The Veatchs Arts of the Book has released their Catalogue 90. They provide a concise description of what can be found inside: "recent acquisitions, graphic arts, bindings, Koops 1800, Senefelder 1818, fine printing, type specimens, rare imposition sheet, Victorian house colors, & Art Deco elevators." Some of those are broad categories, others unique or unusual items. Everyone knows what graphic arts and bindings are, but Koops and Senefelder may not be as familiar. The catalogue explains them all. As for Art Deco elevators, it is possible to imagine what they might look like even if you have never actually seen one. Here are a few of the items we found inside this catalogue.
We will begin with "Koops 1800": Historical Account of the Substances Which Have Been Used to Describe Events, and to Convey Ideas from the Earliest Date to the Invention of Paper. The author was Matthias Koops, the publication date 1800. This is a look at various materials used to make paper, or "substances which have been used to describe events, and to convey ideas." For this book, Koops has used paper manufactured entirely from straw. The seven-page appendix was made of paper manufactured from wood pulp. Koops describes contemporary papermaking in mills throughout Europe as he searched for rag substitutes. Papermaking expert Dard Hunter wrote of Koops, "In search for new papermaking materials the work of Matthias Koops towers above all his predecessors, for Koops is responsible for the growth of the paper industry as it is today." Item 44. Priced at $2,400.
Here is another book that comes with a superlative endorsement. Item 74 is Specimens of Printing Types from the Bruce Typefoundry from 1882. Printer and Typographer Henry L. Bullen described this as "the most notable type specimen book ever issued anywhere." It contains 352 pages, along with nine loose supplements and price lists from 1882 and 1886. It was printed by Theodore De Vinne. The Veatchs note that "this is a type specimen to be read, combined with a text which is also a type specimen." The Veatchs have not been able to locate another copy with a comparable set of supplements or the 1886 price list. $3,700.
Next we have Saint Dominic's Press, A Bibliography 1916-1937. St. Dominick's Press was founded by Douglas (later Hilary) Pepler. Pepler obtained an early Stanhope press and set up shop with the assistance of his close associate, the noted sculptor and type designer, Eric Gill. The press was initially set up in Gill's barn and former sculpture studio. They were instrumental in setting up the Guild of St. Joseph and St. Dominic. Gill engraved many of the illustrations Pepler used from 1915-1924, after which the two split. This bibliography was produced by Michael Taylor and Brocard Sewell in 1995, and features four color plates and 12 tipped-in letterpress facsimiles. Item 69. $250.
Item 16 is a type of handout popular in the 19th century. It was given out by newspaper carriers (or paperboys) to their subscribers during the holidays. This one is a broadside headed New Year's Address by the Carriers of The Public Ledger, January 1, 1852. That was the Philadelphia Ledger, a popular newspaper through the 1920s that saw a major decline in readership during the Depression. It closed in 1942. The broadside features a picture of Hoe's 8 cylinder printing press, the Ledger being the first printer to use this modern rotary press. This New Year's Address features a patriotic theme, extolling the virtues of America compared to the despotic regimes of Europe. It pronounces, "How vast the contrast 'twixt our land of Right, And Europe, crushed beneath tyrannic might." It concludes with wishes for a happy new year. The aim of these handouts was not so much to promote patriotism, nor even the local newspaper. It was to encourage subscribers to leave their carriers a generous holiday tip. $300.
This is the Art Deco elevator piece, Elevator Cars. Elevator Entrances, published by the Tyler Company in 1927. Founded in the 19th century, Tyler Elevator was once a major employer in Cleveland. It still exists today as a division of the Witter Group, with facilities in Twinsburg, Ohio. This catalogue contains 195 pages, about half of which are plates, facing pages with diagrams and descriptive copy. These are from the days when there were few self-service elevators. Most were larger and run by an operator. Training to be an elevator operator turned out not to be a good career move. These are some artistic and beautiful elevators, unlike the typical ones I remember from years ago. Perhaps Otis didn't have Tyler's artistic touch. Item 73. $975.