One Man’s Treasure



This week’s estate sale treasure is a nice copy of A History of the Machine, by Sigvard Strandh (A&W Publishers Inc., Swedish & Worldwide Copyright, 1979). I have posted before about some of the things found at these sales, but this $2 “coffee table” tome needed rescue from a table-full of science fiction paperbacks.

Mr. Strandh’s book has hundreds of drawings of tools and machines, including many types of gears. The drawings are probably what got it purchased; even if you don’t have an interest in machines, there is beauty in the patent drawings and scenes of early installations. Not to take anything away from modern 3D models, but they just don’t have the artistic look of pen and ink drawings.


Thankfully, this artistic value has kept some of our technological history alive, while the actual machinery has been melted down, the buildings demolished or repurposed, and their history largely forgotten. Some artifacts are just too big to keep, and all we have left are these drawings and patent models.

A few communities have preserved a remnant for future generations; I visited the Civil War-era shot tower in Dubuque once, and like what Pittsburgh has done with the old Homestead Steel Works. I’d like to hear from you readers on industrial heritage sites that you have visited or your ideas for other, deserving designations.

I am not sure this particular book was purchased for its content or as a work of art. It will be looked at frequently here at Beyta Gear Service world headquarters. You can tell a lot about a person by the things left behind at their estate sales. Mine will have more tools, books, and car parts than my wife will want to deal with, but that is her lot as the spouse of an engineer. I predict the tools will sell on the first day for full price. Most of the books will be around at half-off the last day

About Charles D. Schultz 634 Articles
Charles D. Schultz is President of Beyta Gear Service and one of Gear Technology's technical editors.

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