1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Bookbinding

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BOOKBINDING. Bindings or covers to protect written or printed matter have always followed the shapes of the material on which the writing or printing was done. Very early inscriptions on rocks or wood needed no coverings, and the earliest instances of protective covers are to be found among the smaller Assyrian tablets of about the 8th century B.C. These tablets, with cuneiform inscriptions recording sales of slaves, loans of money and small matters generally, are often enclosed in an outer shell of the same shape and impressed with a short title. Egyptian papyrus rolls were generally kept in roll form, bound Origins. round with papyrus tape and often sealed with seals of Nile mud; and the rolls in turn were often preserved in rectangular hollows cut in wood. The next earliest material to papyrus used for writing upon was tree bark. Bark books, still commonly used by uncultured nations, often consisting of collections of magical formulae or medical receipts, are generally rolls, folded backwards and forwards upon themselves like the sides of a concertina. At Pompeii in 1875 several diptychs were found, the wooden leaves hollowed on the inner sides, filled with blackened wax, and hinged together at the back with leather thongs. Writings were found scratched on the wax, one of them being a record of a payment to Umbricia Januaria in A.D. 55. This is the earliest known Latin manuscript. The diptychs are the prototypes of the modern book. From about the 1st to the 6th century, ornamental diptychs were made of carved ivory, and presented to great personages by the Roman consuls.

Rolls of papyrus, vellum or paper were written upon in three ways, (1) In short lines, at right angles to the length of the roll. (2) In long lines each the entire length of the roll. (3) In short lines parallel to the length of the roll, each column or page of writing having a space left on each side of it. Rolls written in the first of these ways were simply rolled up and kept in cylinders of like shape, sometimes several together, with a title tag at the end of each, in a box called a scrinium. In the case of the second form, the most obvious instances of which are to be found in the Buddhist prayer-wheels, the rolls were and are kept in circular boxes with handles through the centres so that they can revolve easily. In the third manner of arranging the manuscript the page forms show very clearly, and it is still used in the scrolls of the law in Jewish synagogues, kept on two rollers, one at each end. But this form of writing also developed a new method for its own more convenient preservation. A roll of this kind can be folded up, backwards and forwards, the bend coming in the vacant spaces between the columns of writing. When this is done it at once becomes a book, and takes the Chinese and Japanese form known as orihon—all the writing on one side of the roll or strip of paper and all the other side blank. Some books of this kind are simply guarded by two boards, but generally they are fastened together along one of the sides, which then becomes the back of the book. The earliest fastening of such books consists of a lacing with some cord or fibre run through holes stabbed right through the substance of the roll, near the edge. Now the orihon is complete, and it is the link between the roll and the book. This “stabbed” form of binding is the earliest method of keeping the leaves of a book together; it occurs in the case of a Coptic papyrus of about the 8th century found at Thebes, but it is rarely used in the case of papyrus, as the material is too brittle to retain the threads properly.

The method of folding vellum into pages seems to have been first followed about the 5th century. The sheets were folded once, and gatherings of four or more folded sheets were made, so that stitches through the fold at the back would hold all the sheets together and each leaf could be conveniently turned over. Very soon an obvious plan of fixing several of these gatherings, or quires, together was followed by the simple expedient of fastening the threads at the back round a strong strip of leather or vellum held at right angles to the line of the backs. This early plan of “sewing” books is to-day used in the case of valuable

Dark brown morocco, blind stamped.

Red leather with repoussé design, probably
the work of the 7th or 8th century. The fine
lines are impressed by hand, and painted blue and yellow.


Dark blue morocco, gold tooled. The red in the coat-of-arms inlaid with red morocco.


Pale brown morocco, gold tooled.


Smooth red morocco, gold tooled with black fillets. Bound by Samuel Mearne.


Brown morocco, gold tooled, arms of Henry III., King of France. Bound by Nicholas Eve.


Red niger morocco, gold tooled.
Bound by Douglas Cockerell.

