Difference between revisions of "BPG Fastenings and Furniture"

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===Treasure Bindings===
 
===Treasure Bindings===
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[[File:Byzantine_Treasure_binding.jpeg|200px|thumb|left|[https://repository.duke.edu/dc/earlymss/emsgk01094 1450 Late Byzantine Treasure Binding] with silver repoussé covers and chain-like long-strap clasps and spine covering. David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.]]
  
 
Medieval Treasure bindings have covers crafted by skilled metalsmiths (not by bookbinders) and were created throughout the Eastern and Western Christian worlds from late antiquity until the fifteenth century. (Miller 2010, p. 78-9) They exhibit elaborate cover plates made of silver or silver gilt and decorated with repoussé and other decorative techniques. (Ligatus, [https://www.ligatus.org.uk/lob/concept/2990 plates]) "The gold or silver panels, covered with gems, filigree, ivory, and other precious materials, were tacked to a wooden substrate that could easily be removed from one text and put on another without disbinding being involved." (Needham, 1979. p. 23-4, 55).
 
Medieval Treasure bindings have covers crafted by skilled metalsmiths (not by bookbinders) and were created throughout the Eastern and Western Christian worlds from late antiquity until the fifteenth century. (Miller 2010, p. 78-9) They exhibit elaborate cover plates made of silver or silver gilt and decorated with repoussé and other decorative techniques. (Ligatus, [https://www.ligatus.org.uk/lob/concept/2990 plates]) "The gold or silver panels, covered with gems, filigree, ivory, and other precious materials, were tacked to a wooden substrate that could easily be removed from one text and put on another without disbinding being involved." (Needham, 1979. p. 23-4, 55).
 
[[File:Byzantine_Treasure_binding.jpeg|200px|thumb|left|[https://repository.duke.edu/dc/earlymss/emsgk01094 1450 Late Byzantine Treasure Binding] with silver repoussé covers and chain-like long-strap clasps and spine covering. David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.]]
 
  
 
===Votive / Ritual Bindings===
 
===Votive / Ritual Bindings===

Revision as of 21:23, 23 February 2021

Book and Paper Group Wiki > Book Conservation Wiki / Paper Conservation Wiki > BPG Book Fastenings and Furniture

This page covers the various mechanisms and attachments applied to book boards to keep the covers closed and to protect the covers from wear. Decorative attachments to bindings as well as metal structural components are covered here as well.

Original Compilers: Erin Hammeke
For a full list of the original contributors to this page, see the section below on History of This Page.
Wiki Contributors: Erin Hammeke


Copyright 2021. The Book and Paper Group Wiki is a publication of the Book and Paper Group of the American Institute for Conservation. It is published as a convenience for the members of the Book and Paper Group. Publication does not endorse nor recommend any treatments, methods, or techniques described herein. Please follow these instructions for citing the BPG Wiki, keeping in mind that the Wiki is a work in progress and is frequently updated. The BPG Wiki coordinators can be reached at bookandpapergroup.wiki@gmail.com.

Sections I. and II. of the outline for this page are taken from Adler's Handbuch Buchverschluss und Buchbeschlag... (2010).

Book Fastenings and Closures[edit | edit source]

Wraps and Ties[edit | edit source]

Wrapping Bands[edit | edit source]

Wrapping bands are strips or ties that are designed to be wrapped around a volume's heighth and/or width several times, and tucked in or cinched to keep covers closed. The wrapping bands can be made of various material including covering material but often wide bands or thin strips of skin or textile. They can be integral to, attached to, or detached from the covers/covering material. When attached, the point of attachment is typically at the board edges.

"The oldest wrap closures were made on Coptic covers from the 3rd and 4th centuries AD found near the Egyptian village of Nag Hammadi. This type of closure has been preserved until the 19th century and has often been used as a simple and inexpensive way of closing unbound or bound materials." (Szirmai, 1999. p. 7-8; Adler, 2010. p. 7) The Nag Hammadi codices are small, single quire codices bound in limp leather wrappers lined with papyrus cartonnage, some of which have a fore edge flap that extends from the upper cover to the lower with attached wrapping bands, and ties attached at the head and tail of some bindings. [see Fore edge flap with wrapping band] (Miller, 2010. p.28) Fourth-sixth century Coptic bindings exhibited wider leather wrapping bands over uncovered wooden-boarded multi-quire bindings. (Miller 2010. p.31; Szirmai 1999. p. 26) Some of the wrapping bands on early Coptic codices terminate in decorated pieces of bone, meant to help secure the leather bands, e.g. Glazier Codex. (see also Miller, 2010. p.31)

Some Tibetan bound manuscripts have textile wrapping bands. The leaves are wrapped in a cloth called dpe ras that is further secured with a flat cord or sometimes with a buckle (Helman-Ważny, 2014. p. 53). [DOUBLE CHECK THESE ARE WRAPPING BANDS AND NOT A LOOSE WRAPPED CLOTH]

Button & Tie Closures[edit | edit source]

Loops or ties made of skin or cord are attached at various points at the fore edge or fore edge flap and the volume is held closed by wrapping the tie around a button or toggle attached to the case spine or front cover. Buttons have been made of horn, lead, tin, and leather and toggles are typically made from rolled skin, such as vellum or tawed skin. (Szirmai, 1999. p. 300) (Adler, 2010. p. 7) (Miller, 2010. p. 120-21) A portion of a group of late Coptic bindings known as the Hamuli bindings exhibited loop and toggle/button closures at the fore edges, head, and tail. (Miller, 2010. p. 33-4) Button and tie closures have been found on European long stitch bindings and limp stationers bindings from the 14th-16th centuries (Szirmai, 1999. p. 299) (Miller, 2010. p. 119-120) and English and North American limp leather bindings from the 18th century (Szirmai, 1999. p. 296.) (N.A. citation???)

Edge Ties[edit | edit source]

Ribbon-like ties made of skin or textile, often parchment, or silk colored blue or green, they are attached in pairs to both covers near the fore edges, and in some cases the head and tail edges, and tied at each location to keep covers closed. Fore edge ties were widely used on a variety of binding styles. They have been found on early European limp parchment and stationers bindings dating from the 13th century. (Miller, 2010. p.85) This style was popular on Renaissance Spanish and Italian limp parchment bindings (Miller, 2010. p. 364), and can be found on some full leather volumes and later on stiff board vellum bindings. This closure style was used throughout Europe until the 19th century. (Adler, 2010. p.8) It has also been observed on early North American blank book stationers bindings. (Metzger, 2013. p. 127)

Pin & Peg type Clasps[edit | edit source]

Pin & Peg type clasps are typically three part clasp mechanisms with metal components. A pin or peg is attached to the edge of the board of one cover. Pegs can be cast, turned, or fabricated.

The rest of the clasp mechanism is anchored to the opposite cover on the face of the board. All-metal hinged hasps and anchors, or leather/tawed skin straps hold a metal ring or plate that catches on the pin or peg.

Byzantine bindings have double or triple interlaced or slit-braid leather straps that hold a metal ring that catches on the peg on the edge of the opposite board. (Ligatus LOB, genuine Greek-style bindings)

Carolingian bindings exhibit iron or bronze peg-type clasps with folded or stitched leather straps that hold the ring clasp. (Szirmai, 1999. p. 132-3)

Long strap or long pin strap fastenings have a long leather strap anchored to the face of one cover that fixes on a pin located at the center, face of the other cover.

Clasps[edit | edit source]

15th century German clasps (Roberts and Etherington 1982)

Clasps are made of metal and skin components attached to the faces of the upper and lower covers at the fore edge and occasionally at the head and tail edges. Metal clasp components can be cast or fabricated from sheet metal that is forged, stamped, pierced, engraved, filed, or chiseled to create decorative elements. Most clasp mechanisms have three parts:

  • Anchor or strap plate: often plain but sometimes decorated metal plate used to anchor the hinged hasp or clasp strap to either the upper or lower cover. Sometimes nails are used in place of a metal plate. Often, channels are cut into wooden boards so that anchor and straps are recessed so that they don't sit proud of face of the covers.
  • Hasp
    • Hinged clasps are found on all-metal clasps and are attached with a hinge to the anchor plate. They catch on catch plates with a variety of mechanisms, but mostly with a hook-like catch. Hinged hasps span the full thickness of the text and covers.
    • Strap + Hasp. Straps are typically made of whatever the primary covering material is, typically leather or alum-tawed skin, and are anchored to one of the covers with the anchor plate or nail. Straps may have a core made of vellum to add strength and tension to the clasp. Hasps are either one piece folded and sandwiching the strap, with a hook or hole through the plate that catches on a catch plate or peg; or they are two pieces (a hasp + back plate) riveted through the strap to one another. If a back plate is used, it may be made from a contrasting metal such as thin iron sheet.
  • Catch Plate: or Catchplates are located on the opposite cover from the anchors / anchor plates. Hasps catch on corresponding catch plates to create the mechanism by which clasps hold covers closed. There are various styles of catch plates, most of which have a slot or pin on which the hasp catches.


Less commonly-found two-part metal clasp mechanisms are observed attached to limp parchment bindings with fore edge flaps. There is typically one single clasp in the center of the front cover. This has been observed on a Dutch or French binding from 1512 (Szirmai, 1999. p. 306) and on North American Colonial blankbook parchment bindings (Metzger, 2013. pp. 130-3)

Locking fastenings[edit | edit source]

“There were many instances where the fastenings had the task of literally keeping the book closed and were adopted accordingly. The earliest example was noted by Adam (1923b): the council of the City of Cologne had recorded the taking of oaths in a particular volume, dated 1341, that had been furnished with a lock, recessed in the thick (17mm) upper board; its key was kept in the custody of three councilors. Bohemian examples, mostly land registers from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, are cited by Hamanova (1959, p. 55, fig 35) and Nuska (1965 p. 55, pl. III). Hartmann (1987) describes four such German examples dating from between 1446 and 1536, among which is a paper manuscript dealing with gun powder and medical recipes, the lock of which is concealed in the inside of the upper board (BSB CGM 399).” (Szirmai, 1999. p. 261)

Locking fastenings can be found on more modern blankbook and diary bookbindings.

Buckles[edit | edit source]

Metal buckles have been found on 14th century Italian limp tacketed bindings (Miller, 2013. p.83) and on 16th century and 17th century English stationers bindings. An example, with red calf covers can be found on the diary of Pepo Albizzi here and here. The practice carried into the 16th century in Italy on stationers bindings with brass or iron buckles near the center of the upper cover. In almost all cases the buckle attaches to a central tacketed overband applied to parchment-, leather-, and textile-covered stationers bindings. The straps in all of these bindings extend from that same central, tanned leather overband, which wraps around the case and extends out from a fore edge flap. The fore edge flap comes onto the front cover and the extending overband strap fastens into to the buckle. (Beaty, 2020. p. 62-119).

Some Tibetan bound manuscripts have textile wrapping bands that are sometimes secured with a buckle (Helman-Ważny, 2014. p. 53).

Fore edge flaps and inserted closures[edit | edit source]

It is debatable whether fore edge and envelope flaps should be included here, although they do provide a system for keeping the covers closed. Adler includes them in his comprehensive manual of book closures and fittings. He pictures limp European stationer's bindings with a fore edge flap cut into a tongue-like shape that inserts into slits in the opposite cover. (2010. p. 3, p. 214) Simple pocketbooks with fore edge flaps have also been found on early North American blank book bindings and almanacs (Metzger, 2013. p. 142-3).

