Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Get Carded: Where Science And Valentine's Day Meet

Hello! For the past few years now, I've used pages from a vintage engineering textbook to create my husband's Valentine's Day card. He's an engineering professor, so the inclusion of such ephemera makes sense - well, at least to me it does!

The book is the 1943 edition of Virgil Moring Faires' Applied Thermodynamics. I believe it came to me via a very talented card-crafting friend who was downsizing in advance of an out-of-state move. 

My edition was once Navy property:

In spite of the warning that the book was "not to be marked or mutilated in any way", you can clearly see that this admonishment had been ignored. Besides the numbers written above, some of the pages have writing in them next to various equations, and a homework paper of neatly-written problems had been left in the book as well. 

Such signs of hard work weren't a surprise when I did some online research on Navy V-12 units. I learned it was a college-based WWII officers' training program that crammed the equivalent of two years of college in 1 1/2 years. After completion the graduates still had to attend midshipman's school for 120 days. Whew! 

The seven students who had signed their names in this textbook ("for your protection in case of loss") would have likely been very surprised that 61 years later the book played a prominent role in my latest card creation:

Materials used:

- white card stock
- section of page from vintage engineering textbook
- heart shape cut from serendipity paper
- three small hearts punched from an old manila folder that had been
  stamped with red ink
- "loving" cut from 1960's school paper that had been my husband's
- "LOVE" stamped in red ink
- "the change of kinetic energy" and "the work for a steady flow"
  cut from the leftover part of the textbook page I'd used
  for the card

I really liked how the card turned out, so I suggested to my husband that he show it to his students as an example of a good Valentine's Day card for an engineer. He did so and reported later that they seemed quite surprised that such a card had been made. I suppose they are more used to the standard-issue Hallmark type. 

But who knows - maybe one day they'll tell their significant others about the goofy Valentine's Day card their professor showed them one year when they were in school. Not a bad way for the 1943 edition of Applied Thermodynamics to live on!


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