A Word About Mike Jane And My Mamod Book

Be prepared, this article is a long one...
It's been around three months since The Layman's Guide To Mamod Steam Engines was published and things have been going great! I have had so much feedback from people telling me how much they loved the book and how much their loved ones enjoyed reading through it on even Christmas day! A book was needed on Mamod for restorers and enthusiasts alike and I really feel that I have contributed to keeping this great hobby going.

The reason for this article and its title is because of a person called Mike Jane who seems to continually post negative reviews of the book all over the internet (such as on his own forum, Amazon and Lulu: the publisher of the book). I wanted to make this article to address to those that are concerned about such a negative review. I also want to share emails me and Mike have sent each other so that everything can be cleared up about these reviews, such as the sources of the images I used from him.

It was true that when the book was first published back in October (I think), there were a few minor mistakes. For one, on one of the pages, I mistakenly called Malin 'Malins'. As well as this, some of the images I had used in the book were taking from websites without any copyright on them. However, from receiving a formal complaint from Mike Jane, it appeared he had copyright on some of the images I had used in the book so needed to get his permission of these images. After contacting him through email, he agreed to let me use his images in the book.

Mike then, after I released an updated and second edition of the book, continued to post the same review of the book on Lulu. I had no choice but to report it since the review was based on the first edition of the book and not the second. So, a lot of the points he brought up were invalid towards the new revised book.

This was fine until mid January 2015 when Mike, then again, posted the same review of the book. This time, though, not only did he do this on Lulu, but also Amazon. Again, I have no option but to report these reviews since they are invalid and have been deemed by many people I have spoken to as 'hate speech'.

It is interesting the the largest Mamod forum on the internet has a rule specifically against Mike Jane because of his hate speech (rule 7):

Deciphering Mike Jane's Review

Without further ado, I want to decipher the same review Mike Jane has now posted numerous times since it is something I feel will be giving the book a bad name even though every single person who has bought the book, except Mike, has absolutely loved it:

It’s not everyday a new book appears on Mamod engines, so when this did, I eagerly snapped up a copy hoping for a really great and informative read. Sadly no such luck with this publication. After reading through the first few pages of this new tome, it was very clear from the start that very little research had been done into Mamod engines and very little, if any, of the information is not already covered by either Steve Malins definitive work on the company published in 1996 or from internet sources such as my own website or the Freesteam forum reference section. Clearly this book will only be of basic value to an absolute beginner.

With regards to the history section of the book, this is the only book or source anywhere that has the complete history from 1936 to the very present day. I find it extremely hard to believe he did not learn anything new from this section considering that Mamod actually helped me fill in some of the historical data themselves which they had not shared before that. From the responses I have had from the book, it has been of great value to every type of enthusiast of Mamod from novices to experts. Remember that I included some degree level engineering into this book to explain some of the wonders of a steam engine.

The introduction section skims through a potted history of the company, almost lifted word for word from my webpages; secondly the engine overviews are only give a rudimentary amount of detail. There is no mention of the SC series at all. Coupled to this the factual, spelling and grammatical errors strewn through this book all adds up to a great missed opportunity to bring the Mamod story up to date. Now really this book is mainly intended for the novice restorer, but the introduction, history and timeline (Another term of mine) sections are really most appalling. Getting the Malins name wrong (Two instances of Malin not Malins) is really unforgiveable.

As I have already said, the Malin mistake was changed straight away. As well as this, I had several people proof read and edit this book (which you can see pictures of in this article). For the majority, the above section is hate speech.

The restoration section is of some value and the author guides the layman through restoring techniques as well as offering his own critique on what is acceptable or not. The sections on painting, soldering and repairing will be of use to a complete novice but the diagrams outlining the engine parts and names for the SE, SP and mobile engines are clumsy and poorly executed.

There is a compliment there I think in this above section but it comes out very vague and forced. 

Only the Mamod ads peppered throughout this book have any real professionalism in appearance.
However in terms of what was bad about this was to get worse. On closer inspection I find that at least five of my own images have been used, presumably lifted from various sites on the internet and used to illustrate some sections, to make things worse they are of low screen resolution and in some cases distorted to fit the picture box used. 

Mike knows for a fact that I asked him in October 2014 to use his images. He responded to my emails and sent me better versions of his pictures and allowed me to use them in the book. This extract of the review, for those reasons, baffles me completely. I cannot understand how he creates a negative twist on how I took his pictures, which were low resolution grabs from the internet when he sent me them in an email. It's lying and it is just another valid point that proves this review is hate speech.

