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  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by SouthBendModel34 View Post
    I've got an old MH with a protective cover made out of drafting linen.
    (How many of the younger PM members even know what that is? )
    I will admit that I am not sure, even though I had drafting in school, it is the large paper that you use to draw on, or at least when I was in high school. I graduated high school in '76 so you can figure approx. how old I am by that. That is noteworthy though, since my generation didn't have computers in high school, the Apple IIe came out in '78. As such, they still taught drafting in school. As a kid I loved those mechanical drafting pencils, with the big lead in them. Had a set of jaws that secured the lead in...I love mechanical $#!T...

    I just got a book that has what appears to be a some type of vinyl with some type of linen backing. You can see the linen on the back of the cover, in the first pic. This is such a nice cover, it looks like a book binder type craftsmen may have done something like that, but it looks stitched and fits very tightly, a very good job. I have this book already but saw it listed online and picked it up as the one I had was missing a couple pages. Not that I needed them, this is a very useful book also. The cover of the book is dark red/maroon. Thanks to Harry, this is definitely a great book.

    In your case, wasn't the old drafting paper that was used on the large drafting tables what you speak of?

    tlom-under-cover.jpgtlom-outside-cover.jpgtlom-title-page.jpg

    Cheers,
    Alan (only one Machinist's Handbook, and owns a magnifying glass so I can read the one i have! )

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe in NH View Post
    BINGO on that Repop Machinery's Handbook.

    See Machinery's Handbook Collector's Edition: 1914 First Edition Replica | Industrial Press

    Ed: Just noticed this is available from Amazon for $39.95 and super saver shipping. (Grr!)

    Joe
    The link is expired, here is the current Industrial Press link:
    Industrial Press - Machinery's Handbook Collector's Edition: 1914 First Edition Replica

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    I seem to have inherited an old 17th edition with my new position as programmer operator of the turning centers at my shop but have a new 28th edition that I commonly use. It is interesting that you ask this question. I seem to have a soft spot for this specific text and can foresee owning several more of the old editions in the future. I am proud to be an American Machinist.

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    I have a 24th that my parents gave me New for Xmas(and signed for me)

    Also have my Grandfathers 6th that he signed in 1936 when he was an apprentice for GE.

    I think the reason myself and many people enjoy this book( mostly the older copies) is the fact that it’s well made, nice paper, it is sized well to feel good in ones hands.

    In this day of everything being a F’n PDF or online help , it’s just nice to have with you, that you can flip back and forth between pages if you are struggling with something.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

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    I have two. My favorite is the 10th, from 1939. My copy has the original owner's name and address (in Birmingham) written on the flyleaf and the inside cover along with the date, November 10, 1939. This was only a few weeks after the invasion of Poland and the beginning of WWII so someone was getting ready for five long years of intense work. Paid £10 for it in a used book store in Cheltenham.

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    I just noticed that Traditional-Tools asked a direct question in Post #41, and neither I nor anyone else answered it.

    When I referred to "drafting linen" in the context of an MH book cover, I meant an actual woven cloth that was once used for mechanical drawings which had to last a long time in an archive or were going to be handled extensively. Wikipedia has a good entry if you want more details on drafting linen. This struck me as a very "appropriate" way to cover a MH!

    (Outside of museums, I've seen drawings on linen just twice. First was a bound book of property boundary maps for an entire NJ township. The second was a cemetery map held in a vault in the office of a large cemetery which dates from the 1800's.)

    I worked with draftsmen at a time when most drawings were still done by hand. The media then in use were paper and translucent "drafting film," which was referred to as "vellum" even though everyone knew it was not true vellum, which is a treated animal skin! Obviously, both are still in use with digital plotters.

    >"I just got a book that has what appears to be a some type of vinyl with some type of linen backing."

    This might be "naugahyde," (tm) or something similar; a plastic and cloth substitute for leather, generally used as an upholstery fabric. Wikipedia is your friend here, too!

    As I'm writing this, it just occurred to me that salvaging ersatz leather from discarded furniture is yet another useable material that can be obtained from the curbside on "bulk pickup" day !

    John Ruth

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    Joe in NH

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    So post #44 is a spammer dredging up an old post, and it all goes downhill....

