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Technical books online!

4.22 gigabytes and still (slowly) growing!  Over 100 titles!

This data is available on DVD-ROM from www.theoscilloscopestore.com


Preserving the Knowledge of the Ancients?

I've found that most of the technical books published before about 1964 never had their copyrights renewed, so now are in the public domain.  So I am endeavoring to digitize and post some selected books relating to the "vacuum tube age" of electronics here.

Many - maybe over half now - of these books were scanned by other people and contributed for me to post here.  Many, many thanks to all the individuals who have helped out with this endeavor.  I find that I do not have much time to scan books these days - the demands of the "day job" have increased much over the past few years - so I'm not doing a lot of scanning myself.  If you have material that you would like to contribute, please send me an email.

I have checked to the best of my ability to confirm that these works have expired copyrights and are now in the public domain.  If you have information to the contrary, please contact me at:

For information about copyrights and copyright renewals, look here.  Here's a nice, easy copyright renewal search tool.

For more details on how (and why) I do this, look lower at the bottom of this page.

If you want to post any of these scans on another site, please contact me for permission before you do... I like to know who is doing what with these things!  In general I don't have any issues with others posting the scans that I myself have done (it might save some bandwidth), although I do appreciate it if you credit the source of the scan.

Beware - some of these files are very big (noted with red warnings).  If you're on dialup better start a download and go to bed!

The book scans below are in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format.  I recommend that if you don't already have it you download the latest version of Adobe reader.  Some files have compressed images that may not work correctly with older versions of Acrobat reader.

                               


For books containing primarily tube data, like Sylvania, GE, and RCA tube manuals, see the tube data page.

Arranged by subject category, then alphabetically by title.  Note that there is much overlap in the subjects (e.g., many "radio" books have a thorough treatment of vacuum tubes, and most general textbooks cover radio and vacuum tubes in some detail).  Use (ctrl-f) in your browser to find a particular book or author...

 

On most books you click on the name of the title to download an introduction (the first few pages, usually the title through table of contents)  This way you can see if you're interested before downloading many megabytes of data.

 

Jump to:

 

General Electrical Engineering Books and Textbooks (pre-1964)

Audio (hi-fi, amplifiers, speakers...)

Radio (transmitters, receivers, design, repair...)

Vacuum Tube theory & circuit design

Test & Measurement (equipment, instructions...)

Passive components (transformers, capacitors...)

Other (transistors, tape recorders, odd stuff...)


 

General Electrical Engineering Books and Textbooks


Basic Radio - The Essentials of Electron tubes and their Circuits, J. Barton Hoag, 1942, 379 pages

This college-level electronics text is "designed for the student with only a limited background in physics and mathematics".  Covers the basics of AC and DC circuits and radio propagation, then vacuum tubes and circuits that use them.  Has some information not found on other texts, like high-frequency and microwave radio, transmission line theory, and DC amplifiers.  Another good text!

 

Download full text with index, 15MB PDF file


Electrical Communication, Arthur Albert, 1950, 598 pages - Courtesy of anonymous donor

Most of this book is dedicated to telephony.  Sections on acoustics and transducers, fundamental electronics, and details on telephone systems.  The latter half of the book discusses radio communications, mostly as they relate to the telephone system.

 

Download full text, 31MB PDF file


Electrical Engineering, E. E. Kimberly, 1951, 394 pages - Thanks to Keith Carlsen!

A different college EE text, this one is target at non-EE majors.  Less theory than most EE texts, and lots of information about motors.  I think this was targeted largely at Civil, Industrial, and Mechanical engineers.  Only one chapter on "electronic" devices (tubes and tube circuits).

 

Download full text with index, 5.8MB PDF file


Electronic Amplifier Circuits, Joseph Petit and Malcolm McWhorter, 1961, 325 pages

As you might guess from the title, this textbook is all about the theory and design of amplifiers.  While mostly containing tube circuits it does include some information on those new-fangled transistor things.  Plenty if math in this one, it concentrates on wide band (e.g., video) amplifiers.

 

Download full text with index, 13MB PDF file


Electronic Circuits and Tubes, Cruft Laboratory at Harvard University, 1947, 994 pages - Courtesy of Jim McConville

This is one of the most comprehensive texts in the collection.  According to the forward, the book was developed from the lecture notes of a special wartime electronics training course.  A reasonably mathematical treatment of basic circuit theory, vacuum tubes, and practical circuits.

 

Download full text with index, 12MB PDF file


Electronics for Communications Engineers,  John Markus and Vin Zeluff, 1952, 619 pages - Courtesy of an anonymous donor

A series of electronics articles from the 1950's covering a wide variety of topics.

 

Download full text,   92MB PDF file


Electronics for Engineers, Johm Markus and Vin Zeluff, 1945, 398 pages - Courtesy of an anonymous donor

A collection of articles covering a variety of practical design subjects of the 1940's. 

 

Download full text,   35.7MB PDF file


Engineering Electronics, George Happell and Wilfred Hesselberth, 1953, 508 pages - Courtesy of Earles McCaul

This is a newer college text, covering vacuum tubes, circuit analysis, and some practical amplifier design considerations.  More practical than some texts, it even includes some tube curves for popular tubes of the day.

 

Download full text with index, 7MB PDF file


Engineering Electronics, Donald Fink, 1938, 361 pages - Courtesy of anonymous donor

Same name, different book.  An engineering text written for engineers familiar with electricity but not "electronics".  Covers physical electronics, tubes, and tube applications.

