Turul Bookbindery Celebrates 80 Years in Business
Company offering customers a discount until early August.
For 80 years, Turul Bookbindery in Lake Hopatcong has been serving its customers’ needs of bookbinding, restoration and repair of books. And to celebrate, customers will only pay 80 percent of the total cost of their repair, rebinding or restoration.
The celebration continues until Aug. 8, which is also the eightieth wedding anniversary of Turul’s founders.
The business started in Hungary in 1932, owned by the Rahill family—Mike and Margit and their son Michael. Margit’s father founded the business in Sopron, Hungary.
“My father was an orphan, and he had to learn a trade,” Margit said. “He went to Holland and learned bookbinding.”
The business stayed in Hungary until 1956, when the Hungarian Revolution began. After a four-year break, the family came to America and Turul reopened in Queens, NY. It moved to it’s current location in 1975.
The company gathers documents that come in as loose pages from governmental agencies and corporations and binds them into books. It also works on closing documents and legal briefs for the legal profession.
“Some companies are switching to digital, but many still want hard copies as back-up,” Michael Rahill said.
Turul has also been involved in restoring old books and photo albums for individuals.
One of the company’s most notable restorations was the work it did on “The History of the Jewish People,” a copy published in 1587.
“The book had wooden boards under the leather cover that were cracked and moldy,” said Margit Rahill. “We mended it where needed, put the original leather over the wood and added metal work on the corners,” she added. "We try to use the original material as often as we can."
Those decorative metal corners are not always easy to come by,” Margit Rahill said.
“We make as many of our supplies as we can, but we also go to antique stores and search online for items we need,” Margit Rahill said. “A lot of time is spent searching out supplies.”
Another paintstaking project involved a Bible from the 1600s that had sustained water damage in a basement flood.
“We put every page between towels to dry it out,” Margit Rahill explained. “Then we divided the book into signatures and sewed each one together.”
Bibles account for a large portion of Turul’s business.
“We see a lot over very old Bibles,” Margit Rahill said. “If they are torn, we put Japanese tissue paper over the tears to mend them. Some of the pages we can’t fix at all because they just wouldn’t match correctly,” she continued.
It takes about eight hours of actual time to do a “typical” restoration. A piece cannot be worked on continuously, because there is a resting period that must take place between each step.
“If we glue something, we need to give it time to dry,” Margit Rahill said. “Once we put a book together, the pages need time to settle so that we can be sure they fit properly in the binding.”
One of the more current ideas that Turul is working on involves making a box shaped like a book. It can be used as a container for ashes,” Margit Rahill explained.
“We thought that it would make a nice container for the ashes of a loved one who was an avid reader,” she said.
Turul is marketing the idea to area funeral homes.