Fore edge flaps and envelope flaps are primarily associated with Islamic bookbinding, and the two components are used to help keep the textblock protected. Their wide use in the Islamic world is evidenced by various synonyms for the feature, “we find udhn (Andalusia, North Africa), marji (Morocco), lisān (central Arab lands), miqlab (Levant, Iraq), raddah (Levant), and sāqiṭah (Yemen).” (Gacek, 2001. p. xv. p. 48) In most cases, the flap is meant to be inserted underneath the front cover (Scheper, 2015. p. 116). In some cases when the flap is flexible, it can also be used as a bookmark that marks a page opening when the flap is inserted into the text. (Scheper, 2015. p. 118) See also Non-Western Bookbindings and Islamic Bookbinding for more detailed information.

Fore edge flap with wrapping band[edit | edit source]

Fore edge flaps are sometimes combined with a wrapping band or tie, as was discussed with the Nag Hammadi codices above. This style has also been found on a Latinate manuscript bound in limp alum-tawed skin dating from the 12th century. (Bloxam and Thompson: 2019. p. 66-68).

One Islamic binding variation also has an envelope flap with a strip of leather attached at the tip of the flap. Unlike other Islamic bindings, this style is apparently designed to have the envelope flap closing on the outside of the cover and the leather acting as a wrapping band/tie to further keep the book closed. (Scheper, 105. p. 120)

Book Furniture[edit | edit source]

Nails / Fasteners[edit | edit source]

Various types of nails and tacks may be used to fasten clasp or furniture components to covers. They are typically made of brass or iron but other metals have been used. These fasteners are hammered through pilot holes made in wooden boards, and cut off, turned over, or upset or spread to form a rivet-like attachment on the inside of the board. The ends of fasteners are often visible or can be felt on the inside faces of boards.

Basic fasteners[edit | edit source]

Decorative nails[edit | edit source]

Decorative nails, typically cast, may be used on their own as decorative and protective elements, or they may be used to attach other pieces of furniture.

Domed Tacks[edit | edit source]

Domed tacks have been used to attach fastenings and furniture (Metzger et al. 2020. p. 250; p. 256; p. 281), or to act as stand alone furniture elements (like bosses). American Anabapist bindings (Metzger et al. 2020. p.286,) and Armenian bindings (Miller, 2010. p. 45) use domed tacks as book furniture elements.)

Bosses[edit | edit source]

Bosses are raised elements attached to the faces of covers to protect them from wear. Bosses are most often found at the center and near the corners of each board. Bosses were almost entirely made of metal (some iron and some brass or bronze). They are often turned with an integral nail (usually a pin soft-soldered to inside of boss) used for attachment to the boards.

Bone bosses are found on early Scandinavian Bindings. (Szirmai, 2000. p. 267)

Centerpieces[edit | edit source]

Centerpieces, or centres, are any pieces of furniture located at the center of the covers. They may be cast or fabricated from sheet and they may be decorated or plain. Some centerpieces have raised elements or integral bosses that help to protect covers. Often, center- and cornerpieces were made as a matched set.

Cornerpieces[edit | edit source]

Cornerpieces, or corners, can be cast or fabricated from sheet and are located at each of the four corners of both boards. They typically fold over the board edges and occasionally are turned over onto the inside face of the boards. Like centerpieces, they may have raised elements to further protect the covers.

Cover plates & Strips[edit | edit source]

Cover plates[edit | edit source]

Cover plates are large, single plates of metal, sometimes forming a frame, that cover most of the board faces and edges. They may be decorated with repousse figurative or decorative elements, and may have inset semiprecious stones or gems, as can be found with Treasure Bindings.

Edge guards[edit | edit source]

Edge guards or edge strips span just the edges of the boards, typically just at the head and tail. They are wrapped over board edges and sometimes onto the inside face of the boards.

Shoes[edit | edit source]

Shoes are strips of metal attached to board edges. Some have raised elements and are known as studded shoes.

Frames[edit | edit source]

Frames are much smaller than cover plates and are typically found framing manuscript title labels on the face of the cover.

Spine Straps[edit | edit source]

There are a few types of spine strap styles that are used as protective elements for the spine, are attached to the edges of the boards, and may provide a counteractive force to the pull of fore edge clasps. Spine straps have been observed on Anabaptist and Armenian bindings. They may be chain-like all metal spine straps; made of leather/skin; or made from a combination of skin and metal. Anabaptist spine straps often have brass-studded elements.

Geographical Variants[edit | edit source]

Fastening direction[edit | edit source]

In Romanesque, Gothic, and Renaissance Western European examples, German and Dutch bindings tend to have clasps fastening on the upper cover, while English and Italian bindings tend to fasten on the lower cover, although there are some exceptions to this rule. (Szirmai, 1999. p. 254.)

Fastening placement and style[edit | edit source]

During the Gothic period, Italian and and French clasps were simpler, shell, leaf, or trefoil shapes cut from sheet, sometimes with zigzagging ("walking") engraved decoration. Italian bindings may have head and tail as well as fore edge fastenings.

German and Dutch clasps from the 15th-16th centuries bear some similarity to one another. They are typically more angular, have more dimension and are tapered at one end, have filed, beveled edges, and are at times zoomorphic in their design. (Szirmai 1999. pp. 252-262)

Materials[edit | edit source]

Ribbon was used as strap material in some Italian and French bindings, rather than skin. (Szirmai, 1999. p. 252)

Copper and tin-plated iron sheet were used on North American Anabaptist bookbindings in Pennsylvania in the 19th century. (Metzger et al., 2020. pp.248-50)

Notable Binding Types[edit | edit source]

Byzantine[edit | edit source]

14th century Late Byzantine binding on a 12th century manuscript. With L-shaped silver gammatia showing four Evangelists and cast silver peg-type edge clasps. David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

"Hardly any original binding from the first half of the Byzantine millennium has managed to survive..." (Szirmai, 1999. p. 62). Of those that have survived, they do not all have metal attachments. Metal fastenings and furniture were found on approximately one third of the 112 Byzantine bindings examined at the Vatican (Federici and Houlis, 1988). Some luxury bindings were embellished with precious metal covers and gems. (Szirmai, 1999. p. 80-1) [see Treasure Bindings] Furniture on more common Byzantine bindings took the form of corner pieces and bosses in L-shapes (gammatia, often depicting the four Evangelists), sun, fleur-de-lis, and almond shapes. (pictured in Szirmai, 1999. p.82)

Byzantine bindings have peg-type clasps. The pegs were either iron or cast bronze and they sometimes exhibit transverse holes through the shank indicating they were riveted in place to the board. The peg-type fastenings have tripartite slit-braided leather straps terminating in a cast ring. (Szirmai, 1999. p. 81-2)

See also Byzantine bindings in Non-Western Bookbinding Structures and Their Conservation and [Decoration].

Carolingian[edit | edit source]

Carolingian bindings do not exhibit extensive metal attachments but they do have peg-type fastenings made of bronze or iron with stitched straps. (Szirmai, 1999. p. 132-3)

Romanesque[edit | edit source]

Most Romanesque bindings had fastenings and furniture. Fastenings were either peg-type or long-strap clasps. The peg-type edge fastenings were of German origin and mostly fastened on the upper cover; and the long-strap style fastened on the lower cover and were found on English and French bindings. Most hasps were bronze alloy and had a hinge mechanism. (Szirmai, 1999. p. 167.) See Szirmai for diagrams of the two styles. (1999. p. 168).

Sixty percent of extant Romanesque bindings had furniture, although it could have been added at any stage. "Metal bosses are of two kinds: simple half-domes, formed from sheet metal, probably with a dapping-die punch in a hollow, and cast metal bosses turned on a lathe. (16) Although iron was occasionally used, copper alloys were the standard material. Usually an iron nail (pin) is mounted in the cavity with soft solder, to serve as means of fastening the bosses to the cover." (Szirmai, 1999. p. 168)

Other types of furniture found on Romanesque bindings were brass frames for holding parchment book labels on the lower cover and clips in various locations for holding chains on later chained bindings. (Szirmai, 1999. p. 169)

Gothic[edit | edit source]

German 1479 binding from Book Decoration page, see also other images of same book

Gothic bookbindings employ long strap fastenings (found on early examples until late 1400s) and hook clasp fastenings, which were found after 1400 and gradually became the dominant type. (Szirmai, 1999. p. 251) The hook clasp has several types that are pictured in Szirmai and the component parts, especially the hasp and catch plate, came as a matched set with stylistic elements that can be used to help locate the place of manufacture. Italian and and French clasps were simpler, shell, leaf, or trefoil shapes with zigzagging ("walking") engraved decoration. They often fasten on the lower cover, and particularly Italian bindings may have head and tail as well as fore edge fastenings. German and Dutch clasps from the 15th-16th centuries bear some similarity to one another. They are typically more angular, have more dimension, have filed, beveled edges, and are at times zoomorphic in their design. They typically fasten on the upper cover. (Szirmai 1999. pp. 252-262)

Furniture was less common than fastenings on Gothic bindings and only found on items that were to receive heavy use, such as large liturgical volumes. (Szirmai, 1999. p. 263.) Szirmai pictures various types of Gothic book furniture, (bosses, corner- and centerpieces, shoes, heels, frames, and skids), which can be found in iron, brass, and bronze alloys. (Szirmai, 1999. p. 265-267)

Chained bindings[edit | edit source]

Chains were used to fasten bindings to lecterns and bookshelves in late medieval libraries. "The chains, made usually of wrought iron, smooth or twisted, but occasionally of brass, were of varying lengths, depending on the library's particular type of housing of books. They were fixed to one of the covers by means of a clip or staple, fastened with one or more nails or rivets; to prevent entanglement, swivels were often incorporated in the middle or near either end of the chain." (Szirmai, 1999. p. 267) "The position of the chain attachment to the cover shows considerable variation, reflecting the library's storage system." (Szirmai, 1999. p. 268) Szirmai pictures both the chain hardware components as well as various lecture and bookshelf storage designs. (1999. pp. 268-9)

Treasure Bindings[edit | edit source]

1450 Late Byzantine Treasure Binding with silver repoussé covers and chain-like long-strap clasps and spine covering. David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Medieval Treasure bindings have covers crafted by skilled metalsmiths (not by bookbinders) and were created throughout the Eastern and Western Christian worlds from late antiquity until the fifteenth century. (Miller 2010, p. 78-9) They exhibit elaborate cover plates made of silver or silver gilt and decorated with repoussé and other decorative techniques. (Ligatus, plates) "The gold or silver panels, covered with gems, filigree, ivory, and other precious materials, were tacked to a wooden substrate that could easily be removed from one text and put on another without disbinding being involved." (Needham, 1979. p. 23-4, 55).

Votive / Ritual Bindings[edit | edit source]

Anabaptist bindings[edit | edit source]

Dated and Signed Fastenings and Furniture[edit | edit source]

Bookbindings with Metal Structural Components[edit | edit source]

Staple Bindings[edit | edit source]

Post Bindings[edit | edit source]

1896 Korean Cheoljang

Post bindings have posts (usually metal, sometimes plastic) that are inserted through punched holes in the textblock and attached to cover boards or metal plates that form and hold the textblock under tension. The structure resembles the functionality of stab or side sewing found widely in Asian bookbindings and simple, side-sewn album structures. Post bindings are common structures for photo albums and scrapbooks in the western world.

