Bindings in which the gatherings are held together by adhesive only, without any form of sewing or stitching. They may, however, be reinforced by glueing strips of material into recesses cut across the spine. The earliest examples of European adhesive bindings recorded on printed books are English, with one example dating from the 1620s and a small group from the period 1670-1690. German examples have been identified from the second half of the eighteenth-century and very occasionally in England at the end of the eighteenth century. The small number of survivals from these early periods is a reflection either of the ephemeral nature of some of the texts bound in this manner, or the inherent instability of such structures before the introduction of flexible adhesives. The so-called 'Perfect binding' patented in 1836 and probably first used in 1839 (Middleton, p.30), in which caoutchouc was used as the adhesive, proved no more durable.
Adhesive cases are attached to completed bookblocks by means of adhesive alone. The cover constitutes a separate complete unit made up of one or more components, depending on whether it is made from one piece of cover material, or from several components (i.e. boards, covering material, spine piece, etc.). Books bound in this way are conventionally known as case bindings. Their order of construction differentiates them from bindings in which the boards are first attached to the bookblock by adhesive to the endleaf guards, endleaf stubs or full leaves before they are covered with a covering material. Even though they may appear superficially to be the same, in that adhesive alone is used to attach the boards and cover to the bookblock, the latter is an inboard structure. The first recorded adhesive cases are German and date from the second quarter of the sixteenth century, and this history of case binding seems to be exclusively German until the mid-eigtheenth century.
Bindings with adhesive cases. They are the results of the technique of casing-in. They are also known from the 19th century as 'cased-in' or 'case bindings'.
A skin prepared in an aqueous solution of a double salt of aluminium and potassium sulphates. The process, which is of great antiquity, produces a white skin which is dried (crusted) and then staked, or worked over a blunt metal knife, to produce a soft, supple skin, qualities which could be enhanced by the addition of flour and egg-yolk to the tawing solution. If wetted again, as many blind-tooled German bindings of the late fifteenth to the mid-eighteenth century were before tooling, the skin becomes once more hard and horny, as though it had reverted to the raw, untanned state. Also known as tawed skin (Reed, pp.62-65).
Reed, R., 1972. Ancient Skins, Parchments and Leathers, London: Seminar Press.
Bernard Middleton, A history of English Craft Bookbinding Techniques, New Castle, London, Oak Knoll Press, The British Library, 1994 (4th ed.)
Engraved or cast metal blocks used to decorated the sides of bindings. Typically, these will consist of corners and centrepieces and other designs too large to be tooled by hand rather than in some form of press.
Esther Potter (1993), “The London Bookbinding Trade: From Craft to Industry”, The Library s6-15 (4), pp. 259–280. doi:10.1093/library/s6-15.4.259.
Pieces of sheet material adhered to one or other, or both, surfaces of a board before the book is covered, and either before or after the board is attached to the bookblock. Linings on the inside of the board may have been intended to counteract the tendency of the covering material to pull the board outwards as it shrank on drying, but in other cases the purpose may have been to consolidate or neaten up the board surface. They should not be confused with the sometimes complex linings in white paper adhered to the boards and spines of inboard bindings with raised sewing supports and tight-backs covered in parchment made in the Low Countries in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, whose purpose was to brighten the appearance of the thin, rather translucent parchment used on these bindings and disguise the sewing supports, spine linings, etc.
Boards are rigid or semi-rigid components made from one or more pieces of sheet material used to protect and support a bookblock. There will usually be at least two boards, one on each side of the bookblock. A piece of sheet material wrapped around the spine of a bookblock and covering each side, even though it may itself be covered by another material (see cover lining and laminated cover) does not create boards, which must always be separate. On small format books, the boards may be no more than pieces of thick paper, but they should still be described as boards. When two or more bookblocks are bound together as distinct units (multiple bookblock bindings), they will be separated by shared boards.
Bindings with a case-type cover in which two boards and a spine inlay are held together by the primary covering material. This design of case was developed in the early 19th century and became the dominant type used on 19th century cloth-covered adhesive case bindings.
A thin length of wood, bone (bone folder), ivory, or other material, approximately 12 to 20 centimetres long, and about 2 to 4 centimetres wide, and approximately 3 mm thick. They were made in a variety of shapes to suit different purposes, and were used in folding sheets by hand and cutting bolts, and also in numerous other binding operations.
The Arts and Architecture Thesaurus Online, The Getty Research Institute.
All the leaves bound together in a single volume and enclosed within a single binding. Bookblocks will normally consist of a textblock (including inserted plates, maps, tables etc.) with interleaving (where present) and separate endleaves. Even if there are no endleaves or other inserted material, the term bookblock can still be used to describe all the leaves within a single binding, as in these cases the textblock is also the bookblock. The word textblock describes all the printed or written leaves whether they are bound or not, and can be used to differentiate the written or printed leaves from the endleaves within a bookblock where this is necessary.