Showing posts with label Paul Adam. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Paul Adam. Show all posts

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Wire "Stapled" Bindings (Drahtheftung)

A few weeks ago there was some discussion on Book_Arts-L about this peculiar style of binding that seems to have been mostly applied in German binders beginning in the 3rd quarter of the 19th century. Hugo Brehmer (1844–1891) who emigrated to the US from Lübeck, Germany is said to have developed the first machine in the US in 1875 that his brother August (1846–1904) is believed to have "perfected." A patent was supposedly issued in 1872, but I have not been able to locate that in the US Patent Office database. The first book produced this way is said to be the official program for the 1876 World's Fair in Philadelphia, PA. In 1879 he returned to Germany, this time Leipzig where he continued with the development and commercialization of his wire binding machine. Brehmer is also credited with developing the first mechanical thread-based sewing machine in 1884.

George Stephen's Commercial Bookbinding (London, 1910) available from the Internet Archive has good English language descriptions of the various kinds of wire binding machines that were in use at the time. Sections describing the wire binding begin on pages 5 and 19. Thank you to Jeff Peachey for pointing me to this text [Added, 5/16/2011].

Beginning on page 19:
Wire Sewing.
In this country wire is not used to any appreciable extent for the sewing of letterpress books, but in Germany books are commonly sewn with wire. Machines for doing this work are necessarily more complex in construction than wire-stitching machines. A typical wire book-sewing machine (Fig. 18) is that made by Mr. Aug. Brehmer, which is used for the sewing of many important publications, including Baedeker's Guides and Brockhaus's Konversations Lexikon. This machine is equally suitable for letterpress work, guard hooks, pattern books, post card albums, and similar work. The machine is fed automatically from spools by small steel rollers and at each revolution as many U-shaped staples are produced as are requisite for each section. A section, having been placed on an oscillating table, is brought into position for being sewn. The staples are driven from the inside of the section through the fold and through the tapes or open fabric which is stretched and firmly held by clasps directly opposite to each staple binder and inserter. The projecting legs of the staples are clinched over, thus producing a firm connection between the section and the tapes or fabric, whichever is used. In order to reduce the swell in the back of the book which would be caused if the staples in the various sections were all inserted in a corresponding position, the machine is so constructed that each staple forming apparatus has two or three shifts whereby the staples in adjoining sections are inserted in different positions so that there appear on the back two or three times as many rows of staples as there are staples in each section. Fig. 19 [not shown] illustrates the positions of the staples in a book that was sewn when the machine was arranged for three shifts ; for the sake of clearness the backing material has been omitted from the illustration. It is estimated that about 2,000 sections per hour can be sewn on this machine. There is no doubt that this method of sewing is very strong; indeed, so firmly are the sections held together that usually the books thus sewn have not that degree of pliability possessed by books sewn with thread. Another objection to wire-sewn books concerns the binder: when it is necessary to rebind such books, the girls in "pulling" them are exposed to the danger of having their fingers torn by the staples. The greatest objection, however, to wire-sewn books lies in the fact that sooner or later the wire will rust and rot the paper and the back fabric to which, it is secured. so that the book will fall to pieces and cannot be rebound without first repairing every fold- an expensive method which would only be adopted for rare and valuable books, because if the book were in print it would generally he cheaper to procure a new copy than to pay the cost of repairing the sheets. Doubtless if only alumenoid wire were used this latter objection would be removed, but as this wire is expensive, its use is chiefly confined to the sewing of books that are to be sent to the East The various climatic conditions to which books destined for the East will be subjected necessitate the employment of a non-rusting wire, such as alumenoid.

Below a diagram of a "modern," i.e. mid-20th century wire binding machine showing how the signatures are attached to the mull backing...

Diagram of mechanism from Bohse's Die Industrielle Buchbinderei (Leipzig, 1955)
Heftköpfe = binding heads, fixed (stapler mechanism); Gaze-Schneideleiste = Gauze/Mull trimming edge; Umlegekasten = [staple] bending unit; Stapeltisch = stack table (for textblock); Gazerolle = Gauze/Mull roll

In contrast to books where the staples went through the entire textblock as in magazines and dime novels, these staples went through the fold giving the book reading properties equivalent to books sewn through the fold with thread. Applied to "mass-produced" trade books, these bindings have held up quite well with rust on the staples being the only real drawback. Depending on the wire, they can also become brittle and break when trying to open for pulling the book down to the signatures. Speaking as a conservator, and as noted in the quote above from Commercial Bookbinding, it also helps to be aware of these when cleaning the spines so as to avoid bloodying oneself.

