Books and Stuff (ex-Train Shed Cyclopedias)
It's funny that the subject of book publishing should develop out an
exchange of comments between Warren Whatizname and me about freight car
education. I actually have some deeper roots in this, going back to the
time I wrote a column in the old, old Freight Cars Journal. When David
started publishing his monographs, I thought about bringing out some
similar ones for "our" era freight cars which would (could?) sell for
less than his slick paper little editions.
Nothing came of that until computers came into common usage about 7-9
years ago and home publishing programs became available. I even bought a
program for my Tandy Model 100. (That should be even more obscure than a
Lysander!) At that time I had several discussions with Al Westerfield
and obtained permission to use his kit histories as a starting point for
a series of monographs, to be liberally interspersed with photos to tell
all there was about the subjects at hand. It would be to Als benefit as
cheap publicity as well as to modelers and railfans for the information.
My intent was to publish it myself (sorry Tony), but printing the
photographs became too big a hassle at the time, and again, nothing came
But I had begun to put more thought into the scope of the project at this
time. First, I wouldn't (couldn't) carry the entire burden. My plan
then, and I think it's still viable, was to publish the first 3 or 4 of
the monographs, all in a 5-8 sheet (10-16 sides) format on 3 hole punched
8 1/2" x 11" vertical pages. And yes, at the time I was very familiar
with the "In Action" series which are horizontal. Since I have always
collected 5" x 7" photos I felt they were the best compromise of size
versus viewable detail versus cost; i.e. more photos to the page. I
still do. Once these IMOs (initial monograph offerings) were out, my
plan continued to invite others who were knowledgeable in other fields of
freight cars to produce similar offerings, with whatever help I could
give them, all staying within the established format. My thinking at the
time was to keep the booklets in loose leaf form so that as additional
information or corrections came available others could offer additional
pages to add to the collection, be it just updates or more photos or
magazine articles or ORER pages or bibliographies or existing car locales
or whatever, even color photographs. But at the time desk top publishing
was more into words and less into photos and since photos were a major
part of the overall plan, sadly again, nothing came of it.
The most recent chapter centered around my getting a new computer, the
emergence of digital photography, and having even more photos on hand
than 7-9 years ago. My plan was (is??) to resurrect that old plan and
follow thru, assuming that I can hold Al to his earlier promise and even
entreat Martin Lofton to join in. I think that the overall scheme, as a
non profit venture (which all my ventures turn into, no matter how they
start), is even more viable with the availability of reasonable home
printing equipment, digital camera and copying equipment and programs,
and interest in the subjects. And the emergence of even more people who
share my interest in freight cars and have information available that I
never dreamed available.
In a way I have some selfish motives for even thinking of this entire
venture in the first place. It has been known for many years that the
only way to get full and definitive information on any subject,
especially freight cars, was to either publish something or bring out a
kit on the subject. Then, and only then, will people come out of the
woodwork (in the nice sense) and tell you what you did or thought was
wrong. That's why kits are redone, why letters to the editors exist, and
why second and third editions of books are published. And how a
previously unknown variant of a paint scheme finally comes to light and
amazes the very people who think they've seen them all.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that I think the publication of such
books, monographs, data packages, freight cars in action, etc. is a
viable project that can happen, with or without the profit motive. As
much as I'd like to see Tony earn more and more money so he won't move
back to Pittsburgh, I'd like even more to see more and more of this
information become available to more and more people. (Hey, not bad,
"more" seven times in that sentence!!)
So where do we start?
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Byron,toggle quoted message Show quoted text
Not only do I look forward to the article(s) on a research base
for the neophyte freight car modeler, but I would buy some of these
mongraphs enthusiastically should you decide to publish them.
I would also appreciate the loose-leaf format. Not only does it permit
the updates as more info and photos become available, but it would also
allow me/others to insert applicable articles from magazines, etc. Having
it in this form would make it easy for me to take to train shows. (Hey, I
might actually get to go to some someday!)
Aside from certain issues of magazines with appropriate articles, the
only other good reference I have for freight car modeling is John Nehrich's
guide to Steam Era HO Models. As great as that guide is, I want more.
Byron, I hope you decide to do it.
Warren "whatzisname" Dickinson
Just north of where two L&N mainlines crossed at Guthrie, KY
P.S.: I never thought of putting my last name on here because I haven't
been involved with a list wheree anyone even bothered, or cared to know.
Thanks for even caring to know.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Friday, January 12, 2001 2:59 PM
Subject: [STMFC] Books and Stuff (ex-Train Shed Cyclopedias)