The Good Old Days Revisited


| January/February 1987



Saw-mill

Forerunner of this 1875 saw-mill were destroyed by pit sawyers who feared the loss of their jobs.

108 Garfield Ave. Madison, NJ 07940

Recently, a very good friend let me borrow a book from his technical library. It was Moore's Artizan's Guide, published in 1875. It had an interesting sub-title as well: Everybody's Assistant, embracing nearly four thousand new and valuable Receipts, Tables &c. I thought that it would be nice to share parts of it with you for there is some good philosophy applicable to today's world and some interesting receipts for the steam enthusiast.

The writing style of that day makes for interesting reading too. For example, this early version of a handbook goes on to say, in its very long title, [used] 'in Almost Every Branch Of Business Connected With Civilized Life, From The Household To The Manufactory.' all of this was available through the mail for the princely sum, for the day, of $2 which proves that good publications are cost intensive, the journal in which this appears being the exception.

As we all grow older there is the tendency to think in the past and to reminisce about the 'good old days.' Let's see what Moore's had to say on this subject in 1875.

'Occasionally we listen to a great deal of rant regarding the beatitudes of 'the good old times,' during the lives of our forefathers. These times proved very disastrous to the enterprising Dutchman, who, in 1663 started the first saw-mill in England, which he was finally obliged to abandon, and fly to save his life. In 1767 another saw-mill, at Lime-house, near London, was demolished by a mob of sawyers, who considered that their business would be ruined to a dead certainty if things were allowed to go on.'

Really, things haven't changed that much, have they? That was the beginning of the industrial revolution. We are seeing essentially the same thing today at the beginning of the technological revolution.