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Trying to identify an antique book binder

Joined
Jun 14, 2022
Hey there. I'm working for a school and am trying to get a piece of machinery to auction but I'm not sure who built it or when it was built. There aren't any plates on it other than a scratched in number, which I think is either the model or the serial number. The only product information I've found is for the motor. But nothing for the machine. It's some kind of book binding machine iiuc. I went to take a second look at it and found a number stamped on the side as well so that might be something too. But that's all I've got on it.

Here are the numbers-
0F-118-N (the numbers are roughly scratched and the 0 might be an O and the N might be an A)
8312

I'm not sure if I can post pictures yet due to non-disclosure and I apologize if this isn't enough info. I'm stumped and thought I'd try a different approach.
 

L Vanice

Diamond
Joined
Feb 8, 2006
Location
Fort Wayne, IN
I have been reading books for many years, borrowing from the Fort Wayne, IN library as early as 1953. I still recall that most of those library books had a sturdy cloth binding and were marked toward the back, "Heckman Bindery." It was standard procedure for the library to buy commercially mass-produced books and periodicals and send them to Heckman to have them rebound before putting them in circulation. This thread led me to look into that company and I found their history, as related by the owner in 1992. When thinking of book binding equipment, be aware that Heckman started out in 1931 with a few basic hand tools to repair worn school and library books in their home. Eventually, they became the largest library binders in the USA and obviously had machinery. The company history explains the difference between the Heckman Bindery's library and school binding business (often one book at a time) and the book companies that make editions of 50,000 of the same book for one order.


Larry
 
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99Panhard

Stainless
Joined
Feb 22, 2006
Location
Smithfield, Rhode Island
An awful lot depends on what sort of machine it is...if it's an early "perfect binder" it's probably near worthless. If it's a machine for stitching signatures it may be quite desirable. A lot of small binderies use very old equipment for multiple reasons though mostly because machines for short run binding have not advanced much since the late 19th century, the demand is small and the machines never wear out.

NOTE: "Perfect Binding" is an oxymoron...it's the process where you essentially glue the binding end of the sheets together rather than stitching them. You've all had books where the pages are falling out...those were "perfect bound."

A "signature" is a group of 4, 8 or 16 pages printed on both sides of a large sheet and folded so that the pages come out in the right order. They are stitched through the folded end at the spine after which the other three sides are trimmed. The books I work on are designed for 16 page signatures, which means I have to make the finished page count a multiple of either 8 or 16. When you see a book with multiple blank pages at the end, it's because the page count didn't match the signatures.
 
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99Panhard

Stainless
Joined
Feb 22, 2006
Location
Smithfield, Rhode Island
I haven't a clue as to what that is...what sort of books have holes punched in them. About all I can think of is something to punch a series of tiny holes along the folded edge of the signature for the threads to pass through. I've done hand binding but in that case you just use a needle...I'm not sure how the machine sewn books were done but if that's what it's for, it would need to be used with another machine that stiched them.

It may be a Smyth machine...take a look at this web site https://smythusa.com/
 

L Vanice

Diamond
Joined
Feb 8, 2006
Location
Fort Wayne, IN
It all depends upon what size and shape the holes are, and how they are arranged. Spiral bound books use tiny round holes into which a wire spiral is wound. Comb bound books use rectangular holes into which curved plastic comb teeth are inserted. Loose leaf binders use small round holes in various numbers and spacing.

The lack of descriptive detail and pictures makes all this speculation kind of futile.

Larry
 








 
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