507 Mechanical Movements

Here is a glorious find, with thanks to No Tech Magazine.  With a publishing date of 1868 (republished 1908) and bearing the title “507 Mechanical Movements:  embracing all those which are most important in Dynamics, Hydraulics, Hydrostatics, Pneumatics, Steam Engines, Mill and Other Gearing, Presses, Horology, and Miscellaneous Machinery“, this doesn’t have all the hallmarks of a winner.  But to me it is a joy to behold, for a few reasons.

First and foremost, it shows that virtually any mechanical problem can be solved by careful thought and precision engineering.  The vast arrays of industrial might and computational power we throw at issues today perhaps hide a lack of genuinely personal creative thought.   Not so in earlier days.  The thought processes required for this kind of solution making had to be transparent in the drawings and descriptions.  It is a reminder of what we achieved without all the trappings and destruction concomitant with modern consumer-capitalism.

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Second, the book is laid out exactly as required for this kind of information.   Images on one side, relevant text on the other; no jumping about.  And that good design is carried forward in this virtual representation.  The images are crisp and clear and navigation is a breeze (just click on a page to move forward or back).

Thirdly, having been manager of a technical writing group for many years, I appreciate the clarity of the text.  Everything that needs to be said is said well, and nothing that is irrelevant is allowed to intrude.

To me, this book is as well planned and well constructed as the movements it describes. I am glad to have found it.  Thanks again to No Tech magazine.

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