An early Korean post binding style was observed by Minah Song on 18th c. bound manuscripts and is pictured in her article "The history and characteristics of traditional Korean books and bookbinding." (2009. Fig. 10) "This binding method is called cheoljang (cheol: metal, and Jang: binding or mounting or decorating). The cheoljang was not only used for Uigwe [books of states rites] but also for binding books of family registries and land registries in the Joseon period (1399-1910). Uigwes that were specifically presented to Kings were supposed to be bound with more decorative metal bindings while some copies of uigwes were not bound with metal. Most extant examples were from the 17th - 19th century even though there is some historical evidence that it was used before the 17th century." (email correspondence with the author 2.10.2021). Other examples of cheoljang are pictured here, here, here, and here. The cheoljang appear to have been made with brass or iron components, and some of the examples exhibit engraved floral decoration on the metal cover plates. Several examples have a central metal loop, the purpose of which is unknown.

Hinged Covers(?)[edit | edit source]

Mechanical Ledger Bindings[edit | edit source]

Terminology and Thesauri[edit | edit source]

Adler's work includes a multi-page, multi-lingual thesaurus for furniture components in German, Dutch, English, French, Italian. (2010. p. 208-217.) Szirmai has useful drawn diagrams and terminology for Gothic fastenings and furniture. (2000. p. 251 – 262; p. 263 – 267) Ligatus Language of Bindings thesaurus has hierarchies and some translations and presents a controlled vocabulary. Search for Furniture; Fastenings; and Clasps. See also Etherington & Roberts' Bookbinding and the Conservation of books: A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology, and the entries for clasps, centerpieces, cornerpieces, and bosses. The Getty's Art & Architecture Thesaurus has some terms and translations, but is not particularly detailed. See clasps (fasteners), bosses, and treasure bindings.

Fastenings and Furniture Manufacture[edit | edit source]

1614 image of a claspmaker

While many components were made by metalworkers or specialized craftsmen, gürtlers or clausermachers in Germany, some simple fastenings and furniture were undoubtedly made by binders themselves. (Szirmai, 1999. p. 258)

“The designation Gürtler (girdler) refers to craftsmen who manufactured belts and the required metal accessories such as buckles; earlier, the production of armour and cuirasses fell into their realm, later they made objects for everyday use of leather and/or of metal, mainly brass, furnishings for bookbindings, etc. Where the demand of the market was large enough, the craft of Clausurmacher was able to emerge, as for example, in Nuremberg, Erfurt, Leipzg and Wittenberg; we learn from a 1567 request by the binders to the municipal council of Augsburg that, due to the death of a Nuremberg Clausermacher and the high prices the local Gurgler demanded, they asked permission for a Heinrich from Erfurt to establish himself as a Clausermacher (Bücher 1897 pp.345-6; Helwig 1962 vo. 1, p. 55).” (Szirmai, 1999. p.283)

Decorative Features[edit | edit source]

Decorative techniques on Metal Fastenings and Furniture[edit | edit source]

Repousse[edit | edit source]

Engraving[edit | edit source]

Stamping[edit | edit source]

Gilding[edit | edit source]

Niello[edit | edit source]

Piercing[edit | edit source]

Punching[edit | edit source]

Chiseling[edit | edit source]

Enameling/Japanning[edit | edit source]

Patina[edit | edit source]

Furniture Linings[edit | edit source]

Colored parchment or paper placed under a pierced metal fitting. (Ligatus LOB, furniture linings.)

Structural and Mechanical Considerations[edit | edit source]

Of Fastenings[edit | edit source]

Fastenings and other closures keep covers closed chiefly to protect the textblock from damage. Clasps keep texts under constant pressure between boards so they can't expand and contract with relative humidity fluctuations; this was particularly important for bound parchment texts. Fastenings also keep dust, light, and environmental pollutants from penetrating too far into the textblock. Closures also help to keep covers closed during transport, as one would find with smaller bindings intended to be carried on a person.

Of Furniture[edit | edit source]

Book furniture are chiefly used to protect leather, tawed skin, or textile covers from wear by lifting covers slightly up off of surfaces and by protecting vulnerable areas, such as beveled wooden board corners and edges, from impact damage.

Of Chained Bindings[edit | edit source]

On Other Parts of the Book[edit | edit source]

On Boards / Covers[edit | edit source]

On Texts and Textblock Edges[edit | edit source]

On Joints[edit | edit source]

On Facing Materials[edit | edit source]

Conservation Issues[edit | edit source]

Loss[edit | edit source]

Fastenings and furniture are vulnerable to loss from wear or from intentional removal. Clasp straps and hasps are particularly likely to be lost or removed, particularly when they no longer catch because of dimensional changes to the textblock, or as a result of or stretching, contraction, or damage to clasp straps.

Mechanical Damage[edit | edit source]

Chemical Interactions[edit | edit source]

Housings[edit | edit source]

Display[edit | edit source]

Treatment[edit | edit source]

Annotated Bibliography[edit | edit source]


Key Works[edit | edit source]

Adler, Georg and Joachim Krauskopf. 2010. Handbuch Buchverschluss und Buchbeschlag: Terminologie und Geschichte im deutschsprachigen Raum, in den Niederlanded und Italien vom frühen Mittelalter bis in die Gegenwart. [Manual book closure and book fitting. Terminology and history in German-speaking countries, in the Netherlands and Italy from the early Middle Ages to the present.] Wiesbaden: Reichert Verlag. (in German). Excerpt available here.

Thorough German terminology and typology of book fastenings and furniture. Includes a multi-page, multi-lingual thesaurus for furniture components (German, Dutch, English, French, Italian; p. 208-217.)

Dürrfeld, Eike Barbara. 1992. Metal Fastening Mechanisms on Bindings of Three European Countries and Three Centuries Surveyed in the British Library, MA Thesis, School of Art history, Camberwell college of Arts.

A systematic study of metal fastenings on bindings at the British Library.

Dürrfeld, Eike Barbara. 2000. "Terra Incognita: Toward a Historiography of Book Fastenings and Furniture." Book History. Vol. 3.305-313.

Provides a brief history and a more detailed review of literature concerning book furniture.

Dürrfeld, Eike Barbara. 2002. Inaugural-Dissertaion zur Erlangung des “Die Erforschung der Buchschließen und Buchbeschläge: Eine wissenschaftsgeschichliche Analyse seit 1877.” Akademischen Grades eines Dr. Phil., vorgelegt dem Fachbereich Geschichtswissenschaft der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz. Recklinghausen: Weisbaden. [“Researching book clasps and book fittings: an analysis of the history of science since 1877."] (in German)

Horváth, Pál and Tóth, Zsuzsanna. 1993. Csatok és veretek a könyvtáblákon: történeti áttekintés [Fastenings and Furnishings on book covers: a historical survey.] Budapest: Országos Széchényi Könyvtár. (in Hungarian).

A typology of the furnishings on bindings in Hungarian libraries.

Howsam, C. L. 2011. Medieval book fittings: an archaeology of medieval literacy. MA Dissertation. University of Sheffield.

Howsam, C.L. 2016. “Book fastenings and furnishings. An archaeology of late medieval books.” A thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy University of Sheffield Faculty of Arts and Humanities Department of Archaeology.

Maywald, Claus. 2005. Die Buchverschlüsse, Buchbeschläge und sonstigen Metallteile am Buch. Die Terminologie. Wiegner, Königswinter. [The book closures, book fittings and other metal parts on the book.] (in German)

Maywald, Claus, D. Milicevic, and I. Domes. 2009. Buchverschlüsse, Buchbeschläge und sonstigen Metallteile am Buch. Systematik und Terminologie. Fröhlich Verlag, Rossdorf. [Book closures, book fittings and other metal parts on the book. Systematics and terminology.] (in German)

Merian, Sylvie L. 2013. “Protection against the Evil Eye? Votive Offerings on Armenian Manuscript Bindings.” Suave Mechanicals. Essays on the history of bookbinding. Vol. 1, ed. Julia Miller. Ann Arbor, MI, The Legacy Press. 42-93.

Pictures several Armenian Manuscript bindings with extensive metalwork attachments.

Milevski, Robert and Valdis Villerušs. 2008. “Reading the Bible, Preserving the Precious Text: Latvian Peasant Metal-Clad Bindings.” Library History volume 24, (June, issue 2): 128–142.

Miller, Julia. 2010. Books Will Speak Plain. The Legacy Press: Ann Arbor, Michigan. The chapter on the early history of the codex is particularly useful and the work pictures many examples including a chained binding, girdle bindings, and various wraps and ties, button & loops, clasps, and buckles.

Mowery, J. Franklin. 1991. "Clasps, Schliessen, Clausuren: A Guide to the Manufacture and Literature of Clasps." Guild of Bookworkers Journal. 29.2 (Fall 1991). 1-58.

Müller, Wiebke. 1991. Die historische Entwicklung der Buchschliessen und –Beschläge. Herstellungstechniken und resauratorische Betreuung anhand von Beispielen insbesonders aus der Sondersammlung der Universitatsbibliothek Leipzig (Fachschulabschlussarbeit). Berlin: Museum für Deutsche Geschicte [The historical development of book clasps and fittings. Manufacturing techniques and restoration support based on examples, in particular from the special collection of the Leipzig University Library (final thesis).] (unpublished thesis, in German)

A survey of material from Saxony.

Sprenger, Ruth E. 1983. Buchbeschläge und Schließen aus fünf Jahrhunderten. (Aus.-Kat.). Redaktion und Gestaltung Ruth E. Sprenger. München: Bayerische Vereinsbank. [“Book fittings and clasps from five centuries.“] (in German)

Szirmai, J. A. 1991. Verslag onderzoek sluitingen boekbanden ‘De Librije’ Zuthphen. Internal report to the Board of Trustees of the Zutphen Librije. [Report on the fastenings on the bindings of the Zutphen Librije.] (in Dutch, unpublished).

Survey of the fastenings of the bindings in Zutphen Librije. “In the Zutphen Librije I observed heels of small blocks of bone, fixed with two nails (Libr. M 111, Paris imprint of 1513)” in Szirmai p. 267.

Szirmai, J.A. 2000. The Archeology of Medieval Bookbinding. Burlington, Vt.: Ashgate.

Describes Romanesque furniture p. 166-168, German Girdle Book 1471 p. 238; Gothic fastenings p. 251 – 262; Gothic furniture p. 263 – 267; Chained libraries p.267-271; Leather “toggle-type button” of a limp leather binding SG Cod. 1716. p. 296.

van Wijk, Berna. 2019. “Book fittings: The archaeological reconstruction of (post-)medieval books.” Research Master thesis Archaeology 2019-2020 Groningen Institute of Archaeology University of Groningen The Netherlands.


Databases and Digital Collections[edit | edit source]

Adler, Adler. 2006 “Eine Datenbank für Buchverschlüsse und Buchbeschläge.” Einbandforschung – Informationsblatt des Arbeitskreises für die Erfassung und Erschließung historischer Bucheinbände (AEB), Vol 18/April, 13–17. [“A database for book closures and book fittings.” Cover research - information sheet of the working group for the collection and indexing of historical book covers.] (in German)

Database of Bookbindings. The British Library.

