Printed in 1887 in New York City, A Popular Zoology by J. Dorman Steele and J. W. P. Jenks describes and identifies the animals in two kingdoms of nature: the Invertebrates, and the Vertebrates. Complete with intaglio printed illustrations and tables describing migrations of birds, as well as plenty of other things, this book was meant to give students understanding of the animal worlds around them, and even far from them, to cultivate wonder and knowledge in the youth of America at the turn of the 20th century, which was J. Dorman Steele's main goal throughout his textbook nature series.
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Cloth was, and still is, one of the most common coverings for a book, most especially in this period. It comes in different varieties, which obviously affect its usage and availability, but most book cloth was usually dyed and treated calico or thin canvas that was starched to make it both stiff enough to make flat and treated enough to glue without causing damage.
This cover is most likely buckram cloth, which is a popular book covering, usually made from either linen or cotton, dyed, and then starched for use. The millinery trade, hat-making, also used buckram to make hats and hat structures.
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Stamping involves a matte color that often outlines designs rather than fills them in, though in this case the highly decorated cover would beg to differ. The stamping was produced by creating a large die-cut meant for this particular cover and then by a combination embossing technique the black sheet of stamping foil would be placed between the die-cut in the machine and the book.
The title for this book has been done by combination embossing as well, with a sheet of gold leaf. The die cut would have had to have been pretty precise for the letters to fall into place, so it would seem to make sense that the book would not have moved from the machine, rather the gold foil placed under the letters of a different diecut, not the illustrated one, though it can be hard to say for sure. All decoration would have been done before the cover was on the book-block.
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That's all for the cover!
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