This whole publication has most definitely not been put to together using any form of professional publishing software such as InDesign or QuarkXPress. The anomalies in the page layouts and irregular picture box positioning and proportions merely add to the litany of mistakes, shoddy attention to detail and overall slap dash approach evident in this book.

It upsets me that somebody could say something so spiteful about a book which has been giving such positive feedback by so many people.

At the time of writing I am in contact with both the author and the publisher.

A complete lie. I emailed Mike October 2014 so for him to say this makes me extremely frustrated.

 It this publication has been taken down from the LuLu website after several emails from me outlining my unhappiness in the strongest of terms at the ‘smash and grab’ approach to using my images.

Again, this happened in October 2014 - he fails to mention that the problems he had were resolved.

 I cannot comment on other images used in the booklet, although I know a couple of other sources have been used.

He cannot comment on other pictures but does exactly that straight after saying that? 

To sum up this is an astonishingly poor piece of work, with content of questionable value coupled to an amateurish layout with page after page of grammatically poor and basic English. Buy a copy at your own peril, nothing more I can say!

He is questioning content that has come from, not just me but, Mamod and many other steam enthusiasts. It is complete hatred for this book that he claims there are grammatically poor and basic English page after page. There is a page when I describe, in detail, how exactly the double acting slide valve cylinder with slip eccentric works. I think enough has been said for this last section of the review.

The Email Conversations

To en I thought it would be a good idea to display snippets of the email conversation I had with Mike Jane from October 2014 since it shows the difference in his behaviour to me as compared to the review he wrote:

My First Email

Hi Mike,

It really really does bring me great sorrow and frustration in myself that a copyright infringement has been filed against my book on Mamod. Please let me clarify that any copyright within the book is totally unknowingly and a complete misinterpretation.

When I created the book, I would look onto the internet to find pictures that fit the description of the engines being described in the book. Of course, I tried to use as many of my own images on RestoringMamods.com. The only problem with this is that I am a student studying a MEng in Automotive Engineering with Motorsport and as students go, not a wealthy one too. I wish I had more engines but my collection is limited to just five engines. This is why I had to search on the internet for more engines because I couldn't supply all the images myself.

With every single website I went on, I would check the image and two or three pages of the website (including the homepage) for any copyright the owner has on any of the images. If there was no copyright present, I would use the image. If there was copyright, I would contact the website's owner and ask permission to use his or her's image in the book. This is how I came into contact with Andrew Gorton from Australia, Mike from mikes-steam-engines.co.uk and Mamod themselves, who gave me plenty of help with the history, images and complimentary advertising in the book as a way of saying thank you for their help. 

I completely understand your frustration and I am equally frustrated and disappointed that this has happened. The only explanation I could come up with is that another website copied it from your website and included no sort of copyright on the image or homepage, making me think it was deemed okay to use it in the book without any permission. A complete and utter mistake.

I really do hope you do not look at me in hatred of copying your images or others. I am only 19 years old and studying a full time Masters degree at the University of Hertfordshire while trying to write a book on Mamod. It has been extremely difficult and it does feel like a slap in the face after all the effort I and others have gone through.

I hope you can understand my sincere apologies for the misuse of your pictures. If you want to talk about this on the phone I am happy to do so. What I can suggest is that either I credit your pictures in the book like I have with Andrew, Mike and Mamod, or take your pictures out completely along with Toy Steam Bible's pictures. 

I really am completely sorry. I hope you can understand that I was only making this book to help others, and I think Mamod, Mike and definitely Andrew would agree with me on this. I just hope you can understand and we can achieve a peaceful resolution that ultimately makes me and, more importantly, you happy with the outcome.

Kindest of regards,


Mike's Reply


first of all thank for taking the time to get back to me on this matter.

Firstly let me tell you a bit about myself. I work as a professional information and print based designer of 30 years experience and work with images and copy for a living, copyright is something which touches on many aspects of what I do. It is something which I take very, very seriously.

I am somewhat dismayed to find that at least five of my images have been used for your book. The ME2 engine in your book also appears in the Toy Steam Bible site and this site clearly states that the copyright of the images used lays with the owner and hence permission should be sought from them. My name is under the images on this site.

