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From: "John Jardine"
Subject: Re: Anyone else collect old engineering books?
Date: Tue, 12 Nov 2002 19:56:12 -0000
NNTP-Posting-Date: 12 Nov 2002 19:45:05 GMT
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Mike wrote in message
> Do any other engineers here collect old electrical engineering books? Any
> particular specialties (radio, power, circuit analysis, etc)? What do you
> use them for?
I'll grab anything old of a technical or scientific nature as long as it's
cheap. Old technical books usually are because general book collectors have
no idea of the contents and thus cannot garner any cachet of approval from
I've about 40 older 'electrical' books. The earlier ones don't have this
word in headings as 'electricity' was new and came under 'Natural
philosophy' or 'Science'. The oldest -all electrical- book I have is an 1890
'elementary treatise on natural philosophy' by A. Privat Deschanel. Covers,
Galvani's experiments, Wheatstones single needle telegraph and a new
invention "coming into favour, "Swan's incandescent lamp" !. Interesting
line on page 627 "It seems to be fully established by experiment that
electricity has no definite velocity". (they were having problems with
submarine lines). I've a series on "Science" from 1850. Fascinating to read
of experiments using pitch to deflect H.F. waves. I've a 1870 Spon's
"Workshop Receipts for the use of manufacturers, mechanics and scientific
amateurs". Tells me how to make *anything* from "cheap looking glasses" to
dynamite and nitro-glycerine.
Many of the older books can make fascinating reads and their engraved
drawings *are* works of art. It's humbling for me, to casually connect my
fancy 6 digit DVM to take a reading when I know the effort, sweat and toil
employed by the early experimenters in just figuring out what a volt
I prefer to use the old books to look for any really *basic* stuff but other
than that enjoy them for the scientific snapshot of a time and culture, that
only they, can uniquely offer.
My all time best book (any book at all) is 1964 vintage, Autonetic's,
C.F.O'Donnell "Inertial Navigation Analysis and Design". After reading it I
'just knew' I could build an ICBM guidance system or guide the Nautilus
submarine under the polar ice cap!.
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