History

MH Centennial Shield

Now celebrating 100 years of continuously updated publication, Machinery's Handbook was the brainchild of Alexander Luchars, founder of Industrial Press (pictured at right is great-great grandson Alex Luchars, IP's CEO).Alex Luchars An immigrant from Scotland, Alexander started Machinery, a monthly magazine,  in the late 19th Century. Machinery reflected a healthy competitive spirit in a robust post-Civil War America. The industrial revolution was in full bloom across the nation.

 

Handbook covers

Machinery focussed on industrial metalworking. To produce the magazine, Luchars employed two knowledgeable editors, engineers Erik Oberg (1881-1951) and Franklin D. Jones (1879-1967).  Both wrote in clear English. And both had command of mathematics, physics, and mechanical engineering. 

 

Machinery dealt with the practice of metalworking to build machines and the role of machines in manufacturing. The editors published articles about making various metals. They provided descriptions of machines and processes. The magazine included diverse ads (photo below) for machine tools, sponsored by the fast growing technology-driven companies that propelled the industrial revolution. Throughout, emphasis was placed on the need for pragmatic information. Developing, building and improving machines, mechanisms and processes with practical advice was the early recurrent theme. It served the legendary entreprenuerial spirit of young America. Due attention was also paid to the theory and nascent science of 1896 Ad from Machinery Magazinemechanical and industrial engineering.

 

From time to time, Machinery published articles that contained rich basic technical information on various core issues of industrial manufacturing. Examples include rearrangement and development of formulas, trigonometry, mechanics, strength of materials, threads and fasteners, stamping, welding and cutting, machining of various metals, gear design and manufacture, cutting speeds and feed rates for machining and similar content. These articles appeared in addition to Machinery's regular application-specific pieces covering the industrial movement.

 

As magazine publication continued into the 20th Century, a substantial data base developed around these topics. The data was stored in IP's file cabinets. We're not certain who gets the credit, but either Luchars, Oberg or Jones sparked the idea and began to discuss how to take advantage of the trove of knowledge credited to Luchar's brainchild, Machinery. But all three men deserve the credit because they collaborated on the original idea for a handbook that would benefit the engineering community while generating profit for the publishing company.

 

The Birth of Machinery's Handbook...

At this point, the plan for a handbook included the most useful selections from the available data. The plan became a working project in 1909. In what little time could be spared from editorial work on the magazine, Oberg was placed in charge. Working with Jones over a span of five years, the pair produced a robust manuscript for the first edition. 

 

The 1914 1st Edition 

First Edition, Machinery's Handbook, 1914The inagural edition of Machinery's Handbook was published in January 1914. Toolbox-sized at 4.625 X 7 inches, more than 30,000 copies were sold within the first two years (Industrial Press is proud to offer a Collector's Edition Replica). Several revised editions were issued in the years following. During WWI, the handbook was in great demand to serve a mushrooming global call for machines of war.

 

The earliest handbooks were bound in flexible leather. They featured rounded corners to allow easy insertion into a stout cardboard slip case designed to preserve the book for many years of service. The page edges were hand finished with gold leaf to protect them from soiled fingers seeking references. The cover title was also embossed in gold leaf. Because the content was so varied, little attempt was made to arrange it by subject matter. It was thought sufficient to include an extensive index (over 30 pages) with more than 4,500 references. From these, the location of any subject in Machinery's Handbook could "quickly" be found.

 

After the war, IP began revising and expanding the material to include more tables and working rules, formulas, practical data and manufacturing standards developed in wartime. The revised and enlarged 6th edition was published in 1924. The number of pages increased by nearly 200. New material selected from suggestions made by engineers, shop managers and skilled workers in the metalworking field reflected technical developments that had taken place since the last edition. The 6th edition was the first to include thumb index tabs that allow users direct, rapid access to specific subjects. These were instantly popular.

 

By reader demand, logarithm and trigonometry tables, bolts and screws, screw threads, limits and guages, small tools, feeds and speeds, steels and alloys, motors, weights and measures and the full index were included on these first thumb tabs.

 

Since 1924, the handbook has been revised on a regular basis, usually on a 4-year cycle (approximately coinciding with the rate at which technical developments occur in metalworking). The 10th edition, published in 1939, contained 1,816 pages. New and revised material not in the 9th edition consumed over 585 pages. With the start of WWII, there was another spurt in demand, but wartime shortages resulted in production without thumb tabs. This was bemoaned by users (many of whom made their own tabs from adhesive tape).

 

The 1998 Large Print Edition

Following close on the heels of the 25th edition (1996), many handbook users were rewarded with the version they had long been waiting for, Machinery's Handbook Large Print Edition. Identical to the traditional 4.625 X 7 inch Toolbox Edition in every way except size and weight, the Large Print Edition measured 7 X 10 inches (a 140% increase) and weighed nearly six pounds. The Large Print Edition remains a top reader pick. The edition employs a type size that is easier to read yet fits the same pagination as the Toolbox.

 

The 2008 28th Edition

Published simultaneously in both Toolbox and Large Print Editions, the 28th retains the very popular thumb tabs. The handbook remained at 2,704 pages. However, the index was reduced 18 pages to yield space for fresh topics. As usual for a new edition, fresh technical content was added and existing material revised. Standards were updated throughout. New and revised content included additions to geometry of bodies, spherical trigonometry, statistical analysis, fluid mechanics, plastics, GD&T, ISO surface texture symbology, taps, R8 collets, CNC numerical control programming, sheet metal work, distinguishing bolts from screws, helical coil screw thread inserts, calculating thread dimensions, ball and acme lead screws, shaft alignment, and more.

