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Re: [BKARTS] Finishing tools: initials



In my experience, it was not uncommon to have coats of arms and/or initials as
hand tools as late as the early 1900's (School prize books used them, or blocks
often until W.W.I when the binding work force in England drastically diminished.)
In our collection we have more than three dozen coats of arms as hand tools.  Most
of these date from the early 1800's to the early 1900's (see Tom Conroy's book).
It only becomes a problem when the tool's face becomes greater that one inch
square.  The average binder, myself included, simply does not have the weight to
put down these larger tools by hand.  To solve this, the "arming" press was
invented.  An excellent picture of an early arming press is the frontice piece of
Arnett's "Bibliopegia", London 1835.

Tom Conroy's book is primarily a reference to date signed tools, but it is also
much more.  In the appendices, Tom gives excellent research on how tools were
made, the shapes of handles from different countries, etc.  It is an excellent
resource for someone who in interested in the history and "why" of finishing
tools.  I can not recommend it enough.

Sincerely,
Frank Lehmann
Lehmann Bindery

"Dorothy C. Africa" wrote:

> In a response to a question about a mongram tool Sid Huttner remarked:
>
> "I'm a little surprised to know monograms appeared on the end of tools.  I
> had the impression that generally they were too large to tool well and were
> consequently usually created as blocks for use in an "arming press"  -- so
> named, I think, because it was used to apply "arms" (i.e., coats of arms,
> monograms, and similar sorts of personal identifications) not only to book
> covers but to other personal items (wallets and purses, gauntlets,
> portfolios, etc.)."
>
> ............................. Sid Huttner
>
>   But it may depend on how grand an ambition one had.  A few years ago I bought
> a tool from Sam Ellenport at Harcourt which combines the initials DA in a very
> simple combination which leaves the componet letters quite distinct.  I don't
> use it very often since it is a rather heavy, western style of design, rather
> like a brand, which doesn't really suit my taste, but they are my initials, so
> now and again it comes in handy.  I don't think it is a very old tool, but it
> seems to me more functional than ornately decorative in its intent.
>    Does anyone else out there have something similar??
> Dorothy Africa
>
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            BOOK_ARTS-L: The listserv for all the book arts.
      For subscription information, the Archive, and other related
            resources and links go to the Book_Arts-L FAQ at:
                      <http://www.philobiblon.com>

        Archive maintained and suppported by Conservation OnLine
                    <http://palimpsest.stanford.edu>
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