I purchased this 19th century spelling book at a flea market with the intention of repurposing it. Since its cover was well worn and the brittle pages were turning a light amber, I thought it would be nice to include the text in collages. I never thought I'd find what was inside.
With a sharp blade I carefully extracted the text block from the covers. When I did, I discovered a binding I had never seen before. The pages were arranged into signatures, but there was no sewing and no glue.
Judging from the look of the rivets on the underside of the signatures they were most likely hand-hammered. I can only guess this binding was created to make the pages less likely to be ripped out by small hands. If anyone has any information on this binding, please let me know!
I love discovering odd bindings like this. When I took Ann Frellsen's Book Doctor 101 class at the Paper and Book Intensive last year someone found a 19th century binding that included thick staples and sewing. Its Frankenstein-esque appearance was bizarre and fascinating, and Ann explained that this was part of the evolution of bindings as binders tried different methods of constructing books.
Seeing this binding got my wheels spinning, and now I'm thinking of trying to modify this version of a stab binding into something viable for a journal. Hmmmm......