Encyklopedieknihy.cz: Encyklopedie knihy v českém středovĕku a raném novovéku.

This online encyclopedia of early Czech bookbindings includes a page on Gothic bookbindings with several examples of bookbindings with furniture. See also: https://www.encyklopedieknihy.cz/index.php/Kovov%C3%BD_pokryv.

Folger Bindings Image Collection. The Folger Shakespeare Library.

Handbookbindings: Clasps, Furniture, and Other Closures. Princeton University Library.

Digital collection of historic bookbindings including a page on fittings.

Sulgurid Ja Metallpanused Köidetel Tallinna Ülikooli Akadeemilise Raamatukogu baltika osakonnas. [Bookclasps and Book Furniture in the Baltic Department of the Academic library of Tallinn University.] (in Estonian)

History of Estonian book furniture. According to Adler, there was no Estonian book furniture. It was a Baltic German style that was used in Estonia up through the 19th century (not Estonian). (p. 230)


Large Surveys, Classifications, & Terminology[edit | edit source]

Adam, Paul. 1927. Das Restaurieren alter Bücher. Halle (Saale): Verlag Wilhelm Knapp. [The Restoration of old Books.]

An early attempt to classify German fastenings.

Adler, Georg and Joachim Krauskopf. 2010. Handbuch Buchverschluss und Buchbeschlag: Terminologie und Geschichte im deutschsprachigen Raum, in den Niederlanded und Italien vom frühen Mittelalter bis in die Gegenwart. [Manual book closure and book fitting. Terminology and history in German-speaking countries, in the Netherlands and Italy from the early Middle Ages to the present.] Wiesbaden: Reichert Verlag. (in German). Excerpt available here.

Thorough German terminology and typology of book fastenings and furniture. Includes a multi-page, multi-lingual thesaurus for furniture components (German, Dutch, English, French, Italian; p. 208-217.)

Nuska, Bohumil. 1965. “Typologie českých renesančních vazeb” in Historická knižni vazba. Liberec: Severočeské museum. 19-145. [“Typology of Czech Renaissance bindings.”] (in Czech with German summary.)

Typology of fastenings on Gothic bindings from Bohemia, including bindings with locks.

Dürrfeld, Eike Barbara. 1993. “Mit Haken und Ösen: Zur Typenbestimmung von Buchschließen des 15. bis 17. Jahrhunderts.” Restauro v.99 (no.6): pp.424-429. [“With hooks and eyes: determining the 15th- to 17th-century types of book clasps.”] (In German)

Using 231 examples from the British Library's collections produced 15th-17th centuries, discusses the specific features that allow identification of English, German, and Italian book fasteners, and suggests a mode of description and terminology for the fastenings.

Dürrfeld, Eike Barbara. 1996. ‘A tentative approach at reconstructing the chronology of different types of metal fastening mechanisms on German bindings of the late 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries’, Gutenberg-Jahrbuch, vol 71. 271-7.

Lüers, Heinrich. 1936. “Die Buchschliesse. Ein technischer Beitrag.” Archiv fur Buchbinderei. Vol 36. 20-3. [“The Bookclasp. A Technical Contribution.”] (in German)

An early attempt to classify German fastenings.

Maywald, Claus. Damir Milicevic, Inge Domes. 2009. Buchverschlüsse, Buchbeschläge und sonstigen Metallteile am Buch. Systematik und Terminologie. Fröhlich Verlag, Rossdorf. [Book closures, book fittings and other metal parts on the book. Systematics and terminology.] (in German)

Szirmai, J.A. 2000. The Archeology of Medieval Bookbinding. Burlington, Vt.: Ashgate.

Describes and characterizes Romanesque furniture p. 166-168, German Girdle Book 1471 p. 238; Gothic fastenings p. 251 – 262; Gothic furniture p. 263 – 267; Chained libraries p.267-271; Leather “toggle-type button” of a limp leather binding SG Cod. 1716. p. 296.

By Geographic Area[edit | edit source]

Armenia[edit | edit source]

Jaschke, Margret and Robert Stähle. 2015. Kostbare Einbandbeschläge an armenischen Handschriften : Dokumentation jüngster Maßnahmen zur Bestandserhaltung. Wiesbaden : Reichert, L. [Precious cover fittings on Armenian manuscripts: Documentation of the latest conservation measures.] (in German and Armenian)

Numerous color figures of Armenian manuscript bindings including votive bindings. The authors describe the measures for restoring damaged or lost fittings using a selection of over 200 repaired objects. An attached glossary explains metalworking technical terms.

Kouymjian, Dickran. 2008. “Post-Byzantine Armenian Bookbinding and Its Relationship to the Greek Tradition.” Athens : Hellenic Society for Bookbinding : Institute for Byzantine Research-NHRF : Byzantine and Christian Museum.

Pictures several Armenian bindings with metal book furniture.

Merian, Sylvie L. 2013. “Protection against the Evil Eye? Votive Offerings on Armenian Manuscript Bindings.” Suave Mechanicals. Essays on the history of bookbinding. Vol. 1, ed. Julia Miller. Ann Arbor, MI, The Legacy Press. 42-93.

Pictures several Armenian Manuscript votive bindings with extensive metalwork attachments.


Austria[edit | edit source]

Pippal, Martina. 1984. “Die neu entdeckten, Langobardischen Buchbeschlage in der Dorflkirche von Vocklabruck.” Osterreichischc Zcitschrift fur Kunst und Denkmalspflege. 174- 184. [“The newly discovered Lombardy book fittings in the Village church of Vocklabruck.”] (In German)


Czechoslovakia[edit | edit source]

Encyklopedieknihy.cz: Encyklopedie knihy v českém středovĕku a raném novovéku. Based on Petr Voit, Encyclopedia of the book: older book printing and related fields between the mid-15th and early 19th century, Prague 2006.

This online encyclopedia of early Czech bookbindings includes a page on Gothic bookbindings with several examples of bookbindings with furniture. See also: hinged punched brass cover with inset colored glass/jewels.

Hamanová, Paulina. 1959. Z dŭjin knizni važby od nejstaršich dob do konce XIX. [The History of Bookbinding from the Earliest Times to the End of the Nineteenth Century], Praha: Orbis. p. 55, fig. 35. (in Czech.)

Features Bohemian binding examples with locks (mostly land registers from the 15-16th centuries.

Hamanová, Paulina, B. Nuska, A. Hubala, and S. Knihovna. 1966. Knižni vazba sedmi stoleti z fondů Strashovskí knihovny ... Prag: Orbis. [Seven centuries of bookbindings from the holdings of the Strash Library.] (in Czech)

Nuska, Bohumil. 1965. “Typologie českých renesančních vazeb.” Historická knižni vazba. Liberec: Severočeské museum. 19-145. [“Typology of Czech Renaissance bindings.”] (in Czech with German summary.)

Typology of fastenings on Gothic bindings from Bohemia, including bindings with locks.


England[edit | edit source]

Dürrfeld, Eike Barbara. 1992. "Metal Fastening Mechanisms on Bindings of Three European Countries and Three Centuries Surveyed in the British Library." MA Thesis, School of Art history, Camberwell college of Arts.

Systematic study on bindings in the British Library.

Howsam, C.L. 2016. “Book fastenings and furnishings. An archaeology of late medieval books.” A thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy University of Sheffield Faculty of Arts and Humanities Department of Archaeology.

Nixon, Howard M. 1992. The History of Decorated Bookbinding in England. Oxford: Clarendon Press.


Estonia[edit | edit source]

Adler, Georg and Joachim Krauskopf. 2010. Handbuch Buchverschluss und Buchbeschlag: Terminologie und Geschichte im deutschsprachigen Raum, in den Niederlanded und Italien vom frühen Mittelalter bis in die Gegenwart. [Manual book closure and book fitting. Terminology and history in German-speaking countries, in the Netherlands and Italy from the early Middle Ages to the present.] Wiesbaden: Reichert Verlag. (in German).

Adler includes a very brief reference to Estonian book clasps: “When I asked about Estonian book closures, Ms. Katrin Kaugver, the head of the Baltica department and rare books from the Tallinn University Academic Library, told me:, There was no such thing as Estonian forms (of book closures and fittings) in Estonia at the time. So-called German style was used, the bookbinding was mainly a branch of the Baltic Germans until the 19th century.” (translated). (p.230)

Sulgurid Ja Metallpanused Köidetel Tallinna Ülikooli Akadeemilise Raamatukogu baltika osakonnas. [Bookclasps and Book Furniture in the Baltic Department of the Academic library of Tallinn University.] (in Estonian) History of Estonian book furniture, which according to Adler, was a Baltic German style through the 19th century (not Estonian). (Adler, 2010 p. 230.)

Turo, Tulvi Hanneli; Haljasmae, Rene. 2006. Köidete metallpanuste koduleht www.tlulib.ee/bookclasp TLÜ Akadeemilises Raamatukogus. Renovatum: Ennistuskoja "Kanut" bülletään, no.11. [see website entry] [The new website: Book Clasps and Book Furniture on the basis of the Collection of the Baltic and Rare Books in Academic Library of Tallinn University.] (in Estonian)

Publicizes the 2004 online project created by conservators at the Academic Library of Tallinn University. www.tlulib.ee/bookclasps, was created based on the Collection of Baltic and Rare Books in the academic library. The site presents a selection of historic book clasps from the 15th to the 20th centuries from the collection. The site provides an easily comprehensible overview of various book clasps as well as the manifold styles and techniques that were used during that period.

France[edit | edit source]

Alexandre, Jean-Louis and Claire Maitre. 1997. Catalogue des Reliures medievales des bibliotheques de France, Conservees ala Bibliotheque d'Autun ainsi qu'a'la societe eduenne. Turnhout: Brepols. [Catalog of Medieval Bindings from French Libraries, Conserved at the Autun Bibliotheque and at the Eduean Society.]

Contains French book findings, clasps, and fittings from the 14th and 15th centuries.

Alexandre, Jean-Louis and Genevieve Grand. Lanoe, Guy. 2000. Bibliothèque municipale de Vendôme. Reliures médiévales des bibliothèques de France. Vol. 2. Turnhout: Brepols. [Vendôme municipal library. Medieval bindings of French libraries.]

French bindings, clasps, fittings from the 11th to 15th centuries.

Carvin, Denis. 1988. La reliure médiévale d’après les fonds des bibliothèques d’Aix-en-Provence, Avignon, Carpentras et Marseille. Arles: Centre Interregional de Conservation des Livres. [Medieval binding from the collections of the Aix-en-Provence, Avignon, Carpentras and Marseille libraries.] (in French)

Some data on fastenings from Southern France.

Glenisson, Jean and Louis Holtz. 1988. Le livre au Moyen Âge. Paris: Presses du CNRS.

Renouard, Ph. 1901. Documents sur les imprimeurs, libraires, cartiers, graveurs, fondeurs de lettres, reilieurs, doreurs de livres, faiseurs de fermoirs, enlumieneurs, parcheminiers et papetiers ayant excercé à Paris de 1450 à 1600. Paris: H. Champion. 234. [Documents on printers, booksellers, cartiers, engravers, founders of letters, reilieurs, gilders of books, makers of clasps, illuminators, parchmenters and stationers having worked in Paris from 1450 to 1600.]

