Simon Willison’s Weblog


Toying with paper crafty publishers cutting into hobby market (1986) (via) When I was a teenager I was given a book called Make Your Own Working Paper Clock, which encouraged you to cut the book itself up into 160 pieces and glue them together into a working timepiece.

I was reminiscing about that book today when I realized it was first published in September 1983, so it recently celebrated its 40th birthday.

It turns out the story is even more interesting: the author of the book, James Smith Rudolph, based it on a similar book he had found in a Parisian bookshop in 1947, devoid of any information of the author or publisher.

In 1983 that original was long out of copyright, and “make your own” crafting books had a surge of popularity in the United States so he took the idea to a publisher and translated it to English.

This 1986 story from the Chicago Tribune filled in the story for me.