A visit to my grandma’s friend and 60 year old mechanical texts

I went to meet my grandparents after a long week this Sunday (16/03). My grandma told me about her friend, whose husband died recently after being afflicted with Alzheimers. He was a draftsman and a mechanical engineer from the late 1940s- early 1950s. He had some books that the wife wanted to pass on to other students if it was useful to them or give it away as scrap. Was I interested in taking a look at the books? Sure!

When we got there she was still in the process of handling the legal formalities of her husband’s death. The legal death of a person takes longer, perhaps than the physical death of a person.

She brought out the books from a shelf and laid it on the table for me to look. I fished out these books that I mention below and also a set of study materials from the International Home Studies and various society booklets.

1. Machinery’s Hand Book (for Machine Shop and Drafting Room), The Industrial Press, New York(sole distributors for the British Empire) – 1944 (cost mentioned – Rs. 33)
2. Theoretical Mechanics – S. Targ – Foriegn Languages Publishing House, Moscow – Rs. 4.25
3. Applied Mechanics for Engineers – J. Duncan – MacMillan & Co., London – 1949
4. Applied Mechanics – David Allan Low – Longmans Green & Co., London – 1913 (there was no other date – I’m not sure if it was the co establishment date or the publication date)
5. Machine Design Construction and Drawing (Book Production War Economy Standards) – Henry J Spooner – Longmans Green & Co, London – 1944
6. Workshop Technology I (Book Production War Economy Standards) – W A J Chapman – Edward Arnold & Co. – 1945

It is at times like these that I kick myself mentally for not having a digital camera or a phone camera. The books mentioned above despite the years were well maintained. It’s more probably because of better publication practises than because of better maintainence methods. She also showed me a tyre her husband had designed for Firestone Tyres, the company her husband had worked for. She also showed me the table top calendar that she had made for her husband with day, date, month and year.

Also, for 60 year old textbooks, most of the content there could be as well used for my own course today with very little change.

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