Today’s entry is for all you book conservators out there. And for the rest of you, here’s a scintillating look into the world of book structure!
In some of our early 20th century US government bindings, I’ve noticed a sewing structure that’s been a little difficult to decipher. It’s definitely machine sewing. It looks rather like smythe sewing. But the stations don’t appear entirely regular. And they seem to be positioned off-center from the sewing supports.
A particularly damaged 1910 US census finally offered up a clearer picture. Here, in a region with approximately 50 leaves removed, we can see a sewing support and remaining thread.
Well, this is novel! Typically, one might see sewing threads passing around a support. But here, the threads travel directly through the supports. If you look closely, you can also see a back-and-forth pattern that creates offset sewing stations as the thread travels between sections. After examining intact sewing earlier in the volume, I created the following diagram of the sewing pattern repeating three times across six sections. Note how the pattern reverses between supports 2 and 3.
If pressed, I’d call this supported, two-on smythe sewing. Can anyone confirm or deny whether such a thing could or does exist?