The Book Bindery was founded by the late W.A. Bressy in 1915 and was housed in the building now occupied by the Dominion Press at the corner of Main and Walnut Streets.
Mr Bressy was a skilled craftsmen of the old school and under his management the "Bressy's Bindings" became synonymous with the best in library binding. Public libraries in Canada sent their books to Ridgetown for binding.
Following the death of Mr. Bressy, Mrs Bressy continued the business until 1945 when she sold out to Mr Charles W. Carrol who operates a chain of binderies in the United States. In 1946 Mr Carrol purchased the present site of the bindery and organized the business as the "Bookshelf Bindery Limited" with himself as President and A.P. Gugger as Vice-President. In September 1947 they moved to their present location. Eighty-seven (87%) of the bookbinding done in Canada is done here in Ridgetown. There are 12 employees, some on full time duty, others on part time.
There are a great many operations in re-binding a book. The pages have to be repaired, covers torn off and the sewing and glue ground off. A machine is used for taking off the sewing and glue.
Then approximately 8 pages are placed together for sewing. This is known as sectioning. Carrols have 2 of the only four sewing machines in Canada used in sewing books. Outer front and back pages are hinged. The back of book is then covered with glue and rounded with a machine. Bressy's did the rounding by hand, but some paper won't take the machine. Additionally, some books are to small or to large for the machine and have to be done by hand. The glue used is a flexible, synthetic glue that is much better than the glue made with bone and hide. A lining is used at the back to keep the cover separate from the binding of the book. After pages are sewn, the edges of the pages are sprinkled with diamond dye to camouflage the dust that might gather.
Now comes the cover. First "-board sheer" (a compressed paper much stronger than card board) is put on to compensate the thickness of the cover. Then the fronts are trimmed. Covering the "board sheer" is a buckram material which has a water-proof coating woven into the material. A "covering-turning in" machine, the only one in Canada, is used to put on the buckram. Some books are covered with the illustrated "Treasure Trove Covers", obtained from Des Moines, Iowa, U.S.A. The covers are washable and vermin proof material and are a good advertisement for the Bindery.
Lastly is the lettering and a 25 carol-gold leaf 1/3000 inch thickness is used.
Transcribed from the records of Mrs. Geo. S. Brien, Rural Ridgetown Women's Institute.