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On the occasion of the publication of the tenth edition of Marks’ Standard Handbook for Mechanical Engineers, we note that this is also the eightieth anniversary of the publication of the first edition. The Editors and publisher proffer this brief dedication to all those who have been instrumental in the realization of the goals set forth by Lionel S. Marks in the preface to the first edition. First, we honor the memory of the deceased Editors, Lionel S. Marks and Theodore Baumeister.
Lionel S. Marks’ concept of a Mechanical Engineers’ Handbook came to fruition with the publication of the first edition in 1916; Theodore Baumeister followed as Editor with the publication of the sixth edition in 1958. Second, we are indebted to our contributors, past and present, who so willingly mined their expertise to gather material for inclusion in the Handbook, thereby sharing it with others, far and wide.
Third, we acknowledge our wide circle of readers—engineers and others—who have used the Handbook in the conduct of their work and, from time to time, have provided cogent commentary, suggestions, and expressions of loyalty. In the preparation of the tenth edition of ‘‘Marks,’’ the Editors had two major continuing objectives. First, to modernize and update the contents as required, and second, to hold to the high standard maintained for eighty years by the previous Editors, Lionel S. Marks and Theodore Baumeister.
The Editors have found it instructive to leaf through the first edition of Marks’ Handbook and to peruse its contents. Some topics still have currency as we approach the end of the twentieth century; others are of historical interest only. Certainly, the passage of 80 years since the publication of the first edition sends a clear message that ‘‘things change’’! The replacement of the U.S. Customary System (USCS) of units by the International System (SI) is still far from complete, and proceeds at different rates not only in the engineering professions, but also in our society in general.
Accordingly, duality of units has been retained, as appropriate. Established practice combined with new concepts and developments are the underpinnings of our profession. Among the most significant and far-reaching changes are the incorporation of microprocessors into many tools and devices, both new and old. An ever-increasing number of production processes are being automated with robots performing dull or dangerous jobs. Workstations consisting of personal computers and a selection of software seemingly without limits are almost universal.
Not only does the engineer have powerful computational and analytical tools at hand, but also those same tools have been applied in diverse areas which appear to have no bounds. A modern business or manufacturing entity without a keyboard and a screen is an anomaly. The Editors are cognizant of the competing requirements to offer the user a broad spectrum of information that has been the hallmark of the Marks’ Handbook since its inception, and yet to keep the size of the one volume within reason.
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