What Causes the Smell of Old Books?

Everyone’s familiar with the smell of old books, the weirdly intoxicating scent that haunts libraries and second-hand book stores. Similarly, who doesn’t enjoy riffling through the pages of a newly purchased book and breathing in the crisp aroma of new paper and freshly printed ink? As with all aromas, the origins can be traced back […]

The Art of Marbling Books.

Marbled paper has been used for centuries in bookbinding, generally as endpapers—front and back—sometimes as outside decorative covers. It is made by floating pigments upon a mucilaginous “size”, arranging the chosen colors as desired using toothed combs and other tools, then laying a sheet of paper or fabric onto the floating pattern to pick it […]

Women in Japanese Bookbinding.

1690: NAKAMURA Tekisai. KINMO ZU-I 14 vols in 5. During the Tokugawa period, the process for producing a book was a collaboration of artists and craftsmen and women. First the text would be given to the copyist, or hanshitagaki (the copy was called the hanshita). The copied text would be given to the block carver, […]

Chandler and Price Paper Guillotine.

Chandler & Price was founded in 1881 in Cleveland, Ohio, by Harrison T. Chandler and William H. Price. They manufactured machinery for printers including a series of hand-fed platen jobbing presses, as well as an automatic feeder for these presses (the Rice Feeder). They also made paper cutters (Guillotines) as well as book presses, and […]

Ancient Bookbinding.

The first ever books in the world were the Egyptian papyrus rolls, which were composed of several columns of ancient writing scripts. The first of these manuscripts goes back as far as the 25th BC, and until the Christian era, they remained quite popular. However, during this period, the paper or the book industry underwent […]

19th Century Fore-edge Painting.

Autumn by Robert Mudie / Special Collections & University Archives at the University of Iowa by Christopher Jobson. Colleen Theisen who helps with outreach and instruction at the Special Collections & University Archives at the University of Iowa shared an amazing gif she made that demonstrates something called fore-edge painting on the edge of a […]

A True Artisan at Work

(AP Photo/Francisco Seco) Francisco Seco AP Portuguese bookbinder, Ilidio Antonio, applies egg whites to the cover of new books as he works in his workshop in Lisbon, Portugal. Antonio, who has been running his own business as a bookbinder for the past 36 years, said that applying egg whites to the covers helps the leather […]

Muller Martini, Manufacturers of Bookbinding & Web Offset equipment.

Muller Martini, based in Switzerland, manufactures web offset printing presses, bookbinding equipment, newspaper inserting systems, mail room delivery systems and other printing related equipment. Manufacturing facilities are located in Switzerland, Germany and the United States. Muller Martini employs approximately 4,000 people in manufacturing and sales/service support positions in several countries. Hans Müller in Zofingen, Switzerland […]