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    I've only two copies of Machinery's Handbook, a 1944 12th edition which I found at a second-hand bookstore, and a 1977 20th, which I bought new at a supply house in 1978 when I was setting up an inspection area, and wanted to be 'up to date' so to speak. I don't remember what that book cost me, then, but it seemed a bit exorbitant at the time.

    The Colvin and Stanley 'American Machinists' Handbook seemed easier to find, with a 1914 2nd edition, 1926 4th, 1932 5th , and a 1940 7th, turning up at flea markets, second-hand stores, etc., over the years.

    Re naugas.....I was working with some friends at a small shop here in Cali, in the mid-60's, when it was decided that a mostly stripped-out 'parts truck' would be sent to the scrap mill.

    I couldn't resist the temptation to cut out the seat upholstery, which was a good quality naugahyde. I cut out the shape of a stretched pelt of some little animal, and tacked it up on a wall. If someone asked, I could explain, which a straight face, 'thats a nauga pelt, you won't see any naugas here in Cali these days, they've mostly been trapped out years ago'. Laugh if you'd like, but several rather gullible people just looked at it and said 'oh, my, I've seen naugahyde, but never knew where it came from.'

    cheers

    Carla

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    Carla,
    The naugahide story made me laugh.

    I always wanted to find a Bullwinkle mount.

    Yes, an accurate head mount (complete with walnut
    plaque and all) of Bullwinkle, made from cloth
    of course.

    I would display it proudly in my living room....

  13. #51
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    Carla:

    A bit off topic, but your story of the "Nauga" hide brings back a memory of something similar I pulled. On one of my overseas jobs, I was in a marketplace and bought a python skin for small money. Another item which found its way home with me from Paraguay is the skull of (I think) an alligator. It has the withered skin and teeth, and the jaws are tied with twine so they can be opened and closed. I know, endangered species, importation of reptile hides is prohibited, etc, etc. I brought the python hide back to the USA in my luggage and it sat rolled up in a drawer for a few years as did the alligator skull. When I started working at the NY Power Authority, the fun began.

    On one job, we were working at Kensico Reservoir on the NY City Catskill Water Supply system. About that time, an abandoned alligator some 3 feet long was found alive and well in Kensico Reservoir. The alligator was taken to the Bronx Zoo and found in good health and believed to be a pet that got too big for the bathtub. That was the proverbial "red flag" that got my sense of mischief going. We were working behind stoplogs, 65 feet below the floor of the building our hydro plant was in, installing some new sluice gates. On the other side of the stoplogs was the full flow of the Catskill system, and 65 deep at that. We got to where the work was by riding in a man-basket that just fit into a rectangular opening in the floor, lowered by an electric hoist. It was a slow trip down or up. One of the millwrights was also a practical joker, and he and I contrived to have some fun with gator skull. We got packets of ketchup and put them in our pockets, and I put the gator skull under my rain coat (we had to wear foul weather gear down in the work area due to leakage at the joints of the stoplogs holding back the water). Down to the work area we went. We were there awhile. When we figured everyone on top was busy with other stuff, we went into action. Taking sledge hammers, we began beating on the steel stoplog skinplates and anything else that seemed likely to make plenty of noise. We were both yelling bloody murder. The echo down in the work area- a concrete cavern- was tremendous, as was the amplification of our hollering and banging. Of course, out of sight from the entry shaft, we put ketchup on our hands and faces and hardhats and raincoats. We jumped in the manbasket hollering to be taken up. When we came up to the floor of the plant, I was holding the gator skull and we were both hollering about having had a hell of a fight with a gator that showed up in the work area. This produced a lot of hollering and threats of quitting the job on the part of the other millwrights who had been working up on the main floor of the plant. We kept hollering and moving around so no one got too good or too close a look at the gator skull. Right about then, in walked the assistant division engineer for the Catskill Watersheds. He knew I was capable of some practical jokes, and he knew the millwright who was with me when we were "attacked" by the gator was even more capable of practical jokes. The Division Engineer looked at the gator skull and said something like: "Well, Joe, I see you and your buddy brought one of your souveneirs from overseas to work...Nice gag..." Of course the rest of the millwrights started hollering that they were sore about our hollering murder and how we had them going. The strong consensus was that I leave the gator skull at home.

