Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books
A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology

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universal book tester

A device designed to test the durability of several aspects of a binding, including the durability of the covering material, the strength of the hinges, the stiffness and resistance to delamination of the boards, and, to a limited degree, the durability of the sewing. The device consists essentially of a rectangular test chamber constructed of aluminum, lined with 50 by 50 mesh of No. 304 stainless steel wire 0.009 inch in diameter. The chamber is supported and rotated by a drive shaft attached perpendicular to the center of its base. Viewed from the front, the drive is inclined at an angle of 20° from the horizontal, and rotates in a clockwise direction (at a speed of 20 r.p.m.). The dimensions of the test chamber vary with the size of the volume being tested, according to the following table:
Test Chamber    Internal Dimension    Overall Dimensions
   type           of Chamber       of Volume to be Tested
                 (in Inches)            (in Inches)
           Width  Height   Depth     Width      Height
A           13      16       4       5 to 7     7 to 10
B           15      19       4       8 to 10   1O to 13
C           15      15       4       8 to 10    6 to 9
D           11 1/2  13       4       4 to 7     5 to 6
E           18      23       4      11 to 13   14 to 17

Each chamber is rounded to a 1 1/2 inch radius along the sides of the bottom to concentrate the abrasive stresses along the edge of the spine of the book. The chamber was designed in this manner to stimulate observed patterns of wear.

The Universal Book Tester is said to produce the following results: 1) abrasion of the shoulder of the spine; 2) impact and abrasion of the headcaps (if any), otherwise the edges of the head and tail of the spine; 3) light abrasion of the covers (sides); 4) limited flexing of the joints; 5) breaking and tearing on the internal hinge; and 6) occasional failure of the sewing, i.e., loosening of the sections and splitting of the spine. (16 )

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