ANGLER (1772).

Golden brown morocco, gold tooled.
Bound by Miss E. M. MacColl.

books; it is known as “flexible” work, and has never been improved upon.

As soon as the method of sewing quires together in this way became well understood, it was found that the projecting bands at the back needed protection, so that when all the quires were joined together and, so far, finished, strips of leather were fastened all over the back. But it was also found that vellum leaves were apt to curl strongly, and to counteract this tendency strong wooden boards were put on each side. The loose ends of the bands were fastened to the boards, which hinged upon them, and the protecting strip of leather at the back was drawn over the boards far enough to cover the hinge. So we get the medieval “half-binding” which shows the strip of leather over the back of the book, projecting for a short way over the boards, the rest of which is left uncovered. The boards were usually kept closed by means of clasps in front.

The leather strip soon developed, and covered the whole of the boards, “whole” binding as it is called, and it was quickly found that these fine flat pieces of leather offered a splendid field for artistic decoration.

The first ornamentation on leather bindings was probably made by means of impressions from small metal points or lines, pressed upon the leather. This in time led to the purposeful cutting of small decorative stamps to be used in the same way. It is considered that English Progress of
artistic binding.
binders excelled in this art of “blind” stamping, that is, without the use of gold leaf. Most of the stamps were cut intaglio, so that their impressions are in cameo form. Such bindings were made to perfection during the 12th and 13th centuries at Durham, Oxford, Cambridge, London and other places. One of the most charming examples left is the binding of the Winchester Domesday Book of the 12th century (Plate, fig. 1), now belonging to the Society of Antiquaries of London.

From about the 7th to the 16th century illuminated manuscripts were held in the greatest esteem. Among them can be found not only exquisite calligraphy but exquisite miniature painting. Moreover, the gorgeousness of the illuminations inside suggested gorgeousness of the outside coverings, so we find splendid work in metals with jewels, enamels and carved ivory, dating from the 7th-century Gospels of Theodolinda at Monza, the Irish cumdach of the Stowe Missal, the Lindau Gospels now in America, and the Gospels of Charlemagne in the Victoria and Albert Museum at South Kensington, to the magnificent bindings of 14th-century Limoges enamel in the British Museum. Such English bindings of this kind—intrinsically precious—as may have existed have all disappeared,—most likely they were melted up by Henry VIII. or Edward VI.; but at Stonyhurst there is a book known as St Cuthbert’s Gospels, which is bound in red leather with a repoussé design upon it, and is probably the work of the 7th or 8th century (Plate, fig. 2).

When printing was introduced into Europe about the middle of the 15th century, there was very soon a reaction against the large, beautiful and valuable illuminated MSS. and their equally precious covers. Printing brought small books, cheap books, ugly books, generally bound in calf, goatskin or sheepskin, and ornamented with large panel stamps in blind. But a new art came into birth very shortly, namely the art of gold tooling on leather, which in capable hands is almost a great art, and specimens of the work of the few great masters that have practised it are now much sought after and likely to increase in estimation and value. All this, as usual, brings a school of skilled faussaires into the field, and already the collector of fine bindings must be wary, or he may easily give thousands of pounds for forged or made-up objects that are worth but little.

In the matter of leather bindings with gold tooling, an art which was probably brought to Venice from the East, the finest examples are to be found in late 15th-century Italian work. The art quickly spread, and Thomas Berthelet, Royal Binder to Henry VIII., seems to have been the first binder who practised it in England. Berthelet’s work is strongly Italian in feeling, especially at first, and it is likely that he was taught the new art by an Italian master; he worked until about 1558.

During the late 15th and the 16th century in England, numbers of fine printed books were bound in velvet and satin, sometimes set with enamels, sometimes embroidered. These books, having strong threads of metal freely used upon them, have lasted much better than would be expected, and instances of such work made for Henry VIII. are still in excellent condition, and most decorative.

