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O. F. W. Fisher book

This 6" x 8-1/2" format hardcover publication dates from 1977, hence being long out of print (its author died in 2005). It is a very useful reference for any serious model engine collector, albeit one with a few anomalies which affect its useability to some extent. It remains reasonable available today (2014) from sources such as, where a nice copy typically sells for $25-30.

The main weakness of this work is the fact that Fisher appears to have done little or no original research into his subject, relying instead upon a combination of his own experiences and recollections along with anecdotal information obtained from others. As a result, the coverage of the various featured engines is rather shallow and in some cases inaccurate.

That said, the breadth of coverage of the subject is quite extensive, with over 250 different engines from countries around the world being included. There are 18 chapters covering the various types of engines: compressed air, petrol, 'slag', diesel, glow, etc. Even pulse jets, "Jetex", and electric get their own chapters! Others cover ancillary equipment like props, timers, tanks, operation, etc. There's even a section on engine restoration. 

While the depth of coverage of individual models is relatively shallow, the breadth is high, placing this book on my "must consult" list whenever I have to research a particular type or model. Seldom does it fail to yield some useful information, even if in some cases this is restricted to providing a lead on where to look next. That said, I have to record the fact that my in-depth research on specific engines has quite frequently shown the book to be in error to some degree. It should not therefore be taken as an unimpeachable source of information on a given engine. 

The criticism most frequently leveled at the book comes from the author's decision to collect most of the photographs together at the rear, with only occasional shots positioned with the text that refers to them. However, this is not as bad as it first appears, since each shot is numbered. The text contains bracketed references to the relevant figure number, while two separate indexes ensure that all the dots can be connected. Once the system is understood, the book becomes quite navigable, albeit somewhat unconventional. I'd recommend it to any serious collector of model engines.