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Author Topic: Science and History how to: The Boy Mechanic Series  (Read 1994 times)
Proffessor Varne
Snr. Officer
United States United States

ProF-Fess-or hence the extra F

« on: April 08, 2007, 05:36:45 am »

When I was over at my Grandmother's house many years ago helping her move, I stumbled across a book called The Boy Mechanic 700 Things for Boys to Do. (actually my copy was much different from the newer ones that have been republished recently so the 700 is not accurate) I started flipping thru this book and was floored at the articles that were in it! Text and drawings taken from a column run in Popular Mechanics magazine and collected and published in 1913 described how to build my own roller coaster, a self lighting arc light, a hang glider (that resembles the wings of a biplane), steam engines, ice catamarans, workbenches, wood lathes, all manner of neat things and science experiments! I was in heaven for days! My father was amused at my wanting to build some of the gadgets in the book and was glad to help as it kept me from taking other things apart to see how they worked. (If it was working before I took it apart chances were good it wouldn't be when I got thru  Wink ) I learned alot from the book, and was very sad when the book got lost years later during my parents divorce.
     I was doing some research online one night and it occurred to me to search for The Boy Mechanic to see what I could find. I quickly found the home of Lindsay Publications Inc. I got alot more than I bargained for! I found The Boy Mechanic books, 3 of them in fact! I also found alot of books on science engineering history build your own Everything (well ok not really but it seems like it).

I ordered a catalog and as soon as it arrived I ordered all 3 Boy Mechanic books and they have given me a lot of ideas for things over the years. They cover a wide range of activities and projects, from camping to surveying land, from making a simple crumb scraper to making your own canoe. Alot of the articles were written in the late 1800's to early 1900's and provide a lot of knowledge.

But don't take my word for it, the first book is now available on Project Gutenberg
And look the first project is how to make a model steam engine! Hmmm I think I need to go make room in my workshop again.......... Grin


I have a head simply brimming with seemingly useless information. Useless, until I find a post that I can relate it too that is...........

"Is it hot in here?"

"No, just Steamy"
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2007, 01:05:04 am »

oooh. I do love old books like that. It reminds me of some of the books at an old friend's house that I used to read. Unfortunately I don't have that opportunity any more, but it was enjoyable perusing through the books deemed fit for the older generations when they were young. It certainly contrasts with the protective childhood extending nannyism that we see these days. I'm surprised they don't bubble wrap children now.

*Downloaded the PDF Smiley*
« Last Edit: April 11, 2007, 01:09:00 am by Lasairfion » Logged
Proffessor Varne
Snr. Officer
United States United States

ProF-Fess-or hence the extra F

« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2007, 06:14:22 pm »

I'm surprised they don't bubble wrap children now.

Heh, according to modern beliefs of "That's to dangerous! You kids could get hurt or killed!" I shouldn't have made it past my 7th birthday. Along with the same parents who make those claims. Wink

I loaned a friend of mine these books, and his kids thought the projects were cool. So he had to go get his own copies and they have built several of the things in the books, under supervision. I just found a copy of The Boy Electrician, wait till I show that to him! His children are learning a great deal of science and engineering related things from doing the projects, which is one of the reasons he helps them get into the projects. If only more people were like that.

I'm tracking down a copy of The Boys' Book of Engine Building, as it covers steam engines and locomotives. I know I can get it online, but I am looking locally first.
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