“The occupation” [of clausermacher] “was known elsewhere too: in Paris, Mahiet Révérend is mentioned as faiseur de fermoirs de livres in 1545 and so is Mathurin Regnier in 1553.” In Szirmai p.283.


Germany[edit | edit source]

Adler, Georg and Jörg Ansorge. 2007. “Buchverschlüsse und Buchbeschläge vom Marienkirchhof in Pasewalk – Zeugen der ehemaligen Bibliothek des Pasewalker Dominikanerklosters.” Bodendenkmalpflege in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Jahrbuch 54. Schwerin. 151–176. [Book clasps and book fittings from theMarienkirchhof in Pasewalk - witness to the former library of the Pasewalk Dominican monastery.”] (in German)

Altman, Ursula. 1972. “Bucheinbände mit Schliessen-Exlibris aus Rostock” in Einbandstudien Ilse Shunke zum 80. Berlin: Deutsche Staatsbibliothek. 21-37. [“Book bindings with Exlibris clasps from Rostock”] (in German)

“Engraved inscriptions of the owner’s name have been reported on many bindings from Lubeck and Rosock (Altman 1972, citing also the earlier literature). She observed that the ‘ex-libris’ fastenings are of the type with ‘feathered’ tail (as shown in Figure 9.50[a]) and considered them as characteristic for Northern Germany. Since then it has become clear that such ‘feathered’ fastenings were also quite common in the Low Countries and in the Rhineland and Westphalia.” In Szirmai p.283.

Gabriel, Ingo. 1991. “Mittelalterliche Buchschließen vom Weinberg in Hitzacker, in: Beitrage zur Archaologie und Geschichte Nordostniedersachsens.” Berndt Wachter zum 70. Geburtstag, Liichow. 65-66. [Medieval book closings from the vineyard in Hitzacker, in: Contributions to the archeology and history of northeastern Lower Saxony.] (in German)

Irás-Melis, Katalin. 1974. “Die Fude au seiner Buchbinderwerkstatt des 15. Jahrhunderts im königlichen Schloss zu Buda” Gutenberg-Jahrbuch. vol. 49. 303-10. (in German)

Jäckel, Karl. 1985 “Alte Techniken des Buchbinderhandwerks in der modernen Schriftgutrestaurierung, 7. SchlieBen unci Beschlage.” Bibliotheksforum Bayern 13, 272-290. [“Old bookbinding techniques in modern document restoration, 7. Clasps and fittings.“] (in German)

“…Briefly reviewed the main German variants (but with partly erroneous dating).” In Szirmai, p. 251.

Kempf, Friederich. 1901. “Alte Freiburger Buchbeschläge.” Zeitschrift der Breisgau-Geschichtsvereins Schauinsland. Vol 28. 53-62. (in German)

“Kempf described a series of such furnishings” [decorated with floral elements or fantastic beasts] “on bindings from the Freibourg area (Rhineland)” in Szirmai p. 264

Koch, Robert. 1995. “Eine rnittclalterliche BuchschlieBe aus Langenzenn.” Das archaologische Jahr in Bayern 1994, Bayerisches Landesamt fiir Denkmalpflege. Gesellschaft fur Archaologie in Bayern: Stuttgart. 144- 145. [“A classic book clasp from Langenzenn”] (in German)

Kohlhaussen, Heinrich. 1968. Nürnberger Goldschmiedekunst des Mittelalters und der Dürerzeit 1240 bis 1540. Berlin: Deutscher Verlag für Kunstwissenschaft. 1104-217; Figs. 179-81. [Nuremberg goldsmith's art from the Middle Ages and the Dürer period 1240 to 1540.] (in German)

“In his comprehensive work on Nuremberg goldsmiths Kohlhaussen…devoted a whole chapter to book furnishings, especially the cast types, and noted that even Albrecht Dürer is credited with having designed such furnishings in the 1520s.” in Szirmai p. 264.

“The term ‘Nuremberg wares’ is widely used to denote metal fastenings and furnishings, yet so far on rather uncertain grounds. We must admit that our knowledge of the manufacture of metal articles for everyday use in the late Middle Ages is very imperfect; we know little of the organization of the various crafts and their areas of specialization; we are largely ignorant of their working methods: what was truly ‘hand-made’, which tools or machinery did they employ to facilitate efficient production, and, above all, what trade channels were used for their distribution. Although there is plenty of evidence that Nuremberg was a prominent site of metal craft, including goldsmithing (see Kohlhassen 1968), there is no specific record of the production and trade of book furnishings – an area urgently in need of further research.” In Szirmai p.283.

Künsemüller, Schmidt and A. Friedrich. 1987. “Buchbeschläge.” Severin Corsten (Hrsg.): Lexikon des gesamten Buchwesens. Band 1: A – Buch. Hiersemann, Stuttgart. 573–574. [“Bookclasps.”] (in German)

Kyriss, Ernst. 1940. Nurnberger Klostereinbande der Jahre 1433 bis 1525. [Inaugural-Dissertation Erlangen] Bamberg: J. M. Reindl. 54. [Nurnberg monastery binding from 1433 to 1525.] (in German)

“All monastic workshops in Nuremberg followed the ‘German rule’, except the Augustinians who preferred clasps closing on the lower cover.” In Szirmai p. 252.
“Kyriss observed that almost all monastic workshops in Nuremberg (Dominicans, Augustinian friars, Carthusians) furnished all of their bindings with bosses or corner- and centre pieces.” In Szirmai p. 263.

Kyriss, Ernst. 1957. Der verzierte europäische Einband vor der Renaissance. [The decorated European cover before the Renaissance.] Stuttgart: Max Hettler Verlag. (in German)

“mentions horn and wood; of about 40 bindings with furnishings in the Zutphen Librije seven are fitted with turned wooden bosses.” P. 13. (in Szirmai)

Lüers, Heinrich. 1936. “Die Buchschliesse. Ein technischer Beitrag.” Archiv fur Buchbinderei. Vol 36. 20-3. [“The Bookclasp. A Technical Contribution.”] (in German)

Early attempts to classify German fastenings.

Müller, Wiebke. 1991. Die historische Entwicklung der Buchschliessen und –Beschläge. Herstellungstechniken und resauratorische Betreuung anhand von Beispielen insbesonders aus der Sondersammlung der Universitatsbibliothek Leipzig (Fachschulabschlussarbeit). Berlin: Museum für Deutsche Geschicte [The historical development of book clasps and fittings. Manufacturing techniques and restoration support based on examples, in particular from the special collection of the Leipzig University Library (final thesis).] (unpublished thesis, in German)

A survey of material from Saxony.

Petersen, Dag-Ernst. 1975. Mittelalterliche Bucheinbände der Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel: Kleine Schriften der Herzog August Bibliothek. 5. [Medieval book covers from the Herzog August Bibliothek.] (in German)

“Two wooden laths, parallel to the spine and nailed to the upper cover of the large Gradual (…Amsterdam UB IV A 49) are obviously meant to prevent damage to the cover while it is resting on the lectern; these laths appear to be the predecessors of the half-round brass skids… often used in Germany, notably around Bamberg and Erfurt (D-E Petersen 1975 p. XXXII). In Szirmai, p. 267.

Sprenger, Ruth E. 1983. “Buchbeschläge und Schließen aus fünf Jahrhunderten.” (Aus.-Kat.). Redaktion und Gestaltung Ruth E. Sprenger. München: Bayerische Vereinsbank. [“Book fittings and clasps from five centuries.”] (in German)

Weigel, Christoph. 1698. Abbildung der Gemein-Nützlichen Haupt-Stände Von denen Regenten Und ihren So in Friedens- als Kriegs-Zeiten zugeordneten Bedienten an, biß auf alle Künstler Und Handwercker: Nach Jedes Ambts- und Beruffs-Verrichtungen, meist nach dem Leben gezeichnet und in Kupfer gebracht, auch nach Dero Ursprung, Nutzbar- und Denkwürdigkeiten, kurz, doch gründlich beschrieben, und ganz neu an den Tag geleget. 338. (in German)

Copperplate engraving pictures a 17th century Clausermaker workshop.


Hungary[edit | edit source]

Horváth, Pál and Tóth, Zsuzsanna. 1993. Csatok és veretek a könyvtáblákon: történeti áttekintés [Fastenings and Furnishings on book covers: a historical survey.] Budapest: Országos Széchényi Könyvtár. (in Hungarian).

A typology of the furnishings on bindings in Hungarian libraries.

Középkori könyvveretek: Rippl – Rónai Múzeum [Medieval book fittings.] (in Hungarian) http://smmi.hu/hirek/kozepkori-konyvveretek.html

High resolution images of a set of 15-16th c Hungarian book fittings detached from their bindings.

Irás-Melis, Katalin. 1980. “Bronzene Buchbeschläge aus dem 14 und 15. Jahrhundert in Ungarn” Gutenberg-Jahrbuch. Vol. 55. 274-83. [Bronze book fittings from the 14th and 15th centuries in Hungary”] (in German)

Ujhelyi, Nóra. 2018. “Thoughts about Medieval Book Fittings from the Castle of Visegrád.” Genius Ioci: Laszlovsky 60. Budapest: ARCHAEOLINGUA ALAPÍTVÁNY. 270-272.

Describes a set of book fittings from a castle in Hungary.


Islamic[edit | edit source]

Bosch, Gulnar, John Carswell, and Guy Betherbridge. 1981. Islamic Binding and Bookmaking: a Catalogue of an Exhibition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Pictures many Islamic bindings with foreedge flaps.

Gacek, A. 2001. "The Arabic manuscript tradition. A glossary of technical terms and bibliography."

Scheper, Karin. "The Technique of Islamic Bookbinding : Methods, Materials and Regional Varieties. Islamic Manuscripts and Books." Arnoud Vrolijk ( Leiden University ) VOLUME 8. BRILL.

Italy[edit | edit source]

De Marinis, Tammaro. 1960. La Legatura artistica in Italia nei secoli XV e XVI. Notizie ed elenchi, 3 vols. Firenze: Fratelli Alinari/Istituto di edizioni artistiche. (vol. 1, pp. 29-30; vol. 2, pp. 41ff.) [Artistic binding in Italy in the 15th and 16th centuries.] (in Italian)

Pippal, Martina. 1984. “Die neu entdeckten, Langobardischen Buchbeschlage in der Dorflkirche von Vocklabruck.” Osterreichischc Zcitschrift fur Kunst und Denkmalspflege. 174- 184. [“The newly discovered Lombardy book fittings in the Village church of Vocklabruck.”] (in German)

Korea[edit | edit source]

Song, Minah. 2009. "The history and characteristics of traditional Korean books and bookbinding." Journal of the Institute of Conservation, 32:1, 53-78.

Song describes a style of manuscript stab or post-bound with rods and metal bars (apparently either brass or iron). The article pictures one example (Figure 10) with a central ring, which was also common. "This binding method is called cheoljang (cheol: metal, and Jang: binding or mounting or decorating). The cheoljang was not only used for Uigwe but also for binding books of family registries and land registries in the Joseon period (1399-1910). Uigwes that were specifically presented to Kings were supposed to be bound with more decorative metal bindings while some copies of uigwes were not bound with metal. Most extant examples were from the 17th - 19th century even though there is some historical evidence that it was used before the 17th century." (email correspondence with the author 2.10.2021).

