Book courtesy of Richard Blacher. Pictures and description courtesy of Paul Jackson
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Toof Bindery of Otto Zahn
This book measures 5 5/8" x 8 3/4" and
has 67 pages plus colophon. The text body is set in Old Style Antique. This edition was printed in
three colors on Dickinson paper and bound in suede with rare exceptions such as
the Toof rebind above. Every copy of this edition
of 670 I have seen (this one and six others) have quite similar
The Toof Binder of Otto Zahn
One of the first of these modern printers was S. C. Toof . Toof was born in Montreal, Canada, in 1834. and later immigrated to the United Stes with his parents. By the end of 1864 S. C. Toof had set up his own printing business in Memphis under the name of S. C. Toof's Franklin Job Printing House. At this time Toof had one small press and three employees. In 1876 he hired his brother in-law W. H. Bates. Bates became a partner and in 1900 and the now eminently successful concern was incorporated as S. C. Toof & Company.
In 1857, a man named Otto Zahn, who later came into the Tennessee picture, was born in Berka, Thuringia, Germany, where in his early youth he began wandering over the continent finally getting a job in the famous Zaenhsdorff Bindery in London. There he worked for several years becoming such an expert binder that he won first prize at the London Exposition. After winning the London exposition he took his prize money and began wandering again, coming eventually to Memphis where he found employment with Toof & Company.
It wasn't long before he won another first prize in binding at the St. Louis Exposition. And before he died in 1928 he had taken his place as one of the finest binders in America, as well as becoming President of Toof & Company. Toof himself died in 1910 and his brother in-law Bates died in 1918. Otto Zahn not only lived to become the head of a large printing plant, but took his place as an outstanding figure in the binding world. Today the Company is one of the largest and most successful general printers in Tennessee.
Toof Bindery shows that among the firms of art binders in the United States none are more competent than they in the realm of art binding. They have no superior in the happiness of design and the perfection of finish of the books turned out by them.
Mr. Zahn, of this firm, under whose personal direction the art binding is done, loves book binding and in his earlier days was employed in some of the best binderies of Europe. He has retained all the wrinkles and recipes, the treasured secrets of cosmopolitan book binding, and out of the multiplicity of methods he has variously encountered, he has evolved a style of his own that characterizes all the bindings bearing the imprint of “Toof & Co.,” and makes the imprint as much a badge of merit as the English hall mark is the guaranty of fine silver. The mirror polish introduced occasionally upon the Toof bindings is at once the envy and the despair of other binders.
Above quotes above excerpted from:
Tennessee Printers, 1791-1945
Originally Printed by Joseph Hamblen Sears (1865-1946)
Reprinted from book within the public domain
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