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!
 
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")

 This installment of our series  is not about whole books, but looks at books where (unless your language skills are unusually good) the main attraction is just looking at the pictures. 

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

 

A rare and wonderful tool catalogue