Saturday, July 17, 2021

Tool Talk 3: Edge Trimming Rule (Kantenlineal)

Edge trimming rules have been mentioned the German bookbinding literature at least since Greve in his Hand- und Lehrbuch der Buchbindekunst (1823) and L. Brade's illustrirtes Buchbinderbuch (1868 with various editions). These rules are used for cutting the boards down to their final size after they have been attached to the text block, either on the guard with spine piece or if laced on. The rules illustrated below have raised lips that are 3 and 5 mm wide. These are made from machined aluminum and were ordered from Schmedt. The ones I used as an apprentice in Germany were made of steel. In both cases, they were machined so that the ends adjacent to the lips were beveled.

To use, the rule is slipped under the outermost leaf with the board underneath. The lip is pressed tight to the edge of the book, and the excess is then cut off with a sharp blade. The beauty of these rules is that even if the book is out of square, the book will always have even squares.

I most commonly used the 3 mm rule, with the 5 mm rule being used for the ledger books like springback bindings that are beefier. I would love 2 mm and 4 mm as they align better with the board thickness I use. The way I learned, board thickness = size of squares.

Below a video of the tool in use.

I find these rules incredibly useful, especially for in-boards bindings.

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Tool Talk 2 - Kaschiereisen (Frottoir/Grattoir)

The Kaschiereisen as this tool is known in German is made to shape and consolidate the spine of a book in backing where it was used as an alternative (or augmentation) to the hammer offering a high degree of control. Jeff Peachey has written about these tools several times, also sharing his growing collection. Most recently, Ulrich Widman "reintroduces" the tool to German bookbinding audiences with an upcoming article for the Meister der Einbandkunst Rundbrief (2021).

In the German bookbinding literature the tool has several spellings,  Cachiereisen/ Cachier-Eisen /Kaschiereisen/Kaschier-Eisen. The interchangeable "c" and "k" are very common in German, the "c" being connected to the French roots of a word, but also as an affectation from when French was considered superior. Cashier, comes from the French "cahier" meaning signature/quire, or in our context a tool for working/shaping/folding the signatures. Eisen = iron, the material the tool was often made of.

In its history, the Kaschiereisen was sometimes two tools, in French the grattoir had a toothy end that grabbed the folds and provided the friction to push the signatures over to form the shoulder. The frottoir was smooth and used to smooth the folds and finish the shaping of the spine and shoulder. It also served to scrape off excess adhesive and ensure that it penetrated into the space between signatures.

At left the Rücken-/ Cashierholz and at right the Cashiereisen
from plate 2 of Greve's Die Buchbindekunst, 1823.
The use of the tools is described on pages 214-15.

The use of the tool is also described on page 35 of Schäfer's Handbuch der Buchbinderkunst (1845). Schäfer refers to it as a Kratzeisen (scratch iron), and Reiber (burnisher) made of iron, these being distinct tools like the grattoir and frottoir. He also and issues warnings about the improper use of the tool and the damage it can cause. 

Paul Adam describes using a Cachiereisen to finish the backing work of the hammer. The shape at both ends is smooth and curved like a frottoir.

From Paul Adam's Der Bucheinband seine Technik
und seine Geschichte
, 1890 (pg 45).

In his Practical Bookbinding (1903), a translation of Die Praktischen Arbeiten des Buchbinders (1898), Adams writes that "the use of a tooth Cachier iron is strictly forbidden, but the round side of this tool may be used instead of a hammer" (pg. 59).

Use of the tool seems to have declined, but it continued to receive mentions in manuals. The best description of the tool appeared in Der Buchbinderlehrling (1937) as a two part article. The first part featured a picture of the tool with the question of "who knows what this is..." The Buchbinderlehrling was a magazine for bookbinding apprentices, and quizzes were a regular feature

The quiz in Der Buchbinderlehrling.
1. Who knows this tools, and what is it called?
2. For what task is it used?
3. How is it used?
4. Are there images showing how it is used

The tool in use from Der Buchbinderlehrling.

The bulk of the article featured 7 responses from apprentices, Meister, and others. The responses varied, with some going into detail and others being cautionary. They also referenced depictions in the literature, but the tool was unfamiliar to most.

