The Newnes Radio and Electronics Engineers Pocket Book was first published in 1940. By 1962 the 13th edition was issued, followed by the 14th in 1972 and the volume shown here, the 15th, in 1978 with reprints in 1979, 1980 and 1982. The revisions to the text were credited on the tile page to the editorial staff of Electronics Today International, but the authors were listed by the publishers as H. W. Moorshead, R. Adron Harris and J. Perry. The name attached to the cover of the book illustrated here – M W Chapman – was, therefore, the owner of the book, not the author.

Although called a pocket book, the engineer would have needed large pockets. The book was hardback with 192 pages. (The 1989 18th edition had 342 pages!) The cover is printed in landscape format, but most of the text, illustrations and tables are printed in portrait format. The binding of the book allows for it to be easily held at a right angle to the cover.

The back cover shows that this edition, as might have been expected, had been completely revised to reflect recent developments. It is described as an invaluable compendium of facts, figures and formulae, indispensable to the designer, student, service engineer and all interested in radio and electronics. The publisher’s rather tautologous description of the book is as follows ‘Newnes Radio and Electronics Engineer’s Pocket Book, Fifteenth Edition provides reference of the information relevant in radio and electronics engineering. The book presents tables, illustrations, and diagrams of various data used in radio and electronics engineering. The coverage of the text includes abbreviations and symbols, electrical equations, and code conversions. The text will be useful to engineers, technicians, and other professionals who require a reference about the different aspects of radio and electronics.’

This is not a book to read, rather a reference book to consult and use at work or in training.  Here are just a few of the subjects listed in the index: ‘Electrical Equations, Dimensions of Physical Properties, Useful Formula, Resistor and Capacitor Colour Coding, Capacitance, Resistance, Inductance, Equivalents of Imperial and Metric Weights and Measures, Fractions of an Inch with Metric Equivalents, Powers and Roots of π and g, Standard Wire Gauge and Standard Drill Sizes, B.S.I. Standard Metric Sizes of Copper Winding Wires and Fluxes for Soldering.’

At the time the book was published there were no mobile phones, no World Wide Web and the rapid developments in computing had hardly begun.  I could find no later edition of this pocket book after 1995. Later works had to cover electronics in a different format.

Key theme(s):


More information:

Date 1970s, 1980s
Material(s) CardboardPaper
Item number MBPO288

Questions to help you remember using this item

  • Have you or a relative, or friend, ever had a need for a reference book such as this?
  • What electronic devices do you own? Do you use them all?
  • If a radio or electronic device goes wrong what do you do?
  • Do you own a DAB radio? Do you understand the question?
  • What radio programmes do you like?

Share your thoughts on this item

Join the discussion by sharing your memories of this item with other website visitors.