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Old 10-31-2016, 04:20 PM
longyard longyard is offline
MetalShaper of the Month September 2013
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Winston-Salem, NC
Posts: 1,083
Default Barton books!!!! Read this

Tim Barton Books: Lost and Saved

In December, 2013 Timothy Barton went to the hospital due to a diabetic episode. He expected to be home in a few days to resume shipping Book 5 of his Metalshaping series, and begin printing Book 6 which he had nearly completed editing. Instead of returning home, Tim died. He didn’t plan on dying that day. He planned on fulfilling his commitments to the many people who trusted him and purchased the entire set of the Metalshaping series, but God, Fate, Karma…call it what you will, had other plans.

Tim had embarked on a great crusade to resurrect the history and techniques of “the lost sheet metal machines” and many of us who received the first four books were absolutely shocked at the depth and quality of his research and achievement. In each new book Tim seemed to find a new King Tut’s treasure of sheet metal knowledge. For some, though, the fact that Tim had not fulfilled his obligations was an irritation while others considered it tantamount to fraud. Hurt feelings are understandable, but many of the people who felt the most abused were unaware of the facts of Tim’s passing.

After a few months, conversations were initiated, threads on forums began, and subscribers to the series wondered what would happen next. Will Tim’s company Autofuturist continue to ship books? Who’s the executor of the estate? Who owns Autofuturist?
After a lot of head scratching, and even talk of a class action lawsuit, no one knew the answers. For many, it looked like Book 4 was going to be the last of what had been a wonderful work of technological archaeology. However, behind the scenes, an effort was being made to locate the owners of Autofuturist and establish contact with Tim’s family.

It was Kent White who did this early work of trying to contact the Bartons. Kent wanted to make sure his customers got their books, and he offered to help distribute books to others if the family, or company, needed that help. Kent also tried to establish the legal ownership of Autofuturist assets and to that end took the advice of Joe Hartson and contacted California attorney and metalshaping hobbyist John Alden for legal advice. Kent also contacted author William Longyard for information on the mechanics of the publishing industry and help trying to talk to the Barton family which was proving difficult.

Bill Longyard was able to find a person in the Barton family who would speak about Tim’s company and assets, but at the time this person was unable to commit to any course of action. Two years of phone calls and left messages went by during which only the briefest of conversations took place. Bill learned that the Barton family was struggling with financial and health issues and had little time to deal with the Autofuturist company, or whatever was left of it. Persistent digging by Bill, Kent, and John, who worked with the Burbank District Attorney, the LA County probate court, and even the US Post Service, turned up the fact that Tim Barton and his wife had been living in Section 8 housing in Burbank, had virtually no money in the bank, had large debts, and that Tim’s wife’s health was so bad that soon after Tim’s death she had entered a care facility.

So what had happened to the books and research material? Bill finally learned that the material was being kept in a storage unit near the Mojave Desert, far from Burbank, and that the member of the Barton family tasked with wrapping up the estate was about to, on the advice of an attorney, donate all the printed books to Goodwill and junk the boxes of research material. Bill begged this person to give him some time to put together a plan to save the research and buy the books. The person reluctantly agreed. It was this person’s feeling that they didn’t want to be bothered with this anymore. There are only hard family feelings against Tim being that he left only debt and a wife that needed constant care. Their desire was to wrap up the estate and Autofuturist as soon as possible.

John, Kent, and Bill put together a proposal where a cash offer was made for the books, and a promise was made that the research material would eventually be offered to Bill’s contacts at the Smithsonian Institution once Book 7 was written and put into print. The Barton/Autofuturist attorney was to receive the cash to help pay off some of the estate’s debts, and there were a few other stipulations.
With the attorney’s approval, the deal was agreed to and John Alden was tasked to drive from North California down to “somewhere” in the Mojave Desert to get the material. The Barton family would not be more specific at the time and he had to wait in a motel room for a phone call the next morning to direct him to the pickup site.

Eventually, 30 boxes of material, 4 filing cabinets, and a number of boxes of assorted Metalshaping books were picked up. John asked if there was a computer, hard drive, or discs with customer lists, but was told by the family members who met him that Tim had not left behind anything of that sort and that he “wasn’t very good with computers.” Despite this perplexing statement, papers were signed, money was exchanged, and the attorney’s other stipulations were met. Two and half years of investigation, pleadings, frustrations, and hope had finally paid off. John now had the books, the copyrights, and the research material.

So what happens next?

Autofuturist is defunct and without any assets. Those of us, including Kent, John, and Bill, who are owed books and DVDs by Autofuturist will not get them. Autofuturist is without money and without assets. It only contains debt. Two years ago attorney John Alden worked with the DA’s office in Burbank and US Postal Service to attempt to force Autofuturist to distribute books to subscribers, but was told there was no money to pay for mailings, let alone the fact that the case was too small for them to bother with. Probate Court was not an option because the estate was too small under California law to open a case.

The intent of Kent, John, and Bill during the two and half year effort was to rescue what books were already printed, and get Book 6 and Book 7 into print. The only way for this to happen is to sell enough of the books found in some of the boxes, and use the proceeds of those sales to put Book 6 into print. Book 6 is nearly print ready and Bill is currently working through it to have it completed. Once Book 6 is printed, and further funds generated, Bill will sort through the 30 boxes of Tim’s research material and write Book 7. Fortunately, Tim did leave behind a clear Table of Contents for Book 7. Tantalizingly, he also left behind a Table
Of Contents for a planned Book 8! No one previously knew about Book 8. Bill plans on combining, if the research material is found, Book 7 and 8. No information has been found as yet about the planned DVD, only references to it in some of the text for Book 6. It seems likely that Tim would have kept video files on a computer, but according to the family there was no computer. A cash offer was made to the family for any missing computer or storage devices after the dessert transfer was made, but the family insists it has no computer. We consider the DVD a lost cause.

To repeat, if you are owed a book by Autofuturist you will not get one. The check that was paid to the estate’s attorney legally purchased some of its assets only, i.e. books, copyrights, and research material. It did not purchase Autofuturist. Autofuturist still owns its debts and obligations.

About 100 copies of Books 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 exist…about half are Book 5. These are now for sale. If you want one you need to act quickly. When they are gone, they’re gone. The funds generated will be used to print Book 6 which hopefully will be available in a few weeks. Bill estimates another 2 years before Book 7/8 is ready.

This has been a long, difficult struggle and only ended successfully due to the hard work and persistence of Kent White, John Alden, and Bill Longyard. Their goal was to save a remarkable bit of historical research.

Do not contact Kent, John, or Bill regarding what Autofuturist owes you. They are NOT Autofuturist and have nothing to do with that company. They will not respond to any queries regarding the debts of Autofuturist. They went through a lot of time, trouble, and expense to save important historical research so that it could be preserved for the future and shared with you.

Please think kindly of them for their work, but ultimately think kindly of Timothy Paul Barton, March 7, 1952 - December 9, 2013, who conceived this magnificent project and died attempting to complete it.

Books 1 through 5 are available for U.S. purchase for $50 each, which includes shipping and handling. Sales tax of $3.82 is required for each book being shipped to California.
USA ORDERS: Email your request with shipping address to She will reply with payment information.
INTERNATIONAL ORDERS:For international orders, the books are available for sale “Buy It Now” on eBay with an international shipping option. "VERY limited number. First come, first served." SEARCH: Metalshaping Barton
Bill Longyard
Winston-Salem, NC
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