Dulltown, UK: Today’s food and insult combination is – You Battenberg buffoon! (B)
As you may know dear reader, I do tend to buy strange old books from junk shops and charity shops, I always have. There is one on my bookshelf which I have never read, although I have occasionally thumbed through it and enjoyed looking at the ‘about 200 illustrations’ – they are very beautifully drawn and laid out.
I suppose it was the cover which first attracted me, and also the weight of the thing when I picked it up – it is only about 7 by 5 inches, and half-an-inch thick, but it is as heavy as a book three times its size – it must be the high quality of the paper they used back then.
Yes, it is Workshop Hints for Metal Workers, compiled and edited by Bernard E. Jones, published by Cassell and Company, London, New York, Toronto and Melbourne. I wonder if that is Bernard himself on the cover? If I had compiled and edited this I’d certainly have insisted on having my picture on the front!
I must confess here that that red ‘background’ area isn’t really that bright – it’s an effect of the photography – its colour is more heading towards maroon or plum. Isn’t it a great design though – the way the red cuts in around the chap and the things on his bench? And speaking of the chap, don’t you love his work jacket and trousers? Note the rolled back sleeves for safety – you don’t want your cuffs getting caught in your lathe, do you?
Looking at him (I do see him as Bernard), do you think, knowing he was due to be photographed for the cover, he made a point of getting a nice clean haircut beforehand? I reckon he’s quietly, and without moving his head, saying to the photographer, ‘How’s this? Look, I’ll pretend I’m filing this piece of mild steel, and I’m using the correct stance, and I’m addressing the work in the correct manner, and see how I’m holding the file…’
I’ll bet you are wondering what date this book is – on the back of the title page it says, This book, which has been extensively altered and revised, was first published under the title of “Workshop Hints for Munitions Workers” February 1919. Reprinted February 1920.
At the start and end of the book there are some pages of advertising, including one listing the publisher’s range of ‘two shilling novels’ – here’s a picture of the inside front cover showing some very nice items one could purchase from F. L. Mitchell & Co. Ltd, of Rye Lane, Peckham SE. I wonder if they are still there? They’ll be selling phones, tablets, and laptops now…