TSLAC Conservation recently completed treatment on the Basic Electrician: Students’ Manual for All Arms. This 1928 publication by the U.S. War Department introduced American soldiers to the foundations and skills of practical electrical repairs for arms used in the field.
This volume was found staple-bound, with no boards or spine covering, stored in an envelope. The text was punched for an unknown type of binding device. The first three leaves, including the title page, had detached and broken into fragments. Reference staff obtained copies of these leaves from another institution, whose copy of the book was similarly staple-bound with no outer covering.
Top priority for this treatment was to affix the replacement leaves and stabilize the volume for shelf storage. Since the staples were restricting the opening, risking future leaf breakage, we decided to remove the staples, sew the volume, and create a new case binding. With no historical example for the sewing or binding style, we were free to choose methods that accommodated the text.
First, we made the copies of the damaged leaves into double-sided replacement pages with proper registration. A historical look wasn’t possible for these leaves given the low contrast, black-and-white copies provided, but archival-quality Permalife paper was used for long-term stability. The replacement leaves were hinged together, and the volume was punched and sewn using a supported link stitch on three tapes. The volume was gently rounded and backed, and then cased into a new case covered with toned Japanese tissue. The tissue gives a leather-like appearance to blend with other volumes in the collection.
This treatment mixes techniques typical of both circulating collections work (the replacement leaves) and special collections work (the rebind and the covering) to create an accessible volume with a historically viable appearance.