Cobb Paper, Surface Paper and Marbled Paper

This entry is part 13 of 20 in the series The Art of Bookbinding (Joseph W. Zaehnsdorf, 3rd Edt, 1897)

End Papers

The end papers should always be made, this is, the coloured paper pasted to a white one; the style of binding must decide what kind of ends are to be made, that is, the coloured paper pasted to a white one; the style of binding must decide what kind of ends are to be used. I give a slight idea of the kinds of papers used and the method of making them.

Cobb Paper

Cobb paper is a paper used generally for half-calf bindings, with a sprinkled edged, or as a change, half-calf, gilt top. The paper is stained various shade and colours in the making, and I think derives its name from a binder who first used it. Being liked by the trade, they have distinguished the paper by calling it “Cobb paper,” which name it has kept.

Surface Paper

This is a paper, one side of which is prepared with a layer of colour laid on with a brush very evenly. Some kinds are left dull and others are glazed. The colour, laid on with a brush very evenly. Some kinds are left dull and others are glazed. The darker colours of this paper are generally chosen for Bibles or books of a religious character, and the lighter colours for the cloth or case work. There are many other shades which may be put into extra bindings with very good effect, and will exercise the taste of the workman. For example, a good cream, when of fine colour and good quality, will look very well in a morocco book with either cloth or morocco joints.

Marbled Paper

This paper has the colour disposed upon it in imitation of marble; hence its name. It is produced by sprinkling properly prepared colours upon the surface of a size, made either of a vegetable emulsion, or of a solution of resinous gum. It is necessary, in either preparing an original design or in matching an example, to remember that the veins are the first splashes of colour thrown on the size, and assume that form in consequence of being driven back by the successive colours employed.

We have it on the authority of Mr. Woolnough, that the old Dutch paper was wrapped round toys in order to evade the duty imposed upon it. After being carefully smoothed out, it was sold to bookbinders at a very high price, who used it upon their extra bindings, and if the paper was not large enough they were compelled to join it. After a time the manufacture was introduced into England, but either the colours are not prepared the same way, or the paper itself may not be so suitable, the colours are not brought out with such vigour and beauty, nor do they stand so well as on the old Dutch paper. Some secret of the art has been lost, and it baffles our ablest marbler’s of the present day to reproduce many of the beautiful examples that may be seen in some of the old books. For Further remarks on marble paper and marbling see chapter on colouring edges.

Printed and other Fancy Paper

may be bought at fancy stationers; the variety is so great that description is impossible, but good taste and judgement should always be used by studying the style and colour of binding. Of late years a few firms have paid some attention to this branch, and have placed in the market some very pretty patterns in various tints.

The foreign binders are very fond of papers printed in bronze, and some are certainly of a most elaborate and gorgeous description. Many houses have their own favourite pattern and style. All papers have bronze on them should be carefully selected and the cheaper kinds eschewed, the bronze in a short time going back.

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