Monday, May 6, 2013

W18: Engines (Part 5)

Part of me was glad to hear the drop of a light book. That part of me died a little when I saw what I received from the Biblio-Mat this week.

Probably the least useful part.
The book, Engines, is actually part five of a series. Edited by E. Malloy, the hardcover manual was a collection of information by a “panel of experts”. Printed in the UK, it did not have a publishing date but seeing how this particular volume dealt with the Wasp Jr. B, Wasp H1, and Hornet E Series engines that are used mainly in WW2 planes, it was most likely printed shortly after 1940.

If your engine doesn't look like this, fix it until it does.
The most interesting thing about this book was that not only was it an ex libris text, it fully embraced it as a badge of honor. The inner cover had a book plate stating that it was from the Mechanics Institute Public Library of London Canada. The title page had a triangular emboss on the corner reaffirming that it was from the Public Library of London, Ont. Outside of this, the book held very little interest for me, primarily because I have a large distrust of old mechanical manuals.

Bookplates: Instant literary status.
Six years ago I purchased a car I had wanted for a long while – a 1982 Fiat Spider. It was a tiny 2+2 convertible that was older than I was and ran like it. I bought it as a project car to fix up and the previous owner was kind enough to include two shop manuals with it. After spending an entire summer completely rebuilding the engine based on black and white blurry photos, hand-drawn illustrations, and ambiguous directions, I realized the previous owner just wanted someone to haul the books out of his garage as it was less effort than carrying them to curb for trash pickup.

From a distance it could be a blueprint for an oil rig. Up close, a poorly designed oil rig.
This manual was pretty much the same as the ones for my car. The only difference is that if one were to use this as a guide, they will be half a kilometer in the air when the engine unexpectedly cuts out as opposed to, say, cruising on the highway at 140 and having everything shut down due to a blurry illustration on how to install a fuel pump. I’m sure that if it was used as a textbook to supplement an actual class on aircraft engines it would be a decent book but on its own it is just a book of theory without any useful instructional guidance. The book bills itself as having twenty-four illustrations. It’s safe to assume that there are slightly more parts than that on an aircraft engine so if the area you need to fix isn’t on one of those illustrations you may have a problem.

Future generations will have no idea why books needed pockets.
Engines (Part 5) wasn't a total loss though. When I reached the end I was pleasantly surprised. Not by the information contained in the book but by the checkout card holder on the inside back cover. A surge of nostalgia hit as I recalled having to fill out the checkout cards and getting them stamped in elementary school. At two cents a day up to a maximum of twenty-five cents for overdue charges, though, it seems even the library did not really want this book.

Book rating: 4/10 (Technical without being practical)

Random quote: "Place the timing pointer on the large drive gear, so that it lines up with the timing mark on the rim of the gear, and rotate the engine in the counterclockwise direction until the timing pointer is at the 20 degree timing mark before top dead centre on the firing stroke of No. 1 cylinder on 4-lobe cam magnetos and 29.4 degree on 8-lobe cam magnetos." (I’m pretty sure a Magneto is not what I think it is)

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