    After I moved to another Power Authority jobsite, this one on the Mohawk River at Vischer Ferry, the python hide was taken into action. I thumbtacked it to the wall of our office trailer. People would come in, see that hide and ask about it. Any of us who worked in the trailer would simply say it was "some kind of big snake that was killed on the jobsite..." This produced mixed reactions ranging from fear of snakes and talk of moving to some other jobsite, to asking if the snake was venemous and where did we encounter it. The normal tale was was that the snake was surprised in a concrete manhole vault, slithered out and was killed when a backhoe operator chased it down and dropped the bucket across the snake's neck. After awhile, the python morphed into a giant rattlesnake, and men who did not know what kind of snake hide they were looking at were calling their shop stewards and complaining the jobsite was unsafe. We all kept poker faces as best we could. One day, Waheed came into our office trailer. Waheed was our project manager, originally from India, and had a good sense of humor. Waheed knew us and knew who he was dealing with. He saw the snake hide on the wall- next to the buck deer head (which was wearing a set of burning goggles). Someone remarked idly about the "large rattlesnake killed down on the jobsite..." Waheed busted out laughing and said he knew a python from a rattlesnake, and while we probably fooled a lot of people with the python-turned-rattler, he was not taken in by it. He laughed with us and said if people did not know a python from a rattlesnake, have fun with the python hide.

    Ultimately, when I started working at the pumped storage hydro plant, the python hide got pinned to my office wall. On that job, we had a guy who was "the environmentalist" or somesuch title. This guy's job was to look after matters like pollution and wildlife. He was kind of a pompous ass, and when he saw the python hide on my wall, he started to carry on about it being prohibited to injure of kill any wildlife on Power Authority sites. Of course, I told him it was a "big ass rattler that the boys in my crew killed". This set the "environmentalist" off and he demanded to know who killed the "rattler" and under what circumstances, etc. We told him the boys had taken some of the snake meat, breaded it and tried it fried and baked.... and said it all tasted like chicken. Mr. Environmentalist went completely ballistic about our killing a snake on a Power Authority project and how he had to make a formal report, etc. We let him keep going, seeing how far he would go, and figuring if he got it down to corporate he'd look the fool for not knowing a Python (which came from Ghana, in West Africa where I was on a job) from a timber rattler in the Catskills. He eventually found out, and was not at all amused.

    In another episode with this same environmentalist, we had an ornery snake loose in the powerplant's fleet garage. Ordinarily, the boys would either grab the snake and toss it outside, or kill it with anything handy like a shovel or piece of chain if it looked like anything like a rattler. This particular snake was curled up and striking and just plain nasty. I called Mr. Environmentalist in his office- a short walk from the fleet garage- and told him we had a badass snake loose in the fleet garage and that it was striking when we got near. Mr Environmentalist asked me what specie the snake was. My answer was: "That's your job... I'm and an engineer, not a ---#$% herpetologist. Now get your fat ass over here and deal with this snake before the guys kill it with a flat shovel..." Mr Environmentalist hemmed and hawed as to how he was too busy, and telling us we'd be in big trouble if we harmed the snake, and how to deal with the snake. At that point, I told him we'd put the snake in a pail and dump it on his desk and he could return the snake to where it belonged. Mr. Environmentalist suddenly said he'd be right over with his "snake stick and sack". He arrived with his gear, but the snake was not cooperating. Another fellow and I got the snake and pinned it with a corn broom and got it onto a flat shovel, pinning it to the shovel blade with the broom like we were serving the salad. Mr. Environmentalist was telling us where we needed to take the snake to release it, and we started walking to his office with the snake held captive on the shovel. The snake got free and started winding its way down the shovel handle towards me. At that point, I dropped the snake off at the edge of the parking lot, and figured the snake would know what to do from there. Mr. Environmentalist was babbling about article, section and verse regarding treatment of wildlife on Power Authority properties. We left him int he parking lot and went back to work. Periodically, someone would jerk the environmentalist's chain, as he was an easy guy to get going and could be counted upon to turn red, swell up and pitch a fit. He was kidded for years about his not knowing a python hide from that of a timber rattler and he did not take it all well.

