`The compulsory education of the masses has enormously increased the call for cheap books. Consequently, the number of the bookbinding fraternity has been very largely swelled - too much so, in fact. The development of the business by steam machinery, coupled with competition, has tended considerably to cheapen the binding ...Of course I must have the newest machines, or I cannot hope to compete with my fellows...'
(Unnamed binder, quoted in The Bookbinder, 1889)

One of Westleys printed trade tickets
Binders at work
  Publishers' bookbindings

The Binders

This illustration from The Penny Magazine, 24 September 1842, shows a scene from the firm of Westleys and Clark. Although few machines are present, the number of books to be bound, and the fact that the numerous workers are all engaged on separate tasks is reminiscent of a factory production line, and a far cry from the traditional, small hand binding workshops. By 1862 Westleys had over 50 employees. The five major Victorian trade binders were Westleys, Bone & Son, Burn, Edmonds & Remnants, and Leighton, Son & Hodge.