BOOKBINDING, the art of arranging, fastening together and covering sheets of paper composing a book, including the orna mentation or decoration of the covers. Follow ing the use of rolls of papyrus or wax-covered tablets, leaves of parchment were introduced, and it became necessary to fasten or bind them together. This improvement in form is, on somewhat doubtful authority, attributed to Attains II, King of Pergamus, about 150 B.C.
The monks were the early bookbinders, up to the time of the invention of printing, and examples in the British Museum dating As far back as 700 A.D. illustrate the great labor be stowed on their most precious manuscripts.
All the early specimens were bound in heavy boards, strong metal clasps and bands, and the material used in covering varied from the parchment and iron to ivory, enamels and jeweled silver and gold.
The invention of printing made a great change in the art of bookbinding, the delicate, beautiful specimens, the workmanship of Jean Grolier and many nameless Italian and French binders employed by Grolier, Macoli and others contrasted strikingly with the rather clumsy, inartistic work of the monks.
It was not until 1820 that cloth was intro duced as a covering, invented, it is said, by Archibald Leighton, one of the most enterpris ing and successful of London binders. In the Bookseller of 4 July 1881 there is an interesting account by Robert Leighton of the invention of cloth by his father. The embossing of book binding cloth was suggested to the late Mr. de la Rue, and was carried out so admirably by him, with the appliances he possessed for em bossing paper, that his process remains com paratively unaltered. The desired pattern was engraved on a gun-metal cylinder, and trans ferred in reverse to one made of compressed paper, strung upon an iron spindle, and turned in the lathe the exact circumference of the gun-metal one, and these two being worked to gether in a machine, and the pattern transferred from one to the other, the cloth was passed between them and received the impress of the pattern.
Extra work and edition work are the two classes into which bindings may be divided extra work being bound with greater care, and largely by hand methods, forming a small por tion of all books bound; edition work being the binding of quantities, principally by ma chinery.
The following description will apply to extra work, and methods in vogue do not differ greatly from the process of hundreds of years ago, although the use of the press and plow, hammer and backing boards is giving way to the trimming, smashing and backing machines. The first process takes the sheets from the printing press, folds them in sections of 8, 16 or 32 pages, done generally by a girl pressing each fold down with a bone folder in such a manner that the pages come in consecutive order. If a book contains 320 pages it will be seen that 20 sections or signatures are required to complete it. When all the sections are folded, they are gathered up in order and col lated, that is, examined to see that each signa ture follows in proper sequence. Smashed or hammered, the book is then ready to sew.
Throughout the world in binderies given up to extra work will be found a frame of peculiar make called a sewing-bench. On this are stretched bands or cords of soft twine in a ver tical position, and to these the signatures are attached by passing the needle and thread through the middle of the signature and around each band or cord, and the raised bands show ing on back of book inform how many cords the boolc has been sewn on, although in many cases grooves are sawed in the back of the into nto which the cords fit, and false bands are pasted on back to show the raised band effect.
The book• is taken down from the sewing bench and an inch or more of twine is left on each side to be later laced through holes punched in the boards. Before this is done the marble or colored linings are pasted on the front and back of book inside the first fly leaf. Leather or cloth joints in some cases are added.