4406 entries. 94 themes. Last updated December 26, 2016.

1800 to 1850 Timeline


By this Stage in the Industrial Revolution All Phases of Cloth Production Are Performed by Machines Circa 1800

At this stage in the Industrial Revolution, around 1800, all phases of cloth production were performed by machines. 

"Mechanized cotton spinning powered by steam or water increased the output of a worker by a factor of about 1000. The power loom increased the output of a worker by a factor of over 40. Large gains in productivity also occurred in spinning and weaving of wool and linen, but they were not as great as in cotton."

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Phasing Out Latin as the International Language 1800

Around the year 1800 publication of scientific and medical books in Latin— the international language of scholarship, religion, and science since the Roman Empire— gradually ceased. As the 19th century unfolded most scientific and medical books were published in their vernacular language of authorship, or in French, German or English. Works of scholarship or bibliography that involved Latin texts, and assumed knowledge of Latin, continued to be published in Latin mainly through the first half of the 19th century.

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Earl Stanhope Invents the First Completely Iron Printing Press Circa 1800

Around the year 1800 British statesman and scientist Charles Stanhope, 3rd Earl Stanhope (also known as Charles Mahon, 3rd Earl Stanhope), built the first printing press entirely out of iron. The greatly increased rigidity resulting from the iron, rather than wood construction, further improved the efficiency of the press. However, output increased only modestly, from an average of 200 sheets per hour on a wooden hand press to around 250 sheets per hour printing on both sides of the paper on a Stanhope press, with two men working the press.

Stanhope did not patent his press, and the precise year of its origin is unknown. The earliest surviving example is dated 1804. Early models had straight side frames which were prone to breaking due to the immense pressure that could be exerted. These castings were changed in about 1806 to the heavier 'rounded' style. In this form the press continued to be manufactured into the mid-19th century, and remained in use to a limited to a limited extent into the late 19th century, though by around 1880 it had been superceded by the Albion and Columbian hand presses. 

Moran, Printing Presses, History and Development from the Fifteenth Century to Modern Times (1973) Chapter 3, "The Stanhope Press," 49-57.

Hart, Charles Earl Stanhope and the Oxford University Press. Reprinted from Collectanea, 111, 1896 of the Oxford Historical Society with notes by James Mosley. London: Printing Historical Society, 1966.

(This entry was last revised on 03-08-2015.)

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The Gradual Disappearance of the Long S in Typography Circa 1800 – 1820

"The long 's' is derived from the old Roman cursive medial s, which was very similar to an elongated check mark. When the distinction between upper case (capital) and lower case (small) letter-forms became established, towards the end of the eighth century, it developed a more vertical form. At this period it was occasionally used at the end of a word, a practice which quickly died out but was occasionally revived in Italian printing between about 1465 and 1480. The short 's' was also normally used in the combination 'sf', for example in 'ſatisfaction'. In German written in Blackletter, the rules are more complicated: short 's' also appears at the end each word within a compound word.

"The long 's' is subject to confusion with the lower case or minuscule 'f', sometimes even having an 'f'-like nub at its middle, but on the left side only, in various kinds of Roman typeface and in blackletter. There was no nub in its italic typeform, which gave the stroke a descender curling to the left—not possible with the other typeforms mentioned without kerning.

"The nub acquired its form in the blackletter style of writing. What looks like one stroke was actually a wedge pointing downward, whose widest part was at that height (x-height), and capped by a second stroke forming an ascender curling to the right. Those styles of writing and their derivatives in type design had a cross-bar at height of the nub for letters 'f' and 't', as well as 'k'. In Roman type, these disappeared except for the one on the medial 's'.

"The long 's' was used in ligatures in various languages. Three examples were for 'si', 'ss', and 'st', besides the German 'double s' 'ß'.

"Long 's' fell out of use in Roman and italic typography well before the middle of the 19th century; in French the change occurred from about 1780 onwards, in English in the decades before and after 1800, and in the United States around 1820. This may have been spurred by the fact that long 's' looks somewhat like 'f' (in both its Roman and italic forms), whereas short 's' did not have the disadvantage of looking like another letter, making it easier to read correctly, especially for people with vision problems.

"Long 's' survives in German blackletter typefaces. The present-day German 'double s' 'ß' (das Eszett "the ess-zed" or scharfes-ess, the sharp S) is an atrophied ligature form representing either 'ſz' or 'ſs' (see ß for more). Greek also features a normal sigma 'σ' and a special terminal form 'ς', which may have supported the idea of specialized 's' forms. In Renaissance Europe a significant fraction of the literate class was familiar with Greek.The long 's' survives in elongated form, and with an italic-style curled descender, as the integral symbol ∫ used in calculus; Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz based the character on the Latin word summa (sum), which he wrote ſumma. This use first appeared publicly in his paper De Geometria, published in Acta Eruditorum of June, 1686, but he had been using it in private manuscripts since at least 1675" (Wikipedia article on Long s, accessed 09-11-2009).

♦ According to R. B. McKerrow, An Introduction to Bibliography for Literary Students (1927), the effective introduction of the reform in England was credited to the printer and publisher John Bell who in his British Theatre of 1791 used  the short s throughout.  "In London printing the reform was adopted very rapidly, and save in work of an intentionally antiquarian character, we do not find much use of [long] s in the better kind of printing after 1800" (McKerrow p. 309).  Though it would be amusing to do so, there seems to be no reason to accept the legend that  Bell initiated the change in his edition of Shakespeare because of his dismay at the appearance of the long s in Ariel's song in The Tempest: "Where the bee sucks, there suck I."

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Mathias Koops Issues the First Book Printed on Recycled Paper, with an Appendix Printed on Paper Made from Wood Pulp 1800 – 1802

On April 28, 1800 Pomeranian-English papermaker Mathias Koops was granted English patent no. 2392 for Extracting Ink from Paper and Converting such Paper into Pulp. Within the patent Koops described his process as "An invention made by me of extracting printing and writing ink from printed and written paper, and converting the paper from which the ink is extracted into pulp, and making thereof paper fit for writing, printing, and other purposes." This was the first patented process for recycling paper, and it is also possibly the first patent received for a recycling process that was— much later— widely used.

Also in 1800 Koops, whose scholarly and inventive attributes seem to have exceeded his business acumen, published the first edition of Historical Account of the Substances which Have Been Used to Describe Events, and to Convey Ideas from the Earliest Date to the Invention of Paper — a serious account of the history of materials used for recording information. To promote his venture to produce paper from materials other than linen rags— The Straw Paper Manufactory— Koops had the first edition of his book printed entirely on yellow paper made from straw. The following year he had part of the second edition, essentially identical to the first, printed on straw, but he also had a portion of the second edition printed on recycled paper, with the exception of the frontispiece image of the papyrus plant, which was printed on straw in both versions of the second edition. He characterized this recycled paper as "Printed on Paper Re-Made from Old Printed and Written Paper." The paper used was of the wove type, without any watermarks. The copies printed on recycled paper were the first books ever printed on recycled paper, and may have remained the only books printed on recycled paper for a century or more; I have been unable to find any study of this topic.

The appendix of all copies of Koops's second edition (pp. 259-73) was printed on paper made from wood pulp. Printing on paper made from wood fibers may have been first shown in Jacob Christian Schaäffer's Versuche und Muster ohne all Lumpen oder doch mit eniem geringen Zusatze derselben Papier zu machen (1765-71), and it is probable that Koops got the idea for producing this paper from Schäffer's work. My copy of the 1801 edition of Koops's book shows that his recycled paper was of excellent quality; his wood pulp paper somewhat less so, since that final gathering of my copy has browned but remains sound.

From the name of Koops's enterprise—The Straw Paper Manufactory— it is evident that he considered the production of paper from materials other than linen rags to be more commercial than the paper recycling process he invented. One of his patents for the production of paper of this type was "Manufacturing paper from straw, hay, thistles, waste and refuse of hemp and flax, and different kinds of wood and bark. British Patent number 2481 published 17 February 1801."

In 1802 printer Charles Whittingham of London issued a 2-volume edition of The Mathematical and Philosophical Works of the Right Rev. John Wilkins, Late Lord Bishop of Chester. To Which is Prefixed the Author's Life, and an Account of His Works. In Papermaking: The History and Technique of an Ancient Craft (1947) Dard Hunter stated on p. 525 that this was "probably the earliest use of bleached wood-pulp paper in English book production." It is possible that his paper was made by Koops. However, it is quite different from the wood pulp paper used as the appendix for Koops' 1801 edition as the paper in the 1802 Wilkins is thicker,with a rougher text, and has not browned. It does however have several flaws and would appear to be of an experimental nature. If Koops did produce the paper used in Whittingham's 1802 edition of Wilkins it is likely that he changed the process between 1801 and 1802. One should note that although Koops' process involved innovative technology it remained a process of making paper by hand as the Robert / Gamble papermaking machine was not in operation by 1802.

". . . By 1800 Koops had experience of manufacturing from waste paper at Neckinger mill in Bermondsey, . . .

"Having proved the possibility of making good paper from such materials, Koops set up a company, the Straw Paper Manufactory, raised over £70,000 by issue of shares, and in 1801 erected a paper-making mill at Millbank in Westminster. Contractors for the machinery included John Rennie, the engineer, and the firm of Boulton and Watt. This paper mill was easily the largest in the country. The enterprise, however, was over-ambitious and under-capitalized. Koops himself was the principal shareholder in the venture and on the strength of this offered to satisfy his creditors. His failure to discharge his bankruptcy by 1802 compelled Koops's creditors to issue a writ, inter alia, for seizure of the Straw Paper Manufactory's assets, and in the end its proprietors could not keep the enterprise solvent. The Millbank paper mill and its equipment were eventually offered for sale by auction in October 1804, thereby ending the possibility of England challenging the European paper industry by using more easily available materials for making paper" (Oxford DNB).


As I indicated above, I have been unable to find any thorough study of the earliest history of recycled paper, of or Koops's business activities, and it is probable that most of the history is unwritten. However, on April 12, 2014 I received an email from my friend and colleague Ove Hagelin in Stockholm, which may provide a clue to elements of the history previously unrecorded. Ove Hagelin wrote:

"When cataloguing the odontological collection at the Hagströmer Library I found this very special edition of a popular dentistry book that may be of interest for paper historians:
"RUSPINI, Bartholomew. 
A Treatise on the Teeth: Wherin an Accurate Idea of their Structure is given,  the Cause of their Decay Pointed out, an their Various Diseases enumerated; to .which is added, the most effectual method of treating the Disoriders of the Teeth and Gums, established by a long and successful Pratcice, by the Chevalier Ruspini, . . . The Tenth Edition + (with separate title-leaf) A Concise Relation of the Effects of an Extraordinary Styptic lately discovered; in a Series of Letters, from Several Gentlemen of the faculty, abd from the Patients. To Chevalier Ruspini, Surgeon-Dentist to His Royal Highness The prince of Wales.London, printed for the Author, and may be had at his house in Pall-Mall; . . . 1802. (Reynell, Printer, Piccadilly). 8vo - leaf: 192 x 120 mm. Pp iv, 5-52 + (A Concise Relation): pp [53]-128. The first five sheets (A-E4, pp 1-40,  are printed on yellow paper made from straw watermarked:

"The rest of the book is printed on white paper but at head of page 42 there is a printed rubric reading “Regenerated Paper”, followed by the description of Case 1, dealing with a Lady of Kent., but there is nothing written about the paper.

"I have tried to trace more copies of this “Tenth Edition”, dated 1802, but in vain. The book was very popular and no less than 13 editions appeared between 1768 and 1813. Richard Aspin at  Wellcome has checked for me that their 1797 edition is printed on normal rag paper. I have also noticed in the British Library catalogue a copy of the 1780? edition printed on “tinted paper”??