Below images of these tools that I use.

It was made by Jeff Peachey, called a "backing tool",
and featured in his first catalog (link to 2nd catalog).
I love using this one on smaller, more delicate books.

My first Kaschiereisen, acquired early
in my career from a German binder

Jeff Peachey's latest, made of stainless steel.
It is a dream to use.

Here some images and videos of the tool in use.

Backing/shaping the spine.

Smoothing the spine.

Monday, July 5, 2021

Tool Talk 1 - Fray Shield (Aufschabeblech)

 A looooooong time ago, not to long after I started this blog, I introduced the Aufschabebelch, a simple tool that one could purchase or make one's self. They were usually made of tin and shaped like in theimage below. Why that shape and hole configuration? It's not explained, but is pretty much identical to the one I used as an apprentice in the mid 1980s.

(Halle a.d. Saale, 1909), plate 1.
Attaching the boards in the German Franzband tradition.
From from Wiese's Werkzeichnen für Buchbinder..., (Stuttgart, 1937).

Recently, I was invited to give a workshop on what I call the Ur-Bradel, the German Pappband structure that over the course of the centuries morphed into various flavors, often national, and of which all seem to have slightly different understandings. I won't get into those here, but in that structure, if the book was sewn on recessed cords, those cords were frayed out, paste was applied (often hide glue was applied to the guard (Ansetzfalz)), and then they were fanned out smoothly. The benefit was that this process resulted in sewing supports that were almost invisible under the endpapers when the book was done. That was the theory, because the extent to which the cords were frayed and fanned out varied by skill or time pressure.

The image below is from a cutaway model I making of one of these Ur-Bradels, ca 1800 and shows the cords frayed out and put down on the guard. The next step would be to attach the spine piece to the guard, then the boards, but I digress.

Fritz Otto did ok... Not atypical.

In the past I would have just teased the fibers of the cord apart with a needle then run them over a not to sharp paper/standard bookbinders' knife blade. Then I thought, perhaps Jeff Peachey could make me one. I sent him the image above and after a good bit of back and forth he sent me two prototypes to test out.

Fritz Otto showing off the two fray shield prototypes.
The shape is different from the one in German manuals... Will it matter?

Another view. The dimensions of the bottom one were what I asked for,
with a heavier steel used. The top, Jeff's reinterpretation.

In the end, I really liked Jeff's reinterpretation more.
You can even order your own from him now!

After teasing the fibers of the cord apart, they are slipped into
the notch and a bookbinders' knife is used to finish and make
then silky smooth.

Below a video in which I try out both to see which I liked better. There is no sound or narration.

As a surprise, Jeff even made one for Fritz Otto. He loved trying it out. Worked great, and he's glad to have it in his tool box.

Holding his "right-sized" Aufschabeblech.

Fraying out the cords...

Brushing the hide glue onto the guard...

Fanning out the frayed out cords on the guard.

Monday, June 28, 2021

Maria Lühr, Germany's First Woman Bookbinding Meister

Following up on my previous post, "Attracting Women to the Bookbinding Trade", I'm posting a translation of Maria Lühr, erste deutsche Buchbindermeisterin, posted here July 22, 2018.

In "Frauen als Buchbinder" ("Women as Bookbinders") I shared an article, well more a photo "essay" from an unknown publication with the title "Visiting the Woman Master Bookbinder" ("Beim weiblichen Buchbindermeister"). The pictures depicted a bindery in which only women were trained or hired. Shortly thereafter I found images online that looked like they came from the same photo shoot, the benches, glue pots, and decorations on the walls all looked identical. The metadata to these other images indicated that they were taken by a  Wanda von Debschitz-Kunowski for the Süddeutsche Zeitung (Munich) in the bindery of Maria Lühr in Berlin. Von Debschitz moved to Berlin from Munich in 1921.

From "Beim weiblichen Buchbindermeister"

From "Beim weiblichen Buchbindermeister"


"In der Werkstatt von Maria Lühr."
Images by Wanda von Debschitz-Kunowski for the Süddeutsche Zeitung (Munich)

Here two more from the series.

