A Topper

Detail from: “Siding and Pasting Down” in The British Bookmaker, Vol. VI, No. 61., July 1892, 31. Cary Graphic Arts Collection, Bernard C. Middleton Collection, Rochester Institute of Technology.

Not only a clear illustration of traditional late 19th century pastedown trimming for half leather bindings, but an informative use of binders slang of the day:  “cobbs” (for cobb paper, common at this time) and wonderfully descriptive “topper”. I’ll have to use it in class the next time I see this problem! It is still a common impulse for students to want to cover a mistake in a pastedown. This article is part of a series, dealing with pasting down difficult materials, including moire (or watered silks) and leather doublures.

Kirtas Books

Kirtas books is digitizing on demand portions of the Bernard C. Middleton Collection of Books on Bookbinding at Rochester Institute of Technology.  Thanks to the hardest working man in applying new technologies to bookbinding, the man who is always online, Peter Verheyen, for introducing me to this site.  Not everything is available, but there is a lot of very hard to find material here.  Cost for downloading a searchable pdf is an unbelievable cheap $1.95. Getting a printed on demand paperback add $10+, depending on the page count.

The quality of the scans are not perfect, and books that are not yet scanned can take 4 weeks to be delivered.  It also seems they use some type of scanning machine, which I can’t believe is not damaging the books. I also wish the page margins were in full view — so that I could read the inscription on the title page below, for example.

But they are ledgible, and a fantastic deal for the price.  Time to create some more shelf space.