Bookbinder Jeff Peachey brings us this image of an End Locking Loose Leaf Sectional Post Binder. It comes from an advert on a blotter. (You can see where the sunlight has yellowed the bit which wan’t buried under papers.) I used to have one of these desk blotters — before the days of Bic pens we had to blot everything we wrote because the only way to write anything was with an ink pen. My blotter was a superior leather version, put out by a bible bindery down in Cornwall. I once made the journey down to visit them, arriving all-a-tremble after some hair-raising driving by my Bible manufacturing colleagues.

A binding like this would live and have its being in an office situation. You’d need a hole puncher to prepare a new sheet for insertion: unscrew the bolt at the top of the post, open the book and insert your new page in the appropriate location. I can’t remember for sure whether or not the large account books I remember from the accounts department in Bentley House in the sixties were bound like this, but I bet the were despite what I wrote in my earlier recollections. There’d be a page for every book in one or more volumes, and every sale would be entered by a clerk perched on a high stool. Clearly the pages would need to have been placed in the book in alphabetical order, otherwise Mr Walmisley would never have been able to find his place when Bill Starling’s assistant arrived to tell him about that trade counter dale of Pericles.