I never fail to be amazed by the way EETimes community members go out of their way to help one another with sage advice.
For example, following my recent blog describing my experiments with aging brass, someone emailed me to say he had inherited a book from his grandfather that covered this sort of thing. Even better, he sent me a PDF of the "Coloring Brass" chapter, which he had gone out of his way to scan for me.
What I saw had me tap dancing with delight. This book covers much more than simply aging brass and other metals. It describes in fine detail the chemicals and procedures that can be used to realize a wide variety of colors and effects.
Of course, I couldn't be satisfied with a single chapter. I had a burning desire to feast my orbs on the whole enchilada, so I immediately bounced over to Amazon to check out the book, Machinery's Shop Receipts by the Industrial Press.
In this context, "Receipts" can be taken to mean "Recipes," which is what this book contains -- lots and lots of lovely recipes. As it says on the inside cover, Machinery's Shop Receipts contains "Six hundred useful receipts, compositions and formulas selected from Machinery's columns and republished in a classified, pocket-size edition, in response to repeated requests from friends throughout the mechanical field."
A number of paperback versions of this book are available on Amazon from different vendors, but if you read the small print, you'll see that these are simply scanned versions of the original, and they actually warn you: "This book may have occasional imperfections such as missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. that were either part of the original artifact, or were introduced by the scanning process."
The reproductions also say "412 shop receipts and formulas," as opposed to the 600 noted in the hardcover version. I don't know about you, but this doesn't sound too good to me. Instead, I opted to purchase an original 1927 edition, the first printing copy of the book, from Bane's Books.
This little beauty arrived a couple of days ago, and I have been gloating over it ever since. One thing that did surprise me just a tad was the yellow sticky notes that were protruding from locations inside the book displaying the handwritten annotations "Coloring Brass" and "Etching Brass." I must admit to thinking, "Well, that's a bit of a coincidence."
On the one hand, the ways of the universe are wondrous, and who am I to question the grand scheme of things? (I pride myself on my humility.) On the other hand, it certainly seemed as though -- unlike my wife, Gina The Gorgeous -- the universe was taking an uncommon and unexpected interest in my hobby projects.
All was made clear when I received an email from Deborah Bane, the owner of Bane's Books, saying that the book should have arrived by now, and that she hoped I enjoyed it. Deborah mentioned that, on receiving my order, she'd Googled my name and been guided to my EETimes blogs about aging and etching brass, so she had included the sticky notes. She was also kind enough to offer some interesting suggestions about my Vetinari Clock project.
What can I say? Over the years, I have purchased numerous books -- new ones directly from Amazon and secondhand ones from a wide variety of vendors -- and I can safely say that I have never received the same high level of personal service from any other vendor. To be honest, the fact that Deborah knew this book to this degree and had taken the time to add the sticky notes to guide me to the areas of particular interest to me completely blew me away. It's a rare occasion indeed that you receive service like this these days.
What do you think? Would you be interested in seeing a copy of this little beauty? And are you as amazed as I am by the level of service provided by Bane's Books? As always, any comments or questions are more than welcome.
— Max Maxfield, Editor of All Things Fun & Interesting