Mar 20, 2011

Bibliophilia

I stood at Goodwill among the stacks of used books scanning each spine for something interesting when I happened upon a pink book stuck spine inward. I grabbed and turned it about before putting it back in the stacks and finding a little brown wrapped text book next to it.

The old brown wrapper is oily and smooth from being used and covers a beautiful red text book called "Mathematical Tables - From Handbook of Chemistry and Physics Seventh Edition" compiled by Charles D. Hodgman, M.S., Associate Professor of Physics at Case School of Applied Science from Chemical Rubber Publishing Co. 2310 Superior Ave. N.E., Cleveland, Ohio. 1941

























It's a relic befitting of a shelf with a slide rule and a Kodak Duaflex IV twin lens camera also perched on it. It's a book I'll not take the time to read, understand or use, but a book I instantly fell in love with. On the inside cover Eugene Anthony Tiernan, who later co-authored "New Technology in Oilseed Proteins," carefully wrote the log shortcuts he wanted to easily access while he was in Iowa State College's Chem E. Class. It was a time when instead of buying a cell phone case, one bought a brown book cover to wrap a book in and had phone number like "2183-J" that an operator had to connect you to.



















On the inside of the buttery little book are pages and pages filled with patterns of numbers in tables carefully typeset in something like a Bookman font. The pages are thin, smooth and abundant. The whole book lightweight and satisfyingly convenient in size. It made utterly no sense for me to buy it other than I wanted it. I paid $1.50 and with the original selling price at 55¢, if my math is right, I figured it to be a terrific investment already appreciating by almost 300%.



4 comments:

Liz said...

cool find! :D I just got myself a 1950's copy of The Origin of Species thrifting recently that I just started reading as I've been meaning to read it anyways for a few years now.

Jenny said...

Awesome, I've never read it either but I think I'd like to. :)

Mike Lyons said...

273% over 70 years...that's less than 4% a year, isn't it? I ask you because you have the math book...

Uncle_Ernie said...

I love looking at old textbooks, then again I don't because it reminds me of how better educated Americans were 100 years ago, before compulsory attendance laws and so called "education reforms". Notice how 5th graders were doing mindblowing arithmatic that is now considered college level.