"In der Werkstatt von Maria Lühr."
Images by Wanda von Debschitz-Kunowski for the Süddeutsche Zeitung (Munich)

"In der Werkstatt von Maria Lühr."
Images by Wanda von Debschitz-Kunowski for the Süddeutsche Zeitung (Munich)

Maria Lühr (born 1874) made her way to Berlin from Holstein and started learning in the embroidery workshop of the Lette-Verein that was founded in 1866 to further the ability of women to earn an income in skilled trades. According to Franz Weiße in an article for the Allgemeiner Anzeiger für Buchbindereien (1949), she was steered towards a workshop for bookbinding that was in the process of being established. As it was not ready, she began an apprenticeship with the Court bookbinder W. Collin who strongly encouraged and supported the rights of women to apprentice and work their way through the ranks. But first, he had to overcome the opposition of his staff, ultimately petitioning the Court and Empress Friedrich, the eldest daughter of Queen Victoria and married to the 2nd German Emperor, Friedrich III. It was as a result of these efforts that women could begin serving as apprentices. From there she went to study with Cobden-Sanderson in England for a year, returning to German to spend time with Hendrik Schulze in Düsseldorf and Wilhelm Rausch in Hamburg where she also completed her apprenticeship and became a journeyman. A year later, in 1902 she completed her exams to be a Meister successfully. Normally this would have been at least three years.

Lühr described her time with Cobden-Sanderson in an article in the Buchbinderlehrling (1930), including how it came about (referrals and introductions), funded (gifts/grants), the workshop, the kinds of bindings, her first impressions, and the personalities of those also there including her fellow students that included 3-4 Americans. Her time there made a deep impression, and she later described it as the happiest time in her life. When Cobden-Sanderson visited her in 1910 in Berlin, he was pleased to see a photo of himself on her desk. The two corresponded until 1914 and the First World War.

In 1902, she became the first bookbinding instructor at the Lette-Verein, a position she held until 1913 when she established her own bindery at Kurfürstendamm (225b) in Berlin. Paul Kersten became her successor at the Lette-Verein.

The article "Buchbinderinnen" (Woman Bookbinders) in an unidentified periodical describes binding as a career for women, mentioned the Lette-Verein, and was accompanied by the image below. The woman at right could be Maria Lühr. Ernst Collin also wrote about this in his article "Die Buchbinderei als Handwerk und Frauenberuf" ("Bookbinding as a Trade and Career for Women") published in Deutsche Frauenkleidung und Frauenkultur (1923).

Maria Lühr (r)?
From "Buchbinderinnen" (Woman Bookbinders).

The article "Eine Moderne Buchbinderin" ("A Modern Bookbinder") that appeared in Die Kunstwelt: deutsche Zeitschrift für die bildende Kunst — 3.1913-1914 writes about how Lühr fits that description, also providing details about the kinds of instruction she offered in the Lette-Verein.

"Eine moderne Buchbinderin"
Die Kunstwelt: deutsche Zeitschrift für die bildende Kunst — 3.1913-1914

The article concludes by noting the "incredible development" in terms of the artistic expression that Lühr's work took between 1912 and 1914.

Lühr was also a founding member of the Jakob-Krause-Bund, participating in their 1921 exhibition, Deutsche Einbandkunst. Like many binders at the top level, she later switched over to the Meister der Einbandkunst. 

From the Jüdischenadressbuch, 1929-30 (111)
Lühr was the daughter of a Lutheran pastor.

By that time (1930), W. Collin was under the leadership of Gertrude Collin at Kurfürstenstr 99a.

From the Adressbuch for Berlin, 1930.

In 1938, she celebrated the 25 anniversary of her own bindery, and in 1953 her 50th  as master bookbinder.

In a 1949 article, Lühr told Franz Weiße that she and her workshop had largely escaped the bombs..., and that with her loyal colleague (Helene von Stolzenberg) had work, taught, and just worked. She also pointed out that in the struggle work work, that women could compete with the best of the men. Von Stolzenburg became a master bookbinder thanks to Lühr's training.

