Ink Balls and Printing

Up until the mid 19th century ink balls (also commonly called dabbers or inking balls) were used to apply ink to letter presses and in print making.  An ink ball was made of sheepskin, inside of which wool or horsehair was placed, and a wooden handle.  The finished product looks

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A Machine for the 19th Century: The Iron Hand Press

The duke said what he was after was a printing-office. We found it; a little bit of a concern, up over a carpenter shop — carpenters and printers all gone to the meeting, and no doors locked. It was a dirty, littered-up place, and had ink marks, and handbills with

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A Short History of America’s Oldest Private Press

The Private Press movement suffered a sharp decline during the 1930s, with many presses closing down due to Depression-era costs. A few, however, managed to keep going. One of those intrepid presses was the Trovillion Private Press at the sign of the Silver Horse, which at one point was the

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The Private Press Movement in Britain and America

The Private Press movement, an offshoot of the Arts and Crafts movement that began in Britain and then spread to America, is a fascinating period in the history of the book, and one of my favorites. At the heart of the private press is the core ideal of the owner

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A Day at the London International Antiquarian Book Fair : Starting a Book Collection on a Budget

A few weeks ago, I had the good fortune to be able to attend the London International Antiquarian Book Fair. My friend and fellow library student (Jill, for future reference) managed to secure tickets through her workplace. She and I are both rare books people, and I think it is

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Bookbinding Technique of the Month: Sewing Over Tapes with a French Knot

It seems to me an interest in bookbinding is an interest that goes beyond the love of books and the act of reading: it’s really a preoccupation with how things come to be, an origin story for an object so ubiquitous we forget it had to be sewn and stitched

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From the Librarian’s Desk | All the King’s Horses

     Quite a lot of my work day at the moment is consumed with planning and big picture issues regarding setting up the library collections and safeguarding it for the future.  One part of that is the cataloging of the library collections.  There are two types of library cataloging: copy and

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Cleaning and Cataloguing the Pen Ruling Machine

This past Friday was Chronicle Books’ annual volunteer day.  While the majority of the company spent the day helping out at the San Francisco Zoo, my two stellar colleagues Neil and Ben joined me here at the Museum to assist archivist Jae Mauthe and Founder Tim James in cleaning, cataloguing

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Books on books on books : An interview with librarian Amelia Grounds

Further rounding out the ABM staff is librarian and preservationist Amelia Grounds. Amelia has worked with rare books and special collections across the Bay, with UC Berkeley’s Preservation Department, and across the pond, where she earned her degree in Library and Information Science from University College London. With training and experience

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Bookbinder of the Month | Rose Adler

This week’s post is a bit last minute, though an important subject nonetheless!  Rather than try to write my own biography of Rose Adler, an extremely talented and inspiring Art Deco Bookbinder, I have posted below a detailed and well-written biography from the Willy Huybrechts archive.  You can read the

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