I’ve collected over 50 books on Refrigeration from a number of sources.
It goes without saying (so I’ll say it anyway) that refrigeration and heat engines able to pump heat from one location to another are fundamental in modern industry not to mention food storage, transport and handling. Rebuilding the food distribution in a post collapse world will be one of the most important factors in building a complex infrastructure. Without a sophisticated food distribution network everything remains on a small town/community level and cannot progress beyond that level.
Refrigeration was a category one of you suggested and it seemed like a good one. I was actually a bit surprised to find as much as I did on the subject and going back earlier than I expected.
I was aware through my WWII studies that one of the significant advantages U.S. submarines had was that they were air conditioned unlike Japanese and German submarines (at least until the German Type XXI U-Boat which came too late in the war to matter strategically). While it might seem a luxury at first blush, air conditioning greatly improved the livability of the subs (allowing much longer patrols) and dramatically reduced fatigue especially during combat conditions where stress is at its highest. Reduced fatigue = fewer mistakes, better judgment, faster reactions, etc. There were reports from Japanese submarine crew survivors of temperatures reaching well over 100 degrees in combat conditions with extremely high humidity and remaining at those levels for hours and occasionally for days. It’s difficult to imagine functioning under those conditions at all much less effectively.
So while I was aware that air conditioning was in at least limited use in the 1940s and that ice deliveries to homes was not uncommon in the 1920’s and 1930’s I hadn’t really been aware of how much earlier (i.e. latter half of the 1800s) there were books on industrial scale refrigeration.
Almost all of the books are based on ammonia refrigeration technology. Fortunately ammonia is a compound that can be produced with relatively low technology unlike most modern refrigerants. While it has drawbacks it is a technology eminently reproducible with relatively unsophisticated technology.
It is a given that any attempt to rebuild an industrial infrastructure will necessarily start with the production of ammonia and sulfuric acid since those two compounds are the foundations of a significant majority of chemical and manufacturing processes. (Look in the Formulas Category for more detailed information on the production of Ammonia.)
Several people have asked me why I often include books like manufacturer catalogs from various periods and there are several in this category. The simple explanation is that if you are trying to build something like an early 1900s era refrigeration compressor from scratch and have never seen one, much less built one, it’s useful to have pictures, images and diagrams of ones that really existed. Manufacturers catalogs often include cutaway drawings and diagrams of various pieces of machinery which would be useful to someone trying to recreate that technology.
If nothing else pictures of actual machines from the period in question can give a general idea of the size, dimensions and configuration which can save a lot of time in design and development. It’s a lot easier to build something you’ve never built before if you have at least a general idea of what it will probably look like when finished. (Imagine trying to build a steam locomotive without ever having seen even a picture of one.) Existing machines from a given period will display design considerations which were the result of a lot of trial and error. Being able to examine actual designs, even a simple external view, can keep you from having to duplicate much of that trial and error.
With luck I should have them added to the Library late this week or early next week.
I’ve added about 3 dozen books to the Slide Rule category. Most of them are instructional book on how to use slide rules of various types and for various specific areas of Math and Science.
I’ve also added Archives (RAR and ZIP) of the Images and the Books in the categeory.
We’ve discussed the Sliderule issue before but it’s been a year or so and bears repeating.
One of the items that will disappear immediately in an EMP event are calculators and in a non-EMP event calculators will be low priority items for most people until the day comes when they are needed and everyone realizes they didn’t include them in their emergency supplies and there aren’t any salvageable batteries or calculators left.
Since many schools no longer teach long division and multiplication much less more advanced math the survivors of a collapse or EMP are going to be frustrated when they have to do more advanced calculations to start rebuilding.
Thus the lowly sliderule. A simple device usually made out of wood or metal which was the primary calculating device used to develop and build nuclear energy, nuclear weapons and to build rockets to take man to the Moon and back.
The NASA scientists and engineers who built the Saturn 5 and Apollo systems and developed orbital mechanics to fly to the Moon, land there and then fly back didn’t have the computers that we take for granted today. They had paper and sliderules.