Lehrbuch der Klinischen Untersuchungs-Methoden, Leipzig 1899.
Detail of spine showing staples used for binding holding signatures to cloth spine lining.
Lehrbuch der Klinischen Untersuchungs-Methoden, Leipzig 1899.
Detail of spine showing staples used for binding holding signatures to cloth spine lining.

Staples sticking up after being unfolded. From University of Illinois' library conservation lab.

Paul Adam described this method superficially in his Practical Bookbinding (London, 1903), the English translation of his work Die Praktischen Arbeiten des Buchbinders (Leipzig, 1898),  Adam, on page 52 describes this method as follows:

And below the illustration from page 53 of the same book.

In Der Bucheinband: seine Technik und seine Geschichte, (Leipzig, 1890) Adam makes use of a different illustration on pg 41 that shows the machine from a different angle.

And here the illustration from Brockhaus' Konversations-Lexikon featured in the previous post.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Paul Adam: An introduction to the German bookbinding trade, part II

In his introduction to Adam’s Leitfaden für die Gesellen- und Meister-Prüfung im Buchbindergewerbe (1904) Obermeister (Grand Master) Slaby of Berlin, Chair of the Federation of German Bookbinding Guilds, notes that in the short time since the adoption of (not yet mandatory) state regulated examinations for journeymen and apprentices, the need to formally define these examinations and to strive towards uniform action in the bookbinding field has revealed itself.

While the hands-on works were with few exceptions quite good, the same could not be said for the more theoretical aspects of the profession where there were severe shortcomings, with the oral examinations being even worse. Based on these observations the Masters in the Guilds and the heads of the Examination Boards decided in 1902 to create a guidebook (the Leitfaden) for these examinations, a challenge taken on by Paul Adam of Düsseldorf.

Adam took it upon himself to expand this guidebook well beyond the minimum requirements of defining the core questions apprentices and journeymen would need to answer in their respective examinations. By adding additional subjects Adam sought to provide the basis for a well-rounded and professionally aware bookbinding professional. This process of life-long learning would begin during the apprenticeship and be built upon during the binders journeymen years. Subjects added to this guidebook include a history of the book (and bookbinding), a history of the bookbinding trade. The complete contents were listed in the previous post.

Views of the bookbinding trade school of Badersleben in the Harz from the early 20th century.
Shown are the typesetting room and the bindery.

While the original intent was to publish separate volumes for apprentices and journeymen, Slaby notes that the Federation became convinced that the sooner apprentices began to familiarize themselves with the knowledge required to become a master, the easier it would be for them to progress through the ranks and become a master in their own right. As a result, trade schools (attendance at which was mandatory) were strongly urged to adopt this guidebook, and masters encouraged to impress its value upon their apprentices. At the same time members of the examination boards were told to familiarize themselves with the content of the book in the knowledge that those being tested by them would no longer “quake  and be fearful” as they would be better prepared.

Overall, the tone of the guidebook was professionally stimulating, without becoming overly pedantic so that binders of all levels would want to consult with it regardless of their rank. This guidebook was not a bookbinding manual, giving only superficial attention to the details of particular binding styles but it was also more than a mere introduction to the field as it also contained details about the structure of the guilds, the ranks one could attain (apprentice, journeyman, and master) as well as sample questions for those respective examinations.

While Adams' manuals Der Bucheinband: Seine Technik und seine Geschichte (1890), Die praktischen Arbeiten des Buchbinders (1898), also published in English as Practical Bookbinding by Scott, Greenwood & Co. (London) in 1903 did not formally address the structure of the trade they did describe the work of binderies and their outfitting. With the formalization of the bookbinding trade, manuals began to appear that incorporated many of the aspects of this first guidebook, in particular sections on the history of the book and trade, “materials science,” estimating, sample questions in preparation for examinations. An example of this type of manual is Heinrich Lüers’ Das Fachwissen des Buchbinders that appeared in numerous editions (Deutsche National Bibliothek has 1939 as earliest edition). At the same time more pamphlet-like introductions to the bookbinding trade continued to be issued, often by the same authors.