The fashion of ornamenting English royal books with heraldic designs, which is considered to have begun in the reign of Edward IV., has continued without break. The same fashion in books belonging to private owners was first followed during the later Tudor period, and then numbers were made, and have been, more or less, ever since.

During the whole Tudor period several small bindings of gold ornamented with enamels were made. Some of these still exist, and they are charming little jewels. They were always provided with a ring at the top, no doubt for attaching to the girdle.

Aldus Manutius, the great Venetian printer, had several of his books charmingly bound in dark morocco with “Aldine” knot leaves and small dolphins both in blind and gold tooling; and Giunta, a Florentine printer, had his books bound in a similar way but without the dolphins. Many early Venetian bindings have recessed panels, made by the use of double boards, the upper of which is pierced, finished in true oriental fashion.

Jean Grolier, viscount d’Aguisy, treasurer of France in 1545, was a great collector of fine books, most of which were bound for himself, and bear upon them his legend, Portio mea domine sit in terra viventium, and also his name, Io Grolierii et Amicorum (Plate, fig. 3). Tommaso Maioli, an Italian collector of about the same time, used the same form of legend. Books bound for him are curiously marked with atoms of gold remaining in the irregularities of the leather.

Demetrio Canevari, physician to Pope Urban VIII., had his books bound in dark green or deep red morocco, and upon them is a fine cameo stamp with a design of Apollo driving a chariot with one white horse and one black horse towards a mountain on which is a silver Pegasus. The stamp was coloured, but in most cases the colour has now worn off. Round the stamp is the legend ΟΡΘΩΣ ΚΑΙ ΜΗ ΛΟΞΙΩΣ.

The Italian bindings which were made for popes and cardinals are always of much interest and often of high merit, but as a rule later Italian bindings are disappointing.

Geoffrey Tory, printer and engraver to Francis I. of France, designed some fine bindings, some for himself and quite possibly some for Jean Grolier.

For Henry II. of France much highly decorative work in binding was done, richly gilded and coloured. These bindings have upon them the king’s initials, the initials of his queen, Catherine de’ Medici, and the emblems of crescents and bows. Henry’s device was a crescent with the legend, Donec impleat totum orbem. Bindings of similar style were made for Diane de Poitiers, duchesse de Valentinois, with her initials and the same devices of crescents and bows. They are always fine work.

German bindings are mostly in pigskin, finely stamped in blind. Several are, however, in calf. Gilding, when it exists, is generally bad.

In England during the 17th century much fine work was done in binding, most of it in morocco, but Henry, prince of Wales, always had his books bound in calf. The Jacobean style is heraldic, with semis of small stamps and heavy corners, but James I. has left some very fine bindings in another style (Plate, fig. 4), very possibly done for him by John Gibson, who bound the royal books while James was king of Scotland only. During the reign of Charles I. Nicholas Ferrar founded his curious establishment at Little Gidding, and there his niece Mary Collet and her sisters set up a bindery. They made large scrap-books, harmonies of the Gospels and other parts of the Bible, with illustrations, and bound them magnificently in velvet stamped in gold and silver. They were taught by a binder who worked for John and Thomas Buck, printers to the university of Cambridge, and the Little Gidding stamps are often identical with Buck’s.

Samuel Mearne (d. 1683) was royal binder to Charles II., and invented the cottage style of decoration, a style which has lasted till the present day; the Bible on which Edward VII. took the coronation oath was ornamented in that way. An inner rectangle is run parallel to the edges of the book, and the upper and lower lines are broken outwards into the outline of a gable roof. Mearne’s work as a binder (Plate, fig. 5) is of the highest merit. Many of his books have their fore-edge painted in such a way that the work is invisible when the book is shut, and only shows when the edges are fanned out.