 "Can Ruspini, a most ingenious surgeon & dentist, also be a new name  to add to the pioneers  manufacturing his own paper or could he have bought it from Koop’s paper mill and had it watermarked by his name: CHEVALIER RUSPINI PALL MALL PATENT STRAW PAPER ?"
Prior to receipt of Ove Hagelin's email I was unfamiliar with the Italian-born British surgeon-dentist and philanthropist Bartholomew Ruspini, who is remembered, in addition to his dental work, for co-founding the Royal Masonic School for Girls in the small town of Rickmansworth, England. Though at this point we cannot know for certain, the timing of Ruspini's edition, so close to Koops's introduction of paper made from straw and of recycled paper, would suggest that Ruspini purchased his paper from Koops. It is also possible that Ruspini, who may have been concerned that his small book would be pirated, ordered paper from Koops with a special watermark to distinguish this edition from piracies, or just to show how special the paper was. Incidentally, a fine portrait of Ruspini with his family, painted by Nathaniel Hone I, is preserved in The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. In April 2014 a reproduction was available from the BBC "Your Paintings" at this link.
Hunter, The Literature of Papermaking 1390-1800 (1925) 48.
Hunter, Papermaking: The History and Technique of an Ancient Craft (1947) 333; see also 332-35.
(This entry was last revised on 04-21, 2016.)
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Maillardet's Automaton Circa 1800

About the year 1800 Swiss mechanician Henri Maillardet, working in London, constructed Maillardet's Automaton (or the "Draughtsman-Writer", or "Maelzel's Juvenile Artist" or "Juvenile Artist"), a spring-activated automaton that draws pictures and writes verses in both French and English. The motions of the hand are produced by a series of cams located on shafts in the base of the automaton, which produces the necessary movement to complete seven sketches and the text. This automaton has the largest cam-based memory of any automaton of the era. The capacity of the automaton to store seven images within the machine was calculated as 299,040 points, or almost 300 kilobits of storage. This was achieved by placing the driving machinery in a large chest that forms the base of the machine, rather than in the automaton's body.

"The memory is contained in the 'cams,' or  brass disks. . . . As the cams are turned by the clockwork motor, three steel fingers follow their irregular edges. The fingers translate the movements of the cams into side to side, front and back, and up and down movements of the doll's writing hand through a complex system of levers and rods that produce the markings on paper" (http://www.fi.edu/learn/sci-tech/automaton/automaton.php?cts=instrumentation, accessed 12-30-2013).

When first presented to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia in 1928, the automaton was of unknown origin. Once restored to working order, the automaton itself provided the answer when it penned the words "written by the automaton of Maillardet."

This automaton was a principal inspiration for Brian Selznick's 2007 book, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, which was later adapted to make the 2011 film Hugo directed by Martin Scorsese.

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Economic & Technological Advances Spur the Development of Newspapers in the U.S. Circa 1800 – 1840

"The first half of the 19th century brought dramatic changes in transportation and communications to the U.S. The introduction of the railroad and the telegraph greatly accelerated the transmission and dissemination of information. At the same time, the demographic structure of the country was changing rapidly, with the population spreading to the West and concentrating in cities. These changes both increased the demand for newspapers and facilitated their production. In 1800 there were 200 newspapers being published in the United States. By 1860 there were 3000.1 Many of the new urban papers that were founded in the 1830s and 40s reached unprecedented circulation numbers. According to one estimate, the total annual circulation of all newspapers between 1828 and 1840 doubled from 68 million to 148 million copies.2 Some scholars also speculate that this expansion of the press was due to increased political participation of the working and middle classes, higher rates of literacy, and increased leisure time.3 Advances in printing technology, such as the Fourdrinier paper-making machine and steam printing presses, were equally important, since they allowed for newspapers to be printed faster and more efficiently.

"At the beginning of the century, journalism in cities was dominated by the political and mercantile press, which tended to cater to particular groups of elite readers. But the 1820s and 30s saw the establishment of many new papers intended specifically for working men, free blacks, women, immigrants, and Native Americans, as well as for particular religious denominations, professions, or political causes like abolition and temperance. In this video, we will focus on one of the most significant developments in journalism of this period—the penny paper. These one-cent daily newspapers that began appearing in the 1830s were cheaper than the six-cent mercantile and political papers that preceded them, and they sought a new mass audience of middle and working-class readers. They proclaimed their political independence and strove to entertain their readers. They did not invent cheap pricing, the idea of political independence, or sensational reporting, but they took these elements of early American journalism and combined them in a new way. In doing so, they became some of the most successful and influential papers of the nineteenth century.

"These new penny papers combined major innovations in pricing, distribution, format, and content. Instead of being subsidized by political parties, they began operating independently and targeting new audiences. Instead of merely reprinting foreign news or speeches, they expanded coverage to local news, human interest stories, court reports, and scandals. Partisan papers charged higher prices and also received extra support from political patrons or government printing contracts. Because the penny papers were cheaper and generally didn't receive outside help, they depended more on advertising revenue, which was tied to circulation rates. The shift in the business model from offering expensive yearly subscriptions to vending individual copies by newsboys meant that the audience for these papers now included any literate person who happened to be walking down the street. Although the penny papers continued to report on "serious" subjects like politics and finance, the choice of content was not driven by party affiliation, but rather by what would sell the most papers. Benjamin Day, who got his start in the working class press press, founded the New York Sun in 1833, but its motto--"It Shines for All"--also indicates that he intended to reach a wider audience not limited to any particular group. With only 3 columns, the Sun’s early issues were about half as wide and half as tall as the typical political or mercantile papers. The Sun first popularized publishing police and court reports, which consisted of short descriptions of arrests for drunkenness, theft, and violence. Popular stories like these, delivered in brief paragraphs in a direct style, proved to be an enormous success. The Sun's example was widely copied by competitors. As many as 35 penny papers were founded in New York during the 1830s, but only two--Benjamin Day's New York Sun and James Gordon Bennett’s New York Herald--managed to survive the decade.4

"Bennett was one of the most colorful figures of American journalism, and his Herald attempted to surpass the Sun in its sensationalism. The Herald also pioneered the use of specialized columns and sections for financial news, sports, and local, state, and national news. Since the Herald and the Sun soon became major rivals, the two editors often attacked each others' papers, citing errors, delays, and dullness, while proclaiming the superiority of their own publication. Although they claimed political independence, the penny papers were certainly biased, and, like the partisan papers of the 1820s, their content was strongly associated with the personality of the editor. Bennett was especially outspoken. For example, in this column from October of 1835, he taunted the Sun, casting aspersions on its success and reputation.


1. Frank Luther Mott, American Journalism: A History of Newspapers in the United States Through 250 Years, 1690-1940 (New York: Macmillan, 1941), 216.

2. Dan Schiller, Objectivity and the News: The Public and the Rise of Commercial Journalism (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1981), 12.

3. Michael Schudson, Discovering the news: A Social History of American Newspapers (New York: Basic Books, 1978), 35-39, 43-50; and Schiller,Objectivity, 15-17.

4. William Huntzicker, The Popular Press, 1833-1865 (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1999), 32." (http://www.library.illinois.edu/hpnl/guides/newspapers/american/1800-1860/city.html, accessed 02-27-2015).

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President John Adams Signs Initial Funding of the Library of Congress April 24, 1800

On April 24, 1800 President John Adams signed legislation providing $5000 to purchase books as necessary for the “use of Congress.”

This was the origin of the Library of Congress. The Library was originally housed in the United States Capitol building.

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The First Edition of the Qur'an Printed by Muslims is Issued in Kazan 1801

The Qur'an (Koran) first appeared in a printed edition issued in 1801 by Muslims in Kazan, capital of the Republic of Tartarstan. Prior to this date, and for most of the nineteenth century, the Qur'an was primarily transmitted by manuscript copying.

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Joseph-Marie Jacquard's Loom Uses Punched Cards to Store Patterns 1801 – 1821

Few details are known for sure about the early career of Joseph-Marie Jacquard of Lyon. He was born into a family of weavers, and some say that he was originally apprenticed as a bookbinder; others say that he was originally a manufactuer of straw hats. In 1801 he received a patent for the automatic loom which he exhibited at the industrial exhibition in Paris in the same year. Jacquard's first patent, No. 245 in the French system of brevets, dated 23 December 1801, was entitlted Brevet d'invention de dix ans, Pour une machine destinée à suppléer le tireur de lacs, dans la fabrication des étoffes brochées et façonnées. This patent was first published in print on pp. 62-72 of  Description des machines et procédés spécifiés dans les brevets d'invention de prefectionnement et d'importation, Dont la durée est expirée; Publiée d'après les ordres de Son Excellence le Ministre de l'Intérieur, Par M. Christian, Directeur du Conservatoire royal des Arts et Métiers, Tome Quatrième (1820). It was accompanied by 2 folding plates. Accounts state that before patenting the loom Jacquard was summoned to Paris and attached to the Conservatoire nationale des arts et métiers. There he saw a loom by Jacques Vaucanson which suggested various improvements to his own, enabling Jacquard to perfect his invention before patenting it. None of the accounts I have read as of May 2016 appear to have actually read Jacquard's patent, making me wonder how accurate this account may be.

Jacquard's loom used series of punched cards to store patterns, reducing strenuous manual labor, and enabling repetitve production of complex designs. The Cambridge History of Western Textiles, edited by David Jenkins I (2003) p. 793 indicates that Jacquard did not finish his loom until 1805, and it was "only operational after 1810 in France." This would correspond to Jacquard's second patent, No. 658, granted on December 13, 1805 entitled "Brevet d'Invention de quinze ans, Pour un metier à faire du filet." This patent was first published in print on pp. 238-243 of Description des machines et procédés dans les brevets d'invention, de prefectionnement et dimportation dont la durée est expirée Tome VIII (1824). It was accompanied by 1 folding plate. The Cambridge History of Western Textiles also states that after 1810 the loom required further modification and improvements "so that by 1818 there was a device incorporated in the loom to control individual warp yarns which allowed intricately woven patterns to be woven automatically and accurately." This might correspond to the patent No. 640 granted to M. Breton, mécanicien à Lyon, granted on February 28, 1815 entitled "Brevet de perfectionnement de cinq ans, Pour un perfectionnement fait au mécanisme dit à la Jacquard, destiné à remplacer le tireur de lacs, dans la fabrication des étoffes façonnes." Breton's patent was first published in print on pp. 134-39 of Tome VIII of the same volume in which Jacquard's second patent (1805) appeared.

Nevertheless other accounts that I read state that in 1806 Jacquard's loom was declared public property, and Jacquard received a pension for his invention as compensation instead of royalties on his patent. Accounts also state that Jacquard was forced to flee from Lyon because of the anger of the weavers, who feared they would lose their jobs to the new technology. Jacquard persevered, and some unverified and probably exaggerated accounts say that by the time of his death in 1834 there were as many thirty thousand Jacquard looms installed in Lyon alone. Whatever the actual number, it is likely that the expanded new technology eventually employed more people than had been previously employed by the old technology.

Finding the specific references to Jacquard's original patents eluded me for several years. The first place where I ever found them specified was in D. de Prat's Traité de tissage au Jacquard (1921) 383. This valuable technical work, "Précédé d'une Notice historique sur l'Invention du Jacquard," seems to be common in trade, as it was easy to acquire a copy In May 2016. At that time I was unable to find a digital version on the web.

In 2016 I also acquired a copy of the English patent on the Jacquard loom granted in 1821 to Stephen Wilson, a silk merchant from Hoxton in Middlesex, England. The specification No. 4543 was granted for "Certain Improvements in Machinery for Weaving Figured Goods." As one might expect, nowhere in the patent is any mention of Jacquard. The 1821 patent describes the loom and its operation in considerable detail, and the large folding chart in the patent, which contains 16 detailed images, coincided remarkably with the 1820 publication in print of Jacquard's original patent. Like other British patents, this one was first printed in 1857.

