Projects from Jim Polczynski - iron and steel * board games * The Gilded Age * music
Souls of Iron tells the story of a multi-generational iron mining and iron manufacturing family dynasty in Central Pennsylvania which began before the Revolutionary War and lasted until shortly after WWI. The story began with the arrival in Philadelphia of a sixteen-year-old immigrant, Robert Coleman, with two months worker wages in his pocket. By the time of his death in 1825 he was one of the wealthiest iron masters in Pennsylvania. Through the next four generations his descendants splintered into separate businesses all of which were purchased by Bethlehem Steel for tens of millions of dollars. The family weathered multiple scandals, great recessions and one great depression, five wars, and radical changes in technology. It is a tale of ambition and sacrifice, of family division and close-knit bonds of love and devotion, of industrial growth and catastrophic loss, of great joys and unbearable pain.
History of Mystery chronicles mystery and detective board games (mostly American) from 1889 to 1969. Each game includes photos of the game box, board and pieces. Game play is described and if there are interesting aspects of the game design and mechanics of play, they are highlighted. In some cases a game may be based on a popular novel or novel series, such as Philo Vance or Nancy Drew, or based on a TV show. Other games, such as Mr. Ree and Cluedo/Clue were developed independent of any existing media. An eBook and print on demand softcover will be available in November 2022 - just doing some final edits. If there is a demand for it, I will do a full color printing.
Work is already underway for a multi-volume history of two player strategy games. The first volume will include games by McLoughlin Brothers, Milton Bradley, Parker Brothers and others which re-introduced ancient games to their product lines as well as introduced new games such as Halma and Reversi.
A select group of novels primarily published during The Gilded Age will be reviewed. The novels covered will be those that have as their theme a particular industry or business and the main characters will be financiers or business people. Authors include David Graham Phillips, Charles Klein, Arthur Hornblow, Will Payne, Upton Sinclair, William Dean Howells, Frank Norris, Robert Herrick, Ellen Glasgow, Theodore Dreiser, Mary E. Wilkins and many others.
It is interesting that many of the issues we still face today were prevalent over a hundred years ago. Still, the sacrifices, hardships, successes and joys we experience today are universal and not restricted to a specific time or place. The authors and the novels may not be well known today, but the stories can still move and inspire us.
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