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Franklin Library Book Deconstructed – Taking a Peek inside the Cadillac of Book Bindings

Have you ever wondered just how a Franklin Library Book is put together?

Franklin Library, a division of the Franklin Mint, as many a book collector can attest,  was considered the equivalent of the Cadillac division of GM in the modern 20th Century book market.  They put out several series of gorgeous full leather-bound books, quarter leather-bound and leatherette-bound books that would have made a 16th Century european Renaissance patron stand up and take notice:

  • The 100 Greatest Books of All Time (100 books)
  • The 100 Greatest Masterpieces of American Literature (100 books)
  • The Collected Stories of the World’s Greatest Writers (100 books)
  • 60 Signed Limited Editions (60 books)
  • Pulitzer Prize Classics (53 books)
  • Franklin Mystery Masterpieces (51 books)
  • The First Edition Society (72 books)
  • Great Books of the Western World (96 books)
  • World’s Best-Loved Books (100 books)
  • Greatest Books of the 20th Century (50 books)

The actual book binding for the Franklin Library was contracted to a company known as Sloves Organization, Ltd. which worked exclusively in the high end leather book-binding trade.

The craft of leather book-binding is a dying art today as publishers shift their from the traditional book market to the digital book market.

Franklin Book Deconstruction:

I have always been a bit curious about how one of these fine leather bound editions is put together and the other day, going through a few of these books I have picked up over the years, I discovered one that had considerable water-damage to many of the pages which basically renders the book worthless and un-sellable as a rare book.  In its present condition the book is worth maybe $4-6 dollars as a reader’s copy.  The title of the book is Guy de Maupassant’s Stories, illustrated by Lily Harmon.

I therefore concluded that this exercise could serve two purposes; the first being to share a bit of unique insight into the binding of a well made book and then re-purpose much of the book after taking it apart and sell the parts in one form or another for more than I would receive for the book on Ebay.

From the archival paper that the book is printed on I should be able to make about 600 bookmarks which I intend to hand paint with watercolours.  Since this particular book has a set of very nice illustrations that can be used in decoupage projects and perhaps a mixed media collage or two, I removed these intact.  The actual leather binding will be used for binding together a hand-made journal later.  After cutting the strips of paper to make book marks, I will still be left with the actual printed block which I intend to cut into a smaller block and hand sew into my own private small edition of this very book.

The photos below show how the book was put together:

Water Damage

 

Illustrations

 

 

 

 

 

Another view of water damage.

This picture shows front cover after having removed the silk moire end paper and making a razor incision to separate the block from the cove

Illustrations removed from book.

 

After removing the block from the leather cover and pulling back the binding paper and tape, we see that the satin bookmark is glued in about two inches down. The block now nicely displays the Smythe binding process where 8 double pages are folded in half to make 16 page booklets which are then stitched together at about five different places up and down the spine to hold the pages together. Glue is then applied and a special binding tape strip is glued on along with the small fabric spine caps. Then the block is glued into the black paper which has been glued to the leather book cover. After this has dried, the silk moire endpapers were added to give strength and help hold the block in place.

After removing the block from the leather cover and pulling back the binding paper and tape, we see that the satin bookmark is glued in about two inches down. The block now nicely displays the Smythe binding process where 8 double pages are folded in half to make 16 page booklets which are then stitched together at about five different places up and down the spine to hold the pages together. Glue is then applied and a special binding tape strip is glued on along with the small fabric spine caps. Then the block is glued into the black paper which has been glued to the leather book cover. After this has dried, the silk moire endpapers were added to give strength and help hold the block in place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Quotations

Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.

— Napoleon

The Treasure of Abbot Thomas – from Ghost Stories of M.R. James

I

Verum usque in præsentem diem multa garriunt inter se Canonici de abscondito quodam istius Abbatis Thomæ thesauro, quem sæpe, quanquam adhuc incassum, quæsiverunt Steinfeldenses. Ipsum enim Thomam adhuc florida in ætate existentem ingentem auri massam circa monasterium defodisse perhibent; de quo multoties interrogatus ubi esset, cum risu respondere solitus erat: “Job, [...] Read more →

The Age of Chivalry

CHAPTER 1 – Introduction

KING ARTHUR AND HIS KNIGHTS

On the decline of the Roman power, about five centuries after Christ, the countries of Northern Europe were left almost destitute of a national government. Numerous chiefs, more or less powerful, held local sway, as far as each [...] Read more →

The History of Witchcraft in England – The Beginnings

The Beginnings of English Witchcraft

It has been said by a thoughtful writer that the subject of witchcraft has hardly received that place which it deserves in the history of opinions. There has been, of course, a reason for this neglect—the fact that the belief in witchcraft is no longer [...] Read more →

Penal Methods of the Middle Ages

CHAPTER I

PENAL METHODS OF THE MIDDLE AGES

Prisons as places of detention are very ancient institutions. As soon as men had learned the way to build, in stone, as in Egypt, or with bricks, as in Mesopotamia, when kings had many-towered fortresses, and the great barons castles [...] Read more →

Country House Essays Book Now in Print

Country House Essays, the book is now in print. This is an eclectic collection of both original, and historical essays, poems, books, and articles created for our loyal reader hear at CountryHouseEssays.com. It is jam packed with reprints of articles from this website. The cost is $49.95 for this massive [...] Read more →

Clarivoyance by C.W. Leadbeater

Theosophical Society, Adyar, Madras, India, 1890

CLAIRVOYANCE

by C. W. Leadbeater

Adyar, Madras, India: Theosophical Pub. House

[1899]

CHAPTER IX

METHODS OF DEVELOPMENT

When a men becomes convinced of the reality of the valuable [...] Read more →

Westminster Confession of Faith – 1646

CHAPTER I. Of the Holy Scripture.

