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Fred H. Shihadeh and Fredelka Formula

Fred Harris Shihadeh, an internationally-respected custom bookbinder, was born in East Orange, New Jersey, in 1925. He graduated from Penn State University after serving in the army during World War II. After the war he was stationed near Munich, Germany, where he met his wife, Elka Nissen. A voracious reader and book collector, Mr. Shihadeh met an old German hand bookbinder who desperately needed an apprentice. Mr. Shihadeh had always liked books and was curious as to how they were put together, so he accepted the position. “I did all the dirty work, anything he said, I did – swept the floors, sewed the books, all the tough jobs. But I learned everything else from him, too.” Later, Mr. Shihadeh travelled extensively throughout Europe to acquire the unique skills and archaic tools of his craft. In 1961, with his wife and now partner, Elka, he brought his craft to America and opened a hand bookbindery in Ardmore, Pennsylvania.

Fred Shihadeh, inventor of Fredelka Formula, now Accessible Preservatives   The Shihadehs restored some of the most important books and documents in American and European history, dating as far back as the 15th century, shortly after Gutenberg’s invention of the moveable type printing press. These included a two-volume set of The Federalist Papers, essays in favor of ratification of the Constitution; Broadsides announcing the Declaration of Independence; and original works of John James Audubon, including a double elephant-size set that sold at auction for more than three million dollars. The Shihadeh’s work can be found in rare book collections of museums, universities, dignitaries and serious collectors throughout the world.

Mr. Shihadeh also was an inventor. The profession of restoring rare leather bindings demands a natural product. One of the primary leather restorative and preservation formulas widely used at that time had been developed by the British Library. Mr. Shihadeh was dissatisfied with this product as he felt it was difficult to apply, was not smooth to the touch and had a disagreeable odor. After a good deal of experimentation, he was able to utilize varied proportions of its primary ingredients to create a totally new product which he called FredElka Formula, a combination of his and his wife’s names. FredElka Formula was easy to apply, brought old leather back to life and provided a firm protective coating with a smooth feel. In addition to utilizing the product himself Mr. Shihadeh soon developed a customer network of other book restorers, libraries and book collectors. FredElka Formula also proved of great value when applied to rugged outdoor leather products, automobile interiors, and the like.

In 2000 Mr. Shihadeh sold FredElka Formula and its full marketing rights to Accessible Archives, Inc. The name was changed to Triple Crown to coincide with the change in ownership, but has been re-named Accessible Preservatives to better reflect its relationship to the parent company.

Fred H. Shihadeh passed away February 13, 2004. Elka Shihadeh continues to work on occasional restoration and preservation projects.


Tom Nagy, President of Accessible Preservatives  

About Tom Nagy

Tom Nagy is the president of Accessible Preservatives, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Accessible Archives, Inc. Tom was born in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania in 1968. He graduated from Malvern Preparatory School in 1987. Tom earned a BS in Political Science from Furman University in 1991, where he also was a prominent member of the baseball team. Prior to joining Accessible Archives, he was the owner of a successful landscape design and maintenance firm in Malvern, PA.

Tom Nagy also serves as COO of Accessible Archives, Inc. He and his wife Sharon currently reside in West Chester, Pennsylvania.


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Phone: 866-296-1488 | Fax: 610-725-1745 | sales@accessiblepreservatives.com