A Test of a Book Conservator’s Mechanical Aptitude

This test was taken from Popular Science, December 1942.  There were many puzzles like this one during 1940’s when mechanical aptitude was considered key in winning World War Two.  Because this one features something that looks a lot like a book press, I thought some might be interested.  You might have to turn your monitor upside down to read the answers. 


4 Replies to “A Test of a Book Conservator’s Mechanical Aptitude”

  1. Weeeelll…. I didn’t get problem #6 (not the only one I didn’t get) because I have a nipping press that was made in just this way. I agree that it was a bad way to make it, but hell, someone did it and got paid money for it. I think they cheated on #6.And those grapes, sir— they were sour, I tell you, sour!

  2. The pin isn’t shown going through the shaft it is shown going into the groove which would let the shaft rotate but keep it from coming out. The triangular pieces wouldn’t interfere if the intent was to raise up just enough for the purpose of the mechanism. The nut is higher due to a compressible bushing put on the rod end which expands inside the wheel center enough to hold it in place. The spokes are beefed up towards the outer ring for esthetics in relation to the thickness of the wheels ring and would more than handle the needed torque applied for the purpose of the mechanism. The threading of the holes in the press and the base plate would prevent any movement when force is applied since slight movement over usage would be a factor in the mechanisms effectiveness; this is done by clamping the two pieces together when tapping. The lefthand threads has the wheel coming up when turned clockwise which would open the press; turning the wheel counterclockwise would close the press. Perhaps the person built something that had a specific purpose.

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