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Old How-To Books Answered

I've always been a fan of old how to books. They often have tips and techniques you don't find in contemporary books. Sometimes they are just plain strange. Other times they are painfully outdated, like an old Popular Mechanics article I came across that shows you how to improve your toaster by adding asbestos to it.

Last weekend I stumbled upon this old doll making book at a thrift store. The entire book shows how to make dolls in a kind of odd folk art style, and would never get printed today.

In spite of the fact I don't really have room for more books right now, I couldn't help myself and bought it anyhow.

Has anyone else come across any interesting how to books lately, or have favorite classics in their collection?



13 days ago

I love Tools and How to Use Them, which can be purchased used for cheap. Great illustrations and descriptions of what whole families of tools are used for, and, well, how to use them.


17 days ago

My favourite is the PM encyclopedia from 1968, used to spend hours browsing the models before I got into RC planes.
Needless to say the majority of parts needed for most of the projects werent available back then.


17 days ago

Or how about old encyclopedias?


19 days ago

I picked up a couple of 60s-era textbooks at a thrift store several years ago on cabinetmaking and woodworking. There is a ton of info in them, and really fun to just flip through and read random chapters.


19 days ago

I had a collection of about 300 magazines.
All about electronic circuits and what to do with them.
You know, instead of explaining how a LED works they would give you the info in the October release.
Just so you can make some scry halloween props.
One I really liked was the Kojack siren "kit".
Took my (as a little boy) a whole day to solder it together but then another week to make the megaphone like enclosure from cardboard.
Times were different back then.
If there was a way to make it yourself then you just did it.
And those old books are some sort of history lesson too.
Skills and knowledge is already lost, so keep those books in a safe place :)
Mine old books and magazines somehow managed to escape my shipping container between customs inspection and me being able to get the container.
I estimated that 20% of the contents were lost but I never got any back :(

Would be nice if people with these old books and magizines would still have time to scan them for the big digital archive...