external image 23po2q.png
Fictional Item

Name: The Aspiring Mechanic's Guide to Steam Technology

Category: Book

Size/weight: 10.4" long by 7.4" wide, 1" tall

Rarity: Common

Value: $0.50

Uses: Describes basic uses and methods for crafting with steam technology

Description (ca. 1921):
Not much is known about the book's author Richard Price, aside from the fact that's not his real name. Written under a pen name, this book is the topic of several rumors among the early steam mechanics. Due to the revealing information concerning both British and German engineering, it is suspected that Price was a spy, assassinated shortly after the book's release. Others believe that Price was a visionary, not caring about the fame and simply wanting to share his knowledge. On the other hand, die-hard conspiracy theorists suspect the novel was created by the government in order to encourage the growth of steam technology, hoping to begin the takeover of the automatons. Some suspect that Price was simply cashing in on a popular trend, taking advantage of the "gears and goggles" stereotypes of what steam crafting was thought to be. Regardless of the author's intentions, the book was well-received and is seen as one of the pioneer American novels on steam technology. Since it's publication in 1875, many have claimed to be Richard Price, but to this day no one knows who wrote the book and why.

The book is a simple encyclopedia on the current state of steam technology, as well as a simple how-to guide for the tinkerers of the late 1800's, back when steam technology was less mainstream. Some sections have simple walkthroughs, allowing readers to follow the steps to create simple babbles and steam toys. As such, some of the information is a bit outdated by 1920's standards, and many of the parts in the "how-to" guides are no longer produced. Few modern mechanics even read this anymore. Even so, this was the "steam bible" for many American steam mechanics of the Second Industrial Revolution. It's use of simple language and a "commoner tone" allowed literate people of all classes to learn the basics of steam technology. Most of the book, especially the walkthroughs, are filled with encouraging messages for rookie mechanics, most of which were cliche even then. Lines like "every mistake is a learning opportunity" and "you only truly fail when you stop trying" imply that this book might have been designed with a younger audience in mind. Either that, or the author had little faith in the confidence of his audience.

References

http://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/cpicalc.pl?cost1=.5&year1=1921&year2=2015