So, I get 10 minutes to figure out what 5 things I will need the most to rebuild the world... this begs the question: "Who put me in charge?!?" Which would then be followed by several comments regarding the mental stability of the individual who went out of their way to choose me in the first place.. but I digress.
Y'all don't make it easy, do ya Doc?
"Rebuild the world" doesn't mean "save your butt". "Save your butt" to me means eats, water, medicines, first aid supplies, weapons, ammo, the makings for more ammo, hand tools, etc...
"Rebuild the world" means something entirely different. Which means all the above "save your butt" stuff is already down my apocalypse-proof hole...
Since neatness doesn't count, I would chuck down the hole -
1. My entire mini-library which contains books on maths (basics to advanced calculus), physics, mechanical engineering, historical (ancient) engineering, the book "How To Run A Lathe", chemistry, fluid dynamics, etc, plus works by most of the Enlightenment thinkers and a very large Douay Rheims Bible...
2. My own notebooks. These are just your average black softbound notebooks that contain stuff like meatball chemistry, where to find basic precursor chemicals, how to build a proper beehive kiln and make crucible steel on a small scale. Been keeping them for years.
3. Seeds. Lots of seeds. Packaged for long term storage, of course. Folks gotta eat something after I crawl out of my hole and start saving the world, right? Just no GMO garbage.
4. My tools. All I own are hand tools. Good ones. Unfortunately, there's lots of them so shoving them all down the hole in 10 minutes might be problematic.
5. A still. A proper one made of hammered copper with a thump keg, probably no more than 25 gallons capacity. It might be the apocalypse, but I ain't going through that without some good sippin' whiskey... or completely sober. (I can also justify it by saying ethanol is fuel, and can serve as a disinfectant, is good for bartering, degreasing parts, etc...)
I made it a point to include the book "How To Run A Lathe" because the geared head engine lathe is the only machine that is capable of duplicating itself. In fact, you can partially build one and then use that partial lathe to finish itself. If you can run a lathe, then you can make a mill. With those two, you can literally make almost anything. I've successfully reverse-engineered obsolete parts from photographs. So long as you have something in the picture of a known dimension, you can scale the object you want to make from the photograph, work up some working drawings or blueprints and then make the thing...
There are some other important books, from a construction standpoint - I have a couple sets of books, printed by Audels back in the early 1920's.
"Audels Carpenters and Builders Guide". Set of 4 books. Not only starts out telling you which tools you will need, but teaches you how to use them, then how to construct literally any building you wish. Not just spiking soaking wet green wood together with No. 16 nails, either (which is pretty low rent, IMHO, and very common today). Proper mortice and tenon work, plus crosspins (known as "trennels"), constructing proper splices, etc.
Second set is "Audels Masons and Builders Guide". Also a set of 4. Printed early 20's. If it has to do with rock, stone, concrete, foundations, walls, drainage, surveying, etc, it's in there. Can't build a proper building with no foundation, right?
Third would be "Audels Engineers and Mechanics Guide". Set of 8. If it has to do with steam, water, electricity, valves, pipefitting, locomotives, oil fired, gas fired, turbines, etc, then it's in there.
I added two to the "Audels" pile that I would consider indispensable. First is "Audels Mathematics and Calculations for Mechanics". Obvious as to what this is. The second is "Audels Blue Print Reading". Also obvious.
It is interesting to note that all of these books were printed in the 1920's/1930's, are straightforward, well illustrated and will all fit in a large shoebox (well, depending on your shoe size, I suppose). They are an outstanding reference. These are all in my little "library" which would get shoved down the hole...
Anyone wishing to obtain their own copies will have to just hunt them down on Ebay, same as I did. I do not know if the Audel's series is still being printed... or if there are reprints of the old ones.