Book Reviews

By Staff

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

(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
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

(6) Lanz Radiator Bulldogs 1928- 1942 by Kurt
Hfner. A wealth of information on one of the most popular European
tractor lines is contained between the hard covers of this 176-page
book. Over 200 photographs (both color and black and white) and
technical drawings and charts help to tell the Lanz story. The
various horsepower series are covered in detail; also included is a
company history, and interviews and comments from important company
leaders. First published in Germany in 1989, this book was just
translated into English by H. E. (Herby) Voight in 1992. Cost of
the book is listed in publisher’s information as $60 Australian
currency for the book and $30 Australian for postage by Economy air
mail. A second volume covering the years 1942-1955 by the same
author was scheduled for release in November 1992. Contact Kangaroo
Press Pty Ltd., 3 Whitehall Road, P.O. Box 75, Kenthurst, New South
Wales, Australia 2156 to place an order.

(7)  Bale O’ Cotton: The Mechanical Art of
Cotton Ginning by Karen Gerhardt Britton. The mechanized ginning of
cotton celebrated its bicentennial in 1993; this hardback traces
the process’s history from ancient times through development of
the modern mechanized gin, painting a detailed portrait of the
technical processes employed in the American cotton industry. While
the author devotes some time to the importance of the steam engine
to the powering of ginning mills, the primary focus of the book is
on the gins themselves and the start-to-finish production of baled
cotton ready for market. Overall, an in-depth look at an important
American industry from a technical angle, with anecdotes and
folklore rounding out the text. Available from local bookstores, or
call Texas A&M University Press, 1-800-826-8911.

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Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines