A great old manual.,
Part of the United States Navy's series of manuals entitled "Basic Navy Training Courses", this manual is called "Use of Blueprints". It is the 1944 Edition, published in the US Government Printing Office, Washington (presumably DC) by the Department of the Navy's Bureau Of Naval Personnel. More specifically, it is the work of the Standards and Curriculum Division, Training, Bureau of Naval Personnel.
**The title of this book is, more accurately, "Use of Blueprints (Basic Navy Training Courses).**
This book has a dark Navy blue dominating most of its paperback exterior, with white lettering that has tanned with age. This holds true for the once-white pages inside, as well. The front cover features four overlapping US Navy non-commissioned officer rank insignia, a rectangular white space in which blue letters read "Use of Blueprints", and towards the bottom white letters reading "Navy Basic Training Courses" and "Navpers 10621".
The back cover of this manual has a polite message from the Navy, asking that whoever it has been issued to take good care of it and return it to their Educational or Divisional Officer for reissue. This book was meant for use by Navy enlisted personnel, and its back message is a reminder that the Navy must "exercise the strictest economy in the use of its books" if it is to continue providing for its enlisted personnel's training needs.
When I found a copy of this aged book in the Hull Street Outlet's military literature inventory on 10-16-2010, I was most impressed that so old a book had been so well cared for. Its age was obvious- the book smells and looks 66 years old, surely- but no pages were damaged beyond minor wear. I can't speak for the condition of any other copies that are out there- the HSO only had one- but if cared for even a softcover, small book like this one can age well. Any that have survived to the present date must surely have fallen into caring hands at some point.
"Use of Blueprints" is about five inches tall and 4 inches wide. I probably haven't got the measurements exactly right, but that's about it. The book is 127 pages long, and the Table of Contents looks something like this!
Background for blueprints- 1
It's all how you look at it- 7
Lines and sections- 17
The working drawing tells everything- 29
Read it yourself- 41
Rules for layout tools- 49
Lay it out- 63
Tin-bender specials--developments- 75
Electrical blueprints- 89
Reading diagrams- 95
Abbreviations in common use- 105
Fractions and decimal equivalents- 109
Twist drill sizes- 111
Standard wire gauges- 113
How well do you know Use of Blueprints- 115
Now, the quiz at the end does have the answers. In case you were wondering. I like to be helpful like that, especially since almost no details at all are offered about this manual in the product information and details section(s).
I'm no engineer nor am I an expert on blueprints, so this book covers many things I know little about. But that's just what it's for. To teach you. And this book has aged remarkably well in more ways than just the condition of its pages. The material it covers and talks about is very much up-to-date as well. The Navy may change, America may change, but the concepts and rules of mathematics, engineering, and how one uses them in the Navy change little if at all over the course of decades and centuries. The book's self-declared purpose is this: "as a basic reference for those enlisted men of the Navy whose duties require them to read and use blueprints". There you go. One of the only outstanding signs of how different the world and the Navy are from how they were in 1944 is the illustration on page 1. It shows a Navy LST (which the Navy probably doesn't use anymore) unloading an M4 Sherman tank (which the US Armed Forces most certainly don't use anymore) on a sandy beach. Probably on an island in the Pacific. The Navy doesn't do much of that anymore.
Otherwise, though, this book has stood the test of time well. And though it has fallen out of official Navy use, it is an interesting book to read and learn from, and will certainly appeal to any Navy man whose duties included reading and using blueprints.