Slide rules are simple, yet supremely elegant visual devices using logarithmic and other scales to allow a person to do complex calculations rapidly and accurately. While not as simple to use as a calculator and requiring some skill to make full use of them they are not not that difficult to learn or (most importantly) to manufacture.
The images in the section labelled as Sliderule Images can be printed out and used to make several different types of sliderules either by gluing them to wood or even cutting them out and sliding the pieces of paper besides one another.
Used sliderules can be bought inexpensively on Ebay and several other online sources. Do a search for “slide rules for sale” and you’ll find a number of sites selling both new and used sliderules ranging from simple inexpensive models up through rare collectors items.
You should be able to pick up a good quality, general purpose sliderule in the $25-$75 range.
Alternately if you have a decent printer then print out several copies of each of the sliderule image files, put them in a stiff folder and store them away with your emergency supplies. The cost is nothing more than the price of the paper it’s printed on and a smidgen of toner or ink.
Considering that they were sufficient to build nuclear reactors and take us to the Moon and back it’s safe to say that they will be capable of meeting the needs of anyone trying to rebuild an industrial and technological infrastructure in the wake of a collapse which takes the existing infrastructures down.
I’ve just added a new Optometry Category.
This is one of the new categories someone suggested and was one of the first of them I’ve completed. A lot of others are being worked on and still being searched and books collected.
Obviously holidays slow things down as well as some very busy times at work. A lot of days I have time to work on Library projects when I get home and other days… either not so much or I am too tired.
The optometry is a good addition since for those people who don’t wear glasses it’s not something they would even think about normally. For those of us who do wear glasses we often just take them for granted and aren’t even conscious much of the time that wear them. That’s especially so for folks who have to wear them all the time and not take them on and off like people who use reading glasses.
A lot of people who Prep and prepare for emergencies have spare glasses or spare lenses or a few pairs of adjustable lens glasses like those from adlens.com or similar companies.
But that only gets us through the short term. Eventually glasses break and/or wear out. For younger people their prescription changes. As people get older they often need reading glasses and so on.
Optometry equipment is not likely among the preps and emergency equipment most people stockpile, though who knows.. maybe there are Opticians of the Apocalypse out there ferreting away lens blanks and building manually powered lends grinding machines. If there are… chances are they live some place other than where we do.
It also does not provide any help for the long term. Communities rebuilding after a bad collapse will not likely have a friendly neighborhood Optician handy. Doctors, blacksmiths, farmers and other nominal skills certainly. But in a n early post-collapse community optometry is probably not high on the list of desirable skills about which to quiz people seeking to join the community. I’ve read a number of post-apocalypse novels where town folk question refugees and people seeking sanctuary looking for people with useful skills. It’s always doctors, dentists, blacksmiths, engineers, farmers and so on… the obvious survival skill categories. I have yet to read one where everyone gets excited because they’ve finally found the much needed… Optometrist.
Nonetheless it is a skill that will be needed as children grow and old glasses wear out and break. We take for granted today that people who have useful skills and knowledge but bad vision problems can simply dismiss their vision problems by wearing glasses.
Only a few generations ago poor vision was a disability for many people. It hit especially hard at the young who could not read without glasses. Without the ability to read (and therefore to write) the ability to acquire new knowledge is crippled and the ability to perform anything other than manual labor is problematic. Someone who cannot read or write due to the inability to overcome a vision problem is nto only a liability on a community but a waste of human potential.
Imagine the skilled but farsighted blacksmith who breaks their last pair of glasses. The farsighted dentist with drill in hand who suddenly can’t see his patient’s teeth. The telegraph operator who suddenly can’t read the telegraphs he/she is supposed to transmit.
While this collection of books is not a cure all it at least contain the basic knowledge of how to identify vision problem, diagnose what those problems are and provide the knowledge to correct those problems.
I’ve gotten a few more Category File Archives added. They are complete up through Clockmaking.