Wilson had seen an example of the loom while a prisoner of war in France from 1803-1807. He gained his freedom after his wife Sarah petitioned Napoleon for his release. After returning to England, from 1810 to 1820 Wilson seems to have been engaged in finding a Jacquard loom that could be shipped back to England. This would have been difficult as few of the looms were being built in this early period and all would have been regarded as very valuable strategic business property.

"Stephen's attempts to introduce the Jacquard loom into his company are seen in a letter sent to him, in August 1820, from Paris, by a Thomas Smith. The letter has all the appearance of being from an industrial spy. Smith described his visit to one of the largest manufactories in the environs of Paris and his examination of 'the machine'. He described the technology of 'the machine' and concluded by saying, 'I have also obtained a Hook as you desired - and also a small bit of the Paste-board [composition of the cards] to show its texture' " (http://www.heartstreatham.co.uk/streathams-french-connection-at-the-streatham-silk-mill, accessed 02-28-2016).

Wilson built a large silk mill opposite his house in Streatham for production of silk woven by Jacquard looms. He also smuggled a French weaver into England to teach his employees how to use the looms. According to The Cambridge History of Western Textiles (p. 793) the earliest surviving Jacquard-woven patterns in England date from 1825, though there is a design for a handkerchief of 1823, "but the collapse of the silk industry in 1826 made the introduction abortive."

The Jacquard loom did no computation, and for that reason it was not a digital device in the way we think of digital today. However the method by which Jacquard stored information in punched cards by either punching a hole in one of the more than 1000 standardized spaces in a card, or not punching a hole in that space, is analogous to a zero or one or an on-and-off switch. It was also an important conceptual step in the history of computing because the Jacquard method of storing information in punched cards was used by Charles Babbage in his plans for data and program input, and data output and storage in his general purpose programmable computer, the Analytical Engine. Trains of Jacquard cards, on which elaborate weaving patterns were stored, were programs in the modern sense of computer programs, though the word "program" did not have that meaning until after the development of electronic computers after World War II.

Precursors of Jacquard

In 1725 Basile Bouchon of Lyon, the son of an organ maker, adapted the concept of musical automata controlled by pegged cylinders to the repetitive task of weaving. He invented a loom that was controlled by perforated paper tape.

In order to make the input of instructions to the loom more flexible in 1728 Jean-Baptiste Falcon substituted a chain of punched paper cards for the perforated paper tape employed by his colleague Basile Bouchon. Other inventors also contributed to the automation of weaving: Regnier and Vaucanson; however, none of the attempts before Jacquard were totally successful.

(This entry was last updated on 05-12-2016.)

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The First Census of England, Scotland and Wales is Undertaken 1801

Following the passage of the Census Act or Population Act of 1800, which he was largely responsible for drafting, English goverment official and statistician John Rickman supervised the first Census of England, Scotland and Wales— the first detailed census ever undertaken of any country.

"The 1801 census was in two parts: the first was concerned with the number of people, their occupations, and numbers of families and houses. The second was a collection of the numbers of baptisms, marriages and burials, thus giving an indication of the rate at which the population was increasing or decreasing. Information was collected by census enumerators who were usually the local Overseers of the Poor or (in Scotland) schoolmasters. They visited individual households and gathered the required information, before submitting statistical summaries. The details of households and individuals were important only in creating these local summaries and were destroyed in all but a few cases."

John Rickman first proposed the census in 1796 in an article in the Commercial, Agricultural, and Manufacturer's Magazine, which he edited. The Secretary to the Treasury, George Rose, noticed the article and in 1800 the Census Act, drafted by Rickman, was presented to parliament. Rickman then directed the census and was responsible for digesting and annotating the data.

The study of population was one of the major concerns of political economy at this time and the first census came at a crucial point in the debate. When Malthus published his Essay on Population in 1798, demographic knowledge was necessarily limited. After the results of the first census were known, Malthus extensively revised and expanded the Essay, incorporating insights gained from the census and other sources, and published it virtually as new work in 1803.

The census was published on December 21, 1801 as Abstract of the answers and returns made pursuant to an act, passed in the forty-first year of His Majesty King George III. Intitled an act for taking an account of the population of Great Britain, and the increase or diminution thereof. A second volume was published on June 9, 1802.

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Karl Friedrich Gauss, the Prince of Mathematicians, Issues Disquisitiones arithmeticae 1801

In 1801, at the age of 24, Carl Friedrich Gauss published Disquisitiones arithmeticae in Leipzig, revolutionizing number theory.

"In this book [Gauss] standardized the notation; he systematized the existing theory and extended it; and he classified the problems to be studied and the known methods of attack and introduced new methods. . . . [The Disquisitiones] not only began the modern theory of numbers but determined the directions of work in the subject up to the present time" (Kline, Mathematical Thought from Ancient to Modern Times [1972] 813).

The typesetters of this work had difficulty understanding Gauss's new and difficult mathematics, creating numerous elaborate mistakes which Gauss was unable to correct in proof. After the book was printed Gauss insisted that, in addition to an unusually lengthy four-page errata, the worst mistakes be corrected by cancel leaves to be inserted in the copies before sale. Copies vary in the number of cancel leaves—a topic about which I have never seen a comprehensive bibliographical analysis.

The difficulty of understanding Gauss's highly technical work was hardly alleviated by the sloppy typesetting.  The few mathematicians who were able to read the Disquisitiones immediately hailed Gauss as their prince, but the full understanding required for further development did not occur until publication in 1863 of Johan Peter Gustav Lejeune Dirichlet's less austere exposition in his Vorlesungen über Zahlentheorie.

Hook & Norman, The Haskell F. Norman Library of Science and Medicine (1991) no. 878. Carter & Muir, Printing and the Mind of Man (1967) no. 257.

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William Playfair Invents the Pie Chart 1801

In 1801 Scottish engineer and political economist William Playfair published in London The Statistical Breviary; Shewing, on a Principle Entirely New, the Resources of Every State and Kingdom in Europe; Illustrated with Stained Copper-Plate Charts, Representing the Physical Powers of Each Distinct Nation with Ease and Perspicuity. To which is added, a Similar Exhibition of the Ruling Powers of Hindoostan. In this work Playfair invented the pie chart. It has also been suggested that Playfair, often short of funds, may have colored the charts in all the copies himself—the process he characterized as "staining" in the title.

Playfair, The Commercial and Political Atlas and Statistical 
, Edited and Introduced by Howard Wainer and Ian Spence (2005). This edition reproduces in color the third edition of the atlas (1801) and the first edition of the breviary (1801).

(This entry was last revised on 02-04-2015.)

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Lamarck Issues the First Published Statement of Lamarckism 1801

A portrait of Jean Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet, Chevalier de Lamarck

Systême des animaux sans vertèbres

In 1801 French soldier, biologist, and naturalist Jean Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet, Chevalier de Lamarck published Systême des animaux sans vertèbres. The "Discours d'overture" occupying the first forty-eight pages of this work contained Lamarck's first published statement of his evolutionary theory of species development, including his idea of the continuous progressive perfection of species from the simplest to the most complex, and his famous theory of the inheritance of acquired characteristics, generally called "Lamarckism."  The Systême was also the first zoological work to employ the term "invertebrates" to describe what had previously been lumped under the imprecise category of "insects and worms."

J. Norman (ed) Morton's Medical Bibliography 5th ed (1991) No. 215.5.

Hook & Norman, The Haskell F. Norman Library of Science & Medicine (1991) no. 1261.

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First Report on the Organization of the Library of Congress December 18, 1801

On December 18, 1801 Congressman John Randolph of Virginia issued his Report of the Joint Committee Appointed to Take into Consideration the Arrangement of Books and Maps Belonging to Congress. This six-page pamphlet was instrumental in the organization of the Library of Congress.

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Filed under: Libraries

François Antoine Rauch Writes in Harmony with the Modern Ecology Movement 1802 – 1818

In 1802 French civil engineer François Antoine Rauch published in Paris a 2-volume work entitled Harmonie hydro-végétale et météorologique: ou recherches sur les moyens de recréer avec nos forêts la force des températures et la régularité des saisons par des plantations raisonnées.

Concerned with the disastrous effects of deforestration, which not only affected the agriculture and scenery of the countryside, but also the whole ecological balance of crops, flora and fauna, and human interaction with the ecological system, Rauch discussed the interrelationships between climate, terrain and vegetation, and suggested ways to establish a state of harmony between man and the the environment. He included topics such as the ecological balance found in mountain regions, and suggested in the final chapter, that a ministerial department "of the interior" be set up in order to monitor ecological issues and supervise relevant matters at a local level.

Rauch espoused many ideas to achieve such a 'harmony', including plans for monumental avenues flanked by grand trees and country roads edged by fruit trees. He was also particularly concerned with cemeteries and graves, believing that the dead would rest easier in a 'natural' environment and recommended burial in "natural" places.  

Over the following sixteen years Rauch made many further observations which resulted in a considerably revised, augmented and updated 2-volume work published in 1818 entitled Régénération de la nature végétale, ou recherches sur les moyens de recréer, dans tous les climats, les anciennes températures et l'ordre primitif des saisons, par des planations raisonnées, appuyées de quelques vues sur le ministère que la puissance végétale semble avoir a remplir dans l'harmonie des éléments. Writing from a viewpoint in agreement with the modern ecology movement,  Rauch argued that it is necessary to reverse the process of human destruction of the environment, particularly the world-wide destruction of forests, in order to return the planet to a state better supportive of life.

Rauch began with a consideration of the relationship of forests to weather conditions, surveyed the effects of deforestation world-wide on climate, and animal and human populations, and set out in several chapters steps to be taken: what sorts of vegetation should be planted where, renewal of water sources, and the establishment of governmental agencies in France and all over the globe to observe the environment and take action. He urged the agencies, for example, to consider changes over short periods of time ("to what extant animals and birds are scarcer in the last thirty years" in a particular area), and to attempt regulation of factory fuel sources. In his closing argument he urged the obligation "to conserve the noble economy," and "to conserve that from which we benefit."  

On April 1821 Rauch began publication of a periodical entitled Annales europeenes de physique végétale et d'économie publique. This continued through 1827.

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Bowditch Issues the "New American Practical Navigator" 1802

In 1802 Edmund P. Blunt of Newburyport, Massachusetts published Nathaniel Bowditch's The New American Practical Navigator. This fundamental American work on navigation grew out of Bowditch's revisions and corrections of John Hamilton Moore's popular, and often reprinted New Practical Navigator, first published in America by Edmund Blunt in 1799.

Blunt had requested the assistance of Bowditch, a skilled navigator, mathematician and astronomer, in rectifying Moore's more than 8,000 errors, which Bowditch did anonymously for both the first American edition and the second (1800) of Moore's book. By the time copy came to be prepared for the third edition, however, Bowditch's corrections to Moore were found to be so numerous that it was decided to issue the work under a new title, and to acknowledge Bowditch as the author on the title-page. This vastly improved Navigator had an enormous impact on the history of navigation, playing a key role in the maritime and commercial expansion of the nineteenth century. Ten editions appeared during Bowditch's lifetime. In 1866 the U.S. Hydrographic Office acquired the copyright from the descendants of Edmund Blunt; the government has kept the work up to date ever since. The latest edition, prepared and published by the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, Bethesda, Maryland, is available free online as a PDF from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) at this link.

Campbell, History and Bibliography of The New American Practical Navigator and The American Coast Pilot (1964) identified 7 variants of the first edition of Bowditch’s book but could assign no priority to any. Dibner, Heralds of Science, No. 15. Grolier American Hundred, No. 25.

