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The Bindery

( Originally Published 1930 )



The bindery is that branch of the printing industry which takes the printed sheets from the pressroom, assembles them, fastens them together in one of several ways, and cuts or trims them to the required sizes. When the art of printing was in its early stages, books were practically the only articles produced by this industry, and the work of the bindery included only those operations necessary to assemble and complete books. As time went on, the printing industry expanded and it began to produce magazines, newspapers, and pamphlets of all sorts. This led to the development of different types and methods of binding, and today we find that there are a number of different kinds of binderies, each of which does a special kind of work.

Many binderies do only bookwork or, as it is sometimes called, edition work, while others combine this with the binding of pamphlets and magazines. Other binderies prepare notebooks, checkbooks, and blank books of all sorts; and some make a specialty of producing loose-leaf books and covers of many different varieties. In newspaper plants, we find that the mailing room corresponds to the bindery of the job-printing plant. Another development that has come about has been the founding or the building up of binderies which are not connected with printing plants. As a rule, these are the ones that make loose-leaf covers, notebooks, and different kinds of novelties. They also operate ruling machines and are ready to undertake any kind of job that may come into the shop. Those binderies which are operated as departments of printing plants assemble and put together books, magazines, catalogues, and pamphlets. Their work is divided into two classes—hard binding and soft binding. The hard binding is connected with the preparation of books and their stiff covers, such as textbooks, novels, and so on, while the soft binding includes the putting together of paper-covered printed products, such as telephone directories, magazines, and the like.

This brief statement shows what a variety of work is done by the binderies, and it also indicates that there are many different kinds of such establishments. This means that there is opportunity for employment in this branch of the printing industry for both men and women. In fact, women are found in greater numbers than men in the binderies, although at one time men only were hired to fill the jobs. Girls and women are employed now to do the lighter work, while men perform the more skilled operations and those that require a greater degree of strength.

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