Before geeks were geeks and nerds were nerds, there was this Edward Stratemeyer literary character.

Many of the books were written by a syndicate. Victor Appleton never existed.

The first ever Tom Swift book was "Tom Swift and His Motor Cycle". Between 1910 and 1941, forty books were released under the pseudonym Victor Appleton.

New series were released in 1954, 1981, and 1991.

The first 3 books of the original series were republished (unedited) in 1992 by Applewood Books.

Be warned there are some racially offensive stereotypes in these stories.

The complete series appears to be available as "Tom Swift, Sr." on CD-ROM.

The series after 1954 aren't as good (imho).

I was a Tom Swift Junior aficionado growing up. I would save up all my money for the week, go to Willers, the variety store at Yonge St. and Ranleigh Av. in North Toronto and get one of the dozens--it seemed--of the books.

I would then take it home, reading as I walked, only to stop, momentarily, to look both ways at the crosswalk at Mt. Pleasant Av. Getting home, I devoured the remainder of it. This hit was finished in less than an hour and a half.

I can say, quite authoritatively, that there were two series: Tom Swift Senior written by Victor Appleton Senior, and Tom Swift Junior, written by Victor Appleton Junior.

The story frameworks were similar in that the heros had companies that could make prototypes--the Junior series had Swift Enterprises--and manufactures lines--the Senior series had Swift Construction that were the solutions to all the problems that came up. I was entranced, and wanted to grow up to be Tom swift Junior--though not much growing up, since he was only in his late teens when I was reading the books; his father had pretty much receded to the backround by then.

In some ways, they presented the American Way like a kind of scientific Hardy Boys: the answer to all problems is industrial. I remember no racial stereotypes, but then, I saw nothing wrong with the industrial solution either.

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