Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A Book with the Blues: Railroad Plans

One of the pleasures of my job remains the variations of material on which I work, and the fun of seeing volumes within our collections that I might otherwise miss. Such a volume recently came in for repair:

Standard Plans / New York Central & Hudson River Railroad Company contains the blueprints for the information necessary to construct a railroad. From the roadbeds, tracks, and stations to the spikes, signs, and crossings, the plans are in this book.

In addition to the regularly bound material, a letter is tipped in from the Fifth Vice-President of the Railroad, a Mr. W.J. Wilgus (whose signature and title of Chief Engineer graces many of the individual plans) presenting the bound volume to the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth in 1904.

This book suffered from the hollow tube breaking apart, releasing the text block.

To repair this volume I first repaired and flattened the endsheets, adding a Japanese tissue hinge that I later attached to the cleaned spine.

I removed the spine lining and the existing stuck-on endbands, then cleaned the spine with wheat paste.

Once the spine was clean and the endsheet hinges attached, a new Japanese tissue liner with extended flanges went on top. Later a new hollow and the old endbands were also applied.

On the case, I removed the paper from the old hollow in the spine area and reinforce that section with Japanese tissue. One the exterior, I added Moriki tissue over the worn areas at the joints.

Once the two parts were completed I reattached them by gluing the tube and the case, aligning the spine hollow to its corresponding area on the case. Eventually the extended Japanese paper flanges were attached to the interior of the boards. An additional tissue hinge covers the interior joint area, blending with the tone of the paper in addition to adding attachment strength.

Now that the book is back together, these blueprints will continue to be protected from the light, and their deep blue color ought to remain, allowing interested readers to access this information for years to come.

Written by Stephanie Wolff.

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