The article also mentioned the deprivations and losses of the war, the death of "sisters", hunger, cold, power only in small installments, looking for  place to sleep. Works were stored elsewhere, fine bindings lost. Jobs, while coming in are doing so slowly, payment comes in even more slowly. While trying to be positive about the future, Lühr was concerned about finding a successor, but at age 75, also about being alone in life. 

In "Die Frau im Buchbinderhandwerk" (1937) Lühr described her training and experiences, the state of bookbinding in Germany, and that she tried to form a federation for and of woman bookbinding masters in 1918. However, due to the hyperinflation and a lack of members this did not succeed, and efforts were abandoned in 1923. The article also provided statistics to illustrate the state of women in the bookbinding trades. Writing about her activities at the Lette-Verein and as a master binder training apprentices she said that:

... that more or less talented apprentices came through that all passed their journeyman exams with good marks. A few even went on to become masters in their own right, others married fellow masters and worked side-by-side with them, and some got married and left the trade. When male bookbinding masters saw the success of the women and that they were serious, they lost their reticence and started taking on more woman apprentices. As a result, it became much easier for women to develop their skills as binders, much easier than when Lühr began.

The bookbinding workshop of the Lette-Verein closed in September 1937. In 1944, it became the equivalent of a non-profit organization, and in 1982 it became co-educational.

Maria Lühr died alone in 1969 at age 95.

From Franz Weiße, "Maria Lühr in Berlin 65 Jahre Meisterin,"
Allgemeiner Anzeiger für Buchbindereien, Vol 62, Nr 3, 1949.

Just as Paul Adam's Praktischen Arbeiten des Buchbinders was translated into English as Practical Bookbinding, Douglas Cockerell's Bookbinding and the Care of Books was translated into German and published by Felix Hübel in 1902 as Der Bucheinband und die Pflege des Buches. A new edition edited by Lühr came out in 1925 with an introduction by her. She wrote that in revising the first edition, she found it easy to get into Cockerell's methods as like him, she was a student of Cobden-Sanderson and could correct and expand it without deviating from the original English edition. She remarked that some techniques were a bit too cumbersome for use in German binderies, but every Meister can adjust as needed. Overall, the book describes the best traditions of craft-based bookbinding, and it is hoped that this kind of work is acknowledged.

Der Bucheinband und die Pflege des Buches.

Lühr's introduction for Der Bucheinband und die Pflege des Buches.

Lühr wrote several articles for the Buchbinderlehrling about decorated papers and papermaking.

Swatch from the article "Die Herstellung selbstgefertigter
Überzugpapiere (Buntpapiere), A. Wasser- oder Oelpapiere"

Articles about Maria Lühr and women in bookbinding

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Ernst Collin und sein Pressbengel in the Marginalien

Eine Spurensuche zum Buchbinder, Schriftsteller, Antiquar und Bibliophilen

Überglücklich und stolz mit meinem Artikel über Ernst Collin und sein Pressbengel (und alle Collins) in den neusten Marginalien der Pirckheimer-Gesellschaft e.V. dabei zu sein. Ohne der Unterstützung der Redaktion und einem Kollegen hätte ich es nicht geschafft. Danke! 

Searching for clues to the life of this bookbinder, author, antiquarian, and bibliophile

Super happy and proud to have my article on Ernst Collin and his Pressbengel (and all Collins) included in the latest Marginalien, the journal of the Pirckheimer-Gesellschaft e.V. It never would have happened without the support of the editor and a colleague. Thank you!

The article drew on all past research related Ernst Collin and all the Collins.


Table of contents

Article title spread
Book support and snakes by BookHistoria.

The article was even on the back flap,
pulling out the role of women as binders and bibliophiles.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Attracting Women to the Bookbinding Trade

Another recent acquisition, Die Buchbinderin, #5 in the series Die Frau im Handwerk (Women in the Trades). The pamphlet was written by Agnes Richter, herself a Buchbindermeisterin, and published with permission of the Soviet military administration in 1949. 

In short it outlines the trade and apprenticeship in the way it would have been introduced and experienced by Babette/Bärbel.

Cover showing the seals of the trades in the series.
See the last image for the other publications in the series.

