View Full Version : Old books

01-13-2007, 10:53 PM
I've been on a bit of machine shop/general shop old book buying jag lately. I've picked up a few of the Colvin and Stanley series of books, "Practical Shop Mathematics" Vol one and two (these will come in handy I have no doubt) and and a three book series from Audels called the "Machinist Library". The Colvin and Stanley books are from the 40's as are the shop math books. The Audel books were printed in the mid 80's but are revisions of older printings.

I'd like to complete the set of Colvin and Stanley books if for no other reason than the historical perspective, but I was wondering what recommendations people here would make for really good vintage shop publications.

Is it just me or is the smell of and old book an intoxicant?

Steve Stas
01-14-2007, 02:07 PM
Well, I guess I'm equally nuts-- I love old books of any kind, usually rummage at estate sales for books and tools..nothing else matters at an estate sale. --And books about tools --

What it recomment is tough, becuase everyone's tastes, even in tool books is different, I have a philosophy--but evy book about maching I can find, everyone of them has a gem in it.

I great source for reprinted old books on machine tools (and many other topics, some of which are REALLY off the way) is www.lindsaybks.com.

they have quite a cataolog.

steve stas

01-14-2007, 02:53 PM
One you might be interested in: "The Design and Use of Cutting Tools" by Leo J. St.Clair, from the 1950s. Basically, it's 350+ pages describing how to grind lathe toolbits.

The Colvin and Stanley books are really good.

01-14-2007, 03:09 PM
If you are interested in designing your own machines, whatever they are, I recommend a book first published in 1885 and used as a text by MIT. I have the sixth edition from 1957. It describes in detail how mechanical systems work, everything from walking beams to bevel gears and also explains in detail the mathematics used to calculate critical dimensions to achieve desired results.

The Book is Elements of Mechanism, by Schwamb, Merrill and James, revised in '57 by Doughtie.

Example from the book:


01-14-2007, 03:19 PM

I am with you on old books about the machine and tool /die making. I search through the thrift stores in industrial areas and come up with some real gems. I got a copy of "The Tool Engineer's Handbook" for $0.50 and some military (Navy) training manuals. The "TEH" was from 1950 and was hard bound with about 2000 pages of really good info. The Navy training manuals were for metalsmith 3rd and 2nd class and the other was metalsmith 1st and chief. They were from the 50's also and had all the old color codes for types of steel and much more. If you look around at flea markets and thrift stores in the right areas you can get "treasure" for very little money.

Good luck in your hunt!

01-14-2007, 03:45 PM
Thanks for the tip Evan. I picked up a '71 printing of Machinerys Handbook today, another book that'll come in really handy.

I may have to build some book shelves in the shop soon.