Pete Millet’s website, Technical Books Online is a repository of books published from the 1920s through the 1960s. Pete says:
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.
There are currently 30 books on the site, all in PDF files, including:
- 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!
- Getting the Most Out of Vacuum Tubes, Robert Tomer, 1960, 164 pages – Courtesy of John Atwood
A Howard Sams Photofact publication, 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.
- 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.
There are also several college-level textbooks on the site that cover circuit design. Very cool.