Tipped in Color Plates
January 18, 2009 11:23 AM   Subscribe

Is this a "tipped in" book plate?

I don't own many art books, but this was the first book, art or otherwise, that had its color plates attached in this way. In researching the issue, I see definitions of "Tipped in" that refer to "pasted along the inner margin of the appropriate text page", but the color plates in the book I've got entitled The Moderns by Gaston Diehl have the plates adhered to the page at each of the four corners.

As you can see, the adhesive is beginning to fail at a number of points.

Is this indeed a "tipped in" plate, and if so, how common is the method of four-corner attachment?
posted by Tube to Media & Arts (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I don't think it fulfills the definition. A tipped in page would be the same size as the other pages.

I have a background in olde timey printing processes, but someone with more knowledge than me will have to come up with the proper term for what you have.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 11:37 AM on January 18, 2009

Strictly speaking, "tipped in" should be used according to the definition you quote: pasted at the inner margin of the neighboring leaf. You'll also sometimes see a leaf tipped in at the stub of a leaf that was canceled (cut out for replacement). I don't know if there's a more specific term; but if you said "plates tipped in at corners" in a catalog, I think everyone would know what you meant.

This was a very common way to make color plate books because you needed different sorts of presses to do the text and the plates. It's also very common for the adhesive to fail.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 11:39 AM on January 18, 2009

From this page:

Something is said to be "tipped in" a book when it has been attached to a page of the book by its corners only. The point is that the entire back surface is NOT slathered with glue and firmly attached. When the entire, or most of the back surface of the object it attached, it is "pasted in" or perhaps "glued on". If an entire edge is attached, it may still be referred to as "tipped in". The usual means of attachment is glue or paste, however it is conceivable some other means may be used. The object "tipped in" is nearly always of paper, as an illustration, letter, paper sample or such. Illustrations "tipped in" lend an aura of quality to books, as it is perceived to be a more expensive and finer way of including illustrations. It is no doubt more expensive, but fine illustrations can be bound in as well and large numbers of tipped in plates tend to swell the text block of the book, potentially creating problems of manufacture, handling and storage.

And here:

a sheet or sheets which were not part of the press impression, are added at a later stage by dabbing minute amounts of glue onto the edge or corners of the sheet to be pasted into the book (for example, color plates or errata sheets)
posted by steef at 12:09 PM on January 18, 2009

In the trade "tipped in" has come to mean, in general, any plate/illustration/etc. pasted onto a leaf (whether on one edge or four corners) before issue. (You'll also find entries wherein autographs/holographs or other special goodies glued in after publication are described as "tipped in"). The strict definition refers to errata or cancels replacing an entire page, as Fuzzy Skinner said, but now it's used to mean anything glued down w/out repair (as opposed to "laid in" [not glued] or "mounted" [repaired] or whatever). I've seen lots of books using the four-corner-glue method of plate-attachment, almost all of them published in the 20th century; not uncommon.
posted by generalist at 12:16 PM on January 18, 2009

From a printing/ packaging background, there is the definition you give, however it's common to just say something is "tipped in" when it's done by hand & not part of the automatic finishing process. The method is generally whatever is easiest & not likely to fall out after market.
posted by Laura in Canada at 12:18 PM on January 18, 2009

This is a tipped in color plate.

Here is the definition from ABC For Book Collectors, 8th ed., (2004), p. 217:

"Lightly attached, by gum or paste, usually at the inner edge. Plates, Errata slips or a single inserted leaf will sometimes be described as being tipped in, as distinct from being sewn in. But the term is much more frequently used of something originally alien to the book, which has been put with it by an earlier owner; e.g., an autograph letter from the author, or some similar associated document."
posted by mlis at 2:32 PM on January 18, 2009

ABC has its uses but is by no means authoritative. There is no authority. Check out the search for "tipped in" on the ABAA site: you'll find examples of all uses mentioned above, and then some.
posted by generalist at 2:57 PM on January 18, 2009

former producer for a major publishing house here.

no, this is most definitely not tipped in.

tipped in pages are pages that were not part of the book's original signatures, but were added after the book has already been bound. they are attached by glue to along the spine edge and do not necessarily have to be the same size as the original bound pages.

magazines can also have booklets tipped in to them as well.
posted by violetk at 6:09 PM on January 18, 2009

If I was specifying this with a printer, I would call it a "tip-on". As stated above, "tip-in" generally refers to full pages attached in the gutter with glue or tape, rather than sewn in.
posted by Etaoin Shrdlu at 6:10 PM on January 18, 2009

I used to work for a small children's book publisher (Green Tiger Press) and many of our books had what we called "hand-tipped" or "tipped-in" color plates that looked like the image you show. The plates would have a line of glue just at the top. We also did notecards with the same effect and also referred to that as tipping.

We were located in San Diego and the women who did the "tipping" were Thai and often married to sailors--we had great potlucks. The plates were printed on a two-color Hiedelburg press. The woman who co-owned the company with her husband and who affected psuedo-Victorian dress, would climb up on top of the press with her skirt yanked up and tucked in at the wasteband to mix the ink for each printing like some mad alchemist.
posted by agatha_magatha at 7:11 PM on January 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

ABC has its uses but is by no means authoritative. There is no authority.

I did not say that it is authoritative. But Ask is part of Metafilter, after all, and I should have realized that someone like you would of course take issue with such a citation, even though the ABC definition is very close to what you describe in your first post. Ah, well. Oppositional, much?

Also, no authority? Really? And you have helpfully posted a link to. . .no reference work on the subject.
posted by mlis at 1:08 AM on January 19, 2009

Ah, well. Oppositional, much?

Apologies, MLIS. On rereading my post does come off as combative. The ABC def is of course a fine one. My point was just that in common usage (if you can call bookseller's descriptions "common") the term "tipped in" refers to a broad range of things, and most of the definitions in reference works fail to include all of them.
posted by generalist at 6:28 AM on January 19, 2009

Thanks, generalist. I am sorry for my belligerent response, I should have made my point without the attitude.
posted by mlis at 11:37 AM on January 19, 2009

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