Thursday, May 16, 2013


I've collected a lot of rocketry stuff over the years, maybe none as cool as this book.  The Rocket Handbook for Amateurs by Lieutenant Colonel Charles M. Parkins.  I saw a copy of this book sell on ebay claiming to be a first edition.   Maybe it was...maybe it wasn't.  The listing included numerous photos of the book, but suspect is the fact that the copyright page had the lower third cut off, right were mine clearly states that its a "second impression".  I don't really care that mine is a second edition, but I paid WAY less that buyer of the other book paid.  I bought the book for the information it contained and maybe a little for the nostalgia of being able to read a book from the golden age of amateur rocketry.  In any case my copy has something even better than being a first edition, an inscription from the author.  It looks to me like the inscription is to someone with the initials H.C. I'd love to know who that is.

Charles M. Parkin, Jr.  as he is described in the book:
Rocket expert, U.S. Army Engineer, Research and Development Laboratories, Fort Belvoir, Virginia; Founder of Youth Science Corps; President, American Rocket Society, Washington D.C. chapter.

In the later chapters of the book, he describes a small rocket which utilizes a sugar based propellant. I've  often thought that it would be fun to build that rocket exactly to the specification in the book and then actually fly it.
Maybe I will do that some day...


Mojave Rockets said...

I still have my copy of Rocket Manual for Amateurs from 50 years ago and it too has increased in price if you want to buy one:

I did notice there is a website where it can be downloaded:

A friend of mine also had it when he was a kid and asked me if I could make him the nozzle in the back of the book. Since he didn't plan on ever launching it I made him one of now sits on his desk holding pencils and pens.

Michael Haskins said...

I was reading that back in 1971 when I got an F in English despite an A on the final, because I did not do enough book reports.- (there is NO PLOT!)My father worked at JPL and we did the Zn/S METAL rockets with Nickel/Chromium noszle we launched in the Mojave Desert in about 1962-63 - He even had an article in the JPL "Lab-Oratory" about 1962-63 (I was 7) - It is cool you have an autgraphed copy. I mixed up quite a bit of KNO3/Sugar rocket fuel - it was easy to get sugar and Potassium Nitrate as a teenager. SLO burning rate compared to Zn/S.