Archive for July, 2010

The Evolution of Perfect Binding – Part I

Saturday, July 10th, 2010

The Beginning of Mass Printing and Bookbinding

The evolution of bookbinding in documents and literature has evolved somewhat from its roots in the first century A.D. where recordings on clay tablets were replaced by what we would recognise as the first conventional books.

Originally printed on sheepskin vellum, the binding of religious documents marked the beginning of the bookbinding approach that has been used ever since in its various manifestations.

Since then, the publishing of documentation and literature has moved through various phases; kick started by the advent of the first printing presses in the 15th century, demand for binding began to rise and hence the necessity for automated systems for bookbinding surfaced.

The methods used during this era and subsequent eras up until the 19th century were hardly what could be described as automated in any modern sense, as the crafting of books was still a very manual task.

It wasn’t until 1868 that the first sewing machines designed for bookbinding were invented by David McConnell Smyth and the modern production of books as we know it began.

Perfect binding and the modern methods for book crafting still wouldn’t be conceived until c.1890, but some practices introduced around this time are still in use today.

This is the first part in a short series detailing the evolution of traditional bookbinding up to the modern day and a short insight into developments made in the field of perfect binding. Return each week for the next part in this short series.