Thursday, August 8, 2013

Project Gutenberg

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Project Gutenberg

   Sometimes, I just don;t know what I'll write tomorrow, when all of a sudden something magical appears through a search engine. As usual , I was browsing, when I came across an image search.The image was a schematic diagram of a toy. I clicked on "go to page",and there was today's post! 

   Today's post is from a book which is a part of Project Gutenberg. I never heard of this fabulous project, nor of  Mr. Michael  Stern Hart (1947-2011 until today. Obviously if I had a book reader,Kindle, or IPad I's surely have known. Michael Stern was the inventor of  the electronic book  or more-familiarly known as the e-book. He did this in 1971,which if my maths is correct would have placed Michael Stern at age 24-Wow!  An e-book for those who don't know is a book that has been digitally formatted to be read on a digital devise such as a Kindle, Ipad, and  a computer. Michael Stern's other great contribution, which is still present today is his Project Gutenberg.

   There is a fabulous biography about Michael Stern on the Gutenberg Project site, and I would be amiss if I wrote it here in my own words - it's just so well written and heartfelt.

   What makes Project Gutenberg so important is that it digitally transcribes the written media into digital format, and provides all of the book free to the world. Many of the books are long-since out-of-print, and their copyrights have expired long ago, or the printer has long ago stopped being a company. 

   I selected the e-book titled A.Neely Hall, that was originally published in 1915, by Lothrop, Lee, & Shepard Company (Boston, USA). This book was the one that I had originally seen the toy schematic that I mentioned before. I've always wondered how many children way back then could afford many of the toys that I wrote about. As an example, I'll use my late father Carl's history. His mother and father emigrated to Canada at the  very beginning of the last century. His father died at a very young age, and my father had 2 brothers and 3 sisters, one of which also died at an early age.
My father never graduated from high school, and had to go work at a very early age,even before he was a teenager.  He was born in 1917, and worked in later 1920's till he died in 1976 at the very young age of 59.  He probably earned about $ 3.00-$ 4.00 then and helped his mother and the rest of the family.  All of the children worked, but the 2 younger brothers entered WWII in the Canadian Air Force, and were then able to get a paid education through the Canadian Government.   So for my father, toys were never even thought of. His childhood was taken away from him, and toys were a real luxury, even if they did cost 50 cents!  Most of the toys that I have written about cost way more than that!

   What's interesting about this e-book and original paper version is that the author both illustrates and writes how children can make their own toys. And so below is a very brief presentation of the items that caught my eye. I left most of the text out,but you can easily venture to the address (click here) to view all of the photos and written text.

What's interesting about this book is that the author (Mr. A.Neely Hal*) makes everything seem so easy to do. I assume that A.Neely Hall is a man.*

The item identified as "A" above is a dry-cell battery circa the mid 1910's.
I'm sure the larger-sized dry batteries of today could be used*
(* disclaimer- please do not make these toys without the help of someone who knows about electricity).

Here is a trio of diagrams for a fireplace with 2 decorative lights.
These items are part of a chapter in the book about dollhouses.  A.Neely Hall provides the plans not only for the dollhouse, but plans for many different rooms and furniture. In another building, he even presents plans for an elevator.

Above are the plans for a Doll Carriage

I screen-captured the written  material and reference above.

This photo was in the book in the section about building a small boat.
I hope that the Gutenberg Project people won't mind that I hand-coloured  it in Photoshop. It's certainly a most nostalgic and warm photo of a time long ago.  I particularly like how the young  boy is dressed up in a suit, and has that cap.

Thanks for visiting,

and as always,
have a great part of the day or night, 
wherever you may be,

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