Wednesday, February 10, 2021

SearchResearch Challenge (2/10/21): Two difficult to find objects?

Every so often... 

... in my work I'll search for something that takes a while to find.  I save these for you!  Here are two objects that I had to work a bit to find.  In the process, I learned something about searching that I thought you'd enjoy.  Can you find these as well? 

1.  In my reading I keep seeing references to a compilation of short stories that was put together by the English playwright, novelist, and short story writer Somerset Maugham.  The collection is called Tellers of Tales: One Hundred Short Stories from the United States, England, France, Russia and Germany. (1939)  It's easy to find references to it, but I'd really like to read it.  Can you find a full-view copy of this book that I can read online (without having to spend a zillion dollars)?  

2.  Also in my reading, I came across a word that seems to describe some kind of very old fastener.  The word is "latchet," but it does not have anything to do with shoes (e.g., a string used to fasten a shoe) or any kind of fish.  It took me a while to find a good image of what a latchet fastener is--can you find one and tell us what it is?  And for extra credit, where and when were latchets primarily used?  

I'm curious how hard you find these two Challenges. Both gave me some trouble, maybe because I didn't have much context for either search.  

If you locate these two things, let us know HOW you did it.  (I'll reveal a couple of my missteps next week in the answer.)  

Search on! 



  1. This won't help you read it on line, but the LA library has 3 hardcover copies of "Tellers of Tales" on their shelves; maybe your library does too, or maybe your library can borrow the book from another library; my local library used to have that service.
    When I looked up "latchet," Google offered "Searches related to latchet," which included latchet lock; and there were pictures. When I looked up "latchet lock history," here is a link that indicated latchet locks went way way back: And it cited the first U.S. patent of such a mechanism.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Pretty easy

    [ "Tellers of Tales" Maugham ]
    Result: Tellers Of Tales : W. Somerset Maugham : Free Download ...

    [ latchet fastener ]
    Result: 'Latchet' dress fastener — Google Arts & Culture

    It is a form of dress fastener attached by coils of wire in the slots between the discs. They were used in Ireland and remained popular until the seventh century.

  5. Searching for latchet fastener brought up a article with pictures and discription in the British Museum. Knowing it was a fastener helped.
    Can’t find the book in electronic form. ABEbooks had several copies, one for under $10.

  6. Not so difficult.
    First I tried Google Books and Project Gutenberg - as the anthology should be out of print. Then I just did a google search: "teller of tales" "One Hundred Short Stories from the United States, England, France, Russia and Germany" maugham

    And up came:

    Hard copy versions are also available to purchase from a few places for around $50 or less at and other sites.

    Maugham's own works are easier to find online - but this was an anthology. E.g. his collected stories are at

    LESSON: now includes much much more than archived websites.

    The second one was also easy to find. I searched for "latchet -shoe -sandal" to get rid of shoes etc. This gave me a British Museum link with a great image saying they came from 7th century Ireland.

    Unfortunately this doesn't say what it's used for. So more searching turned up latchet crossbows but they don't match what you described as they are still made. So I then tried
    [latchet fastener]
    This gave the BL image again but also more information which by adding the word dress to the search i.e. [latchet dress fastener] confirmed that they were used as dress fasteners as described at and even better at Google Arts and Culture - so I went full circle, starting with Google and expecting to go somewhere else, but ending back at Google.

    LESSON: Google offers much more than search - and the arts and culture pages now give a wealth of information.

  7. I found this an easy search. I googled ["tellers of tales" short stories] to see what would turn up and got results for Amazon and Hathi Trust (citation only). So then I went to the internet archive and found the book. I've used the Internet Archive before to find a short story for a teacher. I searched Images for [latchet fastener] and one of the results was an ancient metal dress clasp so then I searched for [latchet dress fastener] and got more results that look useful, including a jstor document about "bronze serpentine latchets and other cumbrous dress fasteners"

  8. Since you said the Latchet had nothing to do with fish or shoes I did an image search: "latchet -shoe -fish" and scrolled past all the crossbows until I found an image from the British museum.

    And for the book I searched : "Tellers of Tales: One Hundred Short Stories from the United States, England, France, Russia and Germany pdf" and the first result was the internet archives copy


  9. 2. Latchet variation "Latch" Did crazy wide short survey and found this chap explaining it about a minute or two in.

    Firing mechanism of a certain crossbow used long ago Explained here: Used by the border reivers of north England and Scotland. Rapid fire for closein killing on horseback.

    1 I tried to do a proper Dan Russell Search but did not get anywhere except to see that the book is 1600 pages. I was thinking this an elephant sized book I would never pick up. THen thought to try Hathi (Hindu for elephant) By golly found it right away.

    Good clean fun.

  10. Latchet just type in history latchet fastener and go to images and hey presto