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  15. #52
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    I have two the older one from My uncle Dick, which was probably 1953 and the newer one from Alan Lipton in Pittsfield Mass. Alan and I did several partnership deals and were friends, a couple of weeks after Sonny Bono ran into a tree, Alan did the same and ended up in a nursing home permanently. When his used machinery company was shut down I got to pick through his reference books, and was also given a very nice D'arcy chrome plated bronze clock that is still on my desk. I hate to admit that I lost track of what happened to Alan, but he was a great guy who was generous with his knowledge.
    anyways, I have picked up other copies at garage sales for 50 cents or so and I just pass them onto friends who I think would enjoy them. Artist friends find them useful

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodymyster View Post
    A few years ago, Industrial Press bought a surviving version 1ST edition of the machinery's handbook. The then copied every page word for word and made a replica of the book to sell. I think they are still selling it for around $50 or so.

    As for collecting them, I have both of my Grandfather's handbooks, 10th and Th editions. And I tend to pick one up whenever I see them for sell.
    I received a copy of the above mentioned 1st edition replica at the national tool and die apprentice contest a few years back. It lives in the top of one of my gerstners while I continue to lean on my 22nd and 25th editions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SouthBendModel34 View Post
    When I referred to "drafting linen" in the context of an MH book cover, I meant an actual woven cloth that was once used for mechanical drawings which had to last a long time in an archive or were going to be handled extensively.
    John Ruth
    John -

    In the last drafting course I took in my senior year of high school - spring of 66 - we had to ink one plate using the old instruments. But that was on the same heavy paper we usually used.

    Our church has an original set of prints to the building, drawn in 1886/87. The detail work - and color shading - are phenomenal. It is ink on linen. I cannot imagine doing the work and not having a splotch. The set is good enough that for recent work it was used as the basis to develop changes - and to figure out how some of the hidden framing was done. Not sure the current CAD file will be usable in 130 years, but with proper simple storage that linen should still be OK.

    Dale

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    I am about the same age as Dale. Back in the day when I was a student at Brooklyn Technical High School, we had 4 years of mechanical drawing. I think it was in our sophomore year that we had our first experience with tracing a drawing ( a cross sectional drawing, to scale, of a "jack screw") in ink. We traced on what was called "tracing cloth", a finely woven (?) material which was said to be starched. One side was shiny, one matte or duller. We used basic mechanical drawing instruments, using compasses with ruling-pen type inserts to do the arcs and circles, and ruling pens. "Weight of the Lines" was graded, so we set the pens to the different "weights"- heavy for object lines, not-so-heavy for centerlines and dimension lines as well as "section lining", and lightest of all being extension lines. We did our lettering with what was called a "nib"- a piece of blued steel like a fountain pen tip (who remembers or used them ?), and a "nib holder" (a wood handle you pushed the nib into). Ink was "Higgins India Ink". We each bought a small glass bottle with a stopper/dropper top. Filling the ruling pens was a small art in itself as you had to drop just enough ink into the pen to cling to the two side of it, enough ink to hopefully finish the line or circle you were going to trace in ink, and not slop ink out of the pen. We "pounced" the tracing cloth with chalk dust to remove oil from our hands, and went at it. First attempts at inking were a disaster in most cases. We had the "sand erasers", but other than a very small splotch, there was no removing mis-applied or slopped ink. By our junior and senior years we were ink tracing a bit more, and I cannot say I got really comfortable or proficient at it. The last time I did any ink tracing was about 1970, when I was working at the old Rheingold Brewery in Brooklyn, NY. I had to prepare some "film" with a heavy border and the "Rheingold" name (done in modified German Gothic lettering) in the title block. I tried lettering the smaller information in the title block with a "Rapidograph" pen, and after some practice, did not do badly- or at least better than I did with the nib.
    The tracing with the title block was then run off as prints on paper, and we made pencil drawings of various jobs around the brewery on them.

