The Nineteenth Century
Just as nineteenth-century industrialization powered the increased productivity of the printing press, bookbinding methods of the period became increasingly mechanized and cost-conscious. As publishers' factories executed the forwarding and finishing for whole editions at a time, mass-produced pictorial cloth covers dominated the industry. However, influenced by the ideals of William Morris (1846―1896), independent English binders demonstrated that traditional standards of craftsmanship could co-exist successfully with modern designs. Thus, at the end of the nineteenth century, the bookbinding craft stood at a three-way crossroads between tradition, mechanization, and artistic innovation.