Treasured Gear Books


This week’s Helical Gear Rating Committee meetings included a much hoped for improvement: a new member! Not only that, a new member under 40 years old. I won’t embarrass this young engineer by mentioning his name, but I thank his employer on behalf of the committee for sending us a new recruit.

Although “Engineer X” has a good bit of experience in the trade, he left a big company with lots of support structures for a smaller firm. There is no longer a gear summary expert or a hobbing specialist. He no longer has access to a huge engineering library, either.

We had an enjoyable conversation over lunch advising him on which books he should buy, to have available in the future. As mentioned previously on this blog, I have a suggested bibliography listed in my book, An Introduction to Gear Design, which is available for free download at

Unfortunately, many of the great gear books are out of print. Let’s face it — the market for technical books is rather small and probably getting smaller. I was thrilled to discover through Amazon that some publishing-on-demand vendors will provide “obsolete” titles if they have been scanned into a library somewhere. I hope our young friend is able to track down used copies or get new ones made up.

Over the years, I have become very protective of my personal library, as a few treasured volumes were never returned after being lent out. Online archives for technical magazines such as Gear Technology can never quite replace the feeling of a familiar book in your hands.

That said, no one else in my family shares my affection for gear books. We go to enough estate sales to realize my precious references may end up in a landfill if I don’t recruit their next caretaker. That is a worry for another day, as retirement is many years in the future for me.

What reference book would you recommend to our new committee member?

About Charles D. Schultz 672 Articles
Charles D. Schultz is President of Beyta Gear Service and one of Gear Technology's technical editors.