(This entry was last revised on 04-23-2014.)

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George Howe Issues the First Book Printed in Australia 1802

Very soon after arriving in Sydney, Australia in 1800, Anglo-Australian printer, editor, publisher and poet George Howe, became government printer. In 1802 he issued the first book printed in Australia, New South Wales General Standing Orders, which included Government and General Orders issued between 1791 and 1802.

Howe was born on the island of Saint Kitts in the West Indies, the son of Thomas Howe, government printer at Basseterre on St Christopher's Island.

"George and his brother were both apprenticed to the printing trade. His later work indicates that his education was thorough along the classical lines of the eighteenth century, and that he was well read in European literature. In 1790 Howe went to London and worked on The Times and other newspapers. He married and his son Robert was born in 1795. In March 1799, together with a companion, Thomas Jones, and under the name of 'George Happy alias Happy George', he was tried at the Warwick Assizes for shoplifting at Alcester; he was sentenced to death but this was commuted to transportation for life. Robert Howe later referred to Alexander McLeay as 'the benefactor of myself and my poor mother', and it was probably McLeay who enabled Howe's family to embark with him in the Royal Admiral. He arrived at Sydney in November 1800, but his wife died on the voyage. Howe himself recovered from a serious illness in 1801 and attributed his survival to D'Arcy Wentworth" (http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/howe-george-1600, accessed 02-07-2013).

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The First Catalogue of the Library of Congress is Published April 1802 – October 1803

The first catalogue of the Library of Congress was a ten-page pamphlet issued in April 1802: Catalogue of Books, Maps, and Charts, Belonging to the Library of the Two Houses of Congress. This listed the original collection according to size: folios, quartos, octavos, and duodecimos, with estimated values for each, followed by nine maps and charts. 

In October 1803 the first supplement appeared: Supplemental Catalogue of Books, Maps, Charts, Belonging to the Library of the Two Houses of Congress. This 7-page pamphlet listed 180 volumes added since April 1802.

Sabin 15560 & 15561.

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Joseph Jérôme de Lalande Compiles the First Major Chronological Bibliography of Any Science 1803

Subject bibliographies are most commonly arranged by author. Bibliographie astronomique; avec l'historie de l'astronomie depuis 1781 jusqu'à 1802 by French astronomer and writer Joseph Jérôme de Lalande, published in Paris by the Imprimerie de la République in 1803, was prefaced by a vast 660-page often annotated chronological bibliography of the literature of astronomy. Lalande acknowledged that he was dependent for the earliest literature on references in Johann Frideric Weidler's Bibliographia astronomica. . . . (1775), a pioneering work which he frequently cited. Weidler followed a chronological arrangement, and it is probable that Lalande found it convenient as well as useful to improve and build upon Weidler's work. Lalande's chronological order in his brief first section on books composed "before the discovery of printing" was somewhat shakey, with entries from the ancient world inexact and sometimes out of chronological sequence in the first three pages. But by around the time of Cassiodorus, which Lalande set a bit inaccurately at 530 CE, Lalande found himself on firmer chronological ground. Once he passed to printed books he assumed greater authority, and many of his thousands of entries indicate that he examined the actual edition himself, and commented on the contents, reflecting an extraordinary familiarity with the a high percentage of the vast historical literature of astronomy.

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Filed under: Bibliography, Science

George Howe Begins Publication of the "Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser", the First Newspaper in Australia March 5, 1803

On March 5, 1803 convicted and transported shoplifter, printer, editor, publisher and poet George Howe began the publication of the first newspaper in Australia, the Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser. The newspaper was printed on a small wooden printing press which had been brought to the colony by Captain Arthur Phillip in the First Fleet that founded the first European settlement in Australia. 

In An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales Lieutenant Governor David Collins noted in November 1795 that a young printer, George Hughes, had used the press to print numerous government notices and orders. In a small printery behind Government House Hughes printed some 200 Government Orders, several broadsides and a few playbills; one of these was for The Recruiting Officer, in which he was a performer in March 1800. Next November when George Howe arrived and took over the press, Hughes returned to the obscurity from which he had emerged. Copies of some of the ephemera printed by Hughes are held in the Record Office, London (Ferguson, Foster & Green, The Howes and their Press [1936] 15). 

George Howe had used the same press to print the colony’s first book, The New South Wales General Standing Orders (1802). Howe was also the editor of the Sydney Gazette, though the newspaper was under strict government censorship. The establishment of a weekly newspaper in the colony had been an initiative of  Governor King, and the publication originally acted as a medium for broadcasting official information about such matters as government proclamations, new civil regulations and court news. The newspaper also recorded on a weekly basis all the recent maritime activity at Port Jackson, including shipping arrivals and departures and cargo information. Auctions of goods, sales of land, personal and business notices, and lists of newly pardoned or emancipated convicts were also features of each issue.

In its first year of publication, the Sydney Gazette was sold at sixpence per copy to 300 subscribers. The newspaper was printed by Howe until his death in 1821, and then by his son Robert. It continued to publish until 1842.

The newspaper’s first masthead, bore the imprimatur "Published by Authority," It's motto,"Thus We Hope to Prosper," framed a cameo woodcut image of Port Jackson. Although John William Lewin had produced some of his intaglio copper plate prints of natural history subjects as early as 1801, the primitive masthead of the first issue of the Sydney Gazette was the first printed woodcut in the colony: ‘The few buildings that made up Sydney Town in 1803 are silhouetted against the skyline; beside the cove a man ploughs a field; picks and spades in the foreground signify the transforming of the native earth; and a female figure is given a prominent position seated on some bales of produce. Together these elements were emblematic of the newspaper’s motto. . . ." (Butler, Printed Images in Colonial Australia 1801-1901, 91). The designer and cutter of the woodblock used for the masthead was, according to Butler, possibly another convict— an Irish forger named John Austin. 

"[Howe's son] Robert helped in the printing office when the paper began and 'had the honour, even in those infant days, of gaining the smile and eliciting the astonishment of the King's Representative when he saw us perched on a stool'. According to Robert the old printing press was worth only £2 and they had to manage with a mere 20 lbs. (9 kg) of type; but Howe was an 'ingenious man' and managed in spite of the inadequate press, a chronic shortage of ink and paper, and the refusal or inability of many of his subscribers to pay their debts. He was conditionally pardoned in 1803, and fully emancipated in 1806" (http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/howe-george-1600, accessed 02-07-2013).

(This entry was last revised on 05-06-2014.)

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The First World Atlas Printed by Muslims April 1803 – March 1804

From April 1803 to March 1804 the Istanbul Engineering College Press in Istanbul (Constantinople) issued the the Cedid Atlas Tercumesi (New Atlas). This was the first world atlas printed by Muslims. Only 50 copies were issued.

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Francisco Javier de Balmis Undertakes the First International Health-Care Expedition November 30, 1803

On November 30, 1803 Spanish physician Francisco Javier de Balmis and his team embarked from La Coruña, Spain, on an expedition to vaccinate the people of Spanish America against smallpox. This three year voyage, which became known as the Balmis Expedition, is considered the first international health care expedition. Of it Edward Jenner wrote, ""I don’t imagine the annals of history furnish an example of philanthropy so noble, so extensive as this."

Born in Alicante, Spain,  Francisco Balmis moved to Havana, and later to Mexico City. In Mexico City he was principal surgeon at the Hospital of San Juan de Dios. There he studied plant remedies for venereal disease, and published Demostracion de las eficaces virtudes nuevamente descubiertas en las raices de dos plantas de Nueva-España, especies de ágave y de begónia, para la curacion del vicio venéreo y escrofuloso in Madrid in 1794. Back in Spain, he became the royal physician to King Charles IV. Balmis was able to convince the king to support the expedition after the king's daughter suffered the illness.

On the ship Maria Pita Balmis sailed with a deputy surgeon, two assistants, two first-aid practitioners, three nurses, Isabel López de Gandalia, the rectoress of Casa de Expósitos, an orphanage in La Coruña, and 22 orphan boys, eight to ten years old, who served as successive carriers of the disease. The mission carried the vaccine to the Canary IslandsColombiaEcuadorPeruMexico, the Philippines and China. The ship carried also scientific instruments and copies of Balmis's 1803 translation into Spanish of Traité historique et pratique de la vaccine (1801) by Jacques-Louis Moreau de la Sarthe:

Tratado histórico y práctico de la vacuna que contiene en compendio el orígen y los resultados de las observaciones y experimentos sobre la vacuna, con un exámen imparcial de sus ventajas, y de las objeciones que se le han puesto, con todo lo demás que concierne á la práctica del nuevo modo de inocular

 to be distributed to the local vaccine commissions which Balmis founded in the cities he visited. 

"In Puerto Rico, the local population was already inoculated from the Danish colony of Saint Thomas. In Venezuela, the expedition divided at La Guayra. José Salvany, the deputy surgeon, went toward today's Colombia and the Viceroyalty of Peru (Venezuela, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, and Bolivia). They took seven years and the toils of the voyage brought death to Salvany (Cochabamba, 1810). Balmis went to Caracas and later to Havana. The local poet Andrés Bello wrote an ode to Balmis. In Mexico, Balmis took 25 orphans to maintain the infection during the crossing of the Pacific. In the Philippines, they received help from the Catholic church. Balmis sent most of the expedition back to Mexico while he went on to China, where he visited Macau and Canton. On his way back to Spain, Balmis convinced the authorities of Saint Helena (1806) to be inoculated" (Wikipedia article on Balmis Expedition, accessed 05-14-2014.)

(This entry was last revised in December 2016).

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Nicholas-Théodore de Saussure Demonstrates that the Carbon Content of Soil is Produced by Vegetation 1804

Chemist Nicholas-Théodore de Saussure published Recherches chimiques sur la végetation in Paris in 1804. In this foundation work on phytochemistry, Saussure analyzed the chief active components of plants, their synthesis and decomposition. He specified the relationships between vegetation and the environment. He showed that plants grown in closed vessels took their entire carbon content from the enclosed gas, and thus demolished the old theory that plants derive carbon from the so-called "humus" of the soil. Conversely, he demonstrated that the carbon content of soil is produced by vegetation.

J. Norman (ed.) Morton's Medical Bibliography 5th ed. (1991) no. 145.54.

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The First Practical Manual on Antiquarian Bookselling 1804 – 1805

In 1804-05 printer and bookseller Martin-Sylvestre Boulard wrote, printed, and published the first practical manual for antiquarian booksellers, entitled Traité élementaire de bibliographie, contenant la manière de faire les inventaires, les Prisées, les Ventes Publiques et de classer les Catalogues. Les bases d'une bonne Bibliothèque et la manière d'apprécier les livres rares et précieux. Ouvrage utile à tous les bibliographes et particulièrement aux Bibliothècaires et aux Libraires qui commencent in Paris in An XIII of the French revolutionary calendar (1804-05).

Janssen, "The Oldest Practical Manual for the Antiquarian Bookseller," Bulletin du Bibliophile (1997) 367-74.

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Adrien-Marie Legendre Publishes the Method of Least Squares 1805

In 1805 French mathematician Adrien-Marie Legendre published Nouvelles méthodes pour la détermination des orbites des comètes. His appendix to this work, “Sur la Méthode des moindres quarrés,” represented the first publication of the method of least squares, the earliest form of regression analysis.