New Categories added since I began including the Archives:
- Medical-Surgery 2
already have Archives in them as will any other new Categories added in the future. As I have time I’m going back and adding Archives to the existing Categories. It will take a while since I try to spend what time I have available to work on the Library on adding new books. Eventually though they will be added to all the Categories.
The next New Category that will be added is Medical-Military. It will be made up of Military publications on a wide variety of Medical subjects. Since they are government publications they can be freely distributed. Many of them are more up to date than the other categories but carry with that a dependence on modern technology. The general knowledge in them however on theory and understanding medical issues is quite good. Should have it online sometime next week.
Okay… you CAN make a bike out of wood…
As if the threat of Solar Flares causing EMPs or a rogue nation using crude nuclear weapons to launch and EMP attack on the U.S is not enough we now have the Federal government warning that China is capable of shutting down the United States Power Grid.
I’ve often expressed my concern that we have become increasingly and dangerously dependent on technology and especially electronics technology without taking the time to ensure that the technology is reliable, robust and that it’s failure would not have catastrophic consequences.
So yet another reminder that our entire technological and industrial infrastructure has a Single Point of Failure with no redundancy.
I’m sure that the Federal Government will put just as much effort into shielding our Power Grid from Chinese cyber intrusion as they have taken to shield it form Solar and Nuclear EMPs… i.e. no effort at all.
Makes you feel all warm and fizzy doesn’t it?
Guess I need to add a new Category to the Library… Chinese Language Instruction.
I’m working on getting the Archives built for each category. It’s a bit slow since I’m excluding the EPUB files and have to break the files into groups of about 250mb to keep the archives from being too large for practical downloading.
When I get this batch uploaded to the Site I’ll add them to the indexes and I’m going to mark each Category in the Main Library Index that has Archives files with a (A) after the Category Name.
That way you’ll know which ones have the archives added without having to click through them.
I’m also going ahead and removing the EPUB links from the Index as I add the Archive files.
(Update: There was a pathing error in the Index. It’s fixed now. Sorry about that. Bit rushed when I posted the index and didn’t check it thoroughly enough.))
The Navigation Category is online and ready for use.
I’m glad that one of you pointed out the gap with having a section on how to build lots of different kinds of boats and ships as well as early types of planes (and a new section coming soon on Balloons, Airships and Dirigibles) but nothing about how to Navigate from Point A to Point B.
I think it’s because I grew up using maps and compasses and unconsciously take for granted knowing how to navigate. It’s kind of like walking… you never think about a book on walking because you do it without really even being aware that you are doing it.
But these should help fill the gap. There are really two different types of Navigation books in the group. The majority of them are related to navigation at sea or celestial navigation. Most of that involves using sextants and other angle measuring instruments to measure various celestial objects then using chronometers and tables to computer your location anywhere on the globe.
While celestial navigation is not as precise as GPS a skilled navigator should be able to compute their location within a mile or two and with a theoretical maximum accuracy of 500 yards.
The other type of books in the category are about aerial navigation. In the days that these books were written that amounted to basically two methods… using either dead reckoning or radio beacons.
Celestial navigation actually was used in early aviation especially in the second quarter of the 1900s. That was a time when the performance of aircraft greatly exceeded the ground based navigation systems in existence thus requiring advanced navigation capability on board.
Here is a page with some beautiful pictures of of some of the equipment used in aircraft for celestial navigation in those days:
(The book Air Navigation by Weems which is cited in the section of the above linked page about “The Air Navigation Library” is included in our Navigation Category as “Air Navigation 1943″)
When you look at some of the books and get overwhelmed by what appears to be complex procedures remember that 14 year old Naval Midshipmen in the early 1800s were expected to master these techniques before standing for their Lieutenant’s Exam. In early air celestial navigation the navigators or pilots did what that Midshipman did but while sitting in an open cockpit thousands of feet in the air. If they could master it then you can too. These are the same books they used to do so.
The large sunspot that threw out half a dozen X-Class flares a couple weeks ago and caused some communications problems is back for a second pass across the face of the sun this week. This time around its number is AR2209.
Not going to lose any sleep over it or take any particular action but just like events in the Middle East and in D.C…. it bears watching.