The Clarkson Book Support System is manufactured from a specially selected foam and is designed to support all types of publications from rare manuscripts to very old printed books. The design allows the book cradle to be adjusted to provide the optimum support to the publication no matter what the type of spine.
It was perhaps as a response to the previous decades of manifest deterioration of rare printed books and manuscripts that a revolution in attitude toward their preservation was required. Since the Clarkson Book Supports introduction in 1987, it has become natural to insist on the careful handling of books and manuscripts when used.
Where rare and irreplaceable books are being used, the use of a book support is considered crucial and must be sympathetically designed. Many book rests and lecterns do not allow for the changing spine shape as the book is opened and the pages turned whilst being read. In fact, they are often harmful because of their unforgiving nature and steep angle which places the book’s structure under strain. A further consideration is the need to provide a non-harmful method of keeping the book open. The reader should not be holding the book open with one hand while trying to write notes with the other, but should have both hands free. This is particularly important with parchment manuscripts which are easily marked by the natural oil from hands.
The foam material was especially selected for its particular pliability and sensitive surface which allows a book’s uneven board surfaces, even with bosses and side pins, to be equally supported over the entire exterior surface. The particular density of foam used ensures that books do not slip (even slight movement can damage a fragile cover), and the grey colour was found to be preferable in a library environment. Users appreciate the gentle and sympathetic nature of these book supports.
The Book Support System comprises 6 foam pieces:
Optional weighted snakes (lengths of weighted fabric) are available for holding the pages down. There are three sizes to choose from:
Weighted fabric snakes come in pairs and are available in two sizes:
Rare books and documents, apart from being beautiful antiquities in their own right, are also a highly valuable insight into our history and our culture, and often hold a high monetary value. Therefore, it’s essential these items are treasured and meticulously maintained, whether in storage or when being handled or studied. Some of the best ways to maintain the integrity of these precious items are:
To store old/rare books correctly, and to help prevent premature ageing or deterioration, follow these simple steps:
Old books which aren’t handled often will naturally gather dust, which if left can increase mould growth and encourage insect infestations, which in turn can have disastrous consequences for the paper or parchment. So, to ensure the longevity and preservation of your old books, dust gently semi-regularly with a soft paintbrush or lint-free dusting cloth, ensuring you hold the book closed to avoid the dust removed falling between the pages.
When handling or studying old or rare books, the right cradles for rare books are essential to their preservation, and to give the reader the best possible experience without fear of causing accidental damage.
The Clarkson Book Support System, designed by world-renowned conservator and book preservation specialist Christopher Clarkson is the ideal solution for supporting rare books and manuscripts whilst studying or on display.
Once assembled, the Clarkson Book Support System will help to preserve precious books and manuscripts for future generations, by providing a wide range of key benefits, some of which include:
Forget taking notes with one hand whilst holding the book at a tilt with the other. The Clarkson Book Support will keep the document or book supported at the optimal reading angle, whilst protecting the outer surface.
Plus, to keep the page you're reading or displaying open and flat, you also have the option to buy a snake – a carefully weighted strip of soft material designed to firmly hold a page down without any risk of damage to the page itself.
Anyone who studies old books or manuscripts will know that not all of these items are uniform in size or shape. With the Clarkson Book Support System however, securely supporting irregular documents needn’t be an issue.
The Clarkson Book Support is constructed from a specific type of synthetic foam material chosen for its density and non-slip qualities, which allows for the book's weight and shape, whilst still providing the vital support required.
The Clarkson Book Support System is designed to be used for academic and administrative purposes in places including libraries, museums, records offices, council offices, and many more similar establishments.
To ensure the studious or academic aesthetic is maintained, the Clarkson Book Support System is manufactured in stylish, yet neutral colours, allowing it to blend in with the surroundings, and not detract from the item being studied.