Conservation Box Wins First Prize

Using a box for conservation
Using a box for conservation

This box was entered into the 2014 Perth Royal Show bookbinding competition, and won first prize in the box making category. There will be more of the Royal Show entries over the coming weeks, where the Guild had a great representation as usual, and some newcomers took some of the prizes which is excellent news.

It was made to provide a safe environment for a very tired school atlas with significant sentimental value. The book dates from somewhere between 1900 and 1917. Whilst technically it might be older than 1900, the map shows Finland as still belonging to Russia. This state of affairs changed in 1917 when Finland became an independent nation, and so it can be no newer than this date. Further research may well be able to narrow the date even further, however the book's condition prohibits much reading.

The atlas is slowly disintegrating, with the stitches coming undone, the paper breaking down, and pages torn. The front cover is half missing. It did not warrant the amount of work required to make it complete and readable again.

Half of the cover is missing

The front cover is half missing, but what can be read inidcates that it is the Collins Australian Clear School Atlas, printed in Great Britain. Research on the Internet has only located the second edition, which was printed in Sydney in 1953.

Solander style box

The box is a solander style box, although the lower half completely encloses the book, instead of leaving an open back. This is to keep all the fragments in place as it falls apart in time to come.

Front cover coming off

There are three different papers used in the atlas. The first is a quality lithograph style, heavy in clay, which is used for the maps. The majority of these are in good condition, although some have been ripped. The second is a cheap paper that has the index printed on it. All of these pages have turned brown, due to acid damage, and most are coming apart. The third is used for suplemental information at the back of the book, and these are similar to the maps in quality and current state.

Whilst little can be done to preserve this book with its hand written comments from a couple of generations of school children, at least the box will prevent the further disintegration.