The series was written for all women thinking about starting a
career in the trades, other trade Meister, the Guilds, etc.

The authors' forward

Forward: This small pamphlet is particularly written for those women and girls deciding what trade and career to choose. I want to introduce a trade to them, one that has always employed women, but is particularly encouraging them formally learn the trade.

I want to describe the bookbinding trade and all of its varied facets so that girls leaving school and women contemplating a new career are filly informed about the work, apprenticeship, the exams, and opportunities for advancement.

I would be delighted if this publication helped career guidance counselors and supports the trade unins in their work. They could bring eager and interested future binders to the trade.

To those in the trade, I ask you to share your critiques so that I can update and improve this publication.

To those that helped finding illustrations and other documentation, my heartfelt thanks.

Schönbeck/Elbe, fall, 1948.

The author

Some statistics from Die Buchbinderin.
The years 1939 and 1942 are being compared.

In 1939 there were 7697 binderies in the trade, in 1942, 5498.

The table above shows how those working in these binderies were represented by type. Left column: Bindery owners, family members as "helpers", salaried staff, journeymen, apprentices, workers, totals. Top row: ["type"], [year], male total, male %, female total, female %, trade average %.

1939 and 1942 are interesting years to compare. In 1939 the war in Europe had really started, and by the end of 1942 the outcome would become much clearer. How much of the decline in binderies and males can be attributed to being closed, bombed out, drafted for the front, ...? The increase in females partially also to replace males lost, like Rosie the Riveter. Based on the print run figures in some of my earlier copies of Der Buchbinderlehrling, a comparison between pre-1929 (let's say 1927) and some time in the early 50s would have given a better sense, but that would be after this pamphlet came out. The Buchbinderlehrling would definitely have been required reading for apprentices represented in the date range of the table.

Binding by Maria Lühr (in German with pictures), first
Buchbindermeisterin in Germany. Lühr got her start with
W. Collin in Berlin and studied with Cobden-Sanderson, among others.
She also wrote the introduction to the 2nd German edition of Cockerell's
Bookbinding and the Care of Books (1925).

Bookbinder working on a folding machine.

Apprentices making cases for books.

The Meisterin checking the work of the apprentices.

From the author's conclusion

In her conclusion, the author offers practical suggestions about the career prospects and options for a master bookbinder. Among these other paper-based trades, work in libraries and archives, in conjunction with a small paper goods store. In the case of the latter, this would ideally be with the binder's husband or someone else who could run the store so that the binder could focus on the actual binding work.

She also responds to the often asked question of why invest in the training of women through to their master's certificate if they are likely to leave the trade to get married to focus on raising a family and managing a household. In her answer she points out that the number of women who will find husbands after the lost war (remember this was written in 1949) is substantially lower, and that as a result of labor shortages women will still be needed to contribute to a family's income, even in the best of circumstances. These women will be glad that they will be able to continue in their chosen careers and not have to take in odd work-from-home piecework. Yes, a portion of these women will leave the trade, but there are also plenty of men who do the same and were thus lost to the trade. 

So, for those that stick with it and practice their trade and craft to the highest standards, there will always be opportunities.

The list of other publications in the Series.
#1 a general introduction; #2, the potter; #3, the glassblower;
#4 the spinner and weaver; # 5 the bookbinder. The list of those in preparation
is quite representative of the trades learned by men and women.

Now, in the 21st century the tables have flipped and women represent the majority of those learning and working as bookbinders (and conservators). At the same time, the numbers of binderies and available positions have contracted greatly due to any number of changes. On the positive side, the number of people practicing the books arts and number of learning opportunities has been increasing for decades. Those experiences cannot be compared to the traditional trade apprenticeships, schools, and overall situation described in Die Buchbinderin and publications like the Buchbinderlehrling and its successor Das Falzbein that ceased publication in 1960... I still need to write up a summary like I did for the Buchbinderlehrling.

Monday, June 7, 2021

Become a Bookbinder!

Video produced by the Bund Deutscher Buchbinder Innungen (Federation of German Bookbinding Guilds) to promote the trade to potential apprentices.