In France 16th- and 17th-century binding is distinguished by the work of such masters as Nicholas Eve, who bound the beautiful Livre des Statuts et Ordonnances de l’ordre du Benvist Sainct Esprit for Henry III. (Plate, fig. 6); Clovis Eve, who is credited with the invention of the style known as “fanfare,” a delicate tracery over the boards of a book, filled out with spirals of leafy stems; and Le Gascon, who invented the dotted work which has been used more or less ever since. Le Gascon caused his small gilding tools—curves and arabesques—to be scored across, so that when impressions were made from them a dotted line showed instead of a right line. Florimond Badier worked in a style very similar to that of Le Gascon and sometimes signed his work, which Le Gascon never did. Le Gascon had many imitators, the best and closest being Poncyn and Magnus, Dutch binders who worked at Amsterdam in the 17th century, and his style has been continuously followed to the present day.

The bindings of Padeloup le Jeune often have small tickets with his name upon them; they usually have borders of lace-like gold tooling known as “dentelle” and are often inlaid. He belonged to a family of binders, all of whom were excellent workmen, and lived in the 17th and 18th centuries.

The Deromes were another of the great French families of binders; the most celebrated was Nicholas Denis, called “Le Jeune,” born in 1731. He used dentelle borders resembling those of Padeloup, but with little birds interspersed among the arabesques—“dentelles à l’oiseau.”

Among the many French binders of the 18th century who used delicate inlays of coloured leathers, Jean Charles le Monnier was perhaps the most skilled. He often signed his bindings in small capitals impressed in gold somewhere about the inlaid part.

Eliot and Chapman bound the library of Robert Harley, earl of Oxford, about the middle of the 18th century. The bindings are in morocco, with broad, richly gold-tooled borders, and usually a diamond-shaped centre-piece. This is known as the Harleian style.

Thomas Hollis had his books bound in fine red morocco, ornamented with small, well-cut stamps engraved by Thomas Pingo, the medallist. These stamps comprise a cap of liberty, a figure of liberty, a figure of Britannia and several smaller ones.

Towards the end of the 18th century, when binding in England was decoratively at a low level, Roger Payne, a native of Windsor, came to London and set up as a bookbinder. He was a splendid workman, and introduced richly gold-tooled corner-pieces, ornamental “doublures” or inside linings, and also invented the graining of morocco, graining it, however, in one direction only, known as the “straight grain.” It is said that Payne cut his own binding tools of iron; they certainly are exquisitely made, and in many of his bindings he has put a written description of loving work he has done upon them. Payne was, unfortunately, a drunkard, but he has in spite of this rendered an immortal service to the art of bookbinding in England.

In 1785 John Edwards of Halifax patented a method of making vellum transparent, and using it as a covering over delicate paintings. He also painted pictures on the fore-edges of many of his books in the same manner as that followed by Samuel Mearne in the 17th century, so that they did not show until the book was opened. John Whitaker used calf for his bindings, but ornamented the calf in a curious way with strong acids and with prints from engraved metal plates. Both Edwards and Whitaker liked classical borders and ornaments, and their bindings are in consequence often known as “Etruscan.”

The main styles used in England at the beginning of the 19th century were nothing more than distant imitations of Roger Payne. Kalthoeber, Staggemeier, Walther and Hering were all disciples of this master, but Charles Lewis worked on original lines. He developed arabesques and paid particular attention to richly gold-tooled doublures. He also used gold end papers, and the bands at the back of his bindings are often double and always broad, flat and gold-tooled. His workmanship is excellent; he worked largely for Thomas Grenville and other great collectors.

French binding of the 19th century is remarkable for wonderful technical excellence in every part. Among the most skilled of these admirable workmen and artists may be particularly mentioned Thouvenin, Bauzonnet, Lortic, Niedrée, Capé and Duru, and fortunately they generally sign their work in small gold lettering either on the back of their bindings or inside along the lower edge.