 

Download full text, 31MB PDF file


Fundamentals of Engineering Electronics, William Dow, 1937, 617 pages - Courtesy of an anonymous donor

A very unassuming title for a 617-page engineering book!  The first part of the book has a rather in-depth treatment of vacuum tube operation, and details of amplifier circuit design.  The second part delves into the physics of gas tubes and phototubes, and also a bit of power supply design.

 

Download full text,   26.5MB PDF file


Reference Data For Radio Engineers, Federal Telephone and Radio, 1946, 335 pages

This great book is, well, a reference book for engineers!  It contains tons of useful data on vacuum-tube circuits, components, power supplies, acoustics, waveforms, radio propagation, and lots of other things.  Also includes a lot of mathematical info and tables - even a graphical way to do an FFT!  The way we did it before the days of PSpice and silicon...

 

Download full text with index, 9.4MB PDF file


Reference Data For Radio Engineers, International Telephone and Telegraph Corp., 1956, 1121 pages - Thanks to Ed Stewart, WA4MZS!

A later and greatly expanded 4th version of the book above. A wonderful reference for anybody designing equipment with vacuum tubes.  Sections on digital computers, nuclear physics, wire transmission... all kinds of cool things.  Plus practical guides for things like power supply design, including how to design and wind the transformers and chokes,

 

Download full text,  13.5MB PDF file

Seachable DJVU file (10.2MB) - Thanks to Phil Hobbs!


 

 

Audio (hi-fi, amplifiers, speakers...)


A to Z in Audio, G. A Briggs, 1961, 225 pages - Courtesy of John Atwood

An interesting "audio encyclopedia", from A to Z.

 

Download full text with index,   10.7MB PDF file


Amplifier Builders Guide, Hugo Gernsback, 1964, 33 (double) pages

From the editors of Radiocraft, this practical guide concentrates on the design and construction of audio amplifiers.  Two parts: the first on amplifier theory and design, the second giving six practical designs to build.  Talks about phase splitters, feedback, and tone controls, things not addressed in most textbooks.

 

Download full text with index,   32MB PDF file


Amplifiers, H. Lewis York, 1964, 254 pages - Thanks to Keith Carlsen!

This UK book is one of a series on "The Technique of Sound Reproduction".  It's a good practical guide to the design of amplifiers, with many example schematics using the GEC and Mullard valves of the time.  Great book for a reasonably short introduction to tube amp design for the non-engineer.

 

Download full text with index,  3.3MB PDF file


Amplifiers (The Why and How of Good Amplification), G. A. Briggs, 1952, 216 pages

A very cool book from England on tube amplifiers.  Covers theory, and concentrates on amplifier quality - distortion, noise, etc. and how to prevent them.  Practical, not too theoretical.  Covers amplifier circuits as well as tone controls, mic and pickup preamps, and power supplies.  Also includes schematics and parts list for the "Garner Amplifier", an amplifier, as well as a preamp and a couple of tuner circuits.

 

Download full text with index, 2.3MB PDF file


An Approach to Audio Frequency Amplifier Design, G. E. C. Valve and Electronics Department, 1957, 126 pages - Thanks to Keith Carlsen!

We've all seen the classic GEC amp schematics, but here's the whole book!  Seventeen amplifier designs ranging from 3 to 1,100 watts are presented, along with tube data and design considerations.

 

Download full text with index,  1.9MB PDF file


Basic Audio, Norman Crowhurst, 1959 - Thanks to Keith Carlsen!

This is a 3-volume set on, as the title implies, basic audio.  The best introduction to tube hi-fi I've seen, the first volume starts with the nature of sound, and covers the basics of speakers and microphones.  Volume 2 continues with amplification, covering the basics of amplifier design.  Volume 3 covers a little more advanced topics like feedback, power supplies, and recording.  If you're a beginner, READ THESE BOOKS!

 

Volume 1 (114 pages) Download full text with index, 4.2MB PDF file

Volume 2 (122 pages) Download full text with index, 4.1MB PDF file

Volume 3 (113 pages) Download full text with index, 3.2MB PDF file


Designing and Building Hi-Fi Furniture, Jeff Markell, 1959, 225 pages - Courtesy of John Atwood

Hi-Fi Furniture?  Yes!  This book is about how to design and build the wooden cabinets used for stereo equipment and speakers.  Also includes info on room, layout and acoustics.

 

Download full text with index,   19.1MB PDF file


Harmonic Distortion and Negative Feedback in Audio-Frequency Amplifiers, BBC Engineering Training Dept., 1950, 105 pages - Thanks to Morgan Jones

A very nice practical discussion of distortion and feedback in audio amplifiers.  The first section describes harmonic distortion and how it gets created in a tube amplifier stage.  The remainder of the book describes various feedback methods and their implementation around one or more stages.  Appendices show how to calculate stage gain with feedback.

 

Download full text with index,   1.1MB PDF file


High-Fidelity Circuit Design, Norman Crowhurst and George Cooper, 1957, 296 pages - Courtesy of John Atwood

The title pretty much says it all here.. this is a practical guide to the design of audio circuits.

 

Download full text, 12MB PDF file


High Fidelity Techniques, James Langham, 1950, 114 pages - Courtesy of John Atwood

Discusses distortion, speakers, and amplifier design.  Good, practical, easy-to-read advice and explanation of deign techniques like feedback.

 

Download full text with index,   5.7MB PDF file


Practical Amplifier Diagrams, Jack Robin & Chester Lipman, 1947, 104 pages - Courtesy of John Atwood

45 proven circuits for the technician and experimenter!  Schematics of a variety of audio circuits, mostly amplifiers from 1W to 75 watts.

