View Full Version : Fun old books

11-01-2009, 01:21 AM
My wife was out shopping today and stopped into an estate sale for no particular reason. There she saw old books on machines, metalurgy, aircraft mfg., materials texts - none of it newer than 1930. Included was a well-worn Machinery's Handboot from 1916, and a 1916 Pender Handbook for Electrical Engineers. The gilding on the page edgess is unworn. Buried between the pages near the center is an old Union News Company postcard, #264, showing the old Aero Cable at Niagara Falls. Likely been there, unused, since the 1920's or so. Toward the back is a brief section on wireless telephony, including circuits of the period.

I love old books - especially ones that discuss the principles of aviation published within 15 years of Kitty Hawk :)

I trust any 1918 H1N1 viruses that may have been sneezed into and caught between the pages are long since dead!

11-01-2009, 01:41 AM
Dead? I trust you have seen Andromeda Strain? :D

11-01-2009, 07:04 AM
I have some allergies that go wild in the presence of old books- so I don't know if the flu would survive but something definitely lives on the pages!

My father had an old mechanic/ engineering book that was written with young people in mind, perhaps high school age. The book was very thick and the size of a Machinery's Handbook. When I saw it, it had no cover and was falling apart. I am sure that sometime over the years (this was almost 50 years ago) it got thrown away.

The stuff that was in that book was priceless- all kinds of engineering principles that were explained very simply, with some simple experiments to prove them out. As it didn't have a cover, never knew the title- but would love to get hold of another one!

If it had belonged to my grandfather, it may have been circa 1910 or so, perhaps older. I don't remember anything in it about flight, but all kinds of mechanical stuff. Some of those old books are wonderful in the information they contained! I envy your find!

John Stevenson
11-01-2009, 07:34 AM
What edition is the Machinery handbook, didn't come out until 1916 and first editions are worth a fair bit, saw one on Ebay a while ago for $600

11-01-2009, 08:44 AM
MH came out in 1914. I have a Second Edition dated 1914 and a Sixth dated 1924, so it is somewhere between the two, probably the Third. It is still a nice find and worth a few dollars.

11-01-2009, 09:20 AM
The stuff that was in that book was priceless
Some of the oldies aren't goodies. I have a book on atomic physics which was published two years before the discovery of neutrons. So as a description of the real world, the book has some glaring holes.

John Stevenson
11-01-2009, 12:01 PM
MH came out in 1914. I have a Second Edition dated 1914 and a Sixth dated 1924, so it is somewhere between the two, probably the Third. It is still a nice find and worth a few dollars.

Sorry got the years wrong thought it was 1916.


11-01-2009, 12:57 PM
Just rechecked the dates (vs what was read over the phone, originally). The MH is 5th edition, 1917. The Pender book is 1916.

The gilding on the page edges is perfect but the cover and binding look to be nearly 100 years old :p

It looks like it was never in a machine shop as there's not a spot on it.

11-01-2009, 02:37 PM
Mine say`s First Edition Oct 1908
Eleven printings 36,000 copies

Second Edition July 1914
Fifteen printings 129,5.. copies

Third Edition Jan. 1920
6 printings 52,000 copies

Fourth Edition July 1926
6 printings 32,700 copies

Fifth Edition March 1932
Three printings 10,200 copies

Sixth Edition July 1935
Five printings 23,000 copies

So where did all the old copies go. Mine is a sixth edition