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sheet the design of the artist and engraver. Few people in examining a finely illustrated book, realize the amount of care required in the pressman to produce such work, and they would be surprised to see the difference between the first impression of the form of cuts and a printed sheet after it is properly “made ready.” Indeed, no inatter how artistic the work of both designer and engraver, if the pressman fail to understand his business, the result must invariably prove disastrous.
The pressman may, perhaps, devote two or three days to making the “overlays ” to a single form of cuts, building up the “ blacks,” toning down the “half tints,” or cutting away entirely the “high lights” of the design. This is all done in the general way already explained for the plain text, but of course it requires a thousand times more delicate treatment. Paper about the thickness of tissue is used in making these overlays, and a form of cuts may require hundreds of these small pieces of paper,
of every conceivable shape, pasted upon the cylinder before the press can be started for printing.
Hydraulic Pressing.-- When the sheets come off the press they are allowed to dry for a time, and are then placed between very hard mill-board, and subjected, in an hydraulic press, to an immense pressure. This does away with the roughness existing on the sheet when it comes off the press ; but if a very glossy surface is desired, it becomes necessary to run the printed sheets through hot steel rollers, called a calendering machine. The book is now ready for the bindery.
Book-binding.-When the sheets have been duly pressed in the “hydraulic,” they are passed into the bindery. Here they are taken in hand by the folders-generally girls—for the first operation in binding.
The folding consists of doubling the printed sheet so that the folios lie one upon another with absolute precision.
Any deviation in this accuracy produces a very unsatisfactory-looking book. The number of folds the sheet may require is of course dependent upon the size of the printed sheet, the sheet printed for an octavo book requiring more folds than that for a quarto, and a sixteenmo more than either.
The folded sheets are then piled in consecutive order upon the collator's table, and the collator takes the sheets, one at a time, in their regular order, beginning at the end of the book and finishing with the title sheet.
The folded and collated books having been put through the “ mashing machine” to make them as compact as possible, are now taken to the “ sawing machine" and several shallow cuts are made by circular saws in the back of the book. The “ book-sewer” now takes them, and seated before an upright frame, called a “sewing press," she sews each folded sheet to perpendicular cords on the press, these being so arranged as to fit into the cuts made by the sawing machine. When the frame is filled the books are cut apart and the edges trimmed by a guillotine-cutting machine.
The book is now glued at the back and is then ready for “rounding” and “backing.” The former operation is performed by pounding the volume with a hammer so as to produce the curved appearance to the back of the finished book. After this, the book is placed between two iron clamps, and a heavy roller is worked, backward and forward, over the back. The pressure of this roller forces a small portion of the back over the clamps the entire length of the book, thus producing the joints or grooves in which the cover of the book fits.
The back of the book is now again glued, a piece of muslin, about an inch wider than the back of the book, fastened to it, a piece of very stout paper covers this, and the book is then ready to be put into the cover or case.
The general system of cloth-binding in England and the United States differs in some essential particulars. In the former the cloth-binding of a book is, as a rule, considered as being merely a temporary covering, to be replaced very shortly by the individual owner's rebinding it in leather or “ library” binding to suit his special taste. In consequence of this the English cloth-bound book is generally left with the edges uncut (that the fullest possible margin may be left for the prospective rebinding), while the work of sewing, case-making, and putting into covers is rarely as substantially or durably done as in the United States, where a wellbound cloth book is expected to answer as a permanency for the majority of readers.
The practice of ornamenting the covers of books with elaborate designs stamped in gold, or in colored inks, has grown to an alarming extent, and it cannot be said that such attempts are always an artistic success, the only idea in many cases apparently being to make the volume as showy as possible. Happily, a reaction in this direction is rapidly taking place, and publishers find that for a large portion of standard works issued, a plain, unpretentious cover is much more satisfactory to the buyer who possesses any good judgment in such matters. If it be possible to introduce, either upon the side or back of a volume, some small characteristic design, so much the better, but the elaborate and oftentimes meaningless stamps heretofore placed upon the side of books are certainly not ornamental, and the quicker such are banished from the better class of books the better.
Library Bindings.-Until the last few years but little taste was shown in the United States in what is known among the trade as “extra binding." Of late, however, much care has been given to this class of work, and there is no department of book-manufacturing showing a greater
advance over old methods than the present styles of leather binding compared with the uncouth and badly-finished “ half-calf extra” and “half-calf antique ” of ten or fifteen years ago. While the half-calf extra style-generally consisting of a light leather back and corners finished with gold
tooling,” and marbled paper sides—is still used by publishers for their regular trade bindings, those booksellers who come in contact with the best class of buyers now find it to their advantage to exercise some individual taste in these library bindings, and a vast improvement in the character and the originality of such work is the result.
Calf, morocco (both“ turkey”and“ levant”), seal, and alligator leathers are now used in both “ half,” “ three-quarter,' and “ full bindings, these designations expressing the amount of leather used, the sides of the book in half and three-quarter binding being covered with marble paper.
“ Tree calf” binding was, a few years since, scarcely done at all in this country, while now much of this work executed in New York and Boston will compare very favorably with the finest grade of imported bindings. It is, however, in the general “finish” of the “extra bindings” and in the good taste shown in the “ tooling” and lettering that so marked an improvement may be perceived in this department of book-manufacture. In this class of binding the work is all done by hand, and much therefore depends upon the skill and accuracy of the “finisher,” while in cloth-binding, after the general design of the book has been decided upon, the execution of the work is mechanical.
Illustrations. There are now a number of methods of making book illustrations. These may be named-about in the order of their cost-as follows :
Each of these methods has its own special advantages, and to describe them in full would require a large volume. We can only touch here upon the several peculiarities of the different operations.
Photo-engraving.—Illustrations made by this method can, like wood-cuts, be printed at the same time as the text of a book, a material advantage. The design, usually made much larger than the prepared plate, is photographed to the proper size upon a plate of type metal. The plate is now immersed in a bath of acid which eats away all the white of the design, the lines of the drawing being protected from the action of the acid by a preparation of varnish, and the design is thus left in relief. The plate is now mounted upon a block so as to be "type high,” and it can be inserted in the page and printed with the type. For simple black-and-white drawings, diagrams, mechanical work, such as buildings, machinery, etc., this process is excellent, while the cost is materially less than that of a wood-cut. The objections to it for book illustrations are that it fails to produce either the strength or delicacy of the wood-cut, while it cannot utilize an ordinary photograph until it has been redrawn in plain black-and-white.
Wood-cuts.—Formerly it used to be the custom for the artist to make his design with pencil or brush directly upon the block to be engraved. Now, however, much greater freedom to the artist is possible, for he can make his drawing as large as he may please, and it is then photographed upon the block to the proper size. This freedom, however, of course necessitates a much more comprehensive treatment on the part of the engraver, and its introduction has brought about a higher grade of wood-engraving than was