The Platinum Ticket by David Beynon

The Platinum Ticket by David Beynon
Shortlisted for The Terry Pratchett Anywhere But Here, Anywhen But Now First Novel Prize

Thursday, 16 July 2009

The Book of Trades

Each year the Elora Festival holds a massive used book sale during the first weekend of May. It is a fundraiser and a hugely successful one. Even before we called this area home, my wife and I would make the pilgrimage to the Elora Curling Club for the event.

Each year we go (as long as we're in town) and each year we walk away with at least one gem.
one year I found an 1852 History of the World (only the first volume, unfortunately). It was in poor condition but the perspective is amazing. Imagine history told by someone who has yet to see a US Civil War - or a World War. Imagine history before airplanes. Well, I don't have to - I have the book.

I also have a first printing of Raymond Chandler's The Long Goodbye which I found amid an ocean of crime novels. I'd post a photo of that one too, but I can't find it just now.

My favourite find, by far, is this one:

You probably can't read the title on the spine of this little volume. It's called The Book of Trades. I can find no date to tell me just when the good people at Spottiswoode and Co. of London printed this little gem but just look at some of the occupations listed:

You might not be able to make it out. We have The Paper Stainer, The Tallow-Chandler and the Button Maker, to name only a few. Each occupation has a detailed description of the job, the materials used, the tools of the trade and how to perform the tasks. It is an amazing reference for information that is quickly being forgotten. When was the last time little Billy said he wanted to be a Cooper when he grows up. (The job of Cooper, by the way, is still in demand, though there are only a few master coopers left in the world and not a lot of folks lining up to apprentice in the fine art of barrel making.)

I was referring to The Book of Trades this morning and thought I'd share. I would also encourage you to find your way to the little village of Elora on that first weekend in May and discover a few gems of your own.

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