 

Download full text with index,   5.1MB PDF file


The Recording and Reproduction of Sound, Oliver Read, 1952, 790 pages - Courtesy of David Stork

Unique in this collection (so far), this book concentrates on the recording process, and to some extent the reproduction process, as opposed to just amplifiers or radios.  A fantastic book if you are looking for info on how records were (are?) cut, and how magnetic tape machines work. A very practical book, it includes schematics of many pieces of professional audio of the 1950's.  Also contains info about acoustics, loudspeakers and cabinets, and PA system design.

 

Download full text with index, 16MB PDF file


The Story of Stereo, John Sunier, 1960, 161 pages - Courtesy of John Atwood

A history of the development of stereophonic sound.  Discusses film, tape, and disc storage, and recording and reproduction.

 

Download full text with index,   8MB PDF file


 

 

Radio (transmitters, receivers, design, repair...)


Aeronautical Radio, Myron Eddy, 1939, 514 pages - Courtesy of anonymous donor

I'm surprised to see such a lengthy text from 1939 on aeronautical radio!   As you might guess this is a very comprehensive treatment of the state of the art circa 1939.  Starts with the basics - electricity, radio, tubes - then delves into radiotelephone and telegraph transmitters and receivers, direction finding, navigation beacons, even VHF instrument landing systems.  

 

Download full text, 19MB PDF file


Automatic Frequency Control Systems, Johm F. Rider, 1937, 153 pages - Courtesy of an anonymous donor

A detailed look at AFC systems.  Includes design issues, troubleshooting, and servicing AFC in radio receivers.

 

Download full text,   7.8MB PDF file


Die Rohr im UKW-Emfänger, Afred Nowak, Rudolf Cantz, & Wilhelm Engbert, 1959 - Thanks to Joe Sousa!

This German-language book is a very thorough treatment of FM receiver design.  Split into three volumes, the first covers FM detection, the second mixers for FM receivers, and the third IF amplifier stages for FM receivers.

 

Volume 1 (129 pages) Download full text,  49MB PDF file

Volume 2 (110 pages) Download full text,  66MB PDF file

Volume 3 (146 pages) Download full text,  47MB PDF file


D/F Handbook for Wireless Operators  W. E. Crook, 1942, 85 pages - Courtesy of Peter O'Connel VK2EMU

Written for marine and aeronautical radio men, this is a handbook on radio direction finding.  Discusses different types pf DF antennae and how they work, as well as circuitry.

 

Download full text, 3.4MB PDF file


The Frank C. Jones Antenna Handbook,  Frank C. Jones, 1937, 66 pages - Courtesy of an anonymous donor

Another short antenna book targeted at the advanced amateur radio operator.

 

Download full text,   7.9MB PDF file


FM Transmission and Reception, John Rider & Seymour Uslan, 1950, 460 pages - Courtesy of John Atwood

A comprehensive treatment of FM transmission and reception, including FM broadcast and television sound.  Includes design info and servicing help.

 

Download full text with index,   22MB PDF file


Das Funkbastlers Ratgeber, Anschutz & Co., 1926, 104 pages - Thanks to Peter Gerber!

An interesting, very old German-language book on IF transformers and their design.  Includes typical tube circuits for radio use.

 

Download full text,  7.6MB PDF file


Principles of Aeronautical Radio Engineering,  P. C. Sandretto, 1942, 424 pages - Courtesy of an anonymous donor

Nice look into the early days of long-range avionics.  Discusses navigation ("avigation") and communications systems, including VHF and HF systems for airborne use, radio altimeters, and supporting electronic systems.  You can learn what the "cone of silence" really is!.

 

Download full text,   19.4MB PDF file


The Radio Antenna Handbook,  Engineering Staff of "Radio", 1936, 82 pages - Courtesy of an anonymous donor

A fairly comprehensive antenna book targeted at the advanced amateur radio operator.

 

Download full text,   9.8MB PDF file


Radio Amateur's Handbook, American Radio relay League, 1936, 536 pages

The venerable ARRL handbook, 1936 edition.  Many of us learned all about tubes from this book (OK, in my case, one about 30 years later than this one).  Practical information on electronic fundamentals and tube circuits, and lots of ham projects - transmitters, receivers, antennas.  Cool catalog section at the end.

 

Download full text with index, 55MB PDF file


Radio Amateur's Handbook, American Radio relay League, 1941, 552 pages

Here's another edition a few years later, full-color catalog at the end.

 

Download full text with index, CAUTION  LARGE 79MB PDF file


Radio Electronics,  Samuel Seely, 1956, 493 pages - Courtesy of an anonymous donor

A comprehensive later radio textbook covering communications theory, tubes, and transmitters and recievers.

 

Download full text,  23MB PDF file


The Radio Handbook, William Orr (editor), 15th edition 1959, 810 (!) pages

This is sort of an ARRL handbook on steroids.  Very complete, covering basic theory though practical construction of mostly ham radio equipment, though much applies to any vintage electronic project.  Has some transistor and semiconductor info but 90% vacuum tube, even a circuit for a tube-based VHF walke-talkie!  There are even sections on "high-fidelity techniques" and "electronic computers"!  Even includes a math section and info on how to set up your workshop (I like the "workshop-in-a-closet"!)

 

Download full text with index, CAUTION LARGE 61MB PDF file


The Radio Handbook, Editors and Engineers, 7th edition 1940, 608 pages

An earlier edition of the above Radio Handbook, this has more of the feel of the ARRL handbook of 1940.  As you would expect the circuits in this older book use some older tubes, and no mention of semiconductors.  There is a section on "radio therapy", if you want to build your own diathermy machine!

 

Download full text with index,  18MB PDF file


The Radio Handbook,  Editors of "Radio", 5th edition 1938, 595 pages - Courtesy of an anonymous donor

An earlier edition of the above.

