“An Investigation of Seventeenth Century English Bookbinding Tools in Randle Holme’s Academy of Armory” Now Available!

It’s exciting be published in The New Bookbinder 41 with such a beautiful layout and high print quality!

Publishing a blog post is instant gratification compared to a print article. An Instagram post is an even quicker higher-octane endorphin hit. Writing a print article already feels archaic and process of publishing is frustratingly slow: finding a suitable vehicle, researching a topic, writing, gathering images, requesting (and often paying for) reproduction permissions, formatting, incorporating reader’s comments, working with an editor for additional revisions, triple checking everything, and finally approving a final layout. Then waiting for months while it is being printed and shipped. At least in this case, though, the result is deeply rewarding.

Seeing and holding your writing makes it feel like a thing, not just ideas in your head. It implies a permanence and accessibility. But I wonder how long print — at least for non-fiction scholarly articles — will be used, in terms of people reading, using, and citing it. Many papers I read from younger people only cite the online sources. On the other hand, the transparency of online data is rewarding for the author (as well as profit generating for the corporate overlords…) For example, I will know how many of you read this blog post, how many times it is linked to, what links you click on, and where you are from. I have no idea if anyone actually looked at or read the printed article. Anyway, onward!

OVERVIEW

Randle Holme’s little known Academy of Armory contains the only images of seventeenth century English bookbinding tools currently known. Six fundamental tools described in it are analyzed: a folder, a beating hammer, a needle, a sewing frame, a lying press, and a plough. The context of seventeenth century English bookbinding and other contemporaneous sources are investigated. The relationship between the nature of seventeenth century English books and the tools used to make them is also explored.

FIRST PARAGRAPH SNIPPET

“There are a variety of ways of approaching the history of bookbinding. Examining actual books for physical evidence is, of course, the primary method. But additional context can be gained by interpreting historic images and texts — including, manuals, advertising, trade cards, archival records, etc… — making models of historic bindings, and investigating how traditional tools were used. (2) In the case of seventeenth century English books, there are tens of thousands of extant books, but only one currently known text that contains images of bookbinding tools from this time, Randle Holme’s 1688 Academy of Armory. (3) Just over thirty copies are located in the English Short Title Catalogue, and it escaped the rigorous eyes of Pollard and Potter in their standard reference, An Annotated List of Technical Accounts of Bookbinding to 1840. (4) Analyzing the tools and equipment of bookbinding is one way of understanding how books were made, which is one of the foundations of bibliography. (5)”

PURCHASE: The Designer Bookbinders online shop.

Jeff Peachey “An Investigation of Seventeenth Century English Bookbinding Tools in Randle Holme’s Academy of Armory“. The New Bookbinder 41 (2021):38-48.

Thanks to OG Joel Moskowitz of Tools for Working Wood for introducing me to this text and allowing reproductions of his copy!

2 Replies to ““An Investigation of Seventeenth Century English Bookbinding Tools in Randle Holme’s Academy of Armory” Now Available!”

  1. My brother, Dr Gary Kemp, philosopher of language at the Univ of Glasgow, Scotland tells me his students who read actual books in hand (not on their phones) retain knowledge and learn more thoroughly. I think the brain prefers to absorb information from words printed on paper rather than words on a flashing screen. There must be science about this somewhere.

    Robin Brandes

    >

  2. Yea, I think I’ve heard something like this. I know I can remember *where* something is in a book (even if I have forgotten exactly *what*) much easier than on a screen. Ditto for my paper library vs. my .pdf library. You are right, it should be easy enough to test!

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