Saturday, March 8, 2014

A Charming Gardening Binding and the Half Ton of Iron That Made It Possible

I wish I could have a larger photo of this binding Robert Buist's The Family Kitchen Gardener! The large gold stamping on the cloth binding is champ. I wonder how many tools are there that I can't see.

The Family Kitchen Gardener : containing Plain and Accurate Descriptions of all the different species and varieties of Culinary Vegetables; with their Botanical, English, French and German names, AlphabeticallyArranged, and the best Mode of Cultivating them, in the Garden or under Glass; with a description of Implements and Medicinal herbs in General Use. Also, Descriptions and Characters of the Most Select Fruits, Their Management, Propagation and Culture. Illustrated with twenty-five Engravings. New York : J. C. Riker, 1848. First Edition.

Below is the new 1832 technology that made this impressively large area of gold die stamping possible.  
The larger the area of a stamp, the greater by far is the needed force to stamp gold. The Imperial Arming Press ushered in a wonderful period of stamped bindings.  Because of its power, even the less tractable materials such as cloth could be firmly and flatly squished allowing gold to clearly show the details of a complex design. 

Look at this thing and note the classical details in the cast iron!!

Lion paw feet, acanthus leaf leg decoration... still my heart.

Here is another binding from the same period.  Note the blind (ungilt) stamping around the central motif.