 

Download full text,   CAUTION LARGE 139MB PDF file


Radio Engineering Principles, Henri Lauer and Harry Brown, 2nd edition 1928, 310 pages

Here's a book that pre-dates the invention of the pentode... talks about radio theory and propagation, antennas, and telegraphy, then has chapters on the use of the "three-electrode vacuum tube".  Talks about how a triode works, and how to use it in amplifier and oscillator circuits and in a radio receiver.

 

Download full text with index, 13MB PDF file


Radio Receivers (AF Manual 100-5), Department of the Air Force, 1958, 175 pages - Courtesy of Chuck McGregor, N7RHU

A "training text and guide for repairmen and technicians" by the US air force about radio receivers.  A good practical description of receiver design.

 

Download full text, CAUTION LARGE 95MB PDF file


Radio Receiver  Design (Part 1), K. R. Sturley, 1945, 435 pages - Courtesy of John Atwood

This UK publication gives a thorough treatment of the design of valve-based radio receivers.  Part 1 covers valve basics, and the RF side of a receiver: from the antenna through the detector. 

 

Download full text,  17.7MB PDF file


Radio Receiver  Design (Part 2), K. R. Sturley, 1945, 435 pages - Courtesy of John Atwood

A continuation of the above, this volume covers audio-frequency amplifiers, frequency modulation, and television.

 

Download full text, 22.4MB PDF file


Radio Telegraphy and Telephony,  Rudolph L. Duncan, 1931, 1056 pages - Courtesy of an anonymous donor

"A complete textbook for students of wireless communication".  At over 1,000 pages, one might expect so!  Magnetism, tubes, transmitters, receivers, antennas...

 

Download full text,   CAUTION LARGE 131MB PDF file


Radio Transmitters, Laurence Gray and Richard Graham, 1961, 467 pages - Courtesy of an anonymous donor

I have lots of books on receiver design - here's a whole book dedicated to transmitters!  Targeted at professional engineers rather than hams, this covers it all from oscillators through power amps, modulators, power supplies, and antenna matching.

 

Download full text,   18.8MB PDF file


NEW 7/3/2011 - Reflex Radio Receivers, P. E. Edelman, 1924, 64 pages - Thanks to Terry Walker

Small DIY book on building your own "reflex" radio receiver.  Make one tube do the work of two!

 

Download full text,  8.4MB PDF file


Sideband Handbook, General Electric, 1961, 233 pages - Courtesy of an anonymous donor

"Lighthouse Larry" compiles this collection of articles from of "GE Ham News" about SSB transmission and reception.  Awesome detail and a great resource of you are building or working on vintage SSB radios.

 

Download full text,   CAUTION REALLY LARGE 148MB PDF file


The Technique of Radio Design, E. E. Zepler, 1944, 322 pages - Courtesy of John Atwood

Sort of an engineer's practical guide to radio receiver design.

 

Download full text with index,   13.9MB PDF file


 

 

Vacuum Tube theory & circuit design


Basic Theory and Applications of Electron Tubes, Departments of the Army and Air Force, 1952, 215 pages

This is an excellent, relatively modern (1952) text on vacuum tubes.  Very practical, not too much math, and it has some very nice illustrations.  Very specific to tubes, discusses how they work, how they're built, and circuits.

 

Download full text with index, 17MB PDF file


Conductance Curve Design, Dr. Keats A. Pullen, 1958, 127 pages

This book presents a method to design tube amplifier stages using curves of constant (grid-to-plate) transconductance and plate conductance.  Equations and step-by-step instructions are provided to select the correct tube, calculate gain and distortion, and other relevant parameters.  Full sets of curves are provided for 35 different tube types.  This is reproduced with permission of the copyright owner, Phyllis K Pullen, MD.  Many thanks to Robb Legg, who did all the digitization work, including OCR and reproducing the graphs - a tremendous amount of work!

 

Download full text with index, 11MB PDF file


Electron-Tube Circuits, Samuel Seely, 1950, 530 pages

Another college-level textbook on vacuum tubes.  Covers tube theory, tuned and un-tuned amplifiers, oscillators, and power supplies.  Some nice details about tube-based voltage regulator circuits, and sections on electronic computing circuits, relaxation oscillators and sweep circuits you won't find in the other texts.

 

Download full text with index, 22MB PDF file


Electron Tube Design, RCA, 1963, 943 (!!) pages - Courtesy of John Atwood

This is essentially an updated version of "Vacuum Tube Design" below.  Intended for internal use only, this book contains 53 "articles"  on different aspects of vacuum tube design and manufacture.  I think this book has nearly everything you need to know to design and build tubes.  Beware, the PDF file is over 150 megabytes!  Don't even try it on dialup...

 

Download full text, CAUTION LARGE 86MB PDF file


Electron Tubes (Volume I)RCA, 1949, 483 pages - Courtesy of Walter Welch, AI4SP!

A collection of technical papers from RCA, covering the period from 1935 through 1941.  Nearly 500 pages of technical papers, covering such topics as "Thin-film emission" and the famous O.H. Shade "Beam Power Tubes".

 

Download full text,   56MB PDF file

Seachable DJVU file (7.7MB) - Thanks to Phil Hobbs!


Electron Tubes (Volume II),  RCA, 1949, 462 pages - Courtesy of Walter Welch, AI4SP!

A continuation of above, a collection of technical papers from RCA, covering the period from 1941 through 1949.  

 

Download full text,   71MB PDF file

Seachable DJVU file (7.3MB) - Thanks to Phil Hobbs!


Electronic Rectifiers and Valves,  Dr, ing. A. Guntherschulze, 1928, 227 pages - Courtesy of an anonymous donor

A translation of an older German text on rectifier tubes.

