Traditional Bookbinding | How It’s Made

Traditional Bookbinding | How It’s Made


♪♪ Narrator:
BOOK MAKING HAS EVOLVED
OVER TIME. FROM SCROLLS TO WRITING ON
SHEETS OF PAPER BOUND TOGETHER TO THE INVENTION
OF THE PRINTING PRESS, PEOPLE CONTINUE TO DEVELOP
NEW WAYS OF RECORDING HISTORY. TODAY, THANKS
TO DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY, THE POSSIBILITIES OF RECORDING
THE SPOKEN WORD ARE ENDLESS. [ SUSPENSEFUL HIP HOP PLAYS ] A FINE BOOK MAKING SPECIALIST MAKES JUST A FEW LIMITED
EDITION BOOKS PER YEAR, USING TRADITIONAL PRINTING
AND BINDING TECHNIQUES. ♪♪ PRODUCTION BEGINS WITH A CASE
OF TINY BRASS MOLDS. ONE MOLD, CALLED A MATRIX, CONTAINS LETTERS, NUMBERS,
AND PUNCTUATION MARKS. ♪♪ A TYPECASTING SPECIALIST
INSERTS THE MATRIX CASE INTO A MACHINE CALLED
A MONOTYPE COMPOSITION CASTER… ♪♪ AND MELTS LEAD ALLOY INGOTS
IN THE MACHINE’S GAS-HEATED POT. ♪♪ GUIDED BY A COMPUTER,
THE MACHINE CASTS ONE CHARACTER AT A TIME
FOR EVERY WORD OF THE BOOK. THE COMPUTER PROGRAM ASSIGNS
A LOCATION CODE TO EVERY MATRIX. TO CAST A CHARACTER,
THE PROGRAM COMMUNICATES A SPECIFIC CODE
THROUGH PLASTIC TUBES WHILE PUFFS OF AIR ALIGN
THAT CHARACTER’S MATRIX WITH THE INJECTION NOZZLE. THE NOZZLE DISPENSES
MOLTEN LEAD INTO THE MATRIX, WHILE THE MACHINE EJECTS
THE CAST CHARACTER ONTO A TRAY CALLED THE GALLEY. AS THE LINES OF TEXT
EXIT THE MACHINE, THE TYPECAST SPECIALIST
INSERTS A STRIP OF LEAD TO CREATE SPACING, CALLED
LEADING, BETWEEN EACH LINE. HE TRANSFERS THE GALLEY
TO THE PRESS ROOM, WHERE A PROOFING PRESS
SPREADS INK ON THE TYPE. HE PLACES A SHEET OF NEWSPRINT
OVER THE GALLEY AND RELEASES
AN IMPRESSION ROLLER. THE ROLLER PRINTS THE
CHARACTERS ONTO THE PAPER, GENERATING A PROOF. ♪♪ MEANWHILE,
A TYPESETTER ASSEMBLES THE LARGER DISPLAY COPY MANUALLY BY PLACING INDIVIDUAL LETTERS
INTO A COMPOSITION STICK. THIS METHOD WAS USED FOR ALL
COPY PRIOR TO THE INVENTION OF AUTOMATIC TYPECASTING
MACHINES IN THE 1890s. ♪♪ BOOKS PRINTED
IN LARGE SIZES OF TYPE MUST BE MADE ENTIRELY
BY MANUAL TYPESET. ♪♪ ONCE COMPLETE, MULTIPLE GALLEYS THAT MAKE UP
SEVERAL PAGES OF THE BOOK ARE PLACED IN A STEEL FRAME
CALLED A CHASE AND LOADED
INTO THE PRINTING PRESS. ♪♪ THIS CYLINDER PRESS FEEDS
ONE SHEET OF PAPER AT A TIME TO GRIPPERS THAT PULL THE PAPER
AROUND A CYLINDRICAL ROLLER. AS THE ROLLER ROTATES, THE PAPER DROPS
ONTO THE INKED TYPE, PRINTING THE CHARACTERS
INTO THE SHEET. ONE PRESS SHEET TYPICALLY
CONTAINS EIGHT PAGES PER SIDE. ANOTHER MACHINE
FOLDS THE SHEETS. THEN, BOOKBINDERS
MANUALLY COLLATE GROUPS OF 16 CONSECUTIVE PAGES TO FORM SECTIONS OF THE BOOK,
CALLED SIGNATURES. ♪♪ NEXT, A BOOKBINDER SEWS
THE SIGNATURES TOGETHER, ONE AT A TIME, UNTIL THE BOOK
IS FULLY ASSEMBLED. THIS METHOD OF BOOKBINDING,
CALLED SMYTH SEWN BINDING, AFTER ITS 19th CENTURY INVENTOR,
IS OF THE HIGHEST QUALITY BECAUSE PAGES CAN’T FALL OUT
OR BE REMOVED. ♪♪ LIKE THE BINDING, THE BOOK COVER
IS METICULOUSLY HANDCRAFTED. A BOOKBINDER HOT GLUES
A PIECE OF CLOTH TO THE BACK OF THE COVER. THE COVER IS MADE OF FLEXIBLE
PAPER AND THICK CARDBOARD. ♪♪ THEN, SHE FLATTENS
THE CLOTH ON ALL SIDES. ♪♪ USING A RAZOR BLADE, THE BOOKBINDER MAKES
A SLIT FOR THE CLOTH, WHERE SHE’LL PLACE
A RECESSED LABEL LATER. THIS ENABLES THE CLOTH
TO SPREAD OUT AND FORM TO THE SPINE’S
ROUNDED SHAPE. THE CLOTH IS PRESSED FIRMLY AGAINST THE
STRUCTURAL COMPONENTS WITH A PLASTIC TOOL
CALLED A BONE. ♪♪ ANOTHER BOOKBINDER
ATTACHES THE COVER TO THE BOUND PAGES,
CALLED THE BOOK BLOCK. FIRST, SHE APPLIES GLUE
TO BOTH COMPONENTS. ♪♪ THEN, SHE POSITIONS
THE BOOK BLOCK ON THE COVER… ♪♪ …AND PRESSES THEM TOGETHER. ♪♪ SHE PLACES THE BOOK
IN A NIPPING PRESS THAT PUTS PRESSURE
AROUND THE SPINE, FUSING THE BOOK BLOCK
AND COVER TOGETHER. THEN, THE FRONT
AND BACK OF THE COVER ARE GLUED TO THE FIRST
AND LAST PAGES OF THE BOOK. ♪♪ THE BOOK THEN SITS
IN ANOTHER PRESS OVERNIGHT, BRINGING THIS BOOKMAKING
STORY TO A CLOSE. ♪♪