Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Book Production During Wartime

Late this summer Musket to Machine Gun, by A.M. Low, arrived in the lab for repair.

As I opened it up to assess the damage, I noticed this imprint:

The book, published in 1942 by Hutchinson & Co. in England, was subject to the production standards in place there during the Second World War. Similar standards to the ones in England existed in the United States. Among the limited goods here in the U.S. were the raw materials for book production—paper, paperboard, and hide glue. A variety of conditions contributed to this, including labor shortages in the wood industry and the consumption of pre-war inventories.* Books published during the war years accommodated the limitations in raw material as evidenced in this volume.

The printing appears rather dense with narrow margins, and there is no endpaper in the back of the volume, both signs of thriftiness. Another possible austerity measure shows in the book’s construction:

The size of the lining mull is a third of the height of the book, considerably shorter than usual. Even with its wartime production, this book isn’t in terrible condition relative to the book repairs we see. With some consolidation, a new spine, and some interior hinges it will be back on the shelf in no time.

* For more information on the U.S. War Production Board see, Industrial mobilization for war, history of the War Production Board and predecessor agencies, 1940-1945. v. 1. Program and administration

Written by Stephanie Wolff.

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