Showing posts with label Bookbinders' workshops. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bookbinders' workshops. Show all posts

Friday, October 21, 2016

Handwerkskunst Buchbinden - Aus Liebe zum Papier

In Zeiten der digitalen Revolution gilt der Job des Buchbinders als fast vergessenes Handwerk. Gerade mal 46 Buchbindereien gibt es noch im Land. Für Johannes Schneider aus Mainz ist es dennoch der absolute Traumberuf. 

Ein video des SWR. Mehr zum Film hier.

In this age of digital revolution, the work of bookbinders is an almost lost art. In Rheinland Pfalz, a state of Germany, there are now just 46 binderies. It is still, however the absolute dream job for Johannes Schneider of Buchbinderei Gärtner in Mainz.

Video in German.


Friday, October 14, 2016

Badass Bindery Employee - Knallharte Buchbinderei Angestellte

I love looking for bookbinding related photographs, postcards, and other ephemera on eBay... This was one I couldn't resist.

Ich suche oft und gerne nach Photos, Postkarten u.A. auf eBay. Dieses Bild war eins dem ich nicht widerstehen konnte.

"Pretty and youthful Millie Samarin"
"Die hübsche und junge Millie Samarin"

Photo Verso
Philadelphia Girl Captures Bandit by Biting Him.
Photo is of pretty and youthful Millie Samarin, 18-years old, of 1487 N. 53rd Street, Philadelphia. She is employed in a bookbinding concern and recently returned with the payroll to the office. An alleged bandid stopped her in the hall. "Give me IT" quoth he. "Nit" answered she [in Yiddish?]. He grabbed Millie and she grabbed him -- with her teeth sunk in his shoulder. He screamed for help and Detectives Brendley and Van Ness rescued him. In the hoosegow [prison]he thanked his [rescjers]. Millie took the payroll to the office.
Your Credit Line Must Read: -By United [Newspictures])
Philadelphia Mädel fängt mit Bissen Banditen ein.
Das Photo ist von der hübschen und jungen Millie Samarin, 18 Jahre alt, ..., aus Philadelphia. Sie arbeitet in einer Buchbinderei und kam neulich mit Lohnfonds zurück in die Firma. Dort wurde sie im Flur von einem angeblichen Banditen angegriffen. "Gib es mir!" sagte er. "Nit" antwortete sie zurück [auf Jiddisch?]. Dann griff er sie an, und sie kämpfte zurück und biß ihn in die Schulter. Er schrie nach Hilfe, und die Bullen retteten ihn. Im Knast bedankte er sich dann bei seinen Rettern. Millie brachte dann die Lohnfonds ins Büro.
Bildquelle muß sein: Von United [Newspictures])
Date of image, Jan 31, 1924
Her home now a vacant lot...| Das Haus ist jetzt eine Lücke...

Now imagine what she could have done with a guillotine around, but it doesn't sound like she needed one...

Was hätte sie gemacht wenn eine Schneidemaschine in Reichweite gewesen wäre. Hörte sich aber nicht dannach an als hätte sie den gebraucht...

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Licht für die Buchbinderei - Lighting for Bookbinderies

Below, a photograph of a bookbindery taken in Berlin by OSRAM, and depicting inappropriate lighting. The photograph is interesting for other reasons as well. OSRAM was (and remains) one of the most modern lighting companies in Germany providing lighting solutions for shop windows, advertising, and work/office/task environments among others.
Unten eine Abbildung einer Buchbinderei in Berlin, aufgenommen von OSRAM um die Unzweckmäßige Beleuchtung zu zeigen. Das Bild ist aber auch sonst sehr interessant. OSRAM war (und ist es noch) eine der modernsten Firmen in Deutschland für Beleuchtung von Schaufenstern, Reklameleuchten und Arbeitsleuchte, u.A..

Bookbinding workroom with inappropriate lighting. The light bulbs protrude from the  too-flat shades blinding the workers below. The lighting is harsh and creates deep shadows. Additionally, the bulbs are insufficient in their output.
[Description printed on verso of photograph]

What do we see in this image? A small shoddy shop, dark, tired, with 5 workers. The "Meister" (an Omar Sharif lookalike as my wife pointed out) at left in the back. The curtains are drawn, and it is dark behind. The clock on the wall shows 7:00 a.m. or 7:00 pm - in February in Berlin it would have been dark at either time. A "calendar" on the wall at right given away by the board maker Th. Volstorf celebrates their 100th anniversary, 1930 - 1930. Below in that "calendar" it says February 28, then Dienstag (Tuesday). That would fit for 1928, a leap-year. In 1930 February 28th fell on a Friday. The date would also work for 1933. What does the "9" represent? The 9th week of that year, that would fit, buy why so prominent. Between the two a map of the center of Berlin.