Recent years have witnessed a marked revival of interest in the art of bookbinding, but modern binders have two serious difficulties to contend with. One of these is the prevalence of bad paper, overladen with clay and with wood pulp, and also the fact that many of the modern Modern methods.leathers are badly prepared and dangerously treated with sulphuric acid, which in time inevitably rots the fibre. The Society of Arts has appointed committees of experts to report upon both of these evils, and the published accounts of both inquiries are of much value, and it is to be hoped that the results may be beneficial. Concurrently with the revival of the artistic side of the subject, there has also arisen a remarkable development in the technical processes, owing to the invention of ingenious and delicate machinery which is capable of executing the work which had hitherto been always laboriously done by hand. The processes of folding the printed sheets, and sewing them together on bands, rounding the backs when sewn, and of making the outer cases, covering them with cloth or leather and stamping designs upon them, can now all be efficiently executed by means of machines. The saving in time and labour thus effected is very great, although it must be said that the old methods of carrying out the process of sewing and rounding the backs of books by hand labour were safer and stronger, as well as being much less liable to bruise and injure the paper. These processes unfortunately are not only slow but also necessitate highly skilled labour. Already the larger trade binders utilize machines extensively and advantageously, but exclusively high-class trade binders do not as yet materially depart from the older methods. Private binders have naturally no reason to use machines at all. Fine and delicate examples of large metal blocks or dies have been very successfully used for the decoration of covers measuring about 111/2 by 8 in.

Besides the large trade binders working mainly by the help of machinery, and producing a great quantity of bound work which is not expected to last long, there also exists in London, Paris, New York and other large cities, a small class of art binders who work throughout upon the principles which have been continuously in use for first-class work ever since about the 5th century. The initial impetus to this school can be traced to William Morris, who himself made some beautiful designs for bookbindings, to be executed both in gold and in blind. Although he probably did not fully appreciate either the peculiar limitations or the possibilities of the art of gold-tooling on leather, nevertheless his genius guided him truly as to the spirit in which the designs should be conceived. The revived art soon reached its first stage of development under the guidance of Mr T. J. Cobden-Sanderson, who may fairly be considered as the founder of the modern school of design for gold-tooling on book-covers, the pre-eminence and individuality of his work in this direction being proved by the number of his imitators. Among the most successful of his pupils is Mr Douglas Cockerell, whose work (Plate, fig. 7) is distinguished by a marked originality of treatment, while it shows a scholarly appreciation of ancient methods. Mr Alfred de Sauty has succeeded in developing a new and admirable style in inlaid leathers, combined with delicate pointille work. A number of women artists, both in England and in America, have already discovered in bookbinding a fitting and lucrative field for their energies. One, Miss Sarah Prideaux, is not only skilled and original in her own work, but she has also given us much valuable literature on her subject. Miss E. M. MacColl may claim to be the inventor of the small curved gold line produced by means of a tiny wheel, for though the possibility of producing such a line in blind was known for a long time, it was rarely used. The graceful curves and lines found on Miss MacColl’s work have been designed for her by her brother, Mr D. S. MacColl (Plate, fig. 8). Miss Joanna Birkenruth recalls the highly decorative medieval binding by her use of jewels cut en cabochon, but set in morocco instead of gold or silver, and there are many others who are working well and earnestly at art binding with delicate skill and taste. Outside the inner circle of professional bookbinders there has grown up a new profession, that of the designer for pictorial book-covers, especially those intended to be shown in colour on cloth or paper. Among notable designers may be mentioned Lewis F. Day, A. A. Turbayne, Walter Crane and Charles Ricketts.

Machine-binding.—The principal types of machine for commercial binding are described below. They are almost all due to American or German ingenuity. It may be noted that, while books sewn by hand on bands have the loose ends of the bands actually drawn through the boards and strongly fastened to them through their substance, no machines for covering sewn books will do this so effectively. All they will do as a rule is to paste down to the inner surfaces of the boards the loose ends of the tapes on which the sewing is done. So that, although it may last a long time if not much used, a “cased” book is likely to slip out of its cover as soon as the paste fixing it perishes. Modern bookbinding machines of all kinds are usually driven by power, and in consequence of the necessary setting of most of them accurately to some particular size of book, they are not suitable for binding books of different sizes; the full advantage of them can only be taken where there is a large edition of one book.