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Humboldt & Bonpland Describe Geographical-Ecological Plant Associations 1805

In 1805 naturalist, explorer and polymath Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich Alexander von Humboldt and botanist and explorer Aimé J. A. Bonpland published in Paris Essai sur la géographie des plantes; accompagné d'un tableau physique des régions équinoxales [Vol. I of Voyage aux régions êquinoxales du nouveau continent]. In this contribution to ecology Humboldt and Bonpland founded the study of the geographical distribution of plants. In 1799 Humboldt and Bonpland embarked on a six-year tour of research through South America and Mexico, a trip which would afterwards be called, justifiably, "the scientific discovery of America."  The two amassed exhaustive data in a wide array of fields from meteorology to ethnography, and gathered 60,000 plant specimens, 6,300 of which had been hitherto unknown in Europe.  Their American travel journals— issued under the general title Voyage aux régions équinoxiales du nouveau continent, fait en 1700, 1800, 1801, 1802, 1803 et 1804— were published in thirty-four volumes between 1807 and 1834; the sheets of the present work were reissued as Vol. I of the Voyage, with an extra half-title and general title and the plate colored. [We have also seen a copy with the plate uncolored.] Humboldt classified these volumes into six subject groups, of which this volume on plant geography constituted the whole of the fifth.  It contains some very interesting ideas on the relation between natural classification of plants and their geographical distribution, as well as one of the earliest attempts to describe the distribution of plants by characterizing geographical-ecological plant associations.

Hook & Norman , The Haskell F. Norman Library of Science and Medicine (1991) no. 1111.

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Méchain, Delambre, Biot & Arago Calculate the Meter (Metre) Scientifically 1806 – 1821

Between 1806 and 1810 French astronomer and surveyer Pierre Méchain and French mathematician and astronomer Jean Delambre published Base du système mètrique décimal in3 volumes. This work was concluded in 1821 by a fourth volume entitled Recueil d’observations géodésiques, astronomiques et physiques by French physicist, astronomer and mathematician Jean Baptiste Biot and French mathematician, physicist and astronomer François Arago.

In 1788 the French Academy of Sciences, at the suggestion of Talleyrand, proposed the establishment of a new universal decimal system of measurement founded upon some “natural and invariable base” to replace Europe’s diverse regional systems. This project was approved by the Assemblée nationale in 1790 and a basic unit or “meter (metre)” of measurement proposed, which was to be one ten-millionth of the distance between the terrestrial pole and the Equator. In 1792 Méchain and Delambre were appointed to make the necessary geodetic measurements of the meridian passing through Dunkirk and Barcelona, from which the meter would be derived, and in 1793/94 (An II of  the French Revolutionary calendar), the French government introduced the metric system to the country through the publication of Instruction sur les mesures déduites de la grandeur de la terre, uniformes pour toute la république, et sur les calculs relatifs à leur division décimale issued in Paris by the Imprimerie Nationale. 

Méchain and Delambre's scientific project was hampered by France’s political revolution, by the death of Méchain in 1804, and by the tedious calculations involved in converting one system to another; it was not until 1810 that Delambre was able to complete the final volume of the Base du système mètrique décimal.

Méchain and Delambre had determined the length of the meter by taking measurements over a meridian arc of 10 degrees. After Méchain’s death in 1804, the Bureau des Longitudes proposed that the meter’s length be redetermined more accurately by extending measurement of the arc of the meridian south to the Balearic Islands of Mallorca, Menorca and Ibiza. François Arago and Jean Baptiste Biot were assigned to this task. Arago was twenty years old at the start of this project. In 1806 he and Biot journeyed to Spain and began triangulating the Spanish coast. Their work was disrupted by the political unrest that developed after Napoleon’s invasion of Spain in 1807. Biot returned to Paris after they had determined the latitude of Formentera, the southernmost point to which they were to carry the survey. Arago continued the work until 1808, his purpose being to measure a meridian arc in order to determine the exact length of a meter.

After Biot's departure, the political ferment caused by the entrance of the French into Spain extended to the Balearic Islands, and the population suspected Arago's movements and his lighting of fires on the top of mola de l’Esclop as the activities of a spy for the invading army. Their reaction was such that he was obliged to give himself up for imprisonment in the fortress of Bellver in June 1808. On July 28 Arago escaped from the island in a fishing boat, and after an adventurous voyage he reached Algiers on August 3. From there he obtained a passage in a vessel bound for Marseille, but on August 16, just as the vessel was nearing Marseille, it fell into the hands of a Spanish corsair. With the rest the crew, Arago was taken to Roses in Catalonia, and imprisoned first in a windmill, and afterwards in a fortress, until the town fell into the hands of the French, and the prisoners were transferred to Palamós.

After three months' imprisonment, Arago and the others were released on the demand of the dey (ruler) of Algiers, and again set sail for Marseille on the November 28, but when within sight of their port they were driven back by a northerly wind to Bougie on the coast of Africa. Transport to Algiers by sea from this place would have required a delay of three months. Arago, therefore, set out over land, on what had to be a strenuous journey, guided by a Muslim imam, and reached Algiers on Christmas Day. After six months in Algiers, on June 21, 1809, Arago set sail for Marseille, where he had to undergo a monotonous and inhospitable quarantine in the lazaretto before his difficulties were over, roughly one year after he had first been imprisoned. The first letter he received, while in the lazaretto, was from Alexander von Humboldt—the origin of a scientific relationship which lasted over forty years.

In spite of the successive imprisonments, an escape, voyages, and other hardships he endured, Arago had succeeded in preserving the records of his survey; and his first act on his return home was to deposit them in the Bureau des Longitudes in Paris. As a reward for his heroic conduct in the cause of science, he was elected a member of the Académie des Sciences at the remarkably early age of twenty-three, and before the close of 1809 he was chosen by the council of the Ėcole Polytechnique to succeed Gaspard Monge in the chair of analytic geometry. At the same time he was named by the emperor one of the astronomers of the Obsérvatoire royale, which remained his residence till his death, and in this capacity he delivered his remarkably successful series of popular lectures on astronomy from 1812 to 1845. Most of Arago's later scientific contributions were in physics, particularly optics and magnetism: he discovered the phenomena of rotary magnetism (the greater sensitivity for light in the periphery of the eye) and rotary polarization, invented the first polariscope, and performed important experiments supporting the undulatory theory of light. In his capacity as secretary of the Académie des sciences, he championed the photographic process invented by Louis Daguerre, announcing its discovery to the Académie in 1839, and using his influence to obtain publicity and funding for its inventor.

Arago’s results, together with geodetic data obtained in France, England and Scotland, were published in the Recueil d’observations géodésiques, issued as a supplement to Méchain and Delambre’s work 11 years after he carried the data back to France, in 1821. Political opposition to the new system of measurement may have contributed to the unusually long delay in publication. 

Besides his scientific career Arago was a politician, representing a scientific point of view, and accomplishing government projects that were culturally valuable. For a little over one month, from May 9, 1848 to June 24, 1848 he was the 25th Prime Minister of France. Arago detailed his scientific adventures in his Histoire de ma jeunesse published the year after his death, in 1854.  This was translated into English by the Rev. Baden-Powell as History of My Youth (1855). The translation was reprinted in Arago's Biographies of Distinguished Scientific Men (1859).

As a tribute to Arago’s contribution, in 1994 the Arago Association and the city of Paris commissioned a Dutch conceptual artist, Jan Dibbets to create a memorial to Arago. Dibbets came up with the idea of setting 135 bronze Arago Medallions into the ground along the Paris Meridian between the northern and southern limits of Paris: a total distance of 9.2 kilometres/5.7 miles. Each medallion is 12 cm in diameter and marked with the name ARAGO plus N and S pointers; only 121 are documented in the official guide to the medallions. One of these was shown in the film, The Da Vinci Code.

Carter & Muir, Printing and the Mind of Man (1967) no. 260. Daumas, Arago: La jeunesse de la science, ch. IV. Hook & Norman, The Haskell F. Norman Library of Science and Medicine (1991) no. 1481.

Alder, The Measure of the World (2003) pp. 7 and 294 refers to Méchain's annotated copy of this set of books in the Karpeles Manuscript Library.  In 2011, when I finished this database entry, I owned Arago's copy of the set.

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Noah Webster Compiles the First Dictionary of American English 1806 – 1828

In 1806 American lexicographer, textbook pioneer, English spelling reformer, and writer Noah Webster published from Hartford and New Haven, Connecticut, A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language. In which Five Thousand Words are added to the number found in the Best English Compends; The Orthography, in some instances, corrected; the Pronunciation marked by an Accent or other suitable Direction; and the Definitions of many Words amended and improved. This small octavo volume was the first dictionary of American English. It was innovative in several ways: through the reform of spelling, through its guides to pronunciation, through its inclusion of etymologies, and through the modernity of its word selection and its definitions.  The work was designed to be both brief and portable. Its 400 pages were mostly divided into two columns and definitions were printed in small type, across one column each, and margins on each page were minimal.

Almost as soon as his first dictionary was published Webster began composition of an expanded and fully comprehensive dictionary, which took him 18 years to complete.  In 1828 when Webster was 70 years old his An American Dictionary of the English Language was finally published in 2 thick quarto volumes containing 70,000 entries. 2500 copies were printed at the high cost of $20 each. Copies sold slowly, and were not all bound at the same time, resulting in binding variants.

"To evaluate the etymology of words, Webster learned twenty-six languages, including Old English (Anglo-Saxon), German, Greek, Latin, Italian, Spanish, French, Hebrew, Arabic, and Sanskrit. Webster hoped to standardize American speech, since Americans in different parts of the country used different languages. They also spelled, pronounced, and used English words differently.

"Webster completed his dictionary during his year abroad in 1825 in Paris, France, and at the University of Cambridge. His book contained seventy thousand words, of which twelve thousand had never appeared in a published dictionary before. As a spelling reformer, Webster believed that English spelling rules were unnecessarily complex, so his dictionary introduced American English spellings, replacing "colour" with "color", substituting "wagon" for "waggon", and printing "center" instead of "centre". He also added American words, like "skunk" and "squash", that did not appear in British dictionaries . . ." (Wikipedia article on Noah Webster, accessed 06-05-2012).

Webster's original manuscript of his 1828 dictionary is preserved in the Morgan Library & Museum.

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Ralph Wedgwood Invents Carbon Paper 1806

In 1806 English inventor, Ralph Wedgwood of Etruria in Staffordshire, cousin and business partner of potter and industrialist Josiah Wedgwood, received a patent for the earliest form of carbon paper. This invention appears to have been a great success in that it may have earned £10,000 in profit within the first seven years of the patent.

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The First Illustration is Printed in "The Times" of London January 10, 1806

On January 10, 1806 The Times of London newspaper published its first illustration—a distinctive woodcut showing all the designs of the upper cover and sides of Horatio Nelson's coffin.  This was one of the earliest illustrations in a newspaper.

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William Wilberforce Crusades for the Abolition of Slavery in the British Empire 1807

English politician and abolitionist William Wilberforce published A Letter on the Abolition of the Slave Trade. . . , one of the pivotal works in the establishment of human rights.

As M. P. for Yorkshire, Wilberforce actively worked for the abolition of slavery since 1787. He led the effort in Parliament and was considered the voice of conscience in Britain. Even so it took twenty years for the slave trade to be abolished, and almost another twenty for slavery itself to be ended. Wilberforce’s Letter is his most comprehensive and best-argued statement of opposition. It was published on December 31, 1806 and had a marked effect: in January of 1807 a bill to abolish the slave trade was introduced in the House of Lords. On February 10, the bill was sent to the House of Commons, and passed 283 to 16 after the chief debate on February 23. The bill received royal assent at the end of March, and the slave trade was abolished.

"The hopes of the abolitionists notwithstanding, slavery did not wither with the end of the slave trade in the British Empire, nor did the living conditions of the enslaved improve. The trade continued, with few countries following suit by abolishing the trade, and with some British ships disregarding the legislation. The Royal Navy patrolled the Atlantic intercepting slave ships from other countries. Wilberforce worked with the members of the African Institution to ensure the enforcement of abolition and to promote abolitionist negotiations with other countries. In particular, the US had abolished the slave trade in 1808, and Wilberforce lobbied the American government to enforce its own prohibition more strongly" (Wikipedia article on William Wilberforce, accessed 09-21-2009).

