Bookbinder Suicide By Guillotine

Suicide d'un relieur qui se guillotine avec un massicot dans l'imprimerie rue de l'Amiral Roussin a Paris. Gravure. Une du journal "Le petit parisien" le 19/06/1910. Collection privee. ©Lee/Leemage
Suicide d’un relieur qui se guillotine avec un massicot dans l’imprimerie rue de l’Amiral Roussin a Paris. Gravure. Une du journal “Le petit parisien” le 19/06/1910. Collection privee. ©Lee/Leemage

Added 10 May 2015. Description of the illustration.

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11 Replies to “Bookbinder Suicide By Guillotine”

  1. Every visitor to our conservation lab comments on the murders and torture we could inflict on people, using the guillotine and pressing heads in the book presses. I’ll now have to hang up your image with the note “Be nice to the bookbinders!”

  2. Or maybe a warning to your staff members? Make sure your squares are even…..or else!

  3. Murder I say, bloody murder! Look at the poor chaps arms, they could never have reached the wheel to clamp the head or even the lever. I would look to the apprentice who not only wanted to kiss the bookbinder’s daughter, but run off with her against Papa’s express wishes. The looks they gave each other yesterday were very telling…

  4. Peter-Well, you likely wouldn’t need to use the clamp, and maybe there was one of the flywheels? Or just the weight of the blade and carrier could likely accomplish the task…
    Sandy- I think it is a cool image. Why do you think someone would someone would put this on the front page of a magazine in 1910?

  5. Wow, very interesting link Joshua. Possibly a theme developing just with this magazine, or maybe even culturally. What does the symbolism of using one’s own tools of the trade to commit suicide mean?

  6. Power guillotine, perhaps. The artist has meddled with some bits of the guillotine. We see the head on the back table, but there is no back gauge. On the other hand, the blade and acting part of the clamp are shown as if from the front. There is a good deal of screw showing above the clamp wheel, where no screw ought to be. Neither a lever nor a motor is shown. The overall size is small for a cutter with enough clearance to admit a human head, and I would say that a cutter with that much capacity would probably be power in any case; and I too question the possibility of self-decapitation with a lever-operated model.

    Sandy— “There was a king lived in the East. / There, when kings sit down to feast / the have their fill before they think / of poisoned meat and poisoned drink…” Well, its not long, but too long to quote in full from memory here; so I refer you to the last piece in “A Shropshire Lad” by one of the greatest classical scholars of the twentieth century. Also to Aristotle’s “Poetics.” Its all about catharsis, which all comes out in the wash (with plenty of hot water and detergent.)

  7. Correction: next-to-last poem. No. LXII, “Terence, this is stupid stuff.” The quotation is from the fourth and last section, on the third page of the poem. “Therefore, since the world has still / much good, but much less good than ill, / And while the sun and moon endure / Luck’s a chance, but trouble’s sure, / I’d face it as a wise man would, / And train for ill and not for good…”

  8. I agree about the artist’s liberties with the technical details, but it might also be a flywheel type. The one I used to use (Brown and Carver, I think) would generate a tremendous amount of force once you wound it up with a handle and flywheel. I could cut through a ream of paper and still have to slow the wheel down.

  9. I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again. Look for the apprentice. That said, I agree with Tom about the image being simplified and if powered back then would have been belt driven. Alternatively, could have had a flywheel too, like this one from Adam’s Der Bucheinband with a flywheel.

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