    As Dale notes, the old architectural drawings done in the era his church drawings were done are phenomenal. At the brewery, we had old original drawings done for the various brewery buildings by an architect named Theobald Engelhardt. Englehardt or his draftsmen drew on linen, and drew every detail. Ornate capitals on columns and in terra cotta work set in brick walls was drawn completely. Brick walls showing the tie courses were drawn in their entirety, and shaded to give more of a "sense" to them rather than a basic elevation or sectional drawing. I was impressed with Englehardt's drawings, and wish now that I had taken one or two. Little did I know that the brewery had but 4 or 5 more years to survive, then was put out of business by the bigger firms (aka Budweiser, who was on a campaign to wipe out regional breweries). I do not know what happened to the Englehardt drawings, probably thrown into a dumpster. They were worthy of being framed and hung on a wall. I have tried to emulate Englehardt's drawings. While I do not draw in India Ink (if the stuff still exists or is now called by some politically correct name), I draw using shading, old time lettering, and taking care with my line work. I developed a style of lettering which is similar to that which Englehardt used- a kind of cross between a Germanic lettering and italic. For title blocks and similar, I use "double line" lettering at times. Over the years, I've had many compliments on my drawings. I also have had people tell me that they appreciate seeing a "real drawing" in this day of CAD drawings. At the powerplant, the draftsmen often scanned my drawings and transferred them as-drawn onto the record drawings which are in the plant archives. They said they wanted to preserve some of my drawings. These same draftsmen were tasked with scanning all the original plant drawings- done by draftsmen in the late 1960's-early 70's. The originals then had to be destroyed. The draftsmen took some of the originals home to hang on their walls, as the skill of the draftsmen- both here in the USA and in Japan (at the Hitachi main works where the turbines and generators were built) is a bygone thing. Those of us who sweated it out learning to do real mechanical drawings, working to perfect our lettering and line work, appreciate the "real drawings".
    As an old stubborn dinosaur of an engineer, I simply refused to have anything to do with CAD. It was not necessary on my jobs. When clients in my private practice ask if they can get a CAD file on drawings for a project I am doing for them, my answer is something to the effect that I am a dinosaur, and they can scan my "real drawings". After they see the "real drawings", I usually get some nice comments and am told my drawings are appreciated.

    What also makes a good drawing done in the old ways look really sharp is what is known as a "sepia print". A lot of the old drawings were copied using this process.
    I think part of the reason that ink tracing was so important years ago had to do with the true "blue print" copying process. Very strong line work with solid black color was needed to get a good print. In the era before any kind of copying machines, and before electric lighting, drawings were copied using a glass frame, sensitized paper, and sunlight. Ammonia was used as the developing agent. When I first started my technical and engineering education, blue printing had evolved from the classic blueprint (white lines on solid blue background) to "blue line prints". True blue prints were a thing of the past by the 1960's, though plenty were still in use as record or working drawings. If you went to a blue print shop, the smell of ammonia would often be quite strong. We had a blue print machine in the brewery, and as I recall, it used ammonia (a strong liquid solution, from which ammonia fumes were taken off to develop the prints). When I worked for Bechtel at Millstone Unit II nuclear powerplant, they had a blueprint shop right on site in a temporary building. This shop turned out so many prints each day that they used tanked ammonia gas.
    They had a galvanized sheet metal hood over the blueprinting machines with an exhaust blower. If you walked by that building, you smelled the ammonia.

    On the big powerplant jobs, the drawings all were sent as paper prints in the 1970s'. I think that without exaggeration, the drawings for a powerplant would cover a few acres, or if rolled up, would stack like cordwood. Any time the "home office" revised a drawing, it meant transmitting the physical drawings to the jobsite- which might be miles removed from the home office. Usually, the way drawings, particularly for important field changes, were transmitted was to roll them up and send somebody with them. This could mean putting someone on a commercial airline flight with a roll of drawings, and a couple of days for that person in motels. Nowadays, it's all done electronically and still boggles my mind. With the ability to transmit drawings electronically, some of the US engineering firms are offshoring the actual design and drawing work to shops in India. With the time difference, this works out handily. If a revision or change is needed on a US jobsite, the details are sent electronically to the shop in India. With the time difference, the details of the change come in at what would be night-time in India. As soon as those guys arrive at work in India, they get right on the change and revising of drawings. This happens during what would be night time in the USA. The guys in India wrap up the changes to the drawings and send them electronically, and as soon as the US crew arrives in their offices or job sites, the revised drawings are waiting for them as files in their computers. It is literally "overnight service". As someone who came up during the pre-computer, pre-CAD era, I find all of this to be almost unbelievable. At the same time, CAD has eliminated what had been legions of draftsmen, detailers, designers, blue print machine operators, and "document clerks" whose sole responsibility was making sure the "latest revision" drawings were in use on jobs.

