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Bookbinder

  • Medieval Era
  • 1 min

By Crusader1307

Although The Printing Press signaled the “birth” of the “Modern” Bookbinder, the practice and Art can actually be traced to the 1st Century BC and Ancient China. Although these “books” were often fastened wood tablets, the Profession of Bookbinding originated there. With The Printing Press, came the true form of Bookbinding. Pages printed and cut (often imperfectly), a Bookbinder would join the pages (in order). Using a variety of specialized tools, they would cut the pages (often held in specially made Presses and Vice-Grips). Once an even and well measured “page” was created and duplicated (many times), the pages were (at first) hand-sewn together at their end or “Spine”. Once accomplished, (and depending on the wealth of the Client requesting the work) – a suitable covering was affixed. These could be wooden plates, covered in fine leather or cloths (often treated chemically to harden). The Cover Spine interior (where the pages meet), was coated with an animal based glue and pressure sealed for a certain period (often days). The finished product was a fully encased “Book”.

By the 15th Century, many Bookbinding Guilds had sprung up throughout Europe, with some of the best being found in France and England. Later, by the 17th Century - Italy had taken up the "reigns" as producing "Master Bookbinders". The skill and style of a particular Bookbinder was often sought. A Craftsman, some added jewels or other decorations to The Book. In time, techniques and equipment changed or were added. Although modern machines now do the work of the once revered Craftsmen, some traditional Bookbinders still practice their “Old World” Craft even today.