Duluth Ruling & Binding Company

Ted Heinonen

It’s been over 45 years since I walked into this small family owned business that my grandfather Thor Bjorklund and his partner John Handy ran. I used to ride downtown with him when I attend Duluth Central High School back then and the parking lot he used was right across the street at Lake Avenue and Second Street (now the Duluth Teachers Credit Union)
I marveled at the large machine next to the window at their old their 1st Avenue West location (the lower level where  the Hanabi restaurant is now) the window illuminated the large glass jugs that he kept the many colored inks that my grandfather used when he operated the paper-ruling machine that ruled the lines on ledger paper that banks and business throughout the upper midwest needed and used to record their business numbers and activities.
His hands and fingers were always stained from the inks that flowed along the cotton batting to the brass ink pen-like combs that made the fine lines on the sheets he fed to the machine. The Ruling machine was a marvel of wood, iron, and canvas. The ledger books and paper were produced by Duluth Ruling and binding until Thor retired in the mid 70’s and the offset press and then computers took over ledger keeping and modern business bookkeeping.

Even though the company no longer produces ledger paper and the old Hickok Ruling Machine has since been dismantled current owner John Handy and his family still carry on the traditional craft of fine hard cover bookbinding, which is their specialty. They also offer other binding with Wire-O-Binding, plastic coil, plastic comb and vela binding. Saddle stitching is also offered. They also offer copying  and digital printing as well as award wining graphic design. They were the first in 1940 to introduce Wire Coil Binding to this area. Their customers range from Federal, State and County, Retail Stores, Wholesale Businesses, Publishers, Architects, Attorneys and Law Firms, Churches, Colleges, townships and cities to name a few.  

Even in a time of lightning fast digital production Duluth Ruling and Binding has stayed up changes in new technology.

Their specialty is hard cover binding.  Small books from 2x3 inches to large books 24x36 inches in size.

Two methods of book sewing is offered using high quality binders boards for the base and all of the covers are entirely made in-house using quality cover materials such as Buckrums, Leathers, imitation leathers, clothes and canvases in a wide range of colors. Hot foil printing is available to finish your project.  
From thesis books for University students, family genealogy books, record books, plate books and more. They can do custom book binding orders of 1 to 15,000, colour digital printing and graphic design work Duluth Ruling and Binding does it all with old world craftsmanship. Their new location is 207 West First Street in downtown Duluth,(next to Garon Brothers Jewelers).  218-722-1048, website: drbinding.com