Fig. 9.—Book-sewing Machine.

Book-sewing machines (fig. 9) are of two kinds one sews the books on bands, either flat or round, and the other supplies the place of bands by a kind of chain stitch. The band-working machines bring the return thread back by pulling it through the upper and lower edges of the back of each section, thereby Sewing.to some extent weakening each section, but at the same time this weakening can be to some extent neutralized by careful head-banding. The other system, where the band is replaced by a chain stitch, brings back the return thread inside each section; the objection to this is that there is a flattening out of the back of the book, which becomes a difficulty when the subsequent operation of covering the book begins. The sections are sewn continuously in a long line, and are afterwards cut apart. The threads catch into hooked needles and are drawn through holes made by piercers set to a certain distance; a shuttle like that used in an ordinary sewing-machine sews the inner thread backwards and forwards. Each section is placed upon a sort of metal saddle by the hand of the operator, one after the other, the machine working continuously unless the action is cut off or controlled by a foot-lever or pedal. This machine is much quieter to work, and although the inner threads are too bulky to be quite satisfactory, this is not a serious matter like the cutting of the upper and lower edges of the back already described, and, moreover, is probably capable of being either improved away or so minimized that it will become of small importance.

The Martini book-sewing machine, which sews books on tape without cutting up head or tail—a most important improvement—and also forms complete Kettle stitches, will sew books of any size up to 18 in. The needles are straight, and the necessary adjustments for various sizes of books are very simple.

The machine for rounding and backing sewn books requires a rather elaborate and very careful setting of several parts to the exact requirement of each size to be worked. The sewn book with the back glued is caught in a clip and forced between two tight rollers, the result being that the hitherto Rounding and backing.flat back is automatically turned into a rounded shape (figs. 10 and 11). The book is then drawn forward, by a continuance of the onward movement, until it reaches the rounding plate, which is a block of steel with a polished groove a little larger than the size required. This rounding plate moves within a small arc by means of heavy counter-weights, and on the back of the book being strongly pressed against it, it receives the permanent form of the groove cut in it, at the same time a strong grip on each side of the book causes the ledge to rise up along each outer edge of the back. This ledge it is which enables the boards to be subsequently fixed in such a way as to hinge on a line outside the actual and natural boundary of the book. Before the discovery of the possibility of producing this ledge, the boards of books hinged upon a line coincident with the inner edges of the back, the result of which was that when the book was opened there was an invariable tendency to open and pull away the few outer sections of the paper or vellum itself—a destructive and disagreeable peculiarity. These machines are capable, after they are properly set, of rounding and backing about 750 volumes of the same size within an hour.

Fig. 10.—Section of back of book sewn on bands.
Fig. 11.—Section of same book after it has passed through the machine for rounding and backing.

The machine for making cases, or “case” covers (fig. 12), for books is large and complicated, but beautifully effective. It contains altogether over fifty springs, some of which are very small, like watch fittings, while others are large and powerful. The machine is fed with pieces of cardboard cut exactly to the sizes of the required boards, other pieces cut to the size of the back, and a long roll of the cloth with which the cases are to be covered, and when set working the roll of doth is gradually unwound and glued by contact with a roller, which is drawn along until it reaches a point where the two boards are ingeniously dropped upon it one by one, then on again to where a long arm swings backwards and forwards, at each movement picking up a piece of cardboard for the back and placing it gently exactly upon the glued bed left for it between the two boards already fixed. Next, as the cloth passes along, it comes under the sharp influence of two rectangular gouges which cut out the corners, the remaining side pieces being gradually but irresistibly turned up by hollow raisers and flattened down by small rollers, a very delicate piece of machinery finishing the corners in a masterly way. Then, lastly, an arrangement of raisers and rollers acting at right angles to the last mentioned turn over and press out the remaining pieces of cloth. Of course each piece of cloth is cut across at the proper point before the turning up begins. This machine is capable of producing 1200 cases in an hour of any size that the machine will take.

