Book Reviews

| August/September 1994

We've received a number of new book titles for review. Although these titles aren't available from the Stemgas catalog, we've listed ordering information for them.

(1)  Diesel's Engine: Volume One, From Conception to 1918, by Lyle Cummins (hardcover, 7' x 10', 752 pages). Anyone in search of in-depth knowledge of Rudolf Diesel and his engine will want to make sure they read this book. Cummins presents here, in detailed but very readable text, what may be the definitive work on the subject. At 752 pages, it's a long book (and it's only Volume One!), but it's 'user-friendly,' and well worth the time spent for the sheer volume of information included. The book begins with a biographical sketch of Rudolf Diesel, a talented and driven young man, then follows him through the tribulations of developing the engine he was sure would be the most efficient heat engine ever designed. Diesel's Engine goes on to tell of the patent disputes, mechanical problems, and difficult business relationships which essentially relegated Rudolf Diesel to the sidelines of the developing industry to which his name would be forever attached. Subsequent chapters outline the engine's increasing acceptance in fulfilling the power needs of a growing world, updated and refined engine design, and application of diesel power to marine, naval, and railway use. The text is enhanced by extensive footnotes, and is liberally illustrated with photographs and design drawings. To order, send $55.00 (includes postage; add $2.00 for foreign orders) to Carnot Press, P.O. Box 1544G, Lake Oswego, OR 97035-0555.

(2) Thrashin' Time: Harvest Deep in the Dakotas written and illustrated by David Weitzman. This charmingly illustrated hardcover book (10' x 10 'MS Mincho' ', 80 pp., $24.95) tells the story of a young boy, Peter, and his younger sister Anna and all the activity taking place on their North Dakota farm on threshing day in the autumn of 1912. Visit your local bookstore to inquire about ordering this great keepsake children's book.

(3) Agricultural Technology in the Twentieth Century, R. Douglas Hurt. The author, who serves as Director of the Graduate Program in Agricultural History & Rural Studies at Iowa State University, has compiled an overview of the advancements and innovations with agricultural equipment used in western America in the 1900s. The book, an 8 x 11' 106 page paperback, is liberally illustrated with black and white photographs, and includes chapters devoted to tractors, cotton pickers and strippers, combine harvesters, irrigation systems, sugar beet harvesting, and tomato harvesters. Also included is an extensive list of suggested further reading. Ordering information can be obtained from Sunflower University Press, 1531 Yuma, Box 1009, Manhattan, Kansas 66502-4228, or call 913-539-1888.

(4) Threshers, text by Robert N. Pripps, photos by Andrew Morland. Anyone with an interest in the history of grain threshing will consider this a must-have book once they've laid eyes on it. Packed with nearly 100 photos (60 in glossy color!), this volume outlines the origins and development of reaping, harvesting and separating equipment from pre-Christian times through the pre-combine days of the first half of this century. The photos, many showing well-kept machines in operation, are complemented by detailed captions and informative text. Separate chapters recall the excitement, hard work and camaraderie of bygone 'threshing days,' and the movement to preserve this technology through thresherees and reunions. This one-of-a-kind paperback book is available for $19.95 from Motor books International, P.O. Box 1, 729 Prospect Avenue, Osceola, Wisconsin 54020; call toll-free 1-800-826-6600.

(5) The Big Wheels: Old Steam Traction Days. Author Ken Fair weather grew up in New Zealand as a member of a family of engine repairmen. The Fair weather and Sons engineering firm provides the setting for the reminiscences in this 95-page paperback. The background makes the book especially interesting for those fascinated by the internal mechanics of engines and boilers, and lends an unusual technical perspective to the writing. Vintage photos accompany the text. For ordering information, contact Cape Catley Publishers, P.O. Box 199, Picton, New Zealand (no zip required).


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