View Full Version : Fiction for machinists?

02-21-2005, 03:08 PM
I have just finished reading a novel by Nevil Shute entitled "Trustee From The Toolroom". It has a copyright date of 1960 so you can tell how caught up I am on my reading.

But it was a good read. An adventure involving a guy whose hobby is the same as some of ours here in this forum. You can tell that the writer has more than a passing knowledge of machine shop practices.

I wonder if there are other novels around with a similar theme. Not all reading about machine shops has to be filled with charts and feed/speed calculations!!

02-21-2005, 03:39 PM
I first read that book when I was about 12 years old. My dad wanted me to read it and I enjoyed it tremendously. I have never found a similar book.

02-21-2005, 04:06 PM
I've been looking for a copy for a while.
Any suggestions?

02-21-2005, 04:19 PM
OK, I've found several. Ordered one.

02-21-2005, 04:26 PM
Haven't really seen many novels with a strictly metalworking theme. One of my interests is literature, though, and I'm happy with just a passing metalworking reference. Here are two:

"Beneath the Wheel" by Herman Hesse. Boy is apprenticed to a machine shop (Mechanics shop?) after first being forced through the world of academia... Very good book, very poor description on my part.

Celini's Autobiography. Descriptions of casting metal. He was, among other things, a sculptor and goldsmith. Very interesting reading.

02-21-2005, 04:55 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Rex:
I've been looking for a copy for a while.
Any suggestions?</font>

Try these:




Many others also out there.

John Stevenson
02-21-2005, 05:06 PM
Shute had a few more books loosly based on engineering but not as specific as Trustee.
Slide Rule was an autobiography and No Hghway covers a lot of technical writing on metal fatigue.

Another is Hammond Innes, Air Bridge, based on the Berlin air lift.
Covers making a special aero engine in loose detail.

The Rocket Boys aka as October Sky in film form is also a good read.

Trustee is on the net somewhere as an e-book, I don't have the link but I think I have the text file on a backup CD somewhere.

John S.

02-21-2005, 06:50 PM
You want fiction, Just listen to my boss when he opens his mouth!

02-21-2005, 07:23 PM
Guy Lautard wrote a couple of fiction books.

One, 'The J.M. Pyne Stories & Other Selected Writings by Lucian Cary" Lautard is listed as editor.

The other, "Hey, Tim, I Gotta Tell Ya" is listed at $187.76.
I'm not sure this book is all fiction, better do a little research.

You can find both at Amazon.com

[This message has been edited by C9 (edited 02-21-2005).]

02-21-2005, 08:06 PM
Another good read is Rudyard Kipling's "The Day's Work" You can find it here on line as a pdf. http://www.hn.psu.edu/faculty/jmanis/kipling/Days-Work.pdf
There are a couple of stories that stand out, The Ship That Found Herself, and 007. There are a couple that are quite humerous based on the differences between English and Americans, My Sunday at Home and An Error in the Forth Dimension.

02-21-2005, 10:30 PM
randolph,nevil shute norway(his full name)was actually a very accomplished model engineer,or home shop machinist if your in the usa,hence his knowledge of machining.i believe he wrote a couple of articles in "model engineering"magazine.i'm still looking for a copy of that book too.


Forrest Addy
02-21-2005, 11:45 PM
A few more books containing profound machine shop and machinist lore as an intrinsic part of the story line:

"The Sand Pebbles"

"Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Racing"

"Round the Bend" Neville Shute

jim davies
02-22-2005, 12:47 AM
"Herman the German" is a good read, covering a mechanics travels from Berlin to GE's gas turbine division via China during WW2

02-22-2005, 01:10 AM
"Zen and the Art of Motorcyle Maintence" by Robert Pirsig was the first "making things" book I was exposed to when small. I still think it is a classic.

At Amazon:

YMMV, though...


Norman Atkinson
02-22-2005, 08:14 AM
N S Norway was indeed a very accomplished engineer. The story goes that the Trustee was modelled on Edgar T Westbury- or Ned who wasthe Editor of Model Engineers in the Percival Marshall days.

Again, a Town like Alice is amazing prophetic but I 'll let you read it.

2 million or more will have read Dan Brown's the Da Vinci Code.It is one of those books which may or may not be true, but it is compulsive reading.

My copy just preceded a copy of something called the Book of Hiram by Knight and Lomas.
It may well be "Masonic" but if anyone wants to explore how the ancients did calculations of degrees, time and measurement, this is it.Again, arm yourself with a few sticks, ropes and a bit of string- and this is it.

Hiram Abiff.