    As Dale notes, the old drawings done on linen and inked will survive handily. Drawings done by the Roeblings of the Brooklyn Bridge are a prime example. Drawings done by Thomas Jefferson at Monticello are another example. These drawings are enduring and truly a pleasure to look at. A CAD drawing is bland by comparison. Whether CAD files will endure like the old drawings done on linen is something our descendants will find out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Michaels View Post
    As Dale notes, the old drawings done on linen and inked will survive handily. Drawings done by the Roeblings of the Brooklyn Bridge are a prime example. Drawings done by Thomas Jefferson at Monticello are another example. These drawings are enduring and truly a pleasure to look at. A CAD drawing is bland by comparison. Whether CAD files will endure like the old drawings done on linen is something our descendants will find out.
    Yes, Joe, long lasting works of art. In my career as a professional land surveyor, I've seen many century old and older survey maps and subdivision plats on linen that remain in pristine condition. The hand lettering on many of these is superb: crisp, uniform in every detail, and easy to read. I've seen one or two that had used some weird variation of ink that reacted to the linen and actually ate into the cloth a little.

    Many archivists nowadays are concerned with not only preservation of the older maps, but with the migration from one digital media to another, in efforts to allow someone a hundred or more years from now to still be able to display, in some manner, the digital renditions of today.

    Dan L

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  22. #57
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    I worked for New England Electric and during the "selloff" period of their generation dispersal (They were to be a "wires only" company - yunno - so the electric consumer would see electric prices plummet?) I served for a while as the Document Coordinator. Passed through my hands were all the drawings for all the stations as they were being transferred to the power plant new owners.

    A good portion of this were "historical" drawings. Including the aforementioned "Ink & Linen" drawings.

    The drawings for Providence South Street Station originally done in 1902 were specimens of the draftsman's art. Ink on linen exactly as Joe describes, but major drawings were "shaded" using colored washes - to make the elements stand out even more.

    I was particularly taken with the plant cross section about 4' x 5' showing the long removed vertical-horizontal corliss engines, much akin to the engines everyone sees on the Internet of the Manhattan Street Railway station engines - remarkably LARGE direct connected multi-polar generators.



    Also the plant heat balance diagram, done as one would do a river made up of tributaries and branches, each branch done as a steam engine, or pump, or electric generator or motor. A large river starting the fuel heat input and two rivers of smaller but equal overall size showing the heat reject - and the all important to profit out to the busbar electrical river.

    I had a temptation to role these up and walk them out under my coat - yunno - in "historical preservation." The new owners would think them most interesting - but the drawings had a very good chance of being lost to posterity with the new owners. After all, independent power generators are in the business of making money - not preserving history.

    Ultimately, I did the honorable thing and sent the drawings along with a note encouraging the new owners to donate the historical drawings to the New England Wireless & Steam Museum, having an interest as they do in steam, and New England, and Providence, RI in particular. I like to sleep nights knowing my soul is reasonabily secure too. I never heard another word on the drawings from either NEWSM or from Pacific Gas & Electric (the plant buyer.)

    I did make a Xerox copy for myself. No where near as nice as the shaded and colored originals - but again for the "historical interest." I still have these somewhere.

    Meanwhile, the originals are probably looking nice in some PGE Vice President's rumpus room.

    Sigh. So much for appreciation of the past. Those who forget the past have blank walls along with repeating their mistakes.

    And covered walls is not assurance of infallibility.