Und, was sehen wir in diesem Bild? Ein kleiner schmuddeliger betrieb, dunkel, abgenutzt, dreckig, mit  5 Arbeitern. Dem Alter nach, hinten links der "Meister" der wie Omar Sharif aussieht (sagt meine Frau). Die Vorhänge sind zu, und es ist dunkel dahinter. Die Uhr an der Wand gibt 7 oder 19:00 Uhr an. Februar in Berlin wäre es zu beiden Zeiten Dunkel. Ein Werbekalendar daneben von Pappen Th. Volstorf die 1930 deren 100. Jubiläum feier(ten). Darauf steht auch Februar 28, dann Dienstag. Dienstag der 28. würde für 1928 passen, 1930 fiel der 28. an einem Freitag, Dienstag der 28. würde auch für 1933 passen. Was bedeutet die 9? Die neunte Woche des Jahres - würde für alle die Jahre passen, aber warum so groß. Zwischen Uhr und Kalender eine Karte von Berlin-Mitte.

The single workbench shows a number of piles and tasks. The young apprentice at left is slitting open signatures, another at right is sewing (with piles of signatures below). with the one behind checking the fit of the cover to the book. In the middle of the table we have a paste pot with heated glue pot behind. Gas for the heating flame (based on screw valve) comes from the pipe from above. In the pot, brushes with metal handles. On the wall at left, nicely ordered tools and a sign that proclaims Time is Money! The lights above, the reason for the image have been heavily retouched on the negative before printing.

[Edit 12/26/2015: The brushes are so-called Berliner or Leipziger Leimpinsel. See far right in image  below]

 Die einzige Werkbank zeigt einige Arbeitsgänge und Haufen von ... Der "Lehrling" vorne links schneidet Lagen oder sonst was auf, der vorne rechts heftet mit hauen von Lagen darunter, dahinter einer der kontrolliert ob die Decke auch richtig paßt. In der Mitte von der Bank ein Topf Kleister und dahinter der Heißleimtopf. Von der Decke kommt die Gaszufuhr dem Ventil in der Leitung nach. Das Gas war für die Heizflamme im Topf. Im Leimtopf, 2 Pinsel mit Metallhülse. Ganz hinten links an der Wand, mehr Werkzeug und ein Schild mit Zeit ist Geld. Die Beleuchtung, der Grund für die Aufnahme, wurde vor dem Abziehen auf dem Negativ stark retuschiert.

[Edit 26.12.2015: Die Pinsel mit Metallhülse sind sogenannte Berliner oder Leipziger Leimpinsel. Sie ganz rechts in Abbildung unten]

From/Aus Das Falzbein, 1948 (39)

Still from the OSRAM video below with well-lit workbenches
Ausschnitt des OSRAM Video unten mit zweckmäßiger Beleuchtung

For some background, in 1928 OSRAM worked with the government of Berlin to hold a promotional week during which selected buildings would be spectacularly lit up.  OSRAM hired several photographers specializing in architecture to document these activities. During the 1930s efforts shifted to advertising lighting solutions for shop windows, advertising, and work/office/task environments among others. In order to help promote this, illustrated portfolios were created that representatives would have taken to prospective clients.



1928 veranstaltete OSRAM mit dem Berliner Magistrat die Werbewoche "Berlin im Licht", bei der viele Gebäude spektakulär beleuchtet wurden. OSRAM beschäftigte hervorragende Architektur-Fotografen, um  die Aktivitäten zu dokumentieren. Max Krajewski und Arthur Köster arbeiteten auch für OSRAM. In den 1930er Jahren verlegte man sich auf die Werbung für Leuchtreklamen, Arbeitsplätze, Lädenaußenfronten wie Innengestaltung. Dafür wurde eine Werbemappe erstellt, mit denen wohl Vertreter in Berlin arbeiteten um neue Kunden zu finden.

Below an advertising short Die Licht Bienalle, created by OSRAM in the early 1950s... The title says Bright as OSRAM Bright, Bright as a Bright Day.


From the 1950s...

Zwei Artikel auf Deutsch über OSRAM und Beleuchtung: 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Buchbinderei in Kontext

Several years ago I found this image floating around the web with no attribution, date, or description but was immediately drawn to it because of the stark imagery, the decay, and the fact that it was (once?) a bindery... Liked it so much I used it as my Facebook banner until today.


Searching in Flickr just now, I found another image of the same bindery, in color no less, that provides a bit more context in the form of the concrete protrusion at the top right. Image below by Markus Mayer from 2009 with the same graffiti and a similar reflection of a Plattenbau in the windows...