Carter & Muir, Printing and the Mind of Man (1967) no. 232b.

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Thomas Cobb Invents a Machine for Manufacturing Paper in Separate Sheets 1807 – 1812

In 1807 English papermaker Thomas Cobb produced a machine for mechanizing the papermaking process.

"This machine consisted of the usual vat, or chest, and breast-box with a delivery-slice, and a conveyer band on which the moulds were placed. This conveyer band was worked by hand, and the mould stayed under the delivery-slice long enough to get a supply of stuff, and was then passed on. In the orignal model the mould was then taken off by hand and couched onto a pile, as in ordinary hand-made paper-making. Subsequently, however, Cobb added another conveyer, onto which the moulds passed, and when they reached the end of the second conveyer they came under a couch-roll, round which was travelling an endless felt. As the moulds passed this roll, the sheet was couched off on the felt and taken up and through two press-rolls, which squeezed the paper sufficiently dry for it to be handled. Thomas Cobb persisted for a good many years with this machine, patented several improvements to it in 1812, by when had got it very much more mechanized, and it was quite an elaborate machine" (Clapperton, The Paper-Making Machine. Its Invention, Evolution, and Development [1967] 59-60).

Cobb's British patent No. 3580 for "Certain Further Improvements in the Art of Making Paper in Separate Sheets" was distinctive in that it described a papermaking machine which used mechanical moulds on which one sheet was made at a time. The machine was completely automatic; no handling of the sheet was necessary until it was pressed and ready to be air-dried. 

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John Thomas Smith Publishes the First Steel-Engraved and the First Lithographed Book Illustrations June 9, 1807

On June 9, 1807 English painter, engraver, antiquarian and sometime Keeper of Prints at the British Museum John Thomas Smith issued Antiquities of Westminster. . . . in London. According to its title page the work contained two hundred forty-six engravings of topographical subjects, of which one hundred and twenty-two were no longer in existence when the book was published. These engravings were published on 38 plates, nearly all either drawn or engraved by Smith, of which two were tinted and twelve were hand-colored (two heightened with gold). As a supplement to this work Smith issued Sixty-Two Additional Plates to Smith's Antiquitie's of Westminster, advertising the price of these as six guineas on its engraved and hand-colored title page. These plates were mostly either drawn or engraved by Smith.   

In his Antiquities of Westminster Smith experimented with various print media, including etching, engraving, mezzotinting, aquatint, and lithography. For his plate of the Ceiling of the Star Chamber facing p. 29. Smith used an old steel saw blade in its unsoftened state as a medium. He broke a number of burins in the process, and it took him two months to complete the plate instead of the two days it would have taken to engrave the plate on copper. Because of the difficulty with this print Smith did not return to steel engraving. The image was, however, the first steel engraved book illustration.

Smith's plate "Internal view of the painted chamber" facing p. 48,

"a rather weak pen drawing in the style of an etching, is the first known instance of a lithograph being used to illustrate a book. The original intention was to illustrate the whole edition with one plate only produced by lithography; but the process was obviously not quite so easy as it seemed, as after 300 prints had been taken the stone was ruined and it was decided to revert to etching on copper for the remaining copies. The first 300 copies of the edition have both the lithographed and etched versions as Smith decided to use his failure as an opportunity to describe the process" (Twyman, Lithography 1800-1850 [1970] 30). 

"The exact date of Smith's drawing on stone is not known, but he describes in the text (p. 49) how he was supplied with materials by André, and if this was so then the drawing must almost certainly have been made prior to André's departure in 1805. It must in any case have been completed and spoilt by 19 November 1806 since this is the date borne by the copper-engraving that replaced it for the rest of the edition. The print of the plate may therefore ahve been done by either André or Vollweiler (Twyman, op. cit., footnote 1, p. 30).

Smith's book arose from the chance discovery by workmen of a section of 14th century wall at Westminster, complete with its original wall paintings, sculpture and stained glass. Smith quickly secured permission to record what had been revealed before it was demolished and this became the basis of his superb work. His book remains the main source of information for the appearance of the Palace of Westminster, which fortunately it depicts in great detail, before the fire of 1834 and also of the Abbey precincts before the clearance of the winding alleys and sinister rookeries reflected in the names of Thieving Lane and Little Sanctuary

The text for Smith's book was written by John Sidney Hawkins, antiquarian son of Sir John Hawkins, the friend and first biographer of Samuel Johnson. However, Hawkins was a difficult collaborator, and so antagonized Smith that Smith removed Hawkins's name from the title page and elsewhere in the volume. The conflict between the co-authors became very public.  My copy has bound at the back an elaborate supplement by Smith entitled Mr. John Thomas Smith's Vindication: Being an Answer to a pamphlet, written and Published by by John Sidney Hawkins. . . . concerning Mr. J.T. S's conduct in relation to the "Antiquities of Westminster." Abbey, Scenery, 210; Lowndes p. 2426. 

Hunnisett, Engraved on Steel. The History of Picture Production Using Steel Plates (1998) 110-11.

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John Dalton Publishes the First Periodic Table of the Elements 1808 – 1827

From 1807 to 1827 John Dalton published in Manchester, England, A New System of Chemical Philosophy in Volume 1, parts 1 and 2, and Volume II, part 1. Dalton's chemical atomic theory was the first to give significance to the relative weights of the ultimate particles of all known compounds, and to provide a quantitative explanation of the phenomena of chemical reaction.  Dalton believed that all matter was composed of indestructible and indivisible atoms of various weights, each weight corresponding to one of the chemical elements, and that these atoms remained unchanged during chemical processes.  Dalton's work with relative atomic weights prompted him to construct the first periodic table of elements (in Vol. i, pt. 1), to formulate laws concerning their combination and to provide schematic representations of various possible combinations of atoms.  His equation of the concepts "atom" and "chemical element" was of fundamental importance, as it provided the chemist with a new and enormously fruitful model of reality.

Bindings for the First Edition

The copy of Volume 1, part 1 which Dalton inscribed to James Watt on July 5, 1808 was bound in marbled boards with a paper spine and printed label. Vol. 1, part 2 (1810) was also originally issued in a similar style of binding. Hook & Norman, The Haskell F. Norman Library of Science and Medicine (1991) No. 575, describes a matching set of the three volumes bound in original cloth-backed boards. This set, which was probably bound at the time Volume II, part 1 was issued in 1827, was an early use of cloth in bookbinding. Carter & Muir, Printing and the Mind of Man (1967) No. 261.

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George Cayley Founds Aerodynamics & Invents the Airplane 1809 – 1810

English engineer Sir George Cayley published a three-part paper, "On Aerial Navigation," In the Journal of Natural Philosophy, Chemistry and the Arts, 24 (1809) 164-174; 25 (1810) 81-87, 161-173, with single engraved plates in Vol. 24 and in Vol. 25 relating to the paper. The papers were published in issue numbers 108, 112, and 113.

Cayley founded the science of aerodynamics and is generally credited with the invention of the airplane. He has also been called the world's first aeronautical engineer.  Cayley discovered and identified the four aerodynamic forces of flight—weight, lift, drag and thrust— and in 1799 took the crucial step of separating the system of thrust from the system of lift. This enabled him to break away from the centuries-old preoccupation with flapping-wing machines (ornithopters), and to conceive and design a fixed-wing machine with cruciform tail-unit, propelled by paddles— the first modern-configuration airplane. In 1804 he flew the first of his successful model fixed-wing gliders and became the first to explore the aerodynamical possibilities of a whirling arm.

Cayley's researches first appeared in print in "On Aerial Navigation," which includes his classic pronouncement that "the whole problem [of aerodynamics] is confined within these limits, viz. to make a surface support a given weight by the application of power to the resistance of air."

Gibbs-Smith, Invention of the Aeroplane 1799-1909 (1966) 5-9. Hodgson, The History of Aeronautics in Great Britain. . . (1924) 345-349. Carter & Muir, Printing and the Mind of Man (1967) no. 263. Hook & Norman, The Haskell F. Norman Library of Science and Medicine (1991) no. 423.

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Binny & Ronaldson Issue the First American Type Specimen 1809

In 1809 Binny & Ronaldson, the first type foundry in the United States, issued the first type specimen published in the United States. Printed by Fry & Kammerer in Philadelphia, this pamphlet of 13 leaves was entitled A Specimen of Metal Ornaments cast at the Letter Foundery of Binny & Ronaldson. Only two copies survived, of which only the copy in the Typographic Library and Museum of the American Type Founders Company in Jersey City is complete. In 1924 the American Institute of Graphic Arts issued a facsimile of the unique complete copy with a brief afterward by Carl Purlington Rollins.  Peculiarly, the two double page fold-outs are single images of two different jockeys walking two different anatomically correct stallions.

Daniel B. Updike wrote of this specimen:

"It was not a printer' specimen of types, but a founder's specimen of ornaments. About one hundred ornamental cuts are shown. In appearance the designs seem largely inspired from French sources. A few of them are like those shown in Pierre's collection of 1785. The general type of decoration in others is similar to cuts in the Gillé specimen of 1808. A feature of the book is its versions of the arms of the United States. Ill-executed mechanically for the most part, from a decorative point of view the collection is respectable and has considerable style" (Updike, Printing Types: Their History, Forms, and Use II [1922] 153-4).

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Lamarck's Most Extensive Exposition of his Theory of the Inheritance of Acquired Characteristics 1809

A portrait of Jean-Baptiste Lamarck by Charles Thévenin

Philosophie Zoologique by Lamarck

In 1809 French naturalist and biologist Jean-Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet, Chevalier de Lamarck published Philosophie zoologique. This 2-volume work was Lamarck's most extensive presentation of his evolutionary theory of species development. The work was divided into three parts, the first two of which contained a more elaborate analysis of the evidence for increasing levels of complexity, and a more detailed discussion of Lamarck's two-factor theory than his original brief exposition of 1801. The third part provided a very detailed extension of these earlier theories: the problem of a physical explanation (as opposed to a philosophical or religious one) for the emergence of the higher mental faculties. Lamarck's explanation linked mind's progressive development to an increasing structural complexity of the nervous system— a necessary and crucial argument for including man among the products of evolutionary processes.  For Lamarck, the development of the nervous system was one of the most important events in the evolutionary process, as it was at that point, according to his theory, that animals began to conceive ideas and control their movements, thus enabling them voluntarily to form the habits (such as stretching the neck up to feed on high branches) that would eventually result in the development of new organs.

J. Norman (ed) Morton's Medical Bibliography 5th ed (1991) No. 216. 

Hook & Norman, The Haskell F. Norman Library of Science & Medicine (1991) No. 1267.

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Nicholas Appert Issues the First Book on Modern Food Preservation Methods 1810

In 1810 confectioner Nicholas Appert published in Paris L'art de conserver, pendant plsieurs années, toutes les substances animales et végétales.... In this small book Appert described the first workable process for canning foods, laying the foundation of the food-processing industry. Appert's method, which he began working on in 1795, involved heating food and sealing it hermetically in specially made glass jars. By providing the first reliable way to preserve many types of prepared foods for extended periods of time, Appert also developed a new way of furnishing potable, nourishing and unspoiled food to armies in the field. 

In 1800 Napoleon, who is widely quoted, accurately or not, as saying, "An army marches on its stomach," offered an award of 12,000 francs to anyone who could devise a practical method for food preservation for armies on the march. The award went to Appert, but since the method was considered to be of strategic importance for Napoleon's military campaigns, Appert was not allowed to publish it until 1810.

Hook & Norman, The Haskell F. Norman Library of Science and Medicine (1991) No. 59.

