JF Ptak Science Books Post 229
This is an example of a quiet, naive masterpiece, and is a perfect companion to a fantastic pamphlet that I wrote about earlier this month on flagpole painting. This tall (11x8 inch) 35-page 1945 work with an impossible title has everything that you would need to know--as its title promises and delivers--to repair a zipper. Not replace a zipper--repair it. It is so beautiful as to want to make every engineer residing in the deepness of everyones' soul just simply weep. The pamphlet is simply but well illustrated and addresses 50-odd contingencies for zipper malfunction and failure, and speaks to a particular WWII mindset that that addresses problems in this very fashion. Repair rather than replace. The bottom line here is that this is as good as any book of the history of fluxions or the making of the atomic bomb or cooking up a virus, given the parameters and limitations of its subject.
(I have a pamphlet somewhere that was published by Dupont that would've been a great cross-purpose reference, only I cannot find it. It was called Stump Blasting. And, yes, since it was published by the DuPont Chemical Corporation it heavily sold the idea to farmers of how useful dynamite can be for just about any job. And I don't disagree outright, but the approach to the philosophies of problem-solving couldn't be more different, especially contrasting the Stump Blasting pamphlet with the Stump Removal one produced by a chain manufacturer.
And so how does it come to pass that someone ostensibly trying to write a history of science blog that has been changed to a history of ideas blog finds himself at almost-midnight on a Sunday plugging away on a post about zipper repair and stump blasting? (And how often to do those five words come together in a sentence? ) Simple: its about the methodology and the approach to figuring out a problem. On the one hand, you have a circumstance where the problem is addressed, solved and eradicated; on the other, the problem is simply eradicated without the "solved" part. (Zippers really shouldn't fail all that often--the guy who patented the modern zipper in 1906 said that the zipper should work 200,000 times.) Personally I think that it is better in the long run to solve the problem rather than just replace it or blow it up. Perhaps we're just living in a BIU ("blow it up") kind of world, but I think we could use more zipper-repair approaches to thinking.