I feel confident that there will always be a place for books we touch and hold. Some of us will read on phones or tablets; others will keep reaching for the real thing, the same way the great medieval printer Anton Koberger imagined his customers doing in 1493, when he sent out his Nuremberg Chronicle with this printed wish:
Speed now, Book… A thousand hands will grasp you with warm desire And read you with great attention.
The Denton family were world-famous butterfly collectors and sellers. They perfected methods of mounting and preserving butterflies, and their work touched off a butterfly fad during the late nineteenth century. Sherman Denton’s papers and part of his butterfly collection are now at the Wellesley Historical Society.
keepyourhandsbusy asked whether they had to kill specimens for each copy of the book. Unfortunately, yes. Historians estimate that around 50,000 butterflies were harmed in the making of this publication. Yikes.
idratherbesailing asked whether these are severed butterfly wings. Not exactly, but they are made from severed butterfly wings. The printing process used to produce them involved pressing the butterfly wings onto a gummed paper so that the scales would stick, and an image of the butterfly would remain. I didn’t realize this when we published the previous post about this book, but smithsonianlibraries has a great explanation of this process on their blog, and they even mention this exact publication. Plus, they have a field notebook produced this way. Go take a look!
Any other questions for us? You can always reblog or ask, and we’ll try to find out. We’re librarians - it’s what we do.
On February 2, 1790 the Senate received a petition from printer Francis Bailey asking Congress to patent his innovative printing techniques for preventing counterfeiting. Bailey’s petition was referred to the Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton who reported back to Congress on February 23 that Bailey should be issued “exclusive right” to use his
On March 2 the Senate was sent H.R. 44, an act to give
Francis Bailey the exclusive right to use his invention. This was the only
patent petition received by the First Congress to result in a private bill.
However, the Senate never voted on the bill because of the passage of the
Patents Act on April 10,
which provided the Patents Commission the ability to issue patents. Bailey’s
patent application was placed through the Patents Commission. He was issued a
patent for his invention on January 29, 1791.
H.R. 44, an Act to Vest
in Francis Bailey, 3/2/1790, SEN1A-C1, Records of the U.S. Senate
This week in OUP Archives we found a picture of the copper matrix imported from the
Netherlands in the 17th century by John Fell, the man who was in
charge of the Press at the time. These moulds made the iron
punches (or letters) that were used in printing materials. The matrix bears
his name as a result, “Fell type”, and was considered state of the art equipment
in England at the time it was imported to the Press. The Press still has the
Fell type on site in Oxford!
The printing process is taking a little longer than expected. As is, we may juuuuust squeak in shipping everything out at the end of Feburary as planned, but if it takes a little extra time, (moving into the beginning of March,) I hope you’ll bear with me. The books are looking great, and I’ll keep you updated as they start to come in and get shipped out.
The PDF version (and all other electronic rewards) will be delivered within the first couple weeks of Feburary. The Kickstarter PDF will have some bonus material that won’t be available later, and I’m putting the finishing touches on that.
And here’s some more good news! Kraken sent me photos of some of the first books printed!
Jeff Buckley's Album 'Grace' As A Collection Of Books
This is my new print, available right now in the Standard Designs Etsy shop. It’s of Jeff Buckley’s phenomenal album ‘Grace’ as if it had been written as a series of novels instead of songs. It’s the ideal gift for the Jeff Buckley fan in your life (and if that’s not you - listen to the album, and it soon will be!)
The print measures 42 x 29.7cm, approximately 16.5 x 11.5 inches. It’s professionally printed on 200gsm/120lb premium archival heavy silk paper, and comes shipped in a sturdy mailing tube.