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Brunet Compiles "Manuel du libraire," "The Best and Last of the General Rare Book Bibliographies" 1810 – 1865

Having previously published in 1802 a fourth and supplementary volume to Caillot and Duclos' Dictionnaire bibliographique, historique et critique des livres rares, in 1810 French antiquarian bookseller Jacques Charles Brunet issued in 3 volumes the Manuel du libraire et de l'amateur de livres, contenant

1.* Un Nouveau dictionnaire bibliographique, Dans lequel sont indiqués les Livres les plus précieux et les Ouvrages les plus utiles, tant anciens que moderns, avec des notes sur les différentes éditions qui ont été faites, et des remarques pour en reconnaitres les contrefaçons; on y a joint des détails nécessaires pour collationner les Livres anciens et les principaux Ouvrages à Estampes; la concordance des prix auxquels les éditions les plus rares ont été portées dans les ventes publiques faites depuis quarante ans, et l'évaluation approximative des Livres anciens qui se recontrent fréquement dans le commerce de la Librairie;

2.* Une table en forme de catalogue raisonné, Où sont classés méthodiquement tous les Ouvrages indiqués dans le Dictionnaire, et de plus, un grand nombre d'Ouvrages utiles, mais d'un prix ordinaire, qui n'ont past dû être placés an rang des Livres précieux

Brunet continued to revise and expand this encyclopedic guide during the rest of his life, completing the fifth edition in six volumes published from 1860-1865. Three supplementary volumes by booksellers Pierre Deschamps and Pierre Gustave Brunet were published from 1870 to 1880. This encyclopedic reference for antiquarian booksellers and collectors contained annotations concerning the scholarly and commercial value of rare books that in some cases remain unsurpassed in the early 21st century. More significantly it provided bibliographical, scholarly, and price information in one convenient, authoritative reference that was and often remains, invaluable for antiquarian booksellers, collectors, bibliographers, and librarians.

One of the many ways in which Brunet's work was useful and influential was in his expansion of the then-traditional classification scheme for information used in France since the beginning of the 18th century. This classification scheme, which divided information into five great divisions, originated in the seventeenth century, and was promoted by the first great book auctioneer in Paris, Gabriel Martin, who first employed it in the Bigot sale in 1706. The scheme, which was expanded in Catalogus librorum bibliothecae Joachimi Faultrier digestus a Prospero Marchand (1709), categorized information into the following subject areas: theology, jurisprudence, sciences and arts (initially called philosophy), belles-lettres (humane letters), and history. Thomas Hartwell Horne summarized Marchand's system in his Outlines for the Classification of a Library (1825) 3:

"The system of Prosper Marchand, an eminent Bookseller of Paris during the former part of the eighteenth century, is developed in his preface to the catalogue of the Library of M. Faultrier. Marchand first considers the different orders, according to which a Bibliographical System may be formed, viz. The natural order, the order of nations, the order of languages, the chronological order, and the alphabetical order. He then exhibits his plan, which he divides into three primary chapters, to comprehend the several classes of Books. To these he prefixes Bibliography, by way of introduction, and subjects Polygraphy as an appendix. The three primary chapters or fundamental classes are— Human Science or Philosophy, Divine Science or Theology, and the Science of Events or History. Philosophy is divided into two parts— Literae Humaniores or the Belles Lettres, and Literae Severiores, or the Sciences. The system of Marchand had many admirers when it first appeared, but it has been superceded by that of De Bure. . . ."

Marchand's preface to the Faultrier catalogue, incorrectly dated 1704, was translated into French and published in Claude-François Achard's, Cours elémentaire de bibliographie vol. 2 (1807) 100-106. In January 2015 I acquired from Librairie Paul Jammes in Paris a variant separate printing of Marchand's 52-page introduction to the Faultrier catalogue, with the addition of an index in very small type printed on its last leaf. This undated pamphlet, presumably issued in 1709, was entitled Epitome systematis bibliographici, seu Ordinis recte distribuendi Librorum Catalogi. My copy is bound in a volume with other works and may be lacking a separate title page, if one was issued. By comparing the online version of the complete catalogue with my version of the introduction, I have concluded that they were issued by the same printer, using the same typeface and the same ornamental head and tailpieces, but from a different setting of type. Most notably, on the first page of my version, Prosper Marchand identifies himself as the author, which he does not do in the full Faultrier catalogue. The index added to the text of my copy does not appear in the version that prefaces the Faultrier catalogue.

In Brunet's time Marchand's basic scheme, as modified by De Bure and others, was still used in French library cataloguing schemes, limiting the utility of subject cataloguing. In the third volume of his Manuel Brunet published Ordre des principales divisions de la table méthodique des ouvrages cités dans le nouveau Dictionnaire Bibliographique. This divided the traditional five subject categories into numerous sub-categories and divisions within those sub-categories. This he followed by listings of significant books in each of the categories and sub-categories in the classification scheme.

Breslauer & Folter,  Bibliography: Its History and Development (1984) No. 118.

(This entry was last revised on 02-21-2015.)

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The First English Book Entirely on Bookbinding 1811

The Whole Art of Bookbinding, Containing Valuable Recipes for Springling, Makbling (sic), Colouring, &c. was published anonymously in Oswestry, London, Glasgow, and Dublin in 1811.

"Very much a working bookbinder's notebook put in order for publication," this was first English book devoted entirely to bookbinding.

In Early Bookbinding Manuals (1984) no. 89 Pollard offers three possible authorship attributions.

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Filed under: Bookbinding

The First Papermaking Machine is Set Up in France 1811

Even though the papermaking machine was invented in France in 1798 by Louis-Nicolas Robert, its early development occurred in England beginning with John Gamble's patent of 1801. As a result, the papermaking machine came late to France. According to Dard Hunter, the first papermaking machine was set up in France in 1811, "by the Berthe and Grevenich establishment at Sorel (Eure-et-Loir). In 1827 there were four paper-machines in France. In 1833 the number exceeded twelve, according to Proteaux. For the most part these machines were built in England" (Hunter, Papermaking: the History and Technique of an Ancient Craft [1947] 536).

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The Ludd Riots Occur November 11, 1811 – January 12, 1813

Concerned about the loss of jobs due to mechanization in the workplace as a result of the Industrial Revolution, towards the end of 1811 workers and craftmen founded the Luddite movement. 

"Towards the close of the year 1811, a spirit of riot and insubordination manifested itself in the country of Nottingham, which, in the course of that year, extended to the counties of Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lancashire, Cheshire, and Yorkshire, and in some degree, pervaded all the manufacturing districts of England. The insurgents, who assumed the name of 'LUDDITES,' probably with a view of inspiring their adherents with confidence, the malcontents gave out that they were under the command of one leader, whom they designated by the factitious name of Ned Ludd, or General Ludd, calling themselves Ludds, Ludders, or Luddites. There is no reason, however to believe that there was in truth any one leader. In each district where the disaffection prevailed, the most aspiring man assumed the local superiority, and became the General Ludd of his own district.

"The avowed and immediate object of the Luddites was the destruction of certain articles of machinery, the use of which had superseded or diminished manual labour, in the manufacture of the articles to which they were applied. These disturbances, which had now attracted the attention of parliament, and excited apprehensions of the most alarming nature, first manifested themselves by the destruction of a great number of newly-erected stocking-frames, by small parties of men, principally stocking-weavers, who assembled in various places round the town of Nottingham. The men engaged in the disturbances were at first principally those thrown out of employment by the use of the new machinery, or by their refusal to work at the rate of wages offered by the manufacturers, and they particularly sought the destruction of frames owned those hosiers, or worked by those men who were willing to work at the lower rates. In consequence of the resistance opposed to the outrages of the rioters, in the course of which one of their number was shot, on the 11th of November, at Bullwell, magistrates found it necessary to call in the assistance of a considerable armed force, which was promptly assembled, consisting, at first, principally of local militia and volunteer yeomanry, to whom were added about four hundred special constables. The terror of this force seemed for a time to allay the spirit of insurbordination; but before the end of the month of November, the outrages were renewed, and assumed a more serious systematic character. In several villages, the rioters not only destroyed the frames, but they levied contributions for subsistence, which rapidly increased their number, and enlarged their sphere of action.

"A considerable regular military force was now went to Nottingham, and in January 1812, two of the most experienced police magistrates were dispatatched from London to that place for the purpose of assisting the local authorities in their endeavours to restore tranquillity in the disturbed districts. The systematic combination with which the outrages were conducted, the terror which they inspired, and the disposition of many of the lower orders to favour, rather than to oppose them, made it very difficult  to discover the offenders, or to obtain evidence to convict those who were apprehended. Some, however, were afterwards proceeded against at the spring assizes of 1812, at Nottingham, and seven persons, convicted of different offences connected with the riots, were sentenced to transportation. In the meantime, acts were passed by the legistature for establishing a police in the disturbed districts, upon the ancient system of watch and war, and for making the destruction of stocking-frames a capital crime, punishable by death.

"Early in the year, the spirit of riot and distrubance spread itself into Cheshire and Lancashire; at Tentwistle, in the former county, the cotton machinery in Mr. Rhodes's mill was totally destroyed; and at Stockport, the house of Mr. Goodwin was set on fire on the 14th of April, and his steam-looms destroyed. On the 20th of the same month, the manufactory of Messrs. Daniel Burton and Sons, situated at Middleton, six miles from Manchester, was attached by a mob, consisting of several thousand persons, and although the rioters were repulsed, and four of their number killed by the military force assembled to protect the works, a second attack was made on the following day, when Mr. Emanuel Burton's dewelling-house was set on fire, and destroyed. About the same time riots took place in Manchester, of which the alleged cause was the high price of provisions. At West Houghton, near Bulton-le-moors, the rioters taking advantage of the absence of the military, assailed the large manufactur of Messrs. Wroe and Duncuft, and after having forced the doors, and set fire to the mill and machinery, dispersed before the soldiers could be assembled

"Symptoms of the same lawless disposition appeared at Newcastle-under-line, Wigan, Warrington, and Eccles; and the contagion had spread to Carlisle, and into Yorkshire. In Nottinghamshire, the machinery obnoxious to the rioters was wide weaving frames; in Lancashire, looms wrought by steam; and in Yorkshire, gig-mills, or machinery used in the shearing of woollen cloth—all inventions of modern date, and each of them calculated to supersede or diminish the demand for manual labour. . . .

"The causes alleged for these alarming proceedings were generally the want of employment for the working manufacturers—a want, however, which was the least felt in some of the places where the disorders were the most prevalent; another of the alleged causes was the application of machinery to supply the place of labour; and a third, the high price of provisions. An opinion also prevailed at the time, that the views of some of the persons engaged in these excesses extended to revolutionary measures, and contemplated the overthrow of the government; but his opinion seems to have been supported by no satisfactory evidence; and it is admited on all hands, that the leaders of the riots, although possessed of considerable influence, were all of the labouring classes.

