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        Discussion After 244 Years All Good Things Must End

#1 Big Foot 48 Mar 13, 2012 11:40 PM

After 244 Years All Good Things Must End
 
Nice run. I wonder how many people earned a living working on it over those 244 years?

We were too poor to have a set, but I always envied those families that did. Now the equivalent is only a mouse click away.
Quote:

After 244 years, the Encyclopaedia Britannica is going out of print.

Those coolly authoritative, gold-lettered sets of reference books that were once sold door to door by a fleet of traveling salesmen and displayed as proud fixtures in American homes will be discontinued, the company is expected to announce on Wednesday.

In the 1950s and 1960s, a set of encyclopedias on the bookshelf was akin to a station wagon in the garage or a black-and-white Zenith in the den, an object coveted not only for its usefulness but as a goalpost for an aspirational middle class. The books were often a financial stretch, with many families paying for their encyclopedias in monthly installments.
http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.co...he-presses/?hp

A wrap-up from its successor:
Quote:

The Britannica is the oldest English-language encyclopaedia still in production. It was first published between 1768 and 1771 in Edinburgh, Scotland as three volumes. The encyclopaedia grew in size, and by its fourth edition (1801–1809) it had expanded to a well known 20-volume set. Its rising stature helped recruit eminent contributors, and the 9th edition (1875–1889) and the 11th edition (1911) are landmark encyclopaedias for scholarship and literary style. Beginning with the 11th edition, the Britannica shortened and simplified articles to broaden its appeal in the North American market. In 1933, the Britannica became the first encyclopaedia to adopt "continuous revision", in which the encyclopaedia is continually reprinted and every article updated on a schedule. On 13 March 2012, it was announced that after 244 years, the Encyclopędia Britannica is going out of print, instead focusing on its online encyclopedia.[1]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Encyclo...dia_Britannica

#2 RRR Mar 13, 2012 11:50 PM

As I said it be for the internet is evil. Sow the wirlwind reap a harvest of pain.

#3 Punkie Mar 14, 2012 07:25 AM

Times change.

#4 Gerald Mar 14, 2012 08:13 AM

I had a full set--1979 edition if I recall. Took up about 6 feet of bookshelf space and weighed probably more than 100 lbs. Gave it to the Goodwill store a couple years ago. It was nearly in mint condition, having been used very little. The truth is that the information was simply too limited and too time consuming to look up to be of much use. I don't miss it or my slide rule.

#5 LcJ Mar 14, 2012 08:18 AM

If anyone has a 9th or 11th edition, you can either try to sell it or donate it to a library. They are the landmark editions of the Britannica.

Thanks if you do.

#6 UlteriorModem Mar 14, 2012 10:04 AM

I had a full set when I was a kid.

They were sold door to door by salesmen on foot with a suitcase full of samples. I remember my parents bought them on installments like getting A-K one month L-T another etc.

I also remember 'hating' them because to me they represented homework :D

Its hard to see them go but I am actually supprised they lasted this long.

#7 CashRC Mar 14, 2012 10:21 AM

Old family set from 1943, matching case. Learned to read on that set, knew what a dirigible was when I was about 6.:D

#8 radix2 Mar 14, 2012 10:32 AM

Loved 'pedias as a kid - though they where usually "World Book" variety,

Anyone else try to build the Ion rocket engine out of the world book ?

Internet >>encyclopedias

#9 Gooroo Mar 14, 2012 11:29 AM

My family had a set they bought second hand when I was a kid. I read many of them and really enjoyed them. The internet has made them obsolete.

There is one important point to consider, though. The internet is an incredibly fragile and extremely maintenance intensive "device".

I suspect that those encyclopedias will survive an EMP blast or civil unrest much better than the internet ever can.

#10 UlteriorModem Mar 14, 2012 01:05 PM

They dont fare so well in a fire! ;)

Oh I remember one other sales gimmick they had!

Every year, even if you had the full set, a 'year book' would come out to embelish the full set. It was a 'must have' item.

#11 Big Foot 48 Mar 14, 2012 01:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gooroo (Post 21031960)
I suspect that those encyclopedias will survive an EMP blast or civil unrest much better than the internet ever can.

After the EMP event the books would make great kindling for the fireplace, while the computer will make a good thing to drop on someone's head when they break down your door seeking a warm place.

#12 Gerald Mar 14, 2012 01:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Big Foot 48 (Post 21032805)
After the EMP event the books would make great kindling for the fireplace, while the computer will make a good thing to drop on someone's head when they break down your door seeking a warm place.

Oh, I don't know... Just one of those Britannicas weighs more than my laptop...Could make a pretty good bludgeon. :p

#13 Big Foot 48 Mar 15, 2012 06:18 PM

Ah so, it was Windows that killed Britannica, not the Internet.
Quote:

Britannica went bankrupt in 1996, long before Wikipedia was a crowdsourced gleam in Jimmy Wales’ open-access eye. In 1990, the company had $650 million in revenue. In 1996, it was being sold off in toto for $135 million. What happened in between was Encarta.

Not because Encarta made Microsoft money (it didn’t), or because Britannica didn’t develop comparable products for CD-ROM and the web (they totally did, with the first CD-ROM encyclopedia in 1989 and Britannica Online in 1994). Instead, Encarta was an inexpensive, multimedia, not-at-all comprehensive encyclopedia that helped Microsoft sell Windows PCs to families. And once you had a PC in the living room or den where the encyclopedia used to be, it was all over for Mighty Britannica.
http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2012/...a-windows-did/

#14 ZAGNUT Mar 15, 2012 06:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by radix2 (Post 21031490)
Anyone else try to build the Ion rocket engine out of the world book ?

yup. kinda hard at 8 years of age explaining to dad why you absolutely must have an ignition coil and car battery.

my parents still have the brittanica set they bought sometime in the late '80s. they splurged and got the black leather binding, none of that cheap brown stuff:rolleyes:

#15 radix2 Mar 15, 2012 06:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ZAGNUT (Post 21045399)
yup. kinda hard at 8 years of age explaining to dad why you absolutely must have an ignition coil and car battery.

Ha!, I still know where that ignition coil is stashed.

Don't think I ever got any motion out of that thing though...


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