 

Download full text,   11MB PDF file


Electronics and Electron Tubes, E. D. McArthur, 1936, 180 pages - Courtesy of anonymous donor

A fairly early, concise treatment of the theory of vacuum tubes.  Not a lot of math, basic info on circuits.

 

Download full text, 14MB PDF file


FTR Handbook of Tube Operation, Federal Telephone and Radio Corporation, 1944, 68 pages - Courtesy of an anonymous donor

An interesting set of what I would describe as "application notes" for power tubes.  Discusses tube life, tube ratings, protection, and other similar topics.

 

Download full text,   31.4MB PDF file


Getting the Most Out of Vacuum Tubes, Robert Tomer, 1960, 164 pages - Courtesy of John Atwood

This book addresses the "Types and causes of failures, what to expect from tubes, testing methods, and all about tube maintenance programs".  Quite interesting, this book covers material I've not seen comprehensively discussed elsewhere, like failure mechanisms, what makes a "premium" tube special, etc.

 

Download full text, 8.3MB PDF file


Graphical Constructions for Vacuum Tube Circuits, Albert Preisman, 1943, 245 pages - Courtesy of Walter Welch, AI4SP!

Describes graphical design methods for tube circuits (as opposed to equation-based design).  Sections on reactive loads and balanced amplifiers that discuss topics not seen in many other texts.

 

Download full text,  9.3MB PDF file


Grondslagen van de Radiobuizentechniek, Philips'  Gloeilampenfabrieken te Einhioven, 1943, 505 pages - Courtesy of John Atwood

Wow... I wish I could read Dutch.  This book by Philips appears to be a nice thorough treatment of how vacuum tubes work, how they are built, and how they are applied in radio circuits.  Some very nice photos of tubes in various states of disassembly.

 

Download full text,  37MB PDF file


Inside the Vacuum Tube, John F, Rider, 1945, 407 pages- Courtesy of Earles McCaul

One of my new favorites - this is a fabulous book on how tubes work and how to design tube circuits.  this is NOT a college text; rather this is written more at the level of an advanced technician, with not so much math and lots of diagrams that make visualizing what's going on easy.  It even has some 3-D drawings - you'll need anaglyph (red/blue) 3-D glasses to view them.

 

Download full text with index, 9MB PDF file


Materials and Techniques for Electron Tubes, Walter Kohl, 1960, 657 pages - Courtesy of John Atwood

An updated version of the above text from 1960.

 

Download full text with index,   10.7MB PDF file


Materials Technology for Vacuum Tubes, Walter Kohl, 1951, 504 pages - Courtesy of Walter Welch, AI4SP!

A detailed technical discussion on the materials used to make vacuum tubes, including glass, metals, and ceramics, as well as the interfaces between them..

 

Download full text,  35MB PDF file

Seachable DJVU file (7.3MB) - Thanks to Phil Hobbs!


Mercury Arc power Rectifiers,  Othmar Marti and Harold Winograd , 1930, 478 pages - Courtesy of an anonymous donor

Discusses theory and practice of mercury rectifiers, concentrating BIG ones - 100kW+!.

 

Download full text,   38MB PDF file


Mercury Arc Rectifier Practice,  Frederick Charles Orchard, 255 pages - Courtesy of an anonymous donor

Another book covering big mercury rectifiers.  Nice photos of "Appealing Substation Buildings".

 

Download full text,   19MB PDF file


The Oxide-Coated Cathode G. Herrmann & S. Wagener, 1951 - Thanks to anonymous donor

This 2-volume set is a very comprehensive treatment of the theory and manufacture of oxide-coated cathodes for tubes.  Strangely enough, volume I covers more practical aspects, and volume II is mostly physics...

 

Volume 1 (155 pages) Download full text, 12MB PDF file

Seachable DJVU file (2.5MB) - Thanks to Phil Hobbs!

 

Volume 2 (322 pages) Download full text, 16MB PDF file

Seachable DJVU file (3.5MB) - Thanks to Phil Hobbs!


Physics and Applications of Electron Secondary Emission, Dr. H. Bruining, 1954, 178 pages - Thanks to Justin Carmichael

A very detailed look at secondary electron emission in vacuum tubes...

 

Download full text with index,   31.3MB PDF file


Principles of Electron Tubes, Herbert Reich, 1941, 398 pages

Essentially an abridged version of Reich's "Theory and Applications of Electron Tubes" (below), this is a college-level text on vacuum tubes.  It doesn't have so much math in it to be hard to understand; though it presents plenty of equations, it also shows graphical solutions that the DIY'er could use.  One of the best books I know of to learn enough about how tubes really work to be able to design with them.

 

Download full text with index, 18MB PDF file


Principles of Mercury Arc Rectifiers and their Circuits,  David Chandler Prince and Francis Brooke Vogdes, 1927, 236 pages - Courtesy of an anonymous donor

Theory and applications of early mercury rectifiers.

 

Download full text,   23MB PDF file


Radio Receiving and Television Tubes, James Moyer, 1936, 645 pages - Courtesy of Walter Welch, AI4SP!

A comprehensive text on tubes, how they're made, how they work, and applications circuits.  Covers tube testers in some detail, as well as early television circuits.

 

Download full text,  35MB PDF file


Radiotron Designer's Handbook, Third Edition, P. Langford Smith, 1941, 352 pages

The quintessential vacuum tube design handbook,.  This is the older, and smaller, third edition... at least I didn't have to pay $150 for a book to cut up and scan!  Covers all the essential of tube electronics design, including the basics, tube theory, load lines, amplifier design, etc.

