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Explanation of millimeter bindings



I was asked to answer the question of what exactly a millimeter binding =
is for a listserv used by librarians and bibliofiles.  I thought it =
might be interesting for those reading this list to know a little bit =
about their development since they have become so popular of late (maybe =
even trendy?).  Of course, I will be teaching a workshop on millimeters =
August 6 - 10 at North Bennet Street School, but this is not intended as =
an ad for the course!

Millimeter bindings were invented during the second world war in =
Denmark. They actually are an evolution of 19th century Danish bindings. =
During that century luxury items were taxed and thus the price of =
bookbinding depended more on the choice of materials than labor costs. =
As a result the bindings tended to be rather simple in design and used =
less 'luxury' materials.

Millimeter bindings were invented in Henrik Park's workshop, which he =
had taken over from Anker Kyster. Kyster had collected the earlier =
bindings and that no doubt provided the inspiration for Park.

Later others took the development further. These bindings are known as =
millimeters but in a literally don't fit the description.=20

August Sandgren, a famous Danish binder, developed a binding where small =
amounts of leather are at the head and tail of the spine (extending down =
a millimeter or two, and then a millimeter over the boards) with small =
leather corners as well.=20

There is a variation of this as well where the leather is 'T' shaped -- =
the leather comes down the spine a few centimeters, but at the shoulder =
and over the boards it extends down only a couple of millimeters and =
maybe a centimeter or two out from the shoulder. This is a bit difficult =
to explain!=20

Finally there is the Rubow binding, developed by Jorn Rubow who was also =
a Dane. This binding has leather along the head and tail of the book =
with pastpaper filling in the rest. Also mistakenly called a millimeter =
by some. In its finer versions the pastepaper not only covers the book =
but extends inside the book to create the pastedown and a made flyleaf.=20

The style of binding where the leather is along the spine and the =
foredges is not a millimeter binding, but is a style pretty common in =
Europe at the moment and perhaps evolved from the conditions in the 19th =
century which resulted in the true millimeters and its variations. There =
are examples of these from the 19th century, so they are not =
millimeters.



The physical characteristics of a traditional millimeter are:=20

leather on the spine, which extends one millimeter over the boards=20

tiny leather corners (several variations including ones where the =
leather is exposed for one millimeter as well)=20

90 degree shoulders, but with a groove=20

not tight backs (well, I haven't seen any that were but they may exist =
or may even have been common at one point)=20

pastepaper on covers=20

in general they didn't have sewn endbands, but had leather, cloth or =
none=20

the pastepapers tended to have geometric patterns=20

hooked endsheets

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