Book Binding Machine for Rolling, Collating and Maps

This entry is part 6 of 20 in the series The Art of Bookbinding (Joseph W. Zaehnsdorf, 3rd Edt, 1897)

Rolling-Machine-445x371…himself, or of the individual who has the pleasure of applying his strength to turning the handle. I never pass or hear a rolling machine revolving very rapidly without having vividly brought to my mind a very serious accident that happened to my father. He was feeling for a flaw on one of the rollers, and whilst his hands were at the edge of the rollers the man turned the handle, drawing the whole hand between the cylinders. The accident cost him many months in the hospital, and he never regained complete use of his right hand. Great care must be used not to pass too many sheets through the machine at one time; the same applies to the regulating screw. The amount of damage that can be done to the paper by too heavy a pressure is astonishing, as the paper becomes quite brittle, and many perhaps even be cut as with a knife.

Another caution respecting new work. Recently printed books, if submitted to heavy pressure, either by the beating hammer or machine, are very likely to “set off,” that is, the ink from one side of the page will be imprinted to its opposite neighbor; indeed, under very heavy pressure, some ink, perhaps many years old, will “set off;” this is due n a great measure to the ink not being properly prepared. Of the many rolling machines in the market the principle is in all the same. A powerful frame, carrying two heavy rollers or cylinders, which are set in motion, revolving in the same direction, by means of steam or by hand. In many, extra power is supplied by the use of extra cog-wheels; the power is, however, gained at an expense of speed. The pressure is regulated by screws at the top.


To collate, is to ensure that each sheet or leaf is in its proper sequence. Putting the sheets together and placing plates or maps requires great attention. T

he sheets must run in proper order by the signatures: letters are mostly used, but numbers are sometimes substituted. When letters are used, the alphabet is repeated as often as necessary, doubling the letter as often as a new alphabet is used, as B, C, with the first alphabet, (the text of a book always commences with B, the title and preliminary matter being reckoned as A.) and AA, BB, CC, or Aa, Bb, Cc, with the second repetition, and three letters with the third, generally leaving out J, V, W. Plates must be trimmed or cut to the proper size before being placed in the book, and maps that are to be folded must be put on guards. By mounting a map on a guard the size of the page, it may be kept open on the table beside the book, which may be opened at any part without concealing the map: by this method the map will remain convenient for constant reference. This is technically called “throwing out” a map.

To collate a book, it is to be held in the right hand, at the right top corner, then, with a turn of the wrist, the back must be brought to the front. Fan the sections our, then with the left hand the sheets must be brought back to an angle, which will cause them when released to spring forward, so that the letter on the right bottom corner of each sheet is seen, and the released, and the next brought into view. When a work is completed in more than one volume, the number of the volume is indicated at the left hand bottom corner of each sheet. I need hardly mention that the title should come first, then the dedication (if one), preface, contents, then the text, and finally the index. The number on the pages will, however, always direct the binder as to the placing of the sheets. The book should always be beaten or rolled before placing plates or maps, especially colored ones.