Latvia[edit | edit source]

Milevski, Robert and Valdis Villerušs. 2008. “Reading the Bible, Preserving the Precious Text: Latvian Peasant Metal-Clad Bindings.” Library History. Volume 24, (June, issue 2): 128–142.

V. Villerušs. 1979. “Dazhas latviešu gram matu mam kslas attistibas tendences lidz 1917.” ["Developments in Latvian book art to 1917."] Biblioteku zinatnes aspekti: gramata—lasitajs—biblioteka— bibliografija. [Aspects of librarianship: book— reader—library—bibliography. Riga: ‘Zvaigzne’. 114–149. (In Latvian with English summary on pp. 147–149.)

V. Villerušs. 1987. “Latviešu gram matu mam ksla” [“Latvian book art”]. A. Apinis (ed), Gram mata latviešu sabiedibam 1856–1870. [The book in Latvian society 1856–1870.] Riga: Avots. 55–71. (In Latvian)

V. Villerušs. 2003. “Dazhas atzinc as par latviešu zemnieku grammatu vamku apkalumiem.” [“Notes on Latvian peasant book cover furniture.”] Retumi: veltijums Latvijas Nacionam lams bibliotemkas Reto gram matu un rokrastu nodalcas 50 darba gadiem rakstu kram jums. [Rarities: a collection of articles dedicated to the Latvian National Library Rare Book and Manuscript Division's 50 years of work.] Riga: Latvijas Nacionam lam bibliotemka. 141–142, 158–160. (in Latvian) This is a supplement to Villerušs's 1987 article and includes photos of eight bindings and two drawings of another.


The Low Countries (The Netherlands and Belgium)[edit | edit source]

Altman, Ursula. 1972. “Bucheinbände mit Schliessen-Exlibris aus Rostock.” Einbandstudien Ilse Shunke zum 80. Berlin: Deutsche Staatsbibliothek. 21-37. [“Book bindings with Exlibris clasps from Rostock”] (in German)

“Engraved inscriptions of the owner’s name have been reported on many bindings from Lubeck and Rosock (Altman 1972, citing also the earlier literature). She observed that the ‘ex-libris’ fastenings are of the type with ‘feathered’ tail (as shown in Figure 9.50[a]) and considered them as characteristic for Northern Germany. Since then it has become clear that such ‘feathered’ fastenings were also quite common in the Low Countries and in the Rhineland and Westphalia.” In Szirmai p.283.

Arts, N. 2009. “Gothic book clasps and mounts from excavations in Eindhoven and their contexts.” H. Clevis, X. Bardet and J. Thijssen, Medieval material culture : studies in honour of Jan Thijssen. Zwolle: Foundation for the Promotion of Archaeology. 121-129.

Dongen, Wim van. 1984. “Boekbanden uit de Librije van Zuthpen” [Bookbindings from the Zuthpen Library.] Middeleeuwse boeken en teksten uit Oost-Nederland. Nijmegen: Uitgeverij Alfa, 137-212. (in Dutch).

“Archival data compiled by van Dongen (1984) has even allowed the ascribing of certain types of fastenings to individual workshops.” From Szirmai.

Szirmai, J. A. 1991. Verslag onderzoek sluitingen boekbanden ‘De Librije’ Zuthphen. Internal report to the Board of Trustees of the Zutphen Librije. [Report on the fastenings on the bindings of the Zutphen Librije.] (in Dutch, unpublished).

Survey of the fastenings of the bindings in Zutphen Librije. “In the Zutphen Librije I observed heels of small blocks of bone, fixed with two nails (Libr. M 111, Paris imprint of 1513)” in Szirmai p. 267.


Poland[edit | edit source]

Jedrzejowska, Helena; Pelczarowa, Maria. 1967. "Katalog inkunabułów Biblioteki Gdańskiej Polskiej akademii nauk." Cześć druga Uzupełnienia i Dodatki. Gdańsk : Biblioteka gdańska. [Incunabula catalog of the city library in Gdansk.] (in Polish)


Russia[edit | edit source]

Klepikov, Sokrat Aleksandrovic. 1961. “Russian bookbinding from the 11th to the middle of the 17th century.” The Book Collector. Vol. 10. 408-422.

Describes five early ‘votive’ bindings from the 12th – 17th centuries, Russian presentation bindings with jeweled metal covers created by repousse metal artists (includes some photographs) attached over leather or textile covers. Describes plain leather bindings from the Novgorod region (northwest Russia) from the 11th-15th century with early examples having metal pegs (shoes) attached to the board edges and later examples fitted with pierced ironwork. Also describes Choduv or Miracle bindings from the Chudov Monestary in the Kremlin binding workshop, and pictures one from the 16th century with simple metalwork (clasps and simple, tear-shaped bosses) and “lips” around the edges of the boards.


Scandinavia[edit | edit source]

Andersson-Schmitt, Margarete and Monica Hedlund. 1989. Mittelalterliche Handschriften der Universtätsbibliothek Uppsala. Katalog über die C Sammlung. Vol 2. Stockholm: Almquist & Wiksell. (in German)

“Bone was used for bosses on some Scandinavian bindings, such as on examples from Vadstena Abbey in Sweden.” In Szirmai p.267.

Hannover, Emil. 1906. Kunstfardige gamle bog bind indtil 1850 det danske kunstindustrimuseums udstelling. Kopenhagen: Lehmann & Stages Verlag. [Art-rich old bookbindings until 1850: the exhibition of the Danish Art Industry Museum.] (In Danish)

Henschen, Ingergerd. 1920 “Ett par medeltida bokband i Upsala Universitetsbibliotek.” Nordisk Tidskrift för Bok- och Biblioteksväsen, vol. 7. 156-61. [“Two Medieval Bindings in Uppsala University Library.”] (in Swedish)

Another mention of bone used for bosses on Scandinavian bindings.


Spain[edit | edit source]

López Serrano, Matilde; Mees, Marc; Romero de Lecea, Carlos; et al.1985. Ocho Siglos de Encuadernacion, Espanola. Briissel: Bibliotheea Wittockiana. 1985 [Eight Centuries of Spanish Binding.]

Bindings, clasps, and fittings from the 13th and 18th centuries.

Thomas, Sir Henry. 1939. Early Spanish Bookbindings, XI-XV centuries. London: Printed for the Bibliographical Society at the University Press, Oxford.

Tibet[edit | edit source]

Helman-Ważny, Agnieszka. 2014. Archaeology of Tibetan Books. BRILL.

Helman-Ważny describes texts covered in cloth wrappings, sometimes with metal fittings.(2014. p.56) “In the Tibetan pothi format, the elements are leaves— one or a few layered papers, a cloth cover of cotton or silk, labels of brocade or other cloth, and covers of wood with a wood and metal fitting (Figure 17). ... the paper layers of Tibetan books are joined together with paper or leather clips. The leaves are wrapped in cloth called dpe ras and secured with a flat cord or sometimes a buckle (Figures 18).” (2014. p. 53)

By Time Period[edit | edit source]

Medieval[edit | edit source]

Alexandre, Jean-Louis and Claire Maitre. 1997. Catalogue des Reliures medievales des bibliotheques de France, Conservees ala Bibliotheque d'Autun ainsi qu'a'la societe eduenne. Turnhout: Brepols. [Catalog of Medieval Bindings from French Libraries, Conserved at the Autun Bibliotheque and at the Eduean Society.]

Contains French book findings, clasps, and fittings from the 14th and 15th centuries.

Alexandre, Jean-Louis and Genevieve Grand. Lanoe, Guy. 2000. "Bibliothèque municipale de Vendôme." Reliures médiévales des bibliothèques de France. Vol. 2. Turnhout: Brepols. [Vendôme municipal library. Medieval bindings of French libraries.]

French bindings, clasps, fittings from the 11th to 15th centuries.

Arts, N. 2009. “Gothic book clasps and mounts from excavations in Eindhoven and their contexts.” H. Clevis, X. Bardet and J. Thijssen, Medieval material culture : studies in honour of Jan Thijssen. Zwolle: Foundation for the Promotion of Archaeology. 121-129.

Carvin, Denis. 1988. La reliure médiévale d’après les fonds des bibliothèques d’Aix-en-Provence, Avignon, Carpentras et Marseille. Arles: Centre Interregional de Conservation des Livres. [Medieval binding from the collections of the Aix-en-Provence, Avignon, Carpentras and Marseille libraries.] (in French)

Data on fastenings from Southern France.

Dongen, Wim van. 1984. “Boekbanden uit de Librije van Zuthpen” [Bookbindings from the Zuthpen Library.] Middeleeuwse boeken en teksten uit Oost-Nederland. Nijmegen: Uitgeverij Alfa, 137-212. (in Dutch).

“Archival data compiled by van Dongen (1984) has even allowed the ascribing of certain types of fastenings to individual workshops.” From Szirmai.

Gabriel, Ingo. 1991. “Mittelalterliche Buchschließen vom Weinberg in Hitzacker, in: Beitrage zur Archaologie und Geschichte Nordostniedersachsens.” Berndt Wachter zum 70. Geburtstag, Liichow. 65-66. [Medieval book closings from the vineyard in Hitzacker, in: Contributions to the archeology and history of northeastern Lower Saxony.]

Glenisson, Jean. Holtz, Louis. 1988. Le livre au Moyen Âge. Paris : Presses du CNRS. [The book in the Middle Ages.] (in French)

Henschen, Ingergerd. 1920 “Ett par medeltida bokband i Upsala Universitetsbibliotek.” Nordisk Tidskrift för Bok- och Biblioteksväsen. Vol. 7. 156-61. [“Two Medieval Bindings in Uppsala University Library.”] (in Swedish)

Howsam, C. L. 2011. Medieval book fittings: an archaeology of medieval literacy. MA Dissertation. University of Sheffield.

Irás-Melis, Katalin. 1974. “Die Fude au seiner Buchbinderwerkstatt des 15. Jahrhunderts im königlichen Schloss zu Buda.” Gutenberg-Jahrbuch. Vol. 49. 303-10. (in German)

Irás-Melis, Katalin. 1980. “Bronzene Buchbeschläge aus dem 14 und 15. Jahrhundert in Ungarn.” Gutenberg-Jahrbuch. Vol. 55. 274-83. [Bronze book fittings from the 14th and 15th centuries in Hungary”] (in German)

Kohlhaussen, Heinrich. 1968. Nürnberger Goldschmiedekunst des Mittelalters und der Dürerzeit 1240 bis 1540. Berlin: Deutscher Verlag für Kunstwissenschaft. 1104-217; Figs. 179-81. [Nuremberg goldsmith's art from the Middle Ages and the Dürer period 1240 to 1540.] (in German) “In his comprehensive work on Nuremberg goldsmiths Kohlhaussen…devoted a whole chapter to book furnishings, especially the cast types, and noted that even Albrecht Dürer is credited with having designed such furnishings in the 1520s.” in Szirmai p. 264.

“The term ‘Nuremberg wares’ is widely used to denote metal fastenings and furnishings, yet so far on rather uncertain grounds. We must admit that our knowledge of the manufacture of metal articles for everyday use in the late Middle Ages is very imperfect; we know little of the organization of the various crafts and their areas of specialization; we are largely ignorant of their working methods: what was truly ‘hand-made’, which tools or machinery did they employ to facilitate efficient production, and, above all, what trade channels were used for their distribution. Although there is plenty of evidence that Nuremberg was a prominent site of metal craft, including goldsmithing (see Kohlhassen 1968), there is no specific record of the production and trade of book furnishings – an area urgently in need of further research.” In Szirmai p.283.