"That societies existed for forwarding the objects of the disaffected was clearly manifest, all which societies were directed by a secret committee, which might be considered as the great mover of the whole machine; and it was established by the various information received from different parts of the country, that these societies were governened by their respective secret committees; that delegates and messengers were continually dispatched from place to place for the purpose of concerting plans and conveying information; * [*"A small weekly contribution paid by every member of these combinations formed a fund, by which the delegates and messengers were wholly or in part supported, according to the nature and extent of their services. This fund there is reason to suppose was also applied to the support of the imprisoned Luddites; and its application in this way, combined with the nature of the oath, may in some degree account for the paucity of information collected from them while in prison, and even in the prospect of death. In fact, the made no disclosures. All their secrets, whether they related to the organization of their societies, the names of their leaders, or their depots of arms, died with them."] that an illegal oath of the most atrocious kind was extensively administered;* [*"Several copies of the oath were discovered, but the following appears to be the correct version: OATH. 'I. A. B., of my own voluntary will, do declare, and solemnly swear, that I never will reveal to any person or persons under the canopy of heaven, the names of the persons, who compose this secret committee, their proceedings, meetings, places of abode, dress, features, complexion, or anything else that might lead to a discovery of the same, either by word, deed, or sign, under the penalty of being sent out of the world by the first brother who shall meet me, and my name and character blotted out of existence, and never to be remembered but with contempt and abhorrence; and I further now do swear, that I will use my best endeavours to punish by death any traitor or traitors, should any rise up among us, wherever I can find him or them, and though he should fly to the verge of nature, I will pursue him with unceasing vengeance. So help me God, and bless me to keep this my oath inviolable."] that secret signs were arranged, by which the persons engaged these conspiracies were known to each other. The military organization, carried on by persons enaged in these societies, had also prceeded to an alarming length; in some parts of the country they assembled in large numbers, chiefly by night; upon heaths or commons, taking the usual precaution of paroles and counter-signs. The muster-rolls were called over by numbers, not names; they were directed by leaders, sometimes in disguise; they placed sentries to give alarm at the approach of any person, whom they might suspect of an intention to interrupt or give information opf their proceedings; and they dispersed instantly at the firing of a gun or other signal agreed upon, and so dispersed to avoid detection . . . . (An Historical Account of the Luddites of 1811, 1812, and 1813, with Report of their Trials at York Castle, from the 2nd to the 12th of January, 1813, before Sir Alexander Thompson and Sir Simon le Blanc, Knights, Judges of the Special Commission [1862] 7-12).

In January 1813 64 persons were tried for crimes tied to the Luddite movement; 14 were executed.  The proceedings of the trial were published as Report of Proceedings under Commissions of Oyer & Terminer and Gaol Delivery for County of York, Held at the Castle of York, before Sir Alexander Thomson, Knight and Sir Simon Le Blanc, Knight, from the 2nd to the 12th January 1813.  From the shorthand notes of Mr. Gurney. To which are subjoined Two Proclamations, Issued in consequence of the Result of those Proceedings. Though this edition is undated, because of the sensational nature of the trial, the presumption is that it would have been published during 1813.

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The Roxburghe Club, the Oldest Society of Bibliophiles is Founded June 16, 1812

The Roxburghe Club, the oldest society of bibliophiles in the world, was founded on June 16, 1812. Membership was limited to 40.

"The Club came into existence on 16 June 1812 when a group of book-collectors and bibliophiles, inspired by the Revd Thomas Dibdin, panegyrist of Lord Spencer, the greatest collector of the age, dined together on the eve of the sale of John, Duke of Roxburghe’s library, which took place on the following day. This was the greatest private library of the previous age, and the sale was confidently expected to break all records, and it did. The first edition of Boccaccio (then believed to be unique) printed in 1471 made £2,260, a record that stood for more than sixty years, and the Duke’s Caxtons made equally high prices. The diners decided that this occasion should not be forgotten and so they dined again together the next year on June 17, the anniversary of the sale, and again the year after. So the Roxburghe Club was born and its members still dine together each year on, or about, that memorable day" (The Roxburghe Club website).

The archives of The Roxburghe Club are maintained at Arundel Castle, West Sussex.

Barker, Nicolas. The Roxburghe Club. A Bicentenary History (2012).

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Clymer's Columbian Press, Perhaps the First Great American Contribution to Printing Technology 1813 – 1817

In 1813 George E. Clymer, mechanic and inventor of Philadelphia, invented the Columbian Press.  Inspired to some extent by the Stanhope Press, the Columbian Press was designed to allow a whole newspaper page to be printed in a single pull. The press worked by a lever system, similar to that of the Stanhope press. Because Clymer found a limited market for his press in America, in 1817 he moved to England to compete with the Stanhope Press. In 1817 Clymer received British patent No. 4174 for "Certain Improvements in Printing Presses." His specification described and illustrated the Columbian Press.

Reflecting the slow transition from handpress to mechanized printing in many aspects of the printing trades, Clymer's Columbian Press was manufactured and sold for over a century. Some historians consider it the first great American contribution to printing technology.

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John William Lewin Issues the First Illustrated Book Published in Australia 1813

In 1813 Australian natural history artist and naturalist John William Lewin issued Birds of New South Wales from Sydney. J W Lewin was the first free settler professional artist and engraver in Australia. He was also one of the first artists not to use English painting conventions when depicting Australia. He was the son of William Lewin, the author of The Birds of Great Britain with Their Eggs, Accurately Figured.  

Birds of New South Wales was the first illustrated book published in Australia. Of this work only 13 copies survived, four of which are preserved in the State Library of New South Wales in Sydney.  The book was printed by George Howe, the government printer, who in 1802 had issued the first book printed in Australia. 

Prior to issuing his 1813 book Lewin had published in England a treatise on entomology entitled Prodromus Entomology (1805), and in 1808 a book on Australian birds entitled Birds of New Holland, which described a selection of birds that he had shot. The texts of these books were edited by Lewin's brother John with the help of eminent scientists, and printed in England. Of the 1808 book only six copies are recorded: those of George III and five English subscribers. However, in Sydney, Lewin had sold subscriptions for fifty-five copies of this book, but none ever reached Sydney, the edition presumably having been lost at sea.

To make up for this loss Lewin put together another work which he called Birds of New South Wales, illustrating it with prints left over from the 1808 edition. Because Lewin compiled the copies of Birds of New South Wales from spare or discarded prints, none of the thirteen copies are identical.

In 1822 Lewin's widow, having returned to England, issued a revised second edition of Lewin's Birds of New Holland. In 1833 the third edition of Lewin's work appeared, using some sheets of text printed in 1822, on paper watermarked Whatman 1821, and some sheets printed in 1838 on paper watermarked Whatman 1838. Both the second and third editions incorporated restrikes of Lewin's original plates.  For the 1838 edition, the plates were colored from specimens lent by John Gould, and the nomenclature was overseen by Thomas Campbell Eyton. There are two issues of the third edition.

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Joseph Adams Issues a Pioneering Work on Medical Genetics 1814

In 1814 English physician and surgeon and medical writer Joseph Adams of London published A Treatise on the Supposed Hereditary Properties of Diseases, Containing Remarks on the Unfounded Terros and Ill-Judged Cautions Consequent on such Erroneous Opinion; with notes, illustrative of the Subject, Particularly in Madness and Scrofula.  A pioneer in medical genetics, Adams distinguished between familial and hereditary diseases, saw that an increase in hereditary disease frequency in isolated areas could be caused by inbreeding, and suggested the establishment of hereditary disease registers.

J. Norman (ed), Morton's Medical Bibliography 5th ed (1991) no. 216.1.

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The Library of Congress is Destroyed During the War of 1812 August 25, 1814

During the War of 1812 British Troops set fire to the U.S. Capitol building, burning, among other things, the Library of Congress, which then contained 3,000 volumes.

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Thomas Jefferson's Library Becomes the Core of the New Library of Congress Circa September 1814

Within a month after the burning of the Library of Congress in the United States Capitol building, in September 1814 President Thomas Jefferson offered his personal library as a replacement. Jefferson spent 50 years accumulating 6,487 books, "putting by everything which related to America, and indeed whatever was rare and valuable in every science." His library was considered one of the finest in the United States.

Heavily indebted, Jefferson sought to use the proceeds of the sale of his library to satisfy his creditors. He anticipated controversy over the nature of his collection, which included books in foreign languages and volumes of philosophy, science, literature, and other topics not normally viewed as part of a legislative library. He wrote: "I do not know that it contains any branch of science which Congress would wish to exclude from their collection; there is, in fact, no subject to which a Member of Congress may not have occasion to refer."

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Francis Scott Key Issues "The Star Spangled Banner" September – November 1814

American lawyer, author and poet Francis Scott Key's The Star Spangled Banner. A Pariotic [sic] Song was printed from two engraved plates and sold by Carr's Music Store in Baltimore, Maryland.

Of the eleven copies of the first edition known in 2010, ten were in institutions; only one remained in private hands. 

"Francis Scott Key's famous patriotic verses were inspired by a shipboard vigil on the night of September 13-14, 1814, when a British naval flotilla bombarded Fort McHenry for hours, prefatory to a planned full-scale assault. Key, a young lawyer, and a colleague had gone on board a British ship under a flag of truce to secure the release of an American physician, Dr. William Beanes, held as a prisoner. To ensure that no military information on the impending attack could be passed to the American defenders, Key too was detained. He spent the night on the deck of the flag-of-truce sloop, which gave him a sweeping view of the dramatic scene. He watched anxiously as British naval cannon-fire and incendiary bombs and rockets rained onto the American fort. During the shelling, the very large stars and stripes flag flying from the fort's ramparts was clearly visible, giving heartening evidence that the fort's defenses had weathered the storm of shot and shell. But when the bombardment unexpectedly ceased, the American flag was obscured. Key was heart-sick. Had the fort been forced to surrender? But at dawn, when the smoke of the shelling lifted, the flag was again visible. Key's patriotic emotions were powerfully stirred by the welcome sight. His first draft of the anthem was written on shipboard, on the back of a letter, then a final version, containing four 8-line stanzas, was completed in the next few days upon Key's return to Baltimore.

"His rousing song perfectly mirrored Americans' heightened patriotic fervor in the wake of the destruction of Washington and the bombardment of Fort McHenry. Broadside and newspaper printings under the title 'The Defence of Fort McHenry,' swiftly circulated, [the first of which appeared on September 17 and is known in only two surviving copies.] The verses' runaway popularity was given strong impetus when Key's lyrics were set to the tune of a well-known drinking tune 'The Anacreontic Song,' attributed to the English composer, John Stafford Smith (1740-1846). . . .

"Capitalizing on the great popularity for the song, the enterprising Baltimore music publisher Thomas Carr (1780-1849) quickly engraved and printed words and music together. Signs are that it was a rushed job: the name of the poet, Francis Scott Key, was omitted, and the heading proclaimed the song to be "A Pariotic Song." The sheet-music edition of the song was available for purchase at Carr's shop before 18 November. In an amended issue from the same plates, Carr corrected the misspelling: parts of the copperplate were rubbed out and re-engraved to read 'A Celebrated Patriotic Song.' No doubt the sheet-music--despite its spelling errors--enjoyed a brisk sale at the time and for years afterwards. Today, though, only 11 copies of the first edition are recorded; all but the present, newly discovered copy are in public institutions" (http://www.christies.com/LotFinder/lot_details.aspx?intObjectID=5382313, accessed 11-24-2010).

On December 3, 2010 the last copy remaining  in private hands sold for $506,500 including the buyer's premium at Christie's in New York.

As recently as 1931 Congress named The Star-Spangled Banner the national anthem.

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The First Literary Magazine is Published in the United States 1815

In 1815 American journalist and newspaper publisher Nathan Hale and others founded The North American Review in Boston. This was the first literary magazine published in the United States.

Remarkably the journal was published continuously for over 100 years, until 1940 when publication was suspended after its owner, J. H. Smyth, was unmasked as a Japanese spy. After a 24 year interruption publication resumed in 1964 at Cornell College, Mount Vernon, Iowa under Robert Dana. Since 1968 the review was issued from the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls.

In December 2013 digital facsimiles of all 19th century volumes of the journal were available from Cornell University Library's Making of America at this link.

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Congress Buys Thomas Jefferson's Library January 1815

In January 1815 Congress appropriated $23,950 for Thomas Jefferson's library of 6,487 books which he had collected over the previous fifty years, laying a new intellectual foundation, universal in scope, for the Library of Congress. The purchase price was estimated to be half of the value