A few years ago my wife and I went on a nice, long country drive. It was one of those drives where you just point your car in a direction and go. Midway through the day we stumbled into a little town that had an absolutely amazing antique shop. The place was completely packed with books, furniture, jewelery, old farming tools, and all sorts of other odds and ends. When I say this place was packed, I mean it was packed. Crammed. Stuffed. Damn near overflowing. The people who ran that place must have been masters in organization, as the whole place was paradoxically near impossible to move around in yet every single item in that place was easily accessible (though don't ask me how they got furniture in and out of that place with it being as crammed as it was).
While my wife was going around, poking at this and poking at that, I was going through their massive book collection. They had everything you could possibly think of. Old textbooks, poetry, pulp novels, cookbooks, and on and on. A whole 1/4 of this store dedicated to nothing but books. Tucked in some corner, for God only knows how long, I found this little guy. The cover is a bit hard to get a good shot of, so I'll show the inside page as well.
How fucking awesome is that? A maintenance manual for one of these babies. (Check out that link. It gives a brief overview of the history and politics behind that engine.) You know those things in life that you didn't know you wanted because you didn't know existed then as soon as you know it existed you knew you had to have at least one? This is one of those things. I don't care about trains. I'm not a huge fan of repair manuals in general. This book though? The whole book itself is actually very cool for a few reasons.
One of the more interesting things about this book is the binding system. It has two sets of rings that splits the book in half. At the and bottom of the rings are levers. You pinch the levers on the bottom of the book to open it and pinch the levers at the top of the book to close it. It's a nifty little system. Unfortunately, the book is overstuffed with pages. As a result I never open the rings because the pages start to spill out and trying to get them back in safely is a chore. At the same time, because it's overstuffed, you can't turn all of the pages like you would with a regular three ring binder for fear of ruining them. So, more often than not, I just let this book sit untouched, only bringing it out to show people I like how cool it is.
Here's a shot of the levers and you can kind of see how pinched the pages are. It looks even more cramped from the other side.
The repair manual itself is full of various repair and maintenance procedures and is full of photos and diagrams. They're a lot of fun to thumb through and it's amazing to think that over 70 years ago, this was used by someone that worked on these engines. In a weird way, it makes me feel connected to people who lived before me and who I've never even met. It's one of the reasons I love antiques.
I'll just let the pictures speak for themselves.