I don't have a copy of the first letter I received from Dave Gingery (it's lost somewhere in the warehouse), but nevertheless I remember it very clearly. He lamented that he had sent a check to a book dealer in Texas, who would neither send the book nor return his money. He was desperate in need of the British books so that he could start writing his own manuals on building machine tools.

I was just getting Lindsay Publications going and was very proud to be able to tell him I had all the books he was looking for, on the shelf and ready to ship. I guess he didn't want me to skip town with his money like the other outfit had.

He quickly sent me a check and a letter asking for a book I hadn't advertised and if would I be interested in offering his proposed books in my catalog. This is part of my response back when we were still polite to one another. (Yes, I CAN be polite, but I try not to be!)


The cover of the first Lindsay Catalog to offer a Gingery book.

The first offering of a Gingery book:
Sheet Metal Brake, Summer 1980


"August 26, 1979

Mr. Gingery----

Thanks very much for your order and for writing... Let me know if you'd be interested in doing it yourself [publishing the books], assuming that I supply the "how-to" information [details on creating the books for sale.]

You're in luck! I have "Foundry Work for the Amateur" in stock and not yet advertised. I also have Experimental Flash Steam, Lathe Accessories, Milling in the Lathe, Building a Small Lathe, and steam engine plans. "Foundry Work" at present exchange rates sells for $5.40.

Let me know what you decide.



By the Spring 1981, Dave was on the front cover ramming green sand into a flask.

About a week later I received another letter from Dave...

"August 30, 1979

Dear Mr. Lindsay,

You are a real life saver. I have been held up for over a year on my project because I felt my research was not done until I had the English slant on the mystery of casting metals.

I enclose my check for $5.40. Please send me a copy of "Foundry Work for the Amateur" right away.

I welcome the challenge of putting the manual together. At present, I am employed full time and, I can not see the likelihood of trying to market it or promote it. I'd much prefer to sell it through your organization. The figures that you have mentioned seem fair and realistic to me.

If you can fix me up with the "how-to" information, I will begin immediately.

I'm prepared to offer a very complete and workable project with all of the usual items found in the machine shop. My main question now is whether to put it all in one book or to divide it into a set of smaller manuals. It seems very likely to me that separate titles for each machine, the screw cutting lathe being the most likely to be hot, would have more appeal to the home machinist. Please tell me how you feel about this...

Thanks for your interest and response.

Dave Gingery"


By Summer 1981 aluminum melted with a Charcoal Foundry graced the cover.

Later that summer, I sold Dave copies of the books I had used to learn the basics of marketing books. And I told him that I would shortly start publishing paperback books in addition to the how-to booklets I had already offered.

Letters shot back and forth, and by the Spring 1980, Dave supplied me with a sample copy of "Sheet Metal Brake". Back then catalogs were built with rubber cement, wax, Exacto knives, and PMTs. At the last minute, I realized I had almost forgotten to put Dave's book in the catalog! What a mistake that would have been. As it turned out, it was a best-seller. And what's amazing, is that twenty five years later, it's STILL a best-seller.

One important note. The first two hundred copies were reproduced by high quality xerography. Dave brought the pages home from the copy shop, collated them into books, and then perfect bound each copy with a binding jig of his own design and construction. Somewhere out there are a few hundred copies of Dave's book handmade by the man himself...

Shortly thereafter came the charcoal foundry book.

Almost before the ink was dry on it, came the metal lathe book. To shake the book down and ensure quality, Dave used his own instructions to build another lathe for me. That lathe, the one that has appeared in our catalog all these years, is in the warehouse under wraps with the words "Built for Lindsay by Dave Gingery" cast into the cross slide. (Do I hear any offers for THAT collectible?)

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