How Beautiful Books Were Made in the 19th Century


As Marshall McLuhan was fond of saying, "the sloughed off environment becomes a work of art in the new invisible environment" (1). The new media sea in which we swim has taken up many vintage processes as works of art rather than laborious and industrial processes, as they may have been seen in their time (think retro-everything, Hipster subcultures, etc). I'm not outside of this fascination with the past myself. What a better example of this than this fascinating video on how books were made in the 19th century. A tedious, beautiful process that reveals every intricate detail, trim, paste, and craftsmanship that goes into a single printing. 

One-hundred years from now, will cyber-hipsters use retro devices try to stand out from their telepathically linked peers by communicating their thoughts by, gasp, physical devices called laptops? ... On things called keyboards?

Related/Deep Reading:

1. Check out this brilliant essay by cultural historian William Irwin Thompson for more on media evolution and consciousness.