Bookmark history 101
History of books
The need for a reader to remember where she/he left off in a book is as old as books themselves. That is why the history of bookmarks goes hand in hand with the history of books. Specifically, when the pages were truly fragile, a decent bookmark was incredibly useful.
From 4,000 BC the first written manuscripts were in the form of scrolls using materials as papyrus. The form of books as we know them today came at the first century AC with the use of paper for the pages and wood for the covers.
Bookmarks through history
The oldest existing bookmark dates back in the sixth century AC and it was made out of leather and papyrus
In the medieval ages, between the 13th and 15th century, monks used bookmarks in european monasteries. They used materials such as paper and some of them could indicate the column on the page the reader left off.
They were occasions when people used other material, such as ivory for making bookmarks but they were more uncommon.
While reading gained more followers, the equivalent occurred with bookmarks. From the early 18th century, publishers often sewn or glued a ribbon in the spine of the book in order to use it as a bookmark. We still can come across that technique in modern day books.
Bookmarks as we know them
From 1850 and afterwards bookmarks as a separate accessory became more popular. Woven bookmarks began to be manufactured in the 1860’s. The bookmarks made by Tomas Steven were so popular at the time that they were known as Stevenmarks. He utilized his Jacquard loom to produce woven silk bookmarks.
By the middle of the Victorian era, the so-called markers, later named as bookmarks, were in every “woman’s magazine” as patterns to embroidered bookmarks. At the same time it was common to use hair locks of loved ones as bookmarks. More often friends and lovers exchanged locks of hair as a token of their love.
Bookmarks in general are quite collectible objects and readers need them to be thin to not damage the spine of their books, with beautiful designs to stand out, acid free so that they do not damage the pages of the book over the years. We imagine our bookmarks pass from generation to generation of readers as a love token as well. One of our main hopes is every reader to be able to use them without thinking of wearing them out. It would be such a pleasure to think of our bookmarks as an inseparable reading friend. Visit our Shop to discover our literary inspired designs!