I used to have a book, from about the 1920's, which I believe was called something like "The Handy Book for Boys" or "The Boys handy Guide" or something similar. It was a HUGE book, with illustrations, on how a boy could make just about anything - from building a raft, or a rowboat or a sailboat, to making root beer, fireworks, forts, aquariums, aviaries, traps, bows and arrows, games to play, how to whittle - it was a most amazing book, and of course, I lost my copy. So when this new book came out: "The Dangerous Book for Boys", everyone & myself included, got all excited about it, but it seems to be a pale imitation of what I used to have. the one thing I do remember about that old book, was it made a lot of assumptions about being able to easily acquire things that I would have no idea how to go about today - chemicals and glazier's leading and such, but I sure wish I could find another copy of that book. I bet it would be a great resource for creating new instructables or getting ideas - anyone else out there know about this book, or where to get myself another one? It seems like perfect reading material for this website! Some other things I remember; I remember the book being red, and being printed in England - it made a lot of references to the United States and had a very "English" writing style and wording.
Ah-Hah! thank you Tool Using Animal - your perseverance has paid off for me. If anyone is at all interested in these books - look at the links in the comments below for a Project Gutenberg copy of the Boy Mechanic and a PDF version of The American Boys Handy Book from Google - both great resources for How-To's for all ages. Especially check out the illustrations for the boy-sized glider inside the Boy mechanic book - can you imagine allowing a kid to do something like that nowadays? Think of the lawsuits!!! :-)