 

The 2012 29th Edition29th Edition, Machinery's Handbook

Machinery's Handbook 29th Edition, issued right at the end of 2011, has grown by more than 90 pages. It offers major revisions of existing content as well as new material on a variety of topics. Here's a summary:

  •  ♦ Entirely new Micromachining section
  •  ♦ Expanded content eases calculation of hole coordinates
  •  ♦ Introduction to Metrology

   Additional content on:

  •  ♦ Sheet metal and presses
     ♦ Shaft Alignment
     ♦ Taps & tapping
     ♦ Helical coil screw thread inserts
     ♦ Solid geometry
     ♦ Distinguishing between bolts and screws
     ♦ Statistics
     ♦ Calculation of thread dimensions
     ♦ Keys and keyways
     ♦ Miniature screws
     ♦ Metric screw threads
     ♦ Fluid mechanics

 

Numerous sections have been thoroughly refreshed, reworked or renovated, including

  •  ♦ Mathematics
  •  ♦ Mechanics and Strength of Materials
  •  ♦ Properties of Materials
  •  ♦ Dimensioning
  •  ♦ Gaging and Measuring
  •  ♦ Machining Operations
  •  ♦ Maufacturing Process
  •  ♦ Fasteners
  •  ♦ Threads and Threading
  •  ♦ Machine Elements


Metric content has been dramatically expanded. Wherever practical throughout the volume, metric units are shown adjacent to U.S. units. And, many formulas now offer equivalent metric expressions. Frequent metric examples have been added.

 

The design and typography of the 29th has also improved with an expanded table of contents at the beginning of each section. Our editors have fine-tuned these to make it easier to find the information you seek. The typography, including tables and equations has been updated and reset. A large number of illustrations have been redrawn for enhanced clarity

 

As our long-time customers attest, Machinery's Handbook is the world's most popular reference work in metalworking, design, engineering and manufacturing facilities. It is in broad use in technical schools and colleges throughout the world. It is universally acknowledged as an extraordinarily authoritative, comprehensive, and practical tool, providing users with the most fundamental and essential aspects of sophisticated manufacturing practices. The 29th Edition is the “Bible of the Metalworking Industries.” It is an essential reference for mechanical, manufacturing, and industrial engineers, designers, draftsmen, toolmakers, machinists, engineering and technology students, and the serious home hobbyist.


Machinery's Handbook CD-ROM

MH29 CD-ROM EditionThe progress of technology in manufacturing has had enduring impact on each new edition. Likewise, the computer age has spawned its own unique version. Two years after the release of the 25th Editon, popular demand gave birth to the first Machinery's Handbook CD-ROM, released in early 1998.

 

Today, Machinery's Handbook's 29th Edition, CD-ROM Implements interactive math equations. Here are other key features:

  • 29th Edition CD-ROM contains the complete and identical print edition
  • Total page count is 3,502, consisting of
    • ~2,800 pages of the print editions
    • 628 pages of added content
    • Several added indexes
    • 34 pages of instructions on installation and use of the CD
    • Quick Page Finder to facilitate fast access to any page

 

The CD-ROM is presented in Adobe PDF format. Using the tools available in the free Adobe Reader software, users may do the following:

  •  ♦ Search all content using Find (for keywords) and Advanced Search
  •  ♦ The latter function includes search operators Whole Words, Case-Sensitive, Bookmarks and Comments.
  •  ♦ Other advanced search options including Proximity and Stemming
  •  ♦ Read at any magnification (Adobe Reader-compatible platforms) -- desktops, note & netbooks, tablets & e-readers
  •  ♦ Semi-permanently annotate text with comments using Adobe Sticky Notes
  •  ♦ Semi-permanently highlight text in color
  •  ♦ Rotate selected pages
  •  ♦ Take a snapshot of selected text and illustrations. This is useful for making a paper record of magnified detail
  •  ♦ Print selected pages (or the entire document)

 

Additionally, the 29th Edition CD-ROM enables navigation via thousands of clickable bookmarks, cross references and index entries. Clicking these takes you instantly to the linked page.

 

The 29th Edition CD-ROM provides an expanded array of our popular interactive math equations. With an Internet connection, users may instantly calculate cutting speeds and moments of inertia. It's easy and quick to measure various screw threads, the center of gravity for any shape, hardness of material, volumes, taper angles, matrices and more.

 

The CD-ROM includes more than 600 pages of additional data not found in the current print editions. This content is from earlier editions and other Industrial Press books and has ongoing technical value.

 

Machinery's Handbook 29th Edition CD-ROM is also available in a value-priced combination with our print edition (either large print or toolbox edition).

 

1914 Machinery's Handbook, 1st Edition Replica

First Edition Replica

2008 marked the 125th Anniversary for Industrial Press. In celebration we introduced a Collector's Edition Replica of the original Machinery's Handbook first published in January 1914. This edition has the look and feel of the original 1914 edition, right down to the black bonded-leather cover, gold lettering and trim, and ribbon bookmark. Its 1500 pages make a valuable addition to any technical library.