    Joe in NH

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  24. #58
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    Probably the most unique example of ink drawing on linen was the "roller map" which was in the Lower Effluent Chamber at the Ashokan Reservoir. The Ashokan Reservoir was the upstate starting point of the Catskill Aqueduct supplying water to New York City. Construction was completed on the Ashokan Reservoir and the aqueduct and various appurtances and structures en route to the city, circa 1915. The aqueduct is mainly a "horse shoe" shaped "gravity flow" aqueduct, with a lot being built by the "cut and cover method".Portions in the Shawangunk Mountains and in Putnam and Westchester are hard rock tunnel/concrete lined. The aqueduct had to cross the Hudson River. To do this, sound rock strata had to be found, and a syphon/pressurized portion of the aqueduct built. To get sound rock strata (based on borings taken off a barge in the Hudson River), it was necessary to go down something like 1,000 feet below the elevation on the river banks.

    The aqueduct terminated at a reservoir on Staten Island. The run of the aqueduct is well over 150 miles. For reference purposes, a "roller map" was made up. This was drawn on linen, in ink. What it consists of is two parallel "maps". One depicts the physical elevations of the aqueduct, below which are sections of how the aqueduct is constructed, and sections of "air remover" shafts along the run. At the top of the roller map is the "hydraulic gradient" plot.

    The map was in a wooden case with a viewing window. It had a pair of cranks, and you could crank your way along the entire Catskill aqueduct. I did it a few times, marvelling at the drawings and lettering. Sections in different types of rock strata were called off, and the rock was drawn in an accurate depiction of various types of sandstone or shales. Where hardrock tunnelling had been done, the "neat line of rock" was drawn, showing the jagged nature of it following excavation. This was shaded in, and notes made as to the kind of rock. Similarly, types of soils the cut-and-cover portions of the aqueduct passed thru were also drawn in and noted. The syphon to cross the Hudson River was an amazing piece of work at all levels. Taking diamond core borings off a barge to a depth of about 1600 feet was something I marvelled at. I saw photos of the core boring on the barge, a steam powered diamond drill, and the barge anchored with spud legs. There was a substantial fault in the rock strata encountered, so it was necessary to go quite deep to get below it. The shafts go down about 1600 feet, then an 'adit' (if I am using the correct term) was driven from each side of the Hudson, meeting in the middle.

    The roller map also showed some of the "appurtances" like the bronze caps used to cap the shafts at the Hudson River syphon, and some of the sluice gates and valves.

    Obviously one single piece of linen was not available to draw the map in its entirety upon. The map was a series of sections with glued/taped splices. The ink drawings and lettering spanned these splices with no discontinuity. No splotches or signs the draftsmen had any problems or mistakes during the drawing of this map.

    Sadly, after 9-11, NY City watersheds clamped down on Power Authority access into the Ashokan "gate chamber" as it was also known. The roller map was taken from there and moved to some other location on the watersheds.

    What I also marvel at was the foresight the planners of the NYC water supply system had. As early as the 1880's, they were doing hydrological surveys to secure an upstate supply of good water in large volumes. As the design of the water supply system was finalized, a lot of ill will was created due to the massive amounts of property seized under eminent domain. Some of this ill will exists to this day in our hills. Setting that aside, the amount of surveying that had to be done was monumental (sorry about the pun). This all predated the USGS and no topographical maps or consistent elevations tied to mean sea level existed. The survey parties went out into the Catskills using horses and wagons, setting up tent camps and moving from there on horseback if necessary. I've seen some of the old survey records in bound books kept in the Division Engineer's offices down in Westchester. I've also seen many of the old construction photos, taken on glass plates and then put into bound books. When we built two hydroelectric plants on the watershed, we worked off original watershed drawings from around 1915. These are great old drawings, done in the old style of drawing. Back then, very little was "off the shelf" in terms of sluice gates, gate operating machinery, large valves, and architectural details. Buildings were made to look like impregnable fortresses, with riveted steel doors, barred narrow windows, and heavy masonry construction. All of this was drawn by NYC watershed engineering. Even the lock-sets on the entry doors were made to NYC watershed design, and had "NYCBWS" cast on them- and accompanying shop details.
    The volume of drawings and survey notes along with core borings is all accounted for. A lot of it is stored along the aqueduct in the air remover buildings. A record of where it all is stored is maintained. That was 35 years ago, so it would not surprise me to learn the drawings had been put onto microfiche or scanned and then destroyed. It seems the way of the world. Admittedly, being able to call up a drawing on a computer at your desk is a whole lot easier than going out on an aqueduct right of way, and having to enter a building with boilerplate doors that rarely has anyone coming into it. But, a day out on the aqueduct would break up the monotony of sitting in front of a computer.