Fig. 12.—Case-making Machine.

The Smyth casing-in machine (fig. 13) pastes the sides of a book as required and then attaches the cover over all. Cleverly arranged rollers catch the book, and by a carefully regulated pressure fix the cover in the proper position. There is a “jointing-in” device which at a critical moment forces the joints in the cover into the joints in the book. It will work books from 4 to 22 in. in length and from 1/4 to 3 in. in thickness, and can cover from 10 to 15 books per minute.

Fig. 13.—Smyth Casing-in Machine. Scale 1:25.

A. Cases.
  1. 1st position.
  2. 2nd position.
  3. 3rd position and finished book. When in 2nd position the book drops to level of paste box.
B. Side of Case Hopper.
C. Paste box.
D. Head Clamp Rod.
E. Head Clamp.

Here may also be mentioned the Sheridan wrappering machine, which covers magazines and pamphlets ranging from 5 to 12 in. in length at the rate of 40 a minute.

Wiring is a cheap method of keeping together thin parts of periodicals or tracts. The machine that executes it is simple in construction and use. It drives a short wire pin, bent at right angles at each end, through the folds of the sections of a book or through the entire thickness, sideways, after the manner of stabbing. The Wiring.projecting ends, when through the substance of the paper, are bent over and flattened so as to grip firmly. The metal used for these pins was at first very liable to rust, and consequently did much damage to the paper near it, but this defect has now been largely remedied. At the same time the principle of using hard metal wire instead of flexible hempen thread is essentially vicious, and should only be used as a temporary expedient for publications of little value.

Fig. 14.—Blocking Machine.

The machines (fig. 14) now used for blocking designs upon book-covers are practically the same as have been employed for many years. Several small improvements have been introduced as to better inking of the rollers for colour work, and better heating of the blocks used for gold work. A blocking press Blocking.is now, in consequence of the size of many of the blocks, a large and cumbersome machine. The block itself is fixed firmly in a strong metal bed, and a movable table in front of it is fitted with gauges which keep the cover exactly in its right place. For gold work the block is kept at the proper temperature by means of gas jets, and the cover being properly overlaid with gold leaf is passed, on its table, directly under the block and then pressed steadily upwards against it, lowered, drawn out, and the superfluous gold rubbed off. The same process is followed in the case of colour blocks, only now the block need not be heated, but is inked by means of a roller for each impression. A separate printing is necessary for each colour. These printings always require great care on the part of the operator, who has to watch the working of each pull very carefully, and if any readjustment is wanted, to make it at once, so that it is difficult to estimate at what rate they can be made. In the matter of gold blocking there must be great care exercised in the matter of the heat of the block, for if it is too hot the gold will adhere where it is not wanted, and if too cool it will not adhere where it is required. Great nicety is also necessary as to the exact pressure required as well as the precise number of moments during which the block should be in contact with the gold, which is fastened to the cloth or leather by means of the solidification by heat of egg albumen. Blocking presses are mainly of German make, but Scottish and English presses are also largely used.

Authorities.—See the Anglo-Saxon Review (1899–1901); C. J. Davenport, Royal English Bookbindings (1896), Cantor Lectures on Bookbinding (1898), English Embroidered Bookbindings (1899), Life of Thomas Berthelet (1901), Life of Samuel Mearne (1906); W. Y. Fletcher, English Bookbindings in the British Museum (1895), Foreign Bookbindings in the British Museum (1896); L. Gruel, Manuel de l’amateur de relieures (1887); H. P. Horne, The Binding of Books (1894); S. T. Prideaux, Historical Sketch of Bookbinding (1893); E. Thoinan, Les Relieurs français (1893); O. Uzanne, La Relieure moderne (1887); H. B. Wheatley, Remarkable Bindings in the British Museum (1889); J. W. Zaehnsdorf, The Art of Bookbinding (1880).  (C. D.)