 

Download full text with index, 16MB PDF file


Radiotron Designer's Handbook, Fourth Edition, P. Langford Smith, 1953, 1,498 pages! - MANY thanks to Keith Carlsen!

The later and much more comprehensive version of the RDH3 above, this is probably the best book out there for the casual vacuum tube circuit designer.  Coveted by the audio guys, it also has plenty of info on the design of radio receivers.  This version is one I have scanned myself, in one file, with added nested PDF bookmarks so it's easy to find things. There are PDF versions already floating around the web... but I never figured out who scanned what, and there are a couple of versions that people are trying to sell, so I've not posted any of them here.  

 

Download full text with index,  25MB PDF file


Storage Tubes and Their Basic Principles, M. Knoll and B. Kazan, 1952, 153 pages - Courtesy of Walter Welch, AI4SP!

Remember the pre-digital storage 'scopes?  This book will explain how they work, as well as other charge-controlled storage tubes used as cameras and computing elements.

 

Download full text, 6.2MB PDF file


Theory and Applications of Electron tubes, Herbert Reich, 2nd edition 1941, 716 pages

If there's one book that will bust my website's bandwidth limits, this may be it.  716 pages of vacuum tube theory, this may be THE best book about vacuum tubes.  Detailed, complete with plenty of math and drawings.  Covers how tubes work and how to design circuits around them, with chapters on class A/AB1 and AB2/B amplifier design, power supplies, and more!

 

Download full text with index,  37MB PDF file


Theory of Thermionic Vacuum Tube CircuitsLeo James Peters, 1927, 263 pages - Courtesy of Walter Welch, AI4SP!

An early tube text, discusses triodes and their application as amplifiers, particularly in radios.  plenty of math and theory, and some nice photos of early tubes.

 

Download full text,  14MB PDF file


Theory of Thermionic Vacuum Tubes, E. Leon Chaffee, Ph.D.,  1933, 652 pages - Courtesy of Joe Sousa (who actually bought this book and had it delivered to me to scan!)

Another fantastic vacuum tube text, with lots of detail and math to go with it.  Mostly about triodes, pentodes were just starting to be used when this was written.  Covers how tubes work in considerable detail, and discusses low-power amplifiers and detector circuits.

 

Download full text with index,  7.6MB PDF file


The Thermionic Vacuum Tube, H. J. van der Bijl, 1920, 407 pages - Courtesy of Walter Welch, AI4SP!

A quite early book on the theory behind vacuum tubes.  Discusses the theory behind how tubes work, and also shows common applications of the time (amplifiers, oscillators, modulators, and detectors).  

 

Download full text, 19MB PDF file


Vacuum Tubes, Karl Spangenberg, 1948, 877(!) pages - Courtesy of Walter Welch, AI4SP!

An outstanding college textbook on the design of vacuum tubes.  Very comprehensive theoretical treatment.

 

Download full text, 33MB PDF file


Vacuum Tube Design, RCA, 1940, 260 pages - Courtesy of John Atwood

Intended for internal use only, this book contains a series of 26 lectures in a course taught by RCA engineers in 1937 and 1938.  From the preface: "The lectures were intended to provide a review of the basic principles underlying the design and manufacture of vacuum tubes."  

 

Download full text, 24MB PDF file


Vacuum Tube Oscillators, William A. Edson, 1953, 488 pages - Courtesy of an anonymous donor

488 pages of design details about tube oscillators, including crystal-controlled, variable, relaxation, and other types.

 

Download full text,   19.6MB PDF file


Vacuum Tube Rectifiers,  Alexander Schure, 1958, 77 pages - Courtesy of Walter Welch, AI4SP!

Nice modern text about vacuum tube rectifiers and their application.  Includes single and multiphase circuits, filter designs, and rectifier tube characteristics.  Short and to the point, a good reference!

 

Download full text,   3.4MB PDF file


 

 

Test & Measurement (equipment, instructions...)


The Cathode-Ray OscilloscopeCharles Sicuranza, 1938, 68 pages - Courtesy of Walter Welch, AI4SP!

An interesting older book on the theory and application of the oscilloscope.

 

Download full text, 23MB PDF file


The Cathode-ray tube at Work, John F. Rider, 1935, 336 pages

Not obvious until you realize this book pre-dates television, this is really a book about the oscilloscope (called an "oscillograph" back then).  Talks about how CRT's work, how an oscilloscope works, and how to use an oscilloscope to troubleshoot circuits like amplifiers, and to adjust radio transmitters and receivers.

 

Download full text with index, 17MB PDF file


How to Use Meters, Johm F. Rider, 1960, 109 pages - Courtesy of an anonymous donor

As one might guess from the title, this is a guide on how to use meters.  A bit more than a manual for your DMM, this talks about meter movements, and how they work, as well as measurements of voltage, current power, and resistance in typical radio and TV applications.

 

Download full text,   31.9MB PDF file


Know Your Oscilloscope, Paul C. Smith, 1958, 151 pages - Thanks to Tom Bavis!

A good description of how a 'scope works and how to use it.  Includes some info on how to service and adjust the instrument.  Also covers how to make measurements, and use of the 'scope for amplifier testing and radio/TV alignment. 

 

Download full text,  2.9MB PDF file


Oscilloscope Techniques, Alfred Haas, 1958, 224 pages - Thanks to Keith Carlsen!

Talks a little bit about how oscilloscopes work, but this is mostly a guide on how to make measurements with a 'scope.  Practical examples of measurements made on audio, radio, and TV circuits.  Even includes info on how to use a 'scope as a curve tracer for vacuum tubes and semiconductors, and to make swept measurements.