The images of the Griffin and George SE3 as well as two of my SP8 also appear, these are have been taken no doubt from my website or possibly from my forum. Now the basis of my complaint is not that I don't like to see my images in print, but the fact that no permission was sought. If it had been, I would probably have been able to supply and help with 90% of the content of this booklet. I'm probably amongst 3 or 4 collectors in the UK who is a leading authority on Mamod engines - I could have given you untold help on this subject, being a collector of some 40 years. The simple dictate is if you don't know who owns the image don't use it. This is the simple rule I have to stick to in my professional life and I apply the same rule when it comes to using images other than my own. Failure to do this can cost my organisation £1000s in fees. All people have to do is ASK. Because an image appears on the internet does not mean its 'up for grabs' because its deemed 'public domain'. I know the other contributors to your book and I'm sure they were contacted, Mike Stacey's engines appear a number of times in the publication. Now I know this booklet has now been printed so there seems very little I can do, I could invoke legal action - which seems heavy handed. However I would stress that any further printed copies of the booklet must carry an explicit acknowledgement to me regard the images you have used. Ideally I would prefer to supply new hi-res JPEG of the images you have used, avoiding the distortions and poor reproduction that appears in many of the books images.

I don't want to appear harsh, for you have made a good effort, however preparation, planning and above all research is critical to producing a booklet like this, or any printed book for that matter. I would hope that you are able to give my points here some thought and that if you want something just don't grab it but ask first, the answer can only be yes or no. In this case I would be more than happy to help you.

If you wish to discuss this any further I would be pleased to assist you in any way.

I look forward to hearing from you...

My Response

Hi Mike,

Thank you for the response reply.

Everything you say makes complete sense. This is the first publication I have ever made so I am relatively new to this and now understand why you take copyright so seriously.

What I intend to do now is go through EVERY single image in the book and research every single picture used. If I cannot find the owner, I will not use it. If I can, I will double check he or she is happy with me using it in the book.

I will credit every picture of yours and add you to the acknowledgements with a link to your website. You are not being harsh but right. The law is very black and white and it is clear there is copyright.

Are you happy with this? If not please let me know and I'll do everything to make sure you are happy with the outcome.

Mike's Response

Hi Will,

I am happy to grant retrospective copyright for the use of my images, however if you want better pictures of the ME2, SP8 and G&G SE3 please say so. Failing that please ensure that an acknowledgement is clearly given - Images of the Mamod ME2 (page xx), SP8 (page xx) and Griffin and George SE3 (page xx) courtesy of Mike Jane, Plymouth. Or words to that effect.

If you had asked me earlier in this production I would have designed and produced it for you.

I don't want to rain on your parade far from it, but when you get into productions like this then you must ensure everything is watertight permissions wise it is essential. The organisation I work for forked out £500 only a few weeks ago for using an image which did not belong to them. Many picture libraries employ people to check and scour the web for any illegal use of their copyrighted images/material. It can be a very expensive minefield for the unwary.

Let me know if you need any further assistance.


My Response

Hi Mike,

Thank you for your invaluable assistance. I will credit you in the book at the start. The size of the pictures will probably stay the same but I could replace them with higher quality versions from you if you want me to? 

Thank you again,


Mike's Response

Hi Will

Ill dig out better images for you.

Mike's Email with High-Resolution Images Attached


find attached images for the SP8, G&G SE3 and the ME2.

They need to be properly acknowledged to me.

I would like to see the proposed new pages if at all possible.

If there are any problems please let me know.

Thank you

My Response with Attached Screenshots of His Images in the Book

Hi Mike,

Sorry for the late reply - I have been extremely busy with University work.

I've just gone through the book and replaced your previous pictures with the new ones. Attached are screenshots where your pictures come up. I have also included a copyright section at the start highlighting that the images on pages '....' of these engines are yours and your copyright. 

Is that Okay? If not please let me know.

Thank you,


Mike's Response


that looks better, although the last picture of the G&G SE3 looks distorted.

I take it the acknowledgement has been added to the text?


It does upset me someone feels this way when the overwhelming response for the book has been magnificent. As you can see, our email conversations were very well-mannered and productive which makes the review he posted, not only in October but January, very hard to make of. 

I don't like to be malicious but I do think this is hate speech. I understand that Mike would have loved to have been part of the production of the book. But, I didn't ask because I didn't know he was available. I think for that reason, there is some frustration and anger about this book on Mike's behalf, almost like a jealously. If he cannot be part of the book, he will try to do everything to affect the sales of it which he is desperately trying to do by reposting reviews from months ago. 

I cannot understand the objectives behind Mike to repost a review from the first edition book from October again in mid January knowing I have revised it. It beats me!

Anyway, if you want to see the reviews of every other person who has purchased the book, you can do so here.

I think before I go, I need to reiterate that I made this book to help people - not to start what feels like a war of 'who knows the most about Mamod'. I mention in the book that the only expert on Mamods is Geoffrey Malin. This book was intended to help those that wanted to restore their engines, which it does perfectly. I just got side tracked and wanted to add a few extras like how steam engines work and the history of Mamod!