Newsletter Issue Number:
AICCM National Newsletter No 159 December 2022
James Elwing

Elwing and Gurney Archival is currently selling studio items that may be of interest to other conservators, particularly those who work with books and paper, and photography. A pdf list with pics will be sent on request:

A large wooden press for flattening and drying plans, 860mm x 1420mm, with 230mm maximum open height / daylight. It was part of institutional equipment.


A large binding bench, bespoke, designed and manufactured by Stephen Thurston, similar to those at SLNSW, with built-in plough / laying press and large weight-bearing drawers. Size 920mm x 1910mm x 940mm.


A large photographic drying and glazing machine, ‘Semmar’, for glazing and drying glossy silver gelatin paper against a polished metal drum. It measures 800mm wide, 500mm deep and 600mm high, and weighs around 75kg. Its heater element is 1500 watts.

It is normally stored with its large continuous canvas belt folded away, under a vinyl cover, and has been kept in a moderately dry (dehumidified) environment.

I used it on and off for some years as a paper drier for washed book leaves, a technique I was introduced to by John Davies, the then Conservator at the State Archives of NSW. I bought this unit from the photographic department of the State Library of NSW around 1993. I have tested it and it seems to be in good working order.


A pair of photo lamps, ‘modern’ from the mid-1980s. They extend to 2.3 metres each, which is quite high for such arrangements. They require Edison screw bulb photofloods, or some modern photographically suitable alternative that can use that fitting.

$120 the pair

A moviecamera ‘dolly’ with locking wheels and smooth handle-operated central column; maximum height 1560mm. Also suitable as a versatile still camera stand.


A fire-resistant keyed safe, lined with acid-free board; bit of an antique, 600mm x 670mm x 1070mm high (internal size 440mm x 500mm x 920mm).


Letter press / nipping press, cast iron, 250mm x 380mm platen, 70mm daylight, on wooden base with drawers.


High position 240 v light box, 765mm x 510mm, height 1060mm on support. Light area 350 x 470mm.

$100 (or offer)

Fully mechanical thermohygrographs, mostly new in the 1980s and in working order. Weekly/daily and one monthly, with some unused charts.

$400 the lot or $150 each (or offer)

Headbanding press for miniature book; pretty.


Laying press, plough press, an old Dryad design for amateur bookbinders, clamps to tabletop, etc.


Bobbin lace-making pillow and bobbins, and a lace-making book.


We also have a Victorian cast iron board chopper that needs a little attention, mostly in replacing the wooden platen. Since receiving it 20 years ago, I always intended to bring it back into service.

Timbers on top are warped etc. but have fence guides for replacement distance and position. At right is the fence for fixing width of board being cut. The blade has been kept dry, and has a heavy counterweight.

Frame is currently mounted on a wheeled base to aid transport, and a ute would be required.

We would be happy to give it to anyone who does not intend to melt it down or use it as a garden pot stand.

Otherwise, we are still listing our excess books and periodicals for sale, and some free. Please email us if you would like this list when it is prepared.