Some Antique Technology from Print...

This page is dedicated to Mr. Easter, who gave me my first Audels book (1921 edition of Engineers and Mechanics Guide vol. 5) many years ago, and Frank Duncan Graham, who authored it and so many other fascinating books on engineering and technology.

Everything you wanted to know about Corliss Engines

Chapter 14 on Corliss Engines of Audel's Engineer's and Mechanic's Guide (located in Vol. 2) by Frank D. Graham.

Illustrations for Chapter 14, details of the construction and proper adjustment of a Corliss Engine.

How to design an engine....

Graham will show us step-by-step how to design this 8-1/2 by 11 inch 30 horse 250 RPM single cylinder marine engine in Chapter 52 "How to Design an Engine" of Audels Engineers and Mechanics Guide Volume 4. This engine would be perfect for a home powerplant capable of powering several homes.

Don't worry about the boiler, for in Chapter 71, in volume 6 Graham will also show step-by-step how to design a matching vertical water tube boiler for this engine.

NOTE- Google books has scanned the entire 1921 printing of the 8-volume Engineer's and Mechanics Guide into convenient .pdf format, making this valuable information accessible to a greater audience, therefore, I will not be doing any more scans as I did the Corliss Engine chapter. Since searching for these via Google is a hit-or-miss proposition, I am providing a link to each volume here. You can download each volume from Google for free in PDF format.

Volume 1  Volume 2  Volume 3  Volume 4  Volume 5  Volume 6  Volume 7  Volume 8

Every thing you ever wanted to know about steam engineering and other practical subjects is now available to you. Keep your originals safe at home & print off the Google scans to take into the field.

Refrigeration in 1892....

The York Manufacturing Co. is your guide to Victorian Ice Production and the science of ammonia refrigeration.

    Illustrations from the 1892 catalog.

Audel's Books and Guides.

Audel's Guide to Audels Guides

These books are the benchmark of all engineering texts. Profusely illustrated and beautifully written, these books offer insights on a vast array of subjects. I have found so much of the information in Audel's to be invaluable, and actively search for them. My favorites are those written by Frank Duncan Graham (1875-19??). According to a few of the books, Graham was a graduate of Princeton University, obtaining a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering. He was also a Stevens Institute licensed stationary and marine engineer.

The following quote, from the author's letter in Graham's Audels House Heating Guide, captures much of Graham's colorful and descriptive way of writing:

    "As was to be expected, the author's master artist draughtsman George W. Hood, staged a repeat performance of his past achievements in accomplishing a mystic transfiguration of the author's graphic thoughts into pictures incarnate so important in the clarification and accentuation of the text.

    "For sheer eloquence of presentation, this "hook-up" of master graphics and belles lettres, from the aesthetical point of view leads to the ultimate conviction that one inspired the other." [emphasis and italics in original]

Graham's eloquent style or writing is ever present throughout all his works. Many of Graham's books were reprinted many times, even as late as the 1960's, completely unrevised and written just as the first editions.

Graham was never shy to express his opinion in his writing. He seemed to have a long standing grudge against "so called plumbers."  The following passage comes straight from page 577 of Graham's Audel's House Heating Guide;

"    In the installation of an oil burner outfit, the following outline is a step by step procedure for the work to be done:

  1. Pipe fitter-tank and pipe work.

  2. Electrician-electrical work and start burner

  3. Helper-unpack oil burner, prepare heating plant, build combustion chamber and clean up.

    For efficiency all three should operate simultaneously so that the three phases of the work will be completed in about the same time. However, with the usual plumber's technique when men arrive on the job the helper will be sent back to the shop for tools, etc., to ring up an extra half hour while the other mechanics light up pipes and cigarettes-and "rest". This happens on some jobs paid for by the hour but does not happen on contract jobs."

Graham goes on to talk about the slip-shod work most "alleged fitters" practice. How little contractors have changed since Graham's time!

Graham has a dry sense of humor, as these scans from the same title as the above do attest.

Fig. 27 The difference between momentum and mere speed. A couple of rowdy young "fellas" illustrate the "ridiculous momentum" of an outboard toy at 21 MPH.

Fig. 24 Graham uses "greenhorns" once again to illustrate a point, this time, they are "alleged drivers". "...these young 'fellas' will say 'Brace yourself, I'm going to stop......' ." I had a good chuckle after reading these pages.

Who said text books had to be dry and boring? It is too bad more authors could not have been like Graham.

Audel's books I have

My first Audels book was given to me in my Junior year by an intern teacher by the name of Mr. Easter in 1995. It was a 1921 edition of Audels Engineers and Mechanics Guide Number 5. Since then, I have sought out other Audel's titles, and have many volumes to reference.

Eventually I hope to have many of the more interesting sections of these books online. But if you need something now, I can probably help you. These books are essential if you wish to have a practical, working knowledge of many historical technologies.

Note: Two very different versions of the "Handy Book" exist. The first is the one based off of Volume 8 of Audels Engineers and Mechanics Guide, which starting in 1924, was also published as the "Handy Book" (with the same sequential page and chapter numbering of volume 8). This incarnation of the "Handy Book will always have 1924 as the first copyright date. The other, later version has for its first copyright date 1937, and does not have the chapters on telephones, elevators, or motion pictures. In fact, the whole book is revamped with much material on motors, wiring, etc, as is in the 10-volume New Electric Library. The interesting thing is that if you look at the copyright dates in both versions, they overlap. I have the original 1921 Volume 8, a 1945 Volume 8, a 1944 printing of the 1924 version of the Handy Book (still with the chapter and page numbering form the E & M Guides), and a 1963 printing of the 1937 Handy Book.

A Few Links

Mark Kinsler's Engineering for Everone: Materials, machines, structures, and electricity: systems that keep us alive, healthy, and working, and why you should understand them.

Tim Hunkin Creator and host of "The Secret Life of Machines", one of the only programs to ever explain how machines and technology work in an everyday, understandable manner. 

Triple Expansion Steam Engines has quite a few scans from Graham's Audel's Engineer's and Mechanic's Guides as well as scans from E. P. Anderson's Audel's Marine Engineers Handy Book. Most, if not all of Anderson's chapters in reciprocating engines was copied word-for-word from Graham's writing.


Questions? Comments? Email Wes Kinsler.