the claim
(stamped on the case) that the technique was patented.  A patent
search revealed no information, however, on what appeared to be a
dyeing technique applied to the mass production of publishers'
bindings.  Based on the copy I saw (OCLC notes 15 copies in U.S.
libraries, with the number remaining in original bindings unknown),
the publishers' leather (sheep as I recall) case was gold stamped
with a large block, and subsequently dyed in red and green (probably
in two separate printings) to accent a few spots within the borders
of the gold-stamped graphic images.

This is the only example of this technique that I've seen, and
represents an expeditious way of producing a pastiche on the French
mosaic binding.  Mosaic bindings (c. 1842-1865) included the
application of die-cut, paper onlays (in numerous, brilliant colors)
to a blind impression stamped on a cloth case that was subsequently
gold stamped to effectively hide the edges of the onlays and allow
the colors to "peek" through as colorful accents to what is arguably
the most elaborate (and beautiful) publishers' bindings every

Randy Silverman
Preservation Librarian, University of Utah Marriott Library

                  Conservation DistList Instance 16:27
                Distributed: Thursday, October 10, 2002
                       Message Id: cdl-16-27-004
Received on Thursday, 10 October, 2002

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