I can guarantee that this will be the first of many posts on The Manual Arts Press. Hands down, MAP is one of my two favorite defunct publishers. H.C. Baird is the other, but I'm not talking about Baird at this time.
Operating during the heyday of the ... ta da! Manual Arts Movement (I'm sure you saw that one coming), The Manual Arts Press featured many of the most dedicated innovators, writers and educators of the movement. In business during the explosion of crafts as a means to educational and personal enlightenment and in particular when the Art Noveau and Arts & Crafts styles held sway, the books of MAP offer valuable insights into trades and crafts through the hand processes which gradually lost ground as the mechanization of industry took over.
The various authors grew up during a time period when hand work was on the decline in manufacturing, but was celebrated in the home, in schools and in design. Luckily for us, the books of publishers such as MAP preserve the details of handwork that we so love to argue over today. With the exception of a handful of rather vociferous Manual Arts educators who Knew What Is Right, the vast majority of the authors focused on bringing craftwork to the masses.
Straight forward descriptions coupled with line drawings, engravings and halftone action prints taken from glass plate negatives (the innovation of the day), the authors provided a class-in-a-book experience that modern technical authors could learn from IMHO. Give the student the basics and lead them to learn through doing, building upon skills through personal experience. Skip the flash and focus on why and how based on experience. Leave the heated debates at home when it comes to education and just get on with it!
I'm a product of the New York public school system, which, while it had it's problems (true, my high school was in lock down mode every day) but it also had some good things for people like me. In the early grades, I was exposed to carpentry, ceramics, printing and metal work. Can you imagine your local public school offering 5th graders a class in printing with actual printing presses?
The first book I've reprinted from The Manual Arts Press is Working Drawings Of Colonial Furniture by Frederick J. Bryant. I've many more to do. There is a nice collection of books from this publisher sitting on a bookshelf, begging to see the light of day once again. As a BTW, I'm bringing Paypal back to the storefront, complete with store only discounts. Now that I've ditched the store software, I have to create the Paypal listings individually which is a minor pain but once done, will work. It should. Really it should.
Take a look at this 1915 catalog of The Manual Arts Press, courtesy Google. Reading through it is difficult for anyone who loves craftwork. You want to head over to the local bookstore and buy and buy and buy, even if the titles are no longer available from The Manual Arts Press.
till next, Gary