Although the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence, do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men inexcusable; yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God, and of his will, which is necessary [...] Read more →

Growing Muscadine Grapes in Tennessee

The University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tennessee has a long heralded tradition of assisting farmers and growers through it’s Agricultural Extension Service. The following bulletin entitled Grape Growing in Tennessee discusses the Muscadine variety of grapes among others. Muscadine grapes are often found growing wild in Tennessee. On my grandfather’s West Tennessee [...] Read more →

Platform of the American Institute of Banking in 1919

Resolution adapted at the New Orleans Convention of the American Institute of Banking, October 9, 1919:

“Ours is an educational association organized for the benefit of the banking fraternity of the country and within our membership may be found on an equal basis both employees and employers; and in full appreciation [...] Read more →

Parting Words to Kate from The Sloop of War, Jamestown

Sloop of War Jamestown – Photo from book The Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies, Series 1, Vol. 3.

Several years ago, I purchased a small memory book entitled Album of Love from the mid 1800s.

Much like scrap books of today, these books were used to keep [...] Read more →

Historic authenticity of the Spanish SAN FELIPE of 1690

Model of San Felipe

Reprinted from FineModelShips.com with the kind permission of Dr. Michael Czytko

The SAN FELIPE is one of the most favoured ships among the ship model builders. The model is elegant, very beautifully designed, and makes a decorative piece of art to be displayed at home or in [...] Read more →

The Late Rev. H.M. Scarth

H. M. Scarth, Rector of Wrington

By the death of Mr. Scarth on the 5th of April, at Tangier, where he had gone for his health’s sake, the familiar form of an old and much valued Member of the Institute has passed away. Harry Mengden Scarth was bron at Staindrop in Durham, [...] Read more →

Classic Restoration of a Spring Tied Upholstered Chair

This video by AT Restoration is the best hands on video I have run across on the basics of classic upholstery. Watch a master at work. Simply amazing.

Tools:

Round needles: https://amzn.to/2S9IhrP Double pointed hand needle: https://amzn.to/3bDmWPp Hand tools: https://amzn.to/2Rytirc Staple gun (for beginner): https://amzn.to/2JZs3x1 Compressor for pneumatic [...] Read more →

A History of the Use of Arsenicals in Man

The arsenicals (compounds which contain the heavy metal element arsenic, As) have a long history of use in man – with both benevolent and malevolent intent. The name ‘arsenic’ is derived from the Greek word ‘arsenikon’ which means ‘potent'”. As early as 2000 BC, arsenic trioxide, obtained from smelting copper, was used [...] Read more →

Books Condemned to be Burnt

BOOKS CONDEMNED TO BE BURNT.

By

JAMES ANSON FARRER,

LONDON

ELLIOT STOCK, 62, PATERNOSTER ROW

1892

———-

WHEN did books first come to be burnt in England by the common hangman, and what was [...] Read more →

U.S. Plant Variety Protection Act – Full Text

UNITED STATES PLANT VARIETY PROTECTION ACT

TITLE I – PLANT VARIETY PROTECTION OFFICE Chapter Section 1. Organization and Publications . 1 2. Legal Provisions as to the Plant Variety Protection Office . 21 3. Plant Variety Protection Fees . 31

CHAPTER 1.-ORGANIZATION AND PUBLICATIONS Section 1. Establishment.2 There is [...] Read more →

The Master of Hounds

Photo Caption: The Marquis of Zetland, KC, PC – otherwise known as Lawrence Dundas Son of: John Charles Dundas and: Margaret Matilda Talbot born: Friday 16 August 1844 died: Monday 11 March 1929 at Aske Hall Occupation: M.P. for Richmond Viceroy of Ireland Vice Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire Lord – in – Waiting [...] Read more →

Here’s Many a Year to You

” Here’s many a year to you ! Sportsmen who’ve ridden life straight. Here’s all good cheer to you ! Luck to you early and late.

Here’s to the best of you ! You with the blood and the nerve. Here’s to the rest of you ! What of a weak moment’s swerve ? [...] Read more →

The Hunt Saboteur

The Hunt Saboteur is a national disgrace barking out loud, black mask on her face get those dogs off, get them off she did yell until a swift kick from me mare her voice it did quell and sent the Hunt Saboteur scurrying up vale to the full cry of hounds drowning out her [...] Read more →

The Billesden Coplow Run

Smith, Charles Loraine; The Billesdon Coplow Run, Leicestershire

*note – Billesdon and Billesden have both been used to name the hunt.

BILLESDEN COPLOW POEM

[From “Reminiscences of the late Thomas Assheton Smith, Esq”]

The run celebrated in the following verses took place on the 24th of February, 1800, [...] Read more →

The Kalmar War

The Kalmar War

From The Historian’s History of the World (In 25 Volumes) by Henry Smith William L.L.D. – Vol. XVI.(Scandinavia) Pg. 308-310

The northern part of the Scandinavian peninsula, as already noticed, had been peopled from the remotest times by nomadic tribes called Finns or Cwenas by the Norwegians and Lapps [...] Read more →