Kyriss, Ernst. 1940. Nurnberger Klostereinbande der Jahre 1433 bis 1525. [Inaugural-Dissertation Erlangen] Bamberg: J. M. Reindl. 54. [Nurnberg monastery binding from 1433 to 1525.] (in German)

“All monastic workshops in Nuremberg followed the ‘German rule’, except the Augustinians who preferred clasps closing on the lower cover.” In Szirmai p. 252.
“Kyriss observed that almost all monastic workshops in Nuremberg (Dominicans, Augustinian friars, Carthusians) furnished all of their bindings with bosses or corner- and centre pieces.” In Szirmai p. 263.

Lehmann, Paul. 1929-30. “Inventare klösterlicher Buchbindereien.” [“Inventories of Monastic Binderies.”] Jharbuch der Enbandkunst. Vol. 3-4. 34-40. (in German)

“But binders also made metal furnishings themselves, as is evident from inventories where metalworking tools are listed; the earliest is that of the Bamberg monastery, dating from 1483.” In Szirmai p.283.

Petersen, Dag-Ernst. 1975. Mittelalterliche Bucheinbände der Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel: Kleine Schriften der Herzog August Bibliothek. (5). [Medieval book covers from the Herzog August Bibliothek.] (in German)

“Two wooden laths, parallel to the spine and nailed to the upper cover of the large Gradual (…Amsterdam UB IV A 49) are obviously meant to prevent damage to the cover while it is resting on the lectern; these laths appear to be the predecessors of the half-round brass skids… often used in Germany, notably around Bamberg and Erfurt (D-E Petersen 1975 p. XXXII). In Szirmai, p. 267.

Szirmai, J.A. 2000. The Archeology of Medieval Bookbinding. Burlington, Vt.: Ashgate.

German Girdle Book 1471 p. 238; Gothic fastenings p. 251 – 262; Gothic furniture p. 263 – 267; Chained libraries p.267-271; Leather “toggle-type button” of a limp leather binding, p. 296.

Thomas, Henry, Sir. 1939. Early Spanish Bookbindings: XI-XV Centuries. London: Printed for the Bibliographical Society at the University Press.

Ujhelyi, Nóra. 2018. “Thoughts about Medieval Book Fittings from the Castle of Visegrád.” Genius Ioci: Laszlovsky 60. Budapest: ARCHAEOLINGUA ALAPÍTVÁNY. 270-272.

Describes a set of book fittings from a castle in Hungary.


Late Medieval[edit | edit source]

Bücher, Karl. 1897. “Deutsche Buchbinder-Ordnungen,” Archiv für Geschichte des Deutschen Buchhandels. Vol 19. 305-76. [“German Bookbinder Regulations.” Archives for the History of the German Book Trade.]

“The designation Gürtler (girdler) refers to craftsmen who manufactured belts and the required metal accessories such as buckles; earlier, the production of armour and cuirasses fell into their realm, later they made objects for everyday use of leather and/or of metal, mainly brass, furnishings for bookbindings, etc. Where the demand of the market was large enough, the craft of Clausurmacher was able to emerge, as for example, in Nuremberg, Erfurt, Leipzg and Wittenberg; we learn from a 1567 request by the binders to the municipal council of Augsburg that, due to the death of a Nuremberg Clausermacher and the high prices the local Gurgler demanded, they asked permission for a Heinrich from Erfurt to establish himself as a Clausermacher (Bücher 1897 pp.345-6; Helwig 1962 vo. 1, p. 55). In Szirmai p.283.

Hartman, Roland. 1987. “Verschliessbare Einbände des 15, und 16.” Jahrhunderts’ in Festschrift Otto Schäfer zum 75. Geburtstag am 29. Juni 1987. Stuttgart: Dr Ernst Hauswedell & Co. 427-36.[“ Lockable covers of the 15th and 16th“] (in German)

Describes four German with locks dating between 1446 and 1536.

Howsam, C.L. 2016. “Book fastenings and furnishings. An archaeology of late medieval books.” A thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy University of Sheffield Faculty of Arts and Humanities Department of Archaeology.

Jedrzejowska, Helena; Pelczarowa, Maria. 1967. Katalog inkunabułów Biblioteki Gdańskiej Polskiej akademii nauk. Cześć druga Uzupełnienia i Dodatki. Gdańsk : Biblioteka gdańska. [Incunabula catalog of the city library in Gdansk.] (in Polish)

Koch, Robert. 2003. “Romanische Buchschließen mit Tier- unci Pflanzenmotiven” Aspekte der Archaologie des Mittelalters unci der Neuzeit, Festschrift fur Walter Sage, Hg. von Ingolf Ericsson unci Hans Losert (Bamberger Schriften zur Archaologie des Mittelalters und der Neuzeit; 1), Bonn: R. Habelt. 242- 246. [“Romanesque book closures with animal and plant motifs”] (in German)

Szirmai, J.A. 2000. The Archeology of Medieval Bookbinding. Burlington, Vt.: Ashgate. 166-168.

Romanesque[edit | edit source]

Koch, Robert. 2003. “Romanische Buchschließen mit Tier- unci Pflanzenmotiven.” Aspekte der Archaologie des Mittelalters unci der Neuzeit, Festschrift fur Walter Sage, Hg. von Ingolf Ericsson unci Hans Losert (Bamberger Schriften zur Archaologie des Mittelalters und der Neuzeit; 1), Bonn: R. Habelt. 242- 246. [“Romanesque book closures with animal and plant motifs”] (in German)

Szirmai, J.A. 2000. The Archeology of Medieval Bookbinding. Burlington, Vt.: Ashgate. 166-168.


Renaissance[edit | edit source]

De Marinis, Tammaro. 1960. La Legatura artistica in Italia nei secoli XV e XVI. Notizie ed elenchi, 3 vols. Firenze: Fratelli Alinari/Istituto di edizioni artistiche. (vol. 1, pp. 29-30; vol. 2, pp. 41ff.) [Artistic binding in Italy in the 15th and 16th centuries.] (in Italian)

Nuska, Bohumil. 1965. “Typologie českých renesančních vazeb.” Historická knižni vazba. Liberec: Severočeské museum. 19-145. [“Typology of Czech Renaissance bindings.”] (in Czech with German summary.)

Renouard, Ph. 1901. Documents sur les imprimeurs, libraires, cartiers, graveurs, fondeurs de lettres, reilieurs, doreurs de livres, faiseurs de fermoirs, enlumieneurs, parcheminiers et papetiers ayant excercé à Paris de 1450 à 1600. Paris: H. Champion. 234. [Documents on printers, booksellers, cartiers, engravers, founders of letters, reilieurs, gilders of books, makers of clasps, illuminators, parchmenters and stationers having worked in Paris from 1450 to 1600.]

“The occupation” [of clausermacher] “was known elsewhere too: in Paris, Mahiet Révérend is mentioned as faiseur de fermoirs de livres in 1545 and so is Mathurin Regnier in 1553.” In Szirmai p.283.

By Specific Feature or Type[edit | edit source]

Anabaptist[edit | edit source]

Luthy, David. "Metal Initial and Date Plates on Amish and Mennonite Books Known to Exist in North America." Pennsylvania Mennonite Heritage. 35, no. 3 (July 2012): 2-14.

Metzger, Chela, Erin Hammeke, Alexander Ames. 2020. “The Faith that Binds: Swiss Anabaptist Devotional Bookbindings in Early America.” Suave Mechanicals. The Legacy Press: Ann Arbor. Vol 6.

Describes Amish and Mennonite bookbindings in Switzerland and Pennsylvania that exhibit extensive metal attachments with linear punchwork, including initial and date plates, corner and center pieces, and studded leather or chain-like, all-metal spine straps.


Chained Bookindings & Libraries[edit | edit source]

Blades, William. 1892. Books in Chains and other Bibliographical Papers. London: Elliot Stock.

Clark, John Willis. 1902. The Care of Books. An Essay on the Development of Libraries and their Fittings from the Earliest Times to the End of the Eighteenth Century. Cambridge: University Press.

Kerr, N.R. 1950-1. “Chaining from a Staple on the Back Cover.” The Bodleian Library Record. Vol 3. 104-7.

A brief article that describes a certain way of chaining books by means of a staple placed on the center of the lower edge of the lower cover.

Streeter, Burnett Hillman. 1931. The Chained Library. A Survey of Four Centuries in the Evolution of the English Library. London: Macmillian and Co. Ltd.

Quite extensive survey of English chained libraries with a focus on the library furniture and systems. Images of many chained library shelving but very no binding/book furniture illustrations, (except for two chain styles p. 297.)

Szirmai, J.A. 2000. The Archeology of Medieval Bookbinding. Burlington, Vt.: Ashgate.

Chained libraries p.267-271.


Locked Bookbindings[edit | edit source]

Adam, Paul. 1923. “Der Einfluss der Klosterarbeit auf die Einbandkunst’ in Buch und Bucheinband.” Aufsätze und graphische Blätter zum 60. Geburtstage von hans Loubier. Leipzig: Verlag Karl W. Hiersemann, 148-69. [“The influence of monastery work on the art of binding’ in books and book covers.” Essays and graphic sheets for the 60th birthday of Hans Loubier, Leipzig]

“There were many instances where the fastenings had the task of literally keeping the book closed and were adopted accordingly. The earliest example was noted by Adam (1923b): the council of the City of Cologne had recorded the taking of oaths in a particular volume, dated 1341, that had been furnished with a lock, recessed in the thick (17mm) upper board; its key was kept in the custody of three councilors.” In Szirmai p. 261.

Hartman, Roland. 1987. “Verschliessbare Einbände des 15, und 16.” Jahrhunderts’ in Festschrift Otto Schäfer zum 75. Geburtstag am 29. Juni 1987. Stuttgart: Dr Ernst Hauswedell & Co. 427-36.[“ Lockable covers of the 15th and 16th“] (in German)

Describes four German with locks dating between 1446 and 1536.

Heiles, Marco. 2016. “Liste abschließbarer Handschriften des Mittelalters und der Frühen Neuzeit.”

List of lockable manuscripts from the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period. (in German with English translation.)

Nuska, Bohumil. 1965. “Typologie českých renesančních vazeb” in Historická knižni vazba. Liberec: Severočeské museum. 19-145. [“Typology of Czech Renaissance bindings.”] (in Czech with German summary.)

Typology of fastenings on Gothic bindings from Bohemia, including bindings with locks. “Bohemian examples,” (with locks) “mostly land registers from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, are cited by …Nuska (1965 p. 55, pl.III).” in Szirmai p. 261.

Ziedler, Johann Gottfried. 1708. Buchbinder-Philosophie oder Einleitung in die Buchbinder Kunst. [Buchbinder philosophy or introduction to Buchbinder art,] Hall im Magdeburgschen: Rengertsche Buchhandlung (Facsimile edition 1978 Hannover: Sclütersche). p. 132.

Gives details of the “’Schlösser’ and notes that ‘die Alten haben ihre Schlösser gantz von Eisen geschmiedet; theils von Messing dicke gegossen […] Heute zu tage […] weren die Clausuren gemeinlich nur von Milanischen Blech von den Gurtlern aufs liederlichste gemact.” “’ …notes that’ the old people have forged their locks entirely of iron; partly cast from brass thick […] Today […] the Clausuren are generally made only by Milanese sheet metal by the belters in the most dissolute way.‘” in Szirmai p.251.


