I recently came across a 4-volume set of the Popular Mechanics Illustrated Home Handyman Encyclopedia & Guide (from 1961) in the bargain bin at a local used book store. Of course, I grabbed them – for less than $5 total!
The ~4000 pages of projects are amazing – it’s basically your grandparents’ equivalent of today’s MAKE Magazine; with a lot of projects that wouldn’t be printed today due to liability concerns.
They’ve got everything from planning/building/remodeling a house, woodworking, metalworking, making your own boat/go-cart/children’s playground equipment, indoor shooting ranges, to radio repair, electronics, photography, gardening, farming, and equipment to make handling your farm animals easier.
Over the past four days I’ve taken pictures of the title pages and illustrations for the most interesting articles, and put them up on Flickr. I’ve also contacted Popular Mechanics to see about getting permission to break out the scanner and make proper PDFs of the best stuff.
The Flickr collections page, with one set for each volume, is here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mrbill/collections/72157603639900790/
JANUARY 14th UPDATE: I’ve received permission from Popular Mechanics to make PDFs of the articles and put them online! That’s coming soon.