Re: 1946 Car Builder's Cyclopedia available on DVD

Bill Kelly

I also bought one of these. After using it for a while I noticed that not
all of the original pages are included. I don't know how many are missing
but I counted to a hundred and stopped counting. Thinking that this copy
was defective, who would sell a book without all of the pages ?, I
contacted them. They told me to return it for a refund then claimed that
they never received it so now I don't even have a poorly done DVD or my
$$. I'd say buyer beware ! I wouldn't buy anything from these people.
Bill Kelly

On Mon, 21 Jan 2013 23:20:18 -0000 "soolinehistory" <destorzek@...>
A couple weeks ago Bill Welch was asking after a glossary of car
building terms; from there the discussion turned to the Car
Builder's Dictionary and Cyclopedia series of publications, along
with the lament over the high cost of originals. I was aware of the
pre-WWI editions available on-line, and the 1922 edition available
on DVD from Rail Driver, but nothing more current. Imagine my
surprise when I was searching E-Bay the other day and find the 1946
edition has been scanned and is available for $15 from Vintage
Literature Reproductions of Canada. Here's a link to their E-Bay

I ordered up a copy, which came in about a week, and I've just
copied it over to my hard drive. It is indeed the entire 1946 Car
Builder's Cyclopedia as two huge PDF files on two DVD's. The first
hundred or so pages are the dictionary, a glossary of terms and
their prefered spelling as were used in the industry at that time.
It does indeed show Bill's requested example, "fish-bell sill" as a
hyphenated word. It may be reasonable to question the utility of a
definition and spelling from a source almost seven decades out of
date, but it is entirely suitable for our purposes. Our usage and
spelling of these technical terms didn't change as fast as the terms
themselves, as an example, Bill's fish-belly sill is in the 1946
edition, it's still in the 1980 edition, still as a hyphenated word,
but it's gone from the 1997 edition, as was that style of underframe
from current production equipment.

I hate to do this, but a comparison with the previously mentioned
Rail Driver product appears in order. I dearly wish that Rail Driver
would continue to expand their offerings beyond the 1922 Car
Builder's Cyc and 1906 Locomotive cyclopedia they presently offer.
The Rail Driver products are a joy to work with. ALL of their scans
have been optimized for a totally white background, so printing
yields clean white pages with crisp line work. The text pages have
been processed with OCR for searchable text that can be cut and
pasted directly from the file. The page files are a mix of JPG
raster graphics and HTM text. The whole thing has been optimized for
size, with a custom front end that makes finding a page easy, and a
neat utility for resizing the drawings close to a chosen scale. The
entire 1176 page book and the support utilities take 750MB of disc

On the other hand, the Vintage Literature effort is the worst of
Adobe bloatware, TEN TIMES the size of the Rail Driver effort filled
with raw scans. The yellowed pages of the original have been
faithfully reproduced, meaning that clean printed copies are going
to require additional experimentation with the printer settings to
drop out the yellowed background. The halftone photos are flat and
uninspiring. There are undoubtedly image manipulating tools that can
remedy these issues, however, they have not been applied.
Apparently, Vintage Literature's view of the matter is, it's an old
book, it SHOULD LOOK like an old book.

However, considering it's $14.97 delivered to your door, vs. $150 or
more for even a crunchy copy of the original that you'll be
reluctant to use as the pages crumble every time you turn them, so
one can't beat the price for this important "period literature"
reference work. No serious STMFC modeler should be without it.

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