Treasure Bindings[edit | edit source]

Needham, Paul. Twelve Centuries of Bookbindings, 400–1600 New York: Pierpont Morgan Library; London: Oxford University Press, 1979.

Miller, Julia. 2010. Books Will Speak Plain. The Legacy Press: Ann Arbor, MI. (p. 78-79.)

Treasure Binding. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treasure_binding


Votive Bindings[edit | edit source]

Merian, Sylvie L. 2013. “Protection against the Evil Eye? Votive Offerings on Armenian Manuscript Bindings.” in Suave Mechanicals. Essays on the history of bookbinding, vol. 1, ed. Julia Miller. Ann Arbor, MI, The Legacy Press. 42-93.

Pictures several Armenian Manuscript bindings with extensive metalwork attachments to covers.

Historical Sources[edit | edit source]

Bray, Dirk de. 1658. Kort onderwijs van het boeckenbindin / A Short Instruction in the Binding of Books. (facsimile reproduction edited by K. van der Horst and C. de Wolf, English translation by H.S. Lake) (1977) Amsterdam: Nico Israel.

“Briefly describes the mounting of ‘sloten’ [clasps], for which recesses in the boards had to be made before covering.” In Szirmai p. 251.

Weigel, Christoph. 1698. Abbildung der Gemein-Nützlichen Haupt-Stände Von denen Regenten Und ihren So in Friedens- als Kriegs-Zeiten zugeordneten Bedienten an, biß auf alle Künstler Und Handwercker: Nach Jedes Ambts- und Beruffs-Verrichtungen, meist nach dem Leben gezeichnet und in Kupfer gebracht, auch nach Dero Ursprung, Nutzbar- und Denkwürdigkeiten, kurz, doch gründlich beschrieben, und ganz neu an den Tag geleget. 338. (in German)

Copperplate engraving pictures a 17th century Clausermaker workshop.

Ziedler, Johann Gottfried. 1708. Buchbinder-Philosophie oder Einleitung in die Buchbinder Kunst. [Buchbinder philosophy or introduction to Buchbinder art,] Hall im Magdeburgschen: Rengertsche Buchhandlung (Facsimile edition 1978 Hannover: Sclütersche). p. 132

Gives details of the “’Schlösser’ and notes that ‘die Alten haben ihre Schlösser gantz von Eisen geschmiedet; theils von Messing dicke gegossen […] Heute zu tage ::[…] weren die Clausuren gemeinlich nur von Milanischen Blech von den Gurtlern aufs liederlichste gemact.” [“
“’ …notes that’ the old people have forged their locks entirely of iron; partly cast from brass thick […] Today […] the Clausuren are generally made only by Milanese sheet metal by the belters in the most dissolute way. ‘”in Szirmai p.251.

Klausermakers / Clausermachers[edit | edit source]

Bücher, Karl. 1897. “Deutsche Buchbinder-Ordnungen,” Archiv für Geschichte des Deutschen Buchhandels. Vol 19. 305-76. [“German Bookbinder Regulations.” Archives for the History of the German Book Trade.]

“The designation Gürtler (girdler) refers to craftsmen who manufactured belts and the required metal accessories such as buckles; earlier, the production of armour and cuirasses fell into their realm, later they made objects for everyday use of leather and/or of metal, mainly brass, furnishings for bookbindings, etc. Where the demand of the market was large enough, the craft of Clausurmacher was able to emerge, as for example, in Nuremberg, Erfurt, Leipzg and Wittenberg; we learn from a 1567 request by the binders to the municipal council of Augsburg that, due to the death of a Nuremberg Clausermacher and the high prices the local Gurgler demanded, they asked permission for a Heinrich from Erfurt to establish himself as a Clausermacher (Bücher 1897 pp.345-6; Helwig 1962 vo. 1, p. 55).” In Szirmai p.283.

Der Klausermaker.

German Wikipedia entry on German claspmakers of the 14-16th centuries.

Dongen, Wim van. 1984. “Boekbanden uit de Librije van Zuthpen” [Bookbindings from the Zuthpen Library.] Middeleeuwse boeken en teksten uit Oost-Nederland. Nijmegen: Uitgeverij Alfa, 137-212. (in Dutch):. “Archival data compiled by van Dongen (1984) has even allowed the ascribing of certain types of fastenings to individual workshops.” From Szirmai.

Renouard, Ph. 1901. Documents sur les imprimeurs, libraires, cartiers, graveurs, fondeurs de lettres, reilieurs, doreurs de livres, faiseurs de fermoirs, enlumieneurs, parcheminiers et papetiers ayant excercé à Paris de 1450 à 1600, Paris: H. Champion. 234. [Documents on printers, booksellers, cartiers, engravers, founders of letters, reilieurs, gilders of books, makers of clasps, illuminators, parchmenters and stationers having worked in Paris from 1450 to 1600.] (in French)

“The occupation” [of clausermacher] “was known elsewhere too: in Paris, Mahiet Révérend is mentioned as faiseur de fermoirs de livres in 1545 and so is Mathurin Regnier in 1553.” In Szirmai p.283.

Weigel, Christoph. 1698. Abbildung der Gemein-Nützlichen Haupt-Stände Von denen Regenten Und ihren So in Friedens- als Kriegs-Zeiten zugeordneten Bedienten an, biß auf alle Künstler Und Handwercker: Nach Jedes Ambts- und Beruffs-Verrichtungen, meist nach dem Leben gezeichnet und in Kupfer gebracht, auch nach Dero Ursprung, Nutzbar- und Denkwürdigkeiten, kurz, doch gründlich beschrieben, und ganz neu an den Tag geleget. 338. (in German)

Copperplate engraving pictures a 17th century Clausermaker workshop.

Manufacture / How to / Making Replicas[edit | edit source]

Imfeld, Hermann and Ulrike Schlüter. 1992. “Das Anfertigen von Buchschließen.” Arbeitsblatter NRW-Restauratoren. Vol 4. 1-9. [“Making Book Clasps.”] (in German)

http://bookclasp.com/

Bookclasp site by jeweler and bookbinder Jocelyn Merchant.

Jäckel, Karl. 1965. “Hinweise zur Restaurierung von Buchbeschlägen.” Allgemeiner Anzeiger für Buchbindereien. Jg. 78. 318-324. [“Advice on Restoring Book Fittings.”]

Mowery, J. Franklin. 1991."Clasps, Schliessen, Clausuren: A Guide to the Manufacture and Literature of Clasps." Guild of Bookworkers Journal. 29.2 (Fall 1991). 1-58.

A good overview of book furniture with some methods for making clasps.

Conservation Issues[edit | edit source]

Correia, Inês, 2012. “Revelations of a thirteenth-century Bible: from archaeological evidence to digital display.” Care and conservation of manuscripts. Vol. 13. 293-302.

The history, description, original structure, comparative analysis, and the conservation treatment of this 13th-century Dominican Parisian Bible are discussed. The conservation treatment consisted of cleaning and rebinding, specifically cleaning the spine, alum-tawed pigskin extensions for broken bands and for sewing endbands, high-density binders board, leather covering, and bosses and clasps.

Jäckel, Karl. 1965. “Hinweise zur Restaurierung von Buchbeschlägen.” Allgemeiner Anzeiger für Buchbindereien. Jg. 78. 318-324. [“Advice on Restoring Book Fittings.”] (in German)

Jäckel, Karl. 1985 “Alte Techniken des Buchbinderhandwerks in der modernen Schriftgutrestaurierung, 7. SchlieBen unci Beschlage.” Bibliotheksforum Bayern 13, 272-290. [“Old bookbinding techniques in modern document restoration, 7. Clasps and fittings.“] (in German)

“…Briefly reviewed the main German variants (but with partly erroneous dating).” In Szirmai, p. 251.

Jaschke, Margret and Robert Stähle. 2015. Kostbare Einbandbeschläge an armenischen Handschriften : Dokumentation jüngster Maßnahmen zur Bestandserhaltung. Wiesbaden : Reichert, L. [Precious cover fittings on Armenian manuscripts: Documentation of the latest conservation measures.] (in German and Armenian)

Numerous color figures of Armenian manuscript bindings including votive bindings. The authors describe the measures for restoring damaged or lost exams using a selection of over 200 repaired objects. An attached glossary explains metalworking technical terms.

Müller, Wiebke. 1991. Die historische Entwicklung der Buchschliessen und –Beschläge. Herstellungstechniken und resauratorische Betreuung anhand von Beispielen insbesonders aus der Sondersammlung der Universitatsbibliothek Leipzig (Fachschulabschlussarbeit). Berlin: Museum für Deutsche Geschicte [The historical development of book clasps and fittings. Manufacturing techniques and restoration support based on examples, in particular from the special collection of the Leipzig University Library (final thesis).] (unpublished thesis, in German)

Other Reading[edit | edit source]

Beaty, Katherine. 2020. "Tackets, Buckles, and Overbands." Suave Mechanicals. Vol. 6. The Legacy Press: Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Bloxam, Jim and Shaun Thompson. 2019. "A Previously Unrecorded Sewing Technique." Suave Mechanicals. Vol. 5. The Legacy Press: Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Buchschließe – Wikipedia Entry [Bookclasps]

Clark, John Willis. 1902. The Care of Books. An Essay on the Development of Libraries and their Fittings from the Earliest Times to the End of the Eighteenth Century. Cambridge: University Press.

“Classical studies… clarified to a great extent the evolution of library furniture.” [regarding chained bindings] in Szirmai p. 268.

Der Klausermaker.

German Wikipedia entry on German claspmakers of the 14-16th centuries.

Lehmann, Paul. 1929-30. “Inventare klösterlicher Buchbindereien.” [“Inventories of Monastic Binderies.”] Jharbuch der Enbandkunst. Vol. 3-4. 34-40. (in German)

“But binders also made metal furnishings themselves, as is evident from inventories where metalworking tools are listed; the earliest is that of the Bamberg monastery, dating from 1483.” In Szirmai p.283.

Metzger, Chela. 2013 "Colonial Blankbooks in the Winterthur Library." Suave Mechanicals. Vol. 1. The Legacy Press: Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Miner, Dorothy (ed.) 1957. The History of Bookbinding 525-1950 A.D. Baltimore: the Walters Art Gallery.

Nixon, Howard M. 1992. The History of Decorated Bookbinding in England'.' Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Nuska, Bohumil. 1966-70. “Spony knih jsou k zavírání.” Historická Knizní Vazba. 177/178. [Dt. Zusammenfassung: Spangen sind zum Schließen der Bücher da, S. 195/196]. [“Book clasps are for closing.”] (in Czech)

Oldham, J. Basil. 1952. English Blind-Stamped Bindings. Cambridge: The University Press. p. 8.

“Table 9.16 shows that the direction of closing confirms, at large, the generally observed prevalence of fastenings closing on the lower cover in Italy and England, whereas fastenings on German and Dutch bindings are preferably closed the other way.” In Szirmai p. 252.

History of This Page[edit | edit source]

In Summer 2020, the new page, outline and bibliography was created by the following:

Compiler: Erin Hammeke

Wiki Compilers:
2020: Erin Hammeke



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