Playing With Books: The Rag & Bone Bindery Blog

January 30, 2017


Posted in Bookish

Library of Congress Card Catalog Files

"For decades, elegant card catalogs occupied a central spot in the Library of Congress Main Reading Room. Before computerization, they were as central to the research process as a search engine in the present day. The last old card catalog was deemed obsolete the 1980s and pushed down into the basement, where it remains to this day."

The history of the card catalog begins in Paris during the time of the French Revolution and ends in Dublin, Ohio in the 1970s. The purpose of the card in bibliographic cataloging has not changed during the years as much as the format of the card. The most beautiful cards are those that were handwritten by trained librarians. Handwritten cards were replaced first by typewritten cards, then purchased cards, then online catalogs. Today there are few libraries that still use card catalogs and many young library users do not know what a card catalog was or what it evenlooked like.

Via Atlas Obscura


October 27, 2016

1 comment

Posted in News

Welcome To Our New Website!

Huzzah! Welcome to the new Rag & Bone Bindery website! We've been working for quite a while to get the site up and running and we're super happy with the results. In addition to a smoother checkout process, you'll also find more product photos, simpler personalization options and new product reviews! We're excited to get the site up and running before the busy holiday season. Look for additional features coming soon: buy more, save more; product videos; wedding registry; and more!

From the technical back-end, our new platform, Shopify, is SOOOO much more elegant and simple to use than our previous platform, which really was a dinosaur compared to the easy-to-use templates and admin pages Shopify offers. I know, I sound like a commercial, but no one is making me say nice things about Shopify, we're just very happy with the change. It's like we opened a new store or moved to a new house. Everything is so fresh and clean! The navigation is similar to the old site so you shouldn't have any issues getting around. We also relaunched our bookish blog (you're reading it!) to keep you up to date on Rag & Bone Bindery and stuff we're interested in other than books.

Shopify is feature-rich and we've scheduled additional shopping options which we'll activate during the holiday season as we get used to the new site.

Please leave a comment and tell us what you think! We can't wait to hear from you - and make new books for you too!

What's new:

• Product Reviews
• New Product Photos
• Simpler Checkout Process
• "Shop All Products" page
• Order Process Email Notifications
• Prettier Site


October 22, 2016


Posted in

Hereford Cathedral Chained Library

If you're like me, your first thought on seeing these chained books was the restricted section of Hogwarts library. Especially the scene when Hermione helps Harry prepare for the Triwizard Tournament and notes the only reason Cho is interested in him is because Cho thinks Harry is the chosen one. "But I am," Harry replies. I was curious about the filming location and here is what I found:

"Hogwarts library and infirmary: Oxford University's famous Bodleian Library starred in 3 of the Harry Potter films. The medieval Duke Humfrey's Library was used as the Hogwarts library and the elaborate fan-vaulted Divinity School became Hogwart's infirmary."

So there you go. While not appearing in any of the Harry Potter films, the Hereford Cathedral Chained Library is nonetheless an medieval relic from times when security took a more brutish turn. Locking up books may seem medieval now (see what I did there?) it was top notch security at the time.

"A chain is attached at one end to the front cover of each book; the other end is slotted on to a rod running along the bottom of each shelf. The system allows a book to be taken from the shelf and read at the desk, but not to be removed from the bookcase. The books are shelved with their foredges, rather than their spines, facing the reader (the wrong way round to us); this allows the book to be lifted down and opened without needing to be turned around – thus avoiding tangling the chain."


October 21, 2016


Posted in Artist

Artist profile: Chie Hitotsuyama

Japanese paper artist Chie Hitotsuyama transforms strips of newspaper into stunning three dimensional animal sculptures.

“I make small, twisted paper strips by moistening newspapers cut into thin rectangles and twisting them by hand. I change the thickness of those paper strips according to the body parts. Their tone is an important factor, too. Creating a red monkey face starts with looking for paper with red print in a huge volume of newspapers. Red can be in many shades. On top of that, letters are printed in black or gray in the great majority of newspaper pages. Twisting such pages, I’m aiming to achieve expressions of color, including gradations.”

Read more at:

October 20, 2016


Posted in Photography

The Last of the Classic Film Re-Spoolers

Here's an improbable story from B&H Photo about a mostly forgotten service and skill, re-spooling film to fit forgotten and discontinued formats. If you have an old Brownie or Leica and need color or black and white film, you might be out of luck shopping the shelves of your local convenience store. But B&H has your back with film spooled by hand by Dick Haviland working out of his historic barn in Rochester, New York.

"In 1990, Haviland was able to talk Kodak into selling him rolls of opaque backing paper that he could cut to size. Lacking a truck and forklift, his contact at Kodak arranged to have “the boys” deliver the rolls to his shop. The good news was that, because they couldn’t figure out a way to bill him personally, he could have the paper free of charge. The bad news was that this most likely would be the last roll he would receive, since Kodak would no longer be making backing paper for medium-format roll films. He was fortunate to find a firm in nearby Rochester that could precisely slit the backing paper to size, along with a local screen printer who could print the backers using artwork Haviland designed for the project."

Read more at:

August 04, 2016


Posted in Journaling

Twenty Three Things Anyone Who’s Slightly Obsessed With Stationery Has Secretly Done

For those of us who love journals and journaling, there's nothing like picking out a new book, cracking open the spine and looking down at the expansive vista of the blank, white page. Where to start? One of my tricks is to just start in the middle. The first page can be intimidating, but I'm eager to get at it, so a quick trip to the middle of the book and a journal entry or "pen test" eases the anxiety and pressure of the new Journal. So does creating a "this book belongs to" page. Not much to do there, but it makes the first mark in an otherwise blank book. Buzzfeed lists a few other quirks we've all been guilty of one time or another:

1. Practiced handwriting before making that first mark in a new notebook.
2. Torn an entire page out over a mistake.
3. Organized pens by color, type of pen, or some other miscellaneous factor.

Yup. We've all been guilty of a few of these. Me too, even though I could make another Journal. My favorite tip: Start in the middle. Read more at:

August 03, 2016


Posted in Photography

Do We Still Need Physical Photos?


"Anyone who has ever held an instant photo in the palm of their hand will have experienced the inexplicable wave of emotion as the captured memory in the frame moves slowly back into focus. But surely in our digital world where millions of images are available at our fingertips, that one simple photograph means very little to us – right? This is the question we posed to our community as part of our Project8 competition last week, inviting them to submit a photo together with their response. Here are some of the answers we received, reminding us why we do what we do every day."

“Physical photos are still so valuable today because they are part of what transforms a living space to a home. We're comforted by displays of photos that capture special moments and people in our lives.” – The Impossible Project