Most of you will know I am an inveterate collector of the old books on chicken keeping. Well, one of my other interests is collecting the old Popular Mechanics compendium annuals known as Shop Notes. I recently got one from 1946 and was surprised to see three articles on making your own still air incubator, chick brooder and a how-to on building a proper poultry house. As you might imagine, they were quite thorough and innovative for the time, in ways rivaling that which is seen today. Here then, for your edification, is an excerpt from the incubator section. Make of it what you will I hope you like it. "...It is of greatest importance that you use the best egg obtainable. Eggs shipped from a distance should stand on their small end for 24 hours, to regain their normal condition. To prepare the incubator, withdraw the egg tray and cover the bottom with several layers of paper. Replace tray in incubator without the eggs and adjust the thermostat to maintain a temperature of 102 degrees, and leave for 24 hours. After warming up the incubator for 24 hours, fill the tray with eggs. They should fill all the space; keep the tray crowded with eggs, even if you need to put a block or piece of wood in the back of the tray to keep them close together. Place a thermometer (incubator type only) to one side of the thermostat at the third or fourth row from the door. After seven days in warm weather, remove the paper from beneath the eggs - 12 days in cold weather. Allow the eggs to absorb heat gradually, but do not change the adjustment of the thermostat from the setting you initially stabilized at. The first week it should be set at 102 with white eggs, second and third week 103, fourth week 104, and during hatching 104 to 105. For dark eggs, run 1 degree higher each week. Chickens require 21 days to hatch, but begin counting from the second day. Starting on the fourth day, and twice each day thereafter, up to and including the eighteenth day, (room temp should be bout 65 degrees), remove and place the egg tray on top of the incubator and close the door. Lay aside some of the eggs from the center of the tray and roll he others back and forth, finally leaving them toward the center. Do the same with the eggs that were laid aside, finally placing them back, around the edges of the tray. Leave all the eggs out until they feel cool to the cheek, or about 5-10 min. the first week, 10-15 min. the second week and 15-20 min. the third week. Just before hatching, cover the eggs with a porous woolen cloth, wrung out of warm water. This helps the chicks to break the shells. Remove the cloth once hatching starts. Duck and goose eggs require more moisture than chicken eggs, and a tray of wet sand placed on the slats of the chick tray in addition to a water pan below, is recommended. Top control moisture at desired temperature, keep the top ventilators closed for the first seven days, but the bottom ones half open. Wider opening of the bottom vents will increase moisture; wider opening of the top vents decreases it. Incorrect moisture conditions will result in a sticky or bloody hatch and also cause chicks to die in the shell. The ideal place for an incubator is in a dry, warm, well-ventilated basement where the temperature is fairly even. Level the incubator. After hatching, chicks should be left in the chick trays until they are thoroughly dry and have gained some strength. They should never be subjected to sudden changes of temperature. When you remove chicks from the incubator to the brooder, carry them in a covered basket or carton lined with soft material. PS If you have any of the old Shop Notes books you are willing to part with, indeed any of the old PM books from the 30s -60s, Id like to hear from you.