    The survey parties and field engineers who designed the NYC water supply system were a hardy and clannish bunch. One of the older watershed engineers once showed me a songbook they had. In the days before motels and flat screen televisions and Netflix or sports bars, these guys were sleeping in tents and eating meals cooked over a wood fire. I can only imagine the surveyors going over the day's survey notes and putting things into a "field book" in good handwriting by the light of a kerosene lantern or hurricane lamp on a table in a tent. They had a book of songs written about their work. Today, the book would be considered very politically incorrect as it bashes certain ethnic groups in the songs. Long after the Catskill Water Supply system was operational, the group of engineers and surveyors who worked on its design and field engineering would meet for an annual clambake. I've seen photos of these clambakes, plenty of kegs of beer in evidence, and the songbooks would be used after the group was well lubricated. Different era, different breed, and I think we lost a lot as "artificial intelligence" and things like "total station" survey instruments that download into a plotter as well as CAD took over.

    We live in an informal era. We can go about our daily business for the most part in jeans and flannel shirts (which is how I went to work at the Power Authority, in the field and at the powerplant). Back "in the day", a draftsman wore a white shirt (and going back to the era we are speaking of) with a celluloid or cloth detachable collar. The draftsman wore a necktie, and likely came to work even in the heat of summer wearing a suit jacket. The drawing rooms were likely hushed places with the draftsmen at their drawing boards (or tables). No informality, no banter, no listening to music to liven up the workday. I always enjoy meeting engineers of my generation or a bit older. When we get to talking and we might get to making a sketch to explain something, I can tell by how a person holds their pen or pencil and how they sketch if they are the "real deal". I was doing some structural steel design for a client, a fellow about 40 who is a plumbing contractor. I was pleasantly surprised when he took out a "clutch pencil" or "lead holder"- a real draftsman's pencil. To those who don't know what these are, these are an octagonal body (plastic usually) with a knurled aluminum finger grip area. The pencil lead is held in a collet, and there is a drawtube that runs up inside the body of the pencil. Pushing down on the top of the pencil releases the collet so more lead can be extended. When this client took out a good draftsman's lead holder or "clutch pencil", I let him know I was impressed. I designed some structural steel for him and he liked my oldtime drawings- even though his firm works using all the latest software to design and draw their jobs.

    I like today's informality, but I also like the old ways of drawing and the degree of skill and mind that were needed.

  25. #59
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    A little OT on books. I just bought a 2nd printing "Machine Reconditioning Book" by Edward Connelly that looks like new at an auction. The buyer wrote on one page 1/27/56 and he paid $10.75 for it. First addition was in 1955 I believe. Been thinking of selling it.

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    Of course along with any "clutch pencil" was required to have the "pointer."

    When the engineering office was cleaned out of all the "pre-cad/cam" materials, I took one of the dietzen cast iron "pointers" that was headed to the dumpster. No sleep lost on this one.

    Later, doing some drawings on my field assignment in the southern states, I brought along the pointer which was put in a plastic bag (pointer have a habit of spilling graphite when they're overturned) and in my overnight bag.

    Wouldn't you know it. TSA found the pointer in the bag and now I'm held up while they open the bag and laborously verify the "cast iron thingy" was the same object seen on the X-ray. They made several "controlled shots" as everything stopped on the inspection line and they ran the pointer through again by itself at various orientations to the X-ray.

    Finally I was called to explain "what is this?" I told my story and my need for it in my engineering work. "Is this an antique?" My reply "well sort of - they've gone out of common use."

    "Well, do you mind if we use your images for our scrap-book? Other TSA agents can refer to his book and this might speed you or some other engineers passage through the checkpoint in the future."

    Of course I agreed.

    So my little pointer is now part of the TSA permanent record?



    Hard to imagine this item of common use is now an antique?

    Joe in NH


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