Dutch Book Press
13.5" x 22" x 14.5"
This 18th-century Dutch book press, more widely known as a screw press, is a device that belongs to the intricate art and history of handmade bookbinding. The press is made of forged iron with skillfully formed bronze knobs atop a wooden base that is of a later date. While many historic iron screw presses have frames that are dense and simplistic in design, this device is sleek and includes details in its contour that elevate its appearance. To operate the press, the centre compression device is propelled up and down by a screw, while the bronze knobs act as flyweights that both support the thrust of the tool and make it easier to maneuver while binding. Bookbinding is the process of assembling a book from a carefully ordered stack of paper sheets folded together into sections. This press is specifically useful in keeping the text of the book secure while it is bound together along the edge with a large, thick needle and durable thread. It also keeps the protective covers of the book – usually composed of a rigid board or flexible cover wrap – parallel to the text pages while the binding adhesive is drying. Covers of 18th-century Dutch bookbinding are still praised today for their elaborate detail, many of which were composed of polished animal skins dyed a traditional Moroccan red with gold accents. The Netherlands was, and still is, a centre that practices the art of traditional bookbinding with several libraries and specialty shops open for production.
At this time in the Netherlands, the Batavian Republic was proclaimed on January 19, 1795, after intervention by the French Republic led to the downfall of the old Dutch republic. This state succeeded the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands. Despite only lasting until 1806, the Batavian Republic brought about various political, social, and economic reforms that had a lasting impact.