The Old Tiler first appeared in print in August, 1921 when the first of four hundred and fourteen “Old Tiler Talks” were printed in the Fellowship Forum, a fraternal newspaper published in Washington, D.C.
In 1925 the publisher (The Temple Publishers) asked the author to select a few of the best of the talks and thirty-one were accordingly made into a little volume, copyrighted in that year. The book, which sold for a dollar, ran into two editions of five thousand copies each.
By the time they were all sold the Fellowship Forum ran head on into the depression and disappeared and with it the Old Tiler.
His homely philosophy, sharp tongue and common sense, however, had made a place for him in the hearts of readers; demand for the book has never ceased, although it has lessened in the twenty-four years since the Old Tiler first spoke from between the covers.
At long last the Old Tiler sits again before the door of his lodge, there to repeat the tales which made him liked so long ago, and, from the wealth of material of his hundreds of homilies, make thirty-nine talks new to the book, a total of seventy in all.
These have been roughly classified under seven headings (Shekinah, Black Sheep, Lippin All!, Under the Rose, Were Fiddle-Dee-Dee!, All is Fish, and Root of All Evel). To offer in defense of his fanciful classification the author has no other alibi than the weak statement that the Old Tiler is himself a fancy!
The portrait of the Old Tiler on the book jacket is the loving work of Brother Frank A. Stockwell of Buffalo, New York, who has (at least to the author’s eyes) succeeded in getting the biting sarcasm, courage and philosophy of the Old Tiler into his kindly face.
The author does not always agree with the Old Tiler – perhaps it is the Old Tiler who disagrees with the author! Some to whom that statement is made make answer: “Why don’t you make him say what you think? You are the boss man!”
All who have written know that, if they live, pen and ink characters have minds and thoughts of their own, sometimes to the benefit, sometimes to the grief of their fathers!
Therefore, with what is hoped is becoming modesty, this invitation is extended: whatever you like in the Old Tiler’s talks, credit it to his creator; if his sharpness or his ideas offend, blame the Old Tiler and not…
Old Tiler Talks by Carl H. Claudy
The Temple Publishers, Washington, D.C. 1949