During the month of February 2014 I will be continuing research into early nineteenth century bookbinding while on a Fellowship at the Winterthur Museum and Library. Conservation and tool business will be on hold until March 3, 2014, but feel free to email me. Apologies for any inconvenience.
The Winterthur has one of the premiere collections of decorative arts in America, and one of the premiere book conservation programs, Winterthur/ University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation. The librarians seem to have a good sense of humor. Below is a excerpt from a blog post about their collection of trade cards, which mentions Hymen L. Lipman, who was a stationary bookbinder in Philadelphia:
“Hymen Lipman, born in Jamaica to English parents, immigrated to Philadelphia in 1829. Eleven years later he succeeded Samuel Stewart as the city’s leading stationer remaining at the 139 Chestnut Street address until 1849. His real claim to fame may be either as the first person to patent the revolutionary invention of a pencil with an attached eraser in 1858 or as having one of the five funniest names in history as posted in a YouTube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8c9mRklqQM.”
In The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance, Henry Petroski notes Lipman did indeed patent a pencil with an attached eraser, though after some litigation with Eberhard Faber in the 1860’s, a judge declared both patents invalid. Petroski’s book is very readable, encyclopedic and highly recommended.
Don’t miss the image of Hymen Lipman’s trade card on the Winterthur blog.