JF Ptak Science Books
In my time I've encountered interesting people with advanced, iconic and unusual collections: there's one fellow with a superb collection of (better than 30,000) cds with basically nothing to play them on (but of course he knew all of the music, and listening was almost but not quite secondary); then there's another with an audio outfit worth better than a quarter million with literally almost nothing to play on it. Then there was the delightful guy in the salvage business who collected cornerstones (!) and giant iron puddlers. And of course the bee collector with dozens of thousands of specimens. Oh yes! And there was that time when I had a meeting with a man on something (on the day the Challenger exploded) unrelated to the spectacular collection he showed to me: the world's largest, privately-owned 19th century mechanical toys. It was really just unbelievable. So was the man, who in the course of the day, as we sat watching the Challenger story unfold, performed on of the most amazing feats I've ever seen in my life.
My collecting bits are simpler: I collect dirt and antiquarian artwork by children, among other simple things. Also, once upon a time I owned a very large collection of lower gastrointestinal dissections as well as gorgeously prepared wet dissections of salivary glands.
And so it was that when I came upon this unusual image in The Illustrated London News for 21 May 1932 I felt a certain tenderness. This is a picture of a road collection, located somewhere in the U.S., and includes shelf upon shelf of cross sections of roads. They happen to look like cubes of fat to me. (We'll leave the bags of eyes story for another time.) I understand the need for such a collection for engineering purposes; I just happened to like the idea (and the picture) of A Road Collection, and have it undisturbed by any explanation or insight. Just a collection of roads.