Tag Archives: Reference

A Machinist’s Handbook

I decided to use an engineering reference handbook for this project. Since I took pictures of most pages, a link to an imgur album is the most efficient way to share it.


This reference handbook was made to condense a large amount of information into a single place and simplify problems to save time in a business setting. If you look at images 6, 7, 8, 12, or 15 you’ll see they’re filled entirely with reference information, and a lot of it is as simple as converting fractions to decimal, or converting units. This is because it saves time and reduces the number of steps in any process, thus reducing the likelihood of an error.

It also serves as an advertisement for the company’s products. For example, in image 5, and 18 there are advertisements for various work holding products, as well as advertisements of the company’s website and design tools. By selling their own reference handbook, it allows them to easily target a specific market demographic. If you look at the cover in image 1, you’ll see at the bottom left these handbooks were sold for two dollars, whereas similar, more complete reference handbooks are commonly sold for hundreds; this further reinforces my reasoning that this handbook was primarily made for advertising. Since it was cheaply priced, more copies would be sold and more people in the targeted demographic would be exposed to the company’s products and services. Since the handbook is made by a supposedly reputable business it also gains some credibility that the information in it is accurate.

It’s also interesting to point out that while this particular handbook was likely printed in the early 2000’s based on the copyright date on the cover, paper reference books like this are still used today despite the fact that all the information is likely available online. I think this is due to the fact that while the information is online, it’s not organized as well as a handbook, the information is there, it just needs to be searched for, and the information found may not be as accurate or well presented.