Learning to build a rod on your own was very tough before the Garrison book came out followed by Cattanach, Maurer and many others. There were a few books around in North America, Dr. Holden's Idyll or Perry Frazier's small book. Herter's had a manual and there were others but it was tough, We live now in an instant world with information at our fingertips, streaming video of folks making rods and DVD's so it is relatively simple to get started.
As the years fly by we are losing many of the individuals that lived and worked in that period. Living history as opposed to rote data searching is invaluable. With the passing recently of Hal Bacon and Gus Nevros, gone forever is their knowledge and experience. In the early part of the 20th century thru the 1970's the computer was not a factor in our daily lives. I recall writing letters to builders and fly tiers and getting written responses that took time out of their day and these letters are now cherished. A librarian or researcher in those days could tell you all the books written by James Joyce or Herman Melville in chronological order. Now it is a few taps on the keyboard for anyone to get the information. Imagine the knowledge those "before computer" individuals had. Sadly Father Time waits for no one and with each generation we lose a part of our history. It is important that we cherish the living and record their history for others to enjoy in future generations. Instead of simply asking how, ask who, what, when, where and why. You will be rewarded with a treasure trove of information both factual and anecdotal that you can share with others. Information learned through experience will stay with you longer than other forms so earn your knowledge and pass it along freely to others just like Hal and Gus did.