In the museum sits an 800-pound Imperial arming press from 1832 that James bought and had shipped from France three years ago. Asked how expensive that was, he answers “frightfully,” declining to elaborate. James has been working on the museum for 15 years, accumulating paper cutters, paper samples, lettering tools, contraptions for lining blank paper, photos, manuals, and union pins from the International Brotherhood of Bookbinders.
Earlier this year he attained nonprofit status and started giving tours by appointment. In August he opened to the public. Admission is free and on Saturdays binder Tom Conroy is there working in the traditional fashion.
Even if you’re not going to San Francisco in the foreseeable future, do look at their website, which includes, among other things, a database of books annotated with salty comments such as,
- First, one hopes
- This may not be the most utterly useless self-published book ever written on binding your own books; and it may not be the very worst bound. It must, however, be in the final running for both prizes.
- Covers heavily cockled, pages cockled at gutter, from poor binding technique
Have any of you dear readers yet been there? If so, please report.