POPULAR OPTICS by Sam Brown, Edmund Scientific Company, Barrington, New Jersey, 1974, Library of Congress Catalog Number: 74-24408.

“This book is a reprint from several smaller booklets published by Edmund Scientific Co. during the past fifteen years.  Most of the standard optics specified are currently available, but some military surplus items are long gone.  Where practical a substitute lens has been mentioned - in all cases the current Edmund catalog is your guide.”  From the contents page.

 It’s 30+ years later, but still some of the same optics are available.  And there still is a need for a real how-to book on building simple optical devices like overhead projectors, opaque projectors, telescopes, collimators, magnifiers, etc.  I refer to this book when I need to solutions to the  problems controlling the laser beams in my holography lab.

 One of the great features of this book is its formulae.  They take the Gausian form of the Simple Lens Formula and break it into all its permutations.  For instance, if you know the object distance and focal length for an imaging scenario, you can find the magnification by looking up the appropriate formula and plugging and chugging.  They also give examples of practical calculations for all formulae, using whole numbers so that it is easy to see the math in action.

 I haven’t seen it in the Edmund Optics catalog recently, but who knows if there isn’t a box of them in a store room in New Jersey.  $12.95 last list price, but the same information is found in books costing far more!  And not as interestingly illustrated!

 Here is the “woodcut” of the 16x ‘Bazooki' SPOTSCOPE top one from page 123 of Popular Optics, the lower from All About Telescopes, page 115, both by Sam Brown. 

Was someone either having fun with the addition of the beard on the original artwork, or was it a marketing move to make the SPOTSCOPE more attractive to hip peeping Toms?! Might there may be an even earlier edition without much in the way of sideburns? Have there ever been any sightings of more beards, moustaches, dueling scars or pirate patches over the eyes of other Edmund illsutrations?


Here is the back cover of All About Telescopes and you can see that there were an awful lot of books in this series, and it would be nice to collect them all, but Popular Optics is the best mix tape of their greatest hits!