Flickr had a few more images of it such as this one that clearly show a railroad trestle above... A bit more searching brought me to Berlin, right near the iconic (for train geeks) Jannowitzbrücke and the Berlin Stadtbahn. This is along the Spree in what was once East Berlin.

A link to a quiz of the "where is this" sort provided a bit of history from a genealogy forum. This indicated that this was once the Buchbinderei Scholz. Interesting story for those that can read German ending with success in tracking down a relation/ancestor.

Click Google Maps Street View to view this July 2008 image,
spin image around to see the reflecting Plattenbau...
The TV tower at the Alexanderplatz is at right.
Click Google Maps Street View to view this July 2008 image,
spin image around to see the reflecting Plattenbau...

Would love to have a bindery at that somewhat desolate location. Combine two passions in one location, books and trains.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Glue Pots

The glue smells really peculiar today... [mustard]
From the Falzbein (December 1959, Heft 9, 12Jahrgang)

I remember seeing this and doing it during my apprenticeship. I did not get to eat the sausage, the Meister grabbed it first. Evidently he knew the prank, too...

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Bookbinders at Work

And now a slightly different depiction of bookbinders at work. The embarrassed gentleman at left is in all likelihood a journeyman binder with the master at right.


It seems we have some quality control issues.. 

And here in a poster shared by Rodrigo Ortega, binder in Mexico...
[Edit 19.3.2015]



And on 28.5.2015 

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Bookbinder and Bookbinding in German Books of Trades

Ständebücher, or books describing social classes and trades were fairly common in 16th/17th century "Germany" providing valuable descriptions and insights, and in the case of trades, the tools and working environments of the craftsmen.

The two most well known ones are Jost Amman's (1539 - 1591) Ständebuch, Eygentliche Beschreibung aller Stände auff Erden, Nürnberg, 1568, and Christoph Weigel's (1654 - 1725) Abbildung Der Gemein-Nützlichen Haupt-Stände Von denen Regenten Und ihren So in Friedens- als Kriegs-Zeiten zugeordneten Bedienten an, biß auf alle Künstler Und Handwercker, or Ständebuch, Regensburg, 1698.

Amman's well-known image of the bookbinder is iconic within the bookbinding community. The text below the image is attributed to Hans Sachs (1494 - 1576). Amman was born in Zurich, Switzerland the son of an academic but settled in Nürnberg, Germany, completed over 1500 prints and died in poverty. Sachs was a Meistersänger, master poet who started off learned the shoemaker's trade before deciding to become a poet. Insel Verlag, Leipzig/Frankfurt, Germany published several editions of facsimiles of the woodcuts beginning in 1934.

The Bookbinder / Der Buchbinder

I bind all sorts of books /
Religious and worldly / large and small /
In parchment or plain boards
And fit it with a good covering/
And clasps / and tool it with decorations /
I even flatten them at the beginning /
And many I gild on the edges /
With which I earn much money.

Ich bind allerley Bücher ein/
Geistlich und Weltlich/groß und klein/
In Perment oder Bretter nur
Und beschlags mit guter Clausur
Und Spangen/und Stempff sie zur zier/
Ich sie auch im anfang planier/
Etlich vergüld ich auff dem Schnitt/
Da verdien ich viel geldes mit.

The woodcut shows a very well equipped bindery with books being sewn on a sewing frame, [the master?] ploughing the edges of a book with the press supported in his lap; books in laying presses, a paper beating hammer on the floor as well as a scraper and the saw resting against his stumpish stool. The walls show rolls with lines and patterns (based on apparent width), a drill, rasps, and axe for working wooden boards.



In the same vein, were Weigels Abbildung Der Gemein-Nützlichen Haupt-Stände Von denen Regenten Und ihren So in Friedens- als Kriegs-Zeiten zugeordneten Bedienten an, biß auf alle Künstler Und Handwercker of 1698 described the trades in prose with illustrations of each, 4 pages in the case of the bookbinder. While Weigel, a leading engraver and publisher of the time, is credited with many of the plates in this work, he did not create all the plates, especially for trades would not have know much about (such as nautical ones). The others were purchased from  Jan Luyken of Amsterdam who had published Het Menselyk Bedryfa, a similar book of trades in 1694, and also depicted the bookbinder. [Source: Bauer, Michael: Christoph Weigel (1654-1725), Kupferstecher in Augsburg und Nürnberg. Sonderdruck. Frankfurt a.M. 1983]  Weigel's Ständebuch is online at the State Library of Saxony in Dresden, with no mention being made in the catalog of the Luyken's contributions. The bookbinder begins on page 414 (actual page count starting with pastedown), with the plate following paginated page 256.Thank you to Jeff Peachey for alerting me to the work of Luykens and to other sources.

