Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books
A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology

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ivory

The hard, creamy-white, opaque, fine-grained, elastic, modified dentine, that makes up the tusks of elephants and other (large) land and marine animals. Ivory has been used as a writing and decorating medium because of the fineness of its grain, its warm tone, the ease with which it can be given a high polish, its adaptability for writing and carving, and, when properly cared for, its remarkable durability.

Ivory was used for the covers of books in the Middle Ages, but not by English bookbinders until the mania for novelty and commercial advantage led to its use in about 1860. It has also been used in the manufacture of superior diptychs, as clasps for books, and for the folders used in bookbinding. (102 , 236 , 280 )




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