All that glitters is gold!

April 1st, 2010 | By Ian and Dominique Metcalfe | Category: Bibles Direct Latest

 I served my apprenticeship in Bible production at Collins’ state of the art printing facility in Glasgow in the 1970s. Whenever the Queen or UK Prime Minister visited the plant, which they did occasionally, the VIPs were taken to meet the oldest worker, who was a true craftsman.

Bill seemed very old to me and his unique skills were even more  ancient. He was in charge of marbling, that wonderful wavy effect some ledger books have in the linings, and the traditional gilding of Bibles. In those days he worked with real gold foil and before applying the delicate membrane by hand to the page edges he touched his forehead with the foil to generate electricity and make it adhere more easily.

Then he would shoot a spray of red dye over the gold and it appeared on the bible page edges under the gilded finish.  Hence our description of  Allan Bibles as having ‘red under gold’ page edges.

Old Bill is long gone, but those same manual skills are largely retained by our binders. I think the forehead touching has gone, but if the Queen was standing in front of me, I think I would be inclined to touch my forehead too.

Let’s salute then the craftsmanship which goes into fine  Bible-making.  After all, Jesus was Himself a craftsman and is in the business of making lives anew.

Happy Easter to everyone!


Related Articles