Looking at the identical image of the bookbinder (from Etwas für Alle) below one can see a very typically Northern European (Dutch) architecture indicating that this plate most likely originated from Luyken as well.

The Bookbinder / Der Buchbinder

Gott merkt und liset still, was man verblättern will
God notices and quietly notes what one ruins


Man's heart is like a birch
God tightens it the crosses presses,
and sews on it (as measured,)
the grace for the original sin.
Finally after hammering and cutting He will
clothe the same in golden blessings.

Das Menschen Hertz ist wie ein Buch:
Gott spannet es in Kreutzes-Pressen

Und heftet (wie Er's abgemessen)
daran die Gnade für den Fluch.

Zuletzt will er nach Schlag und Schneiden
dasselb in güldnen Segen kleiden

While the bookbinder at left is sewing a book on four cords (gluepot at his feet), his colleague is beating the pages flat as was habit at the time. Jeff Peachey discusses the practice and beating hammers on his blog in two postings (first | second). A plough with circular blade for trimming book edges rests against a stack of books on the floor.


Abraham à Sancta Clara's Etwas für alle, Würzburg, 1699, i.e.. Something for Everyone, That is a short description of persons of various classes, offices, and trades... also included a catechism, something that was not uncommon during that time. This used the same engravings as Weigel's Ständebuch. Sancta Clara, an Augustinian monk, was born as Johann Ulrich Megerle (1644-1709) at Kreenheinstetten, near Messkirch in Baden, Germany and was appointed imperial court preacher at Vienna in 1669.

On the subject of bookbinding in general, Sancta Clara is credited with writing:

So I will also, where much praise is due the bookbinders, because truthfully: useful, highly useful is the hand of the bookbinder, because a book without a binding is nothing more than a mirror without a frame, a house without a roof, a garden without a fence, a town without a wall, a steed without a saddle. The binding that which makes it possible to read a book comfortably and gainfully.
So ist es mir auch erlaubt, wo einiges Lob den Buchbindern zu geben, denn in allerlei Wahrheit: nützlich, übernützlich is die Hand des Buchbinders, da ein Buch ohne Bund nichts anderes ist als ein Spiegel ohne Rahmen, ein Haus ohne Dach, ein Garten ohne Zaun, eine Stadt ohne Mauer, ein Roß ohne Sattel. Der Bund macht erst, daß man ein Buch bequem und mit Nutzen lesen kann.
And,

While many sew their books together so loosely that the leaves soon fall out just as easily as the leaves are blown off of a tree in the fall. Others due partially to inexperience and laggardness that cause the signatures to misalign and as a result damage and bring shame to the book. Finally there are the many, yes, even most bookbinders that don't just know how to make a gilt edge, but also know how to live a virtuous life.

Etliche zwar hefften die Bücher zusammen so liederlich, daß die Blätter so bald abfallen als die Blätter von einem Baum, denen der harte Herbstlufft gleich den Rest gibt. Einige seynd wohl auch theils aus Unerfahrenheit, theils aus Saumseligkeit, Welche die Bögen versetzen und folgsam dem gantzen Buch ein Schad and Schand zufügen. Im übrigen seynd ohnegezweifelt sehr viel, ja die meisten Buchbinder, die nicht alleyn einen guldenen Schnitt zu machen wissen, sondern auch einen guldenen Wandel führen.
Christoph Weigel wrote:

Because the exterior binding and cover, if they are well-made and preserved, protect the book from damage over time and allow the pages to be turned and opened at will quickly and without loss of time, whenever one wishes to read or note something; because of this the praiseworthy trade of the bookbinder is a necessary as useful.

Da die Bücher der aüßerliche Einband und die Decke, wenn sie wohlgemacht und reinlich gehalten werden, von beeden ziemlich lang bewahret und die Blätter nach Belieben ohne vielen Zeitverlust flüchtig herumbgeworfen, das jenige leichtlich aufzuschlagen vergönnen, was man zu suchen und etwan zu lesen oder auszuzeichnen beliebet; solcher Gestalt is das löbliche Handwerk der Buchbinder so nötig als nützlich.
[All from Buchbinder-Lob, Max Hettler Verlag, Stuttgart, 1959. This book is a treasury of anecdotes and references about the history of the book, bookbinding, the trades, and art of the book... Unfortunately, it does not provide formal citations for these.]

All these sentiments about bookbinding and bookbinders note the importance of the trade for the preservation of the texts, access to them, and as the climax of a holistic work. With the explosion in the printing of texts during the Reformation, the role of the bookbinder in their dissemination was clear to all.