Tools & Trades History Society

TATHS Free E books

Free books on Tools and Trades
There are thousands of fascinating books on tools and trades and many of the most interesting and informative ones are rare, expensive or hard to find. The TATHS library has a huge selection, but it's a reference library not a lending library.
Wouldn't it be nice if there was a way to read old, specialist titles wherever you want, for free?
Well, you can. Hundreds of thousands of out-of print books have been scanned and made available to us all. Much of the work was done by Google and Microsoft, but some was done by dedicated enthusiasts who wanted to share what they have in their own collections. 
In these notes, I want to draw attention to some of my favourites. Some will be well known, others more obscure. Most can be downloaded in pdf format, which displays as images of the printed pages. Many are available in other e-book formats as well. All can be read on a PC, laptop, iPad, tablet, Kindle or mobile phone. I know that an e-book is never as nice as the real thing, so bibliophiles can treat this as a try-before-you-buy service where the free sample is the whole book!
Andy Tuckwell

What Price a Porringer?

Anyone who has worked in the building trade will be familiar with the idea of a price  book.

Charles Nurse Catalogue 1902

The ebook this time is a brand new one, not previously available. It's a tool catalogue from my own library, newly scanned and made available for download from the TATHS website Charles Nurse Catalogue 1902. It's the 12th edition of the "Invicta" Illustrated Price List from Charles Nurse and Company, published in the autumn of 1902.

Smith's Key


Explanation or Key to the Various Manufactories of Sheffield with Engravings of each Article designed for the Utility of Merchants, Wholesale Ironmongers and Travellers
Published and sold by Joseph Smith, Sheffield, 1816 (Generally known as "Smith's Key")

The Steel Trade

Three books about the Steel Trade which can be accessed on the internet!

The catalogue of Franz Freiherr von Wertheim



A rare and wonderful tool catalogue

The Romance of the Brushmaker

This edition was pointed out to me by TATHS member and tool collector par excellence, Andy Brown. It's "The Brushmaker, and the Secrets of his Craft; his Romance" by William Kiddier.

David Christie Murray

I hope I shall not be expelled from TATHS if I dare to say that sometimes, historical writing about Tools and Trades can be a little, well, let's say, dry.

Historic England

In this issue, I want to tell you about something a bit different. Not titles from the distant past, but current works, with colour photos!

Every Man His Own Mechanic

Every Man his own Mechanic
by Francis Young, London, 1891
This book must have filled a need in Victorian society, as it went through many editions in the UK, USA and Australia. (The download is the ninth edition.)