View of a trade school classroom from Lüers' Fachwissen des Buchbinders (1943)

Making pastepapers and marbling in trade school.
From Lüers' Fachwissen des Buchbinders (1943)

Integral to the training of bookbinders of all levels were also the trade schools that complemented the hands-on on-the-job training provided in the individual binderies, offered courses for continuing education, and served as venues for the trade examinations. The trade schools also provided coursework in social studies, math (especially as it related to the trades, including estimating), and other subjects, something that was critical especially when apprentices were younger (as young as 13). This need for an “equalizer” was still evident when I served my apprenticeship in Germany from 1985-87 when my trade school class included those with university qualifications as well as those who left school early to learn a trade and ended up with publishers stapling magazines (also part of the hand bookbinding trades) all of whom needed to pass the same national examinations. Special courses in working with commercial grade high-speed folding machines and cutters were also included to provide a bridge to the industrial binding trade.

Master and apprentice.

I've had Adams' Leitfaden in my collection for some time, but as I was writing this, and searching for something online I tripped across Max Eschner's Der Buchbinder: Ein Lehr- und Lernbuch für Fachschulen, Fortbildungsschuen und zum Selbstunterricht, (Stuttgart: Hobbing & Büchle, 1898) similarly addresses the needs for a robust and comprehensive education in the bookbinding trade. It was based on the lesson plans of the municipal trade school for boys in Leipzig.A difference that was immediately noticeable was the inclusion of much bookbinding lore, including songs and poems that binders of all levels would have learned. More on Eschner in a later post.I am certain that others will appear over time as well...

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Paul Adam: An introduction to the German bookbinding trade, part I

 While the trades were historically described in catechism-like works such as Friese's Ceremoniel der Buchbinder from 1712 (below), it wasn't until the turn of the 19th century for more complete and trade-oriented works to appear, works that laid out the history of the trade and its requirements in detail.

Paul Adam (1849-1931) was one of the leaders of the German bookbinding trade during the late 1800's until his death. He was the author of several seminal "modern" manuals written for the trade, among them Der Bucheinband: Seine Technik und seine Geschichte (1890), Die praktischen Arbeiten des Buchbinders (1898), also published in English as Practical Bookbinding by Scott, Greenwood & Co. (London) in 1903, Die Kunst des Entwerfens für zeichende Buchbinder (1917). All these works were reprinted numerous times and issued in various editions. Dates refer to the copies in my personal collection. His autobiography Lebenserinnerungen eines alten Kunstbuchbinders was published by the Meister der Einbandkunst's Verlag für Einbandkunst (Leipzig) in 1925.

Title page of Leitfaden für die Gesellen- und Meister-Prüfung im Buchbindergewerbe

Among these, Leitfaden für die Gesellen- und Meister-Prüfung im Buchbindergewerbe (1904) was the first modern text that set out to describe the trade for those who might enter it. It was published by Adam (founder and director of the state subsidized Technical School of Artistic and Practical Bookbinding in Düsseldorf*) for the Federation of German Bookbinding Guilds, one of the first of its kind. In over 130 pp it describes:
  1. The history of the book trade
  2. The early work habits and techniques of the bookbinder
  3. The development of the bookbinding trade and its practices
  4. The tools of the bookbinder
  5. The materials of the bookbinder
  6. The techniques of the bookbinder
  7. Calculating costs / estimating
  8. Materials, their properties and sources
  9. Decorative techniques
  10. Procurement of tools and supplies
  11. Accounting for the trade
  12. The bookbinder and bookbinding trade, their members, and their legal standing
  13. The organization of the German trade guilds
  14. The tradesman in his private life
  15. Tips of the trade and organization of the the workshop
Heading for chapter V, "Materials of the Bookbinder."
Depicted are a [poorly constructed] and [well constructed] book.

Also included were the required theoretical knowledge and hand skills for apprentices, journeymen and masters so that these would know what was expected as part of a nationally coordinated education and examinations process for the trades. These last sections were perhaps the most important as successful completion of the exams for the various levels would determine the career path of the individual.

Advertisements for many of the vendors of the time round out the volume.

Illustration ending chapter 4, "Tools of the Bookbinder."

In successive posts I will  describe some of these sections in greater detail as they would be very useful topics to cover in updated form by programs teaching bookbinding and the book arts (or most any craft) today. To help ensure at least a chance of success, crafts/tradespeople must not only understand their manual skills but also the fundamentals of calculating costs, accounting, and the other business aspects of what is a beautiful craft and trade.

Below are some of the other illustrations of this work depicting a great deal of Jugendstil charm.

Illustration for chapter VI, "Techniques of the Bookbinder."
Illustration for chapter IX, "Decoration."
While the "Meister" is laying on gold leaf with a piece of paper, the journeyman keeps away the curious apprentices...

Final illustration depicting rats being driven away from a bag of starch.

From the muse to the binder.
Ploughing an edge. Plough with
a circular blade at bottom.