“Food for the mind, George – Ehor”
There are books and then there are books. The delightful gift of a book that landed Saturday from my long-time friend Ehor Mazurok was definitely in the latter category. Published first in 1952, “Metals and How to Weld Them” is occasionally updated by the James A. Lincoln Arc Welding Foundation. Lincoln of Lincoln Welders, one of which – a modest SPT135 – was used again this weekend. (More on that project tomorrow.)
I was so moved that I wanted to publicly thank Ehor (his email address lost in my multiple “experiences” with Outlook). Not many people you meet in life are such fine (and smart!) humans. Offering the math behind the (2001) Muzurok-Ure correlation – the theory that defines long-term erosion of currencies as a parallel phenomenon to the long wave in economics and yet having a fine sense of what matters in engineering. Rare find as a friend.
The book, no, make that book, is of that special class published in America during about the first 70-years of the last century. It’s the way they are developed – how the material flows – plus the typography and even the paper of such a book that sets them apart from all others.
I have several of the type in different subject areas in my modest collection. They typically are printed not on cheap stock, but are carefully set upon coated stock. Thicker than glossy magazine pages – more solid. Meaningful. It gives them a completely different tactile sense about them.
The pictures, when used (sparingly, to emphasize important matters) are black and white. None of the typical four-color expense used as publishing puffery nowadays to justify outlandish textbook prices today.
What books are of this genre?
My earliest encounter with such a book was my late father’s copy of “The Blue Jacket’s Manual.:” The 24th edition may be found at Amazon, but my exposure was to a 1942 copy. There’s a digital version online (here) but without the pictures, and the feel of the coated stock, the slightly musty smell of the binding…well, it doesn’t draw you in.
Tactility matters – whether young people are conscious of it, or not. That sense – the very smell of an old book – speaks to the youthful spirit as if going on a great adventure. The age and the mystique of lost knowledge is an immersive thing. People don’t study it much, but my first payroll job was shelving books in the Seattle Public Library brand on Beacon Hill in Seattle. The watchful Mrs. O’Brien ensuring that I didn’t drift and put an M prefixed author in with the N last names. Fiction was by author last name.
Seattle Public used Dewey at the time, for non-fiction. But, that was before the lawyers got hold of Dewey’s classification system.
I don’t know if you remember, but the Online Computer Library Center actually sued a New York library-themed hotel for infringement in 2003. As the University of New Hampshire’s School of Law notes on their IPMall:
This wasn’t your usual lawyering for money. As Law360 reported 10-,months later, the New York Library Hotel agreed to acknowledge that the non-profit OCLC owned the classification system – and they made an unspecified donation to further the work of the children’s reading effort. As near a happy ending as you’ll find in the modern world, it seems.
In our own modest collection of about 750 books, we don’t need a classification system.
In my office, economic and reference materials are in shelves to the left of my writing position.
Behind is another shelf with mainly woo-woo and alternative historical books. Anatoly Fomenko’s “History: Fiction or Science” for example.
My friend JB Slear had been looking for Fomenko’s volume #5 of the “History: Fiction of Science?” series. It has been published and is even in my Kindle collection now. See The Issue with Antiquity. (History; Fiction or Science? Book 5).
I single this out because of the Russian view that much of what we believe to be history is that it was possibly manufactured as Church marketing materials in the early centuries in Europe.
We keep moving through the books, though. Because the topic is not non-fiction, but rather the “how to get things done” type books – like my newly arrived gift.
The hands-on doing, survival, and prepping are behind me to the right.
Most of one entire shelf is given over to back copies of Electric Radio Magazine. ER as it’s called, is the definitive source for hints and tricks on the updated, maintenance, repair and use of tube-type ham radio equipment,.
Above that shelf? The stuff of genius for the hands.
A comparison of the 1967 copy of the Boy Scout’s Fieldbook with my later 2004 edition, underscore the change in fashion regarding printing. The topics has been changed up, the gloss finish was gone, and the book was chock-full of color in 2004. Not so in 1967. It was of the perfected learning and tactility mix we’re kicking around this morning.
“Roadside Geology of Texas” is there with “Secrets of the Soil” and that book I mentioned to Peoplenomics readers in Saturday’s report.
Ehor’s gift will not go on this shelf, but the one above. It will join Glover’s Ref Desk – the one start-over Civilization book to own, along with “Advanced Machine Shop Methods” and “The Metal Fabricator’s Manual.”
Several Audel’s books are here, too, But the rarest my be the 1883 copy of “Workshop Receipts.” Which is where you can learn low tech electroplating with gold of “graining a carriage.”
A long discussion? Perhaps.
Elaine and I don’t look at people superficially as many do.. We are more impressed by book collections than how many CD’s a person has. Books reflect a sense of curiosity…and that means an awake mind is nearby.
Notice it sometime. People who you visit with – ask them what they read… you may be surprised – or disappointed.
High value people tend to consume books like other people consume junk TV shows. To the one, there’s a point and a usefulness. If you’re not sure which, this website my be over your head.
One of these days, promise, I will list our Kindle collection. That adds another 377 titles to the pile. Get the big SD card if you buy one.
You can’t remain an interesting person for long without lots and lots of input!
Made another light crown…
You may find this amusing, speaking of tactility: Notice that I hand-tied waxed cable lacing twine instead of using plastic tie-wraps?
There are just some things better done the old-fashioned way.
Happy belated father’s day. Hope they all called. Don’t ask.
Write when you get rich,