 

Download full text with index, 3.2MB PDF file


Probes,  Bruno Zucconi, 1955, 224 pages - Courtesy of Walter Welch, AI4SP!

Hard to believe you can write 224 pages about probes, but here we are... an in-depth discussion of measurement probes for instruments like VTVM's and oscilloscopes.

 

Download full text,   42MB PDF file


Radio and TV Test Instruments, Hugo Gernsback, 1953, 128 pages - Thanks to Tom Bavis!

This cool little book describes how to build your own test equipment.  Apparently targeted towards the TV repairman on a budget, it includes everything from VOM and VTVM meters to a DIY Oscilloscope.  Fun! 

 

Download full text,  2.6MB PDF file


Troubleshooting with the Oscilloscope, Robert G. Middleton., 1962, 160 pages - Thanks to Tom Bavis!

This book teaches you how to use an oscilloscope.  It focuses on TV troubleshooting, but contains good basic info about how to use a 'scope, as well as some info on using it to work on audio and radio equipment. 

 

Download full text,  2.5MB PDF file


Vacuum Tube VoltmetersJohn Rider, 1951, 430 pages - Courtesy of Walter Welch, AI4SP!

A very comprehensive book about VTVM's.  Talks about specialized VTVM's for AC an RF use.  In-depth discussions about VTVM design and usage.

 

Download full text,   22MB PDF file


 

 

Passive components (transformers, capacitors...)


Capacitors, Magnetic Circuits, and Transformers, Leander Matsch, 1964, 350 pages

A detailed text on capacitors, inductors, and transformers.  Great info for those wanting a deep understanding of these passive components.  Good theory and practical applications, especially on transformers and inductors.

 

Download full text with index, 3.2MB PDF file


Electronic Transformers and Circuits, Reuben Lee, 1955, 349 pages - Courtesy of John Atwood

This book is a "reference on the design of transformers and electronic apparatus".  It covers the design of power transformers, chokes, and signal (audio) transformers.  It also talks a bit about circuitry, as it relates to transformers. Enough theory to understand what's going on, as well as practical info on how to construct transformers.

 

Download full text, 24MB PDF file


Handbook of Peizoelectric Crystals,  John P. Buchanan, 1956, 701 pages - Courtesy of an anonymous donor

Wow - of military origin, a 700 page book about crystals!  A rare source of information on peizo crystals, as they relate mostly to communications.

 

Download full text,   48MB PDF file


Hipersil® Core Design Engineer's Handbook, Westinghouse , 1965, 108 pages

This is a design guide and materials databook for Westinghouse Hipersil transformer cores.   A good design guide for transformers and cokes, and has detailed material data (curves and data tables) for Hipersil steel.

 

Download full text, 1.9MB PDF file


 

 

Other (transistors, tape recorders, odd stuff...) 


Audels Radiomans Guide, Edwin P. Anderson, 1945, 880 pages

An odd book, about 4-1/2" x 6-1/2" and a whopping 880 pages, "covering theory, construction, and servicing including television electronics".  It covers everything from sounds waves through basic electronics, PA systems (including a little info on a WE theatre amp), transmitters, car and aircraft radio, troubleshooting - you name it, it's in here.  Not a college text, this looks like it could be a handbook for the radio technician or advanced hobbyist of the 1940's.  Lots of good vintage info!

 

Download full text with index,  CAUTION LARGE 41MB PDF file


Coyne Electrical and Radio Trouble Shooting Manual, Coyne Electrical School, 1946, 612 pages

This funky old book is far from an engineering text - rather, it's a bible for the Mr. Fixit of the 1940's.  Light on theory with lots of diagrams, covers electrical wiring, AC and DC motors and generators, refrigeration, automotive electricity, and radio troubleshooting and repair.  Not particularly well formatted or printed, it's a lot of thrown-together info.  This is not a great book for tube design, but could be useful for the old radio diagrams, or if you have a 1940's Ford V8 with ignition problems....  The best part to me is the electrical dictionary at the end (available to download by itself).

 

Download full text with index,  41MB PDF file

Download the electrical dictionary, 3.7MB PDF file


Dynamical Analogies, Harry F. Olson, 1943, 107 pages - Courtesy of John Atwood

This interesting book draws technically accurate analogies between electrical, acoustical, and mechanical systems.

 

Download full text, 6.2MB PDF file


The Electronic Experimenter's Manual, David Findlay, 1959, 169 pages

This reminds me of when I was a kid... a true "hobbyist manual".  Includes discussions on tools, parts, and setting up a workshop.  Also details on how to lay out and fabricate a chassis (even one from a foil-covered cigar box!), male simple PCB's, and wire circuits together.  Also has sections on some tools and test equipment you can build yourself, as well as some simple projects.  Great beginners book.

 

Download full text with index, 2.3MB PDF file


Elements of Tape Recorder Circuits, Herman Burstein & Henty Pollack, 1957, 223 pages

As you might guess from the title, this is a book on tape recorders.  Excellent practical treatment, describing how tape recording works, and provides detailed circuit discussions for recording, bias, equalization, and playback.

 

Download full text with index, 2.5MB PDF file


Fundamentals of Transistors, Leonard Krugman, 1954, 140 pages - Thanks to Keith Carlsen!

Yet another introduction to transistors targeted at "the technician and amateur".  Shows basic transistor circuits. 

 

Download full text,  2.1MB PDF file


How To Service Tape Recorders, C. A. Tuthill, 1954, 154 pages - Thanks to Keith Carlsen!

This is a good book on how to work on late fifties-vintage tape recorders.  Includes schematics of several models as well as supporting theory.

 

Download full text, 3.1MB PDF file


Magnetic Amplifiers, Paul Mali, 1960, 101 pages - Thanks to Keith Carlsen!

