Want some insights into commercial bookbinding? Take a look at this video I found recently called “Americans at Work” that was produced back in 1961 by the AFL-CIO union.
The video shows the bookbinding process in an early 1960’s bindery and highlights the tasks involved in the process.
After a very short introduction about the history of the written word, the video documents the disassembling of an old text for re-binding, and recovering. The processes of rounding the spine, marbling the edges of the book block, gluing on a new cover, pressing the book, and adding gold-leaf lettering to the spine are all shown.
Next, the video shows how the steps done to rebind the old worn book in the previous segment apply to the high-volume production of new case-bound hardcover books.
The video ends with several shorter segments that show how saddle-stitched booklets are made, how lined paper is printed, how spiral bound books are made.
While a lot has changed in the world of publishing and manufacturing since 1961, it is amazing how much of what is shown in this video is still relevant in the world of bookbinding.