Marty Demarest wrote: … And thank you for contributing your insight into the binding of The Expert! I don't believe 100% that James McKinney & Co. bound all of what we call "first edition" copies of the book. (I think it's likely, but far from certain.) My reasoning comes from having physically examined many many early copies. But my research in that area is still in progress, so I'll be silent about that topic for now. Still, it is an interesting and possibly important line of inquiry. A business transaction concerning The Expert between McKinney & Co. or Erdnase, and any other party, could be extremely revealing with regards to the author's role and identity.
Marty, I know nothing of McKinney’s operations and production capabilities, but can say that it wouldn’t be surprising if the first edition had been bound by someone else, either by subcontract with McKinney or direct contract with the author. If McKinney had a bindery, I’d expect him to have advertised this from time to time, as bookbinding was a significant and (I think) usually separate trade from printing. By 1902, most of the case binding processes had been mechanized (with varying degrees of efficiency gains), so to be a production binder in that era required a fair amount of capital investment.
As mentioned earlier, it would be helpful to compare the paper in many first edition copies with that of the earliest Drake issues, and to look for a Drake title page cancellans. From what little I know (with an emphasis on “little”!), it appears that all first editions have the same stamping and cloth color. This suggests that all copies may have been bound in one run (absent, of course, a finding that some early Drake issues had the same paper and discovery of a Drake TP cancellans), but of course doesn’t prove it. One thing that comes to mind is that the cloth type and its color were probably fairly standard and widely available/used, and thus I’d guess that one could find other contemporary books bound in that same cloth type and color.
Bill Mullins wrote:TMWWE (p 334) states that pages after 178 were simply dropped -- what I'm curious about was if a signature transition occurred here (or near here, if one accounts for following blank leaves or ad pages). My glued-up perfect bound paperback copies are difficult to examine for an answer, and I don't have any of the early cloth bound editions.
Bill, considering my major gaff when discussing different formats, perhaps the rest of my discussion wasn’t clear either! I think the short answer is to reiterate that only a physical examination of the relevant book(s) can provide concrete information. For 12mos, if the book is composed of whole sheets, then the number of leaves in the book should be divisible by 12 in whole numbers (i.e., not fractional numbers). If a 16mo, then the number of leaves should be divisible by 16. Etc. The problem is discerning binding leaves (e.g., flyleaves) from leaves that were part of the sheet, which is often easy to do because the binding leaves use different paper.
Tom Sawyer wrote:… This is to address Clay's comments regarding my 205-page "1905" Drake copy. (The last numbered page is 205.) The final two signatures are 16 pages each.
There are 17 pages of advertisements, so even if the book's last page had been page 206, the mathematics still works out, as long as there is an odd number of 16-page signatures. (Whether this would be optimum for imposition purposes is another thing.)
Here is a brief quotation from a post I made on this thread in January. Even though I showed a little uncertainty, there is very little chance that the numbers stated are inaccurate:
"I think it is quite likely that the book has 6 signatures of 32 pages, and 2 signatures of 16 pages.
"The arithmetic seems to work out, unless I have made a mistake in my calculations. Six times 32 is 192. Two times 16 is 32. Add 192 and 32, and the sum is 224. That's the total number of pages in the book, including the 2 blank pages at the very front and the 17 pages of advertising in the back." …
Let’s assume the foregoing information is correct (and with you, I’m confident it is!). If your copy was printed as a 16mo, the fact that the last 32 pages (including the ads) would be comprised of 2 16-page signatures suggests that the ads were separately printed (likely completely unrelated to the book), and bound in at the back of the book, which was a very common publisher’s practice (as you can attest from your study of Victorian-era books). So if your copy was printed as a 16mo and if the ads had been pre-printed, then perhaps the last, 16-page signature of The Expert was printed as 16mo half sheets, imposed for work and turn (known as 16mo in 8s, half-sheet imposition). And there’s yet another mistake in my earlier posts: I said that an 8vo book of 104 leaves wasn’t divisible by 8 in whole numbers – wrong again! 104/8 = 13. Lordy …
In the end, discussion of the physical structures of the various editions and issues of The Expert is mostly speculation without really digging into the books themselves, and on reflection, I’m inclined to think that my attempts to be helpful, mistakes and all, haven’t really helped much!