Vacuum tubes aren't the only way to make an amplifier?  This book is about magnetic amplifiers, which use the nonlinear saturation characteristics of a core to create an amplifier.

 

Download full text with index, 1.4MB PDF file


Magnetic Recording - Wire and Tape, M. L. Quartermaine, 1952, 72 pages

An interesting book about the construction of tape and wire recorders.  Includes theory and construction details, schematics of record/playback electronics, even info on how to make your own tape heads!  Thanks to Paul Reid for the contributed scan!

 

Download full text with index, 11MB PDF file


Principles of Electricity Applied to Telephone and Telegraph Work, A T &T, 1953, 354 pages

This book is "A Training Course Text Prepared for Employees of the Long Lines Department American Telephone and Telegraph Company".  "Principles" is a bit of a misnomer - though this book does start out with fundamentals, it quickly dives off into AC circuits, vacuum tubes and amplifiers, and details of telephony.  It includes lots of details about telephone and carrier systems, the way they were in the 1950's.  Good details about things like how audio transformers work, and the correct way to string telephone wires on a pole!

 

Download full text with index,  38MB PDF file


Reliability Factors for Ground Electronic Equipment, Keith Henny, 1956, 266 pages - Courtesy of John Atwood

Discusses reliability factors in military electronics in the 50's.

 

Download full text with index,   20.5MB PDF file


Transistor Techniques, Gernsback Library (pub.), 1959, 96 pages - Thanks to Keith Carlsen!

An early introduction to transistors, basic theory and properties and some example circuits, including a DIY Geiger counter. 

 

Download full text,  1.7MB PDF file


Transistors, Louis E. Garner, Jr., 1954, 105 pages - Thanks to Keith Carlsen!

Another early introduction to transistors, not theoretical, targeted towards the technician. A good introduction to silicon. 

 

Download full text,  1.8MB PDF file


Vibrator Power Supply Design, Mallory Company, 1947, 129 pages - Courtesy of anonymous donor

Everything you always wanted to know about vibrators.  get your mind out of the gutter!  These vibrators were used to make inverter power supplies, taking low-voltage DC (like from a car batter) to generate high voltages to run tubes.

 

Download full text, 13MB PDF file


 

How do I do this, you ask?

 

Chester the cat (kitten) supervising scanning

 

Quite a few people ask for details of my method for scanning books.  It has changed over time, but here's a summary of the way I'm currently doing this:

 

First, I cut the book up.  For clothbound books I generally slice off the cover and remove as much of the spine as I can.  I then separate the book into chunks maybe 1/2" thick.  For paperback books I usually leave the spine on and cut the book (if it's more then 1/2" thick) into parts.  I then cut the chunk about 1/8" from the bound end to separate the sheets.

 

I divide the sheets into groups of 100 pages.  Then I go thorough the stacks page by page to make sure that there are no pages stuck together.  There almost always are some stuck pages, and they will cause a jam and missing sheets in the scan, so it's best to fix it first.

 

Stacks of 100 pages are fed into the scanner.  I'm using an HP Scanjet 8250, which has a sheet feeder/duplexer, which allows you to feed in a stack of double-sided sheets and it scans both sides.  Now you see why I cut the books up...

 

Unfortunately the process does not always go well.  Misfeeds and ADF jams are common.  Some paper types feed well - I went through the whole RDH4 with not a single misfeed - while others are so bad that I have to give up the effort, or hand-scan each page.  Seems like very thin, slippery (claycoat) paper is the worst.

 

I'm currently using Adobe Acrobat to do the scanning.  I've tried several applications and Acrobat seems to do the best job, and generate surprisingly small PDF file sizes.  Yes, I know there are other formats - I get tons of mail telling me I should use DejaVu or any number of other formats, but Acrobat is ubiquitous.  I hate it when I have to go out and find some obscure plug-in to look at content on the web.  Keep it simple...

 

I use the HP-supplied WIA driver to scan black-and-white books.  For some reason it crashes if I try and do color, so I use the professional TWAIN driver to do that.  <rant> HP's drivers and software are total junk.  I was using HP's scanning software before Acrobat, and I swear it never worked twice the same way.  I got really tired of rebooting my computer three times, standing on my left foot and chanting every time I wanted to scan something.  Their drivers also suck, but at least I've found a way around the issues.  <end rant>

 

Anyway... I scan the stacks off 100 pages into separate PDF files, just in case I have a crash (see <rant> above) I don't lose the entire work.  When I have all the stacks done, I combine the individual files into one big PDF file (again using Acrobat).

 

To most books I add a bookmark index so that you can find your way around the book.  I have to do this manually.  I just page through the book and add bookmarks, usually at every section and/or chapter.

 

Then I post the file here for all to enjoy!

 

WHY do I do this, you also ask?

 

Because I'm nuts?

Because I have no life and have nothing better to do?

Because I enjoy hacking up old library books?

Because I like fighting with HP scanner software?

 

Nope.

 

I got started doing this because I ran across a couple of cool books that I though other tube degenerates like myself would enjoy reading.  It just kinda grew from that.  Then people I don't know started sending me books to scan (and many thanks to all of you that have!).

 

I'm a firm believer that this type of information belongs in the public domain.  People try and make money off of it.  Not me!

 

I don't have a lot of time to do this - I have a normal day job, and I often travel out of the country for a week or more at a time - so often (OK, almost always lately) I have a box or two of books sitting for weeks before I find the time to scan them.  I also have books that never get scanned because they just don't feed (see above) and I don't have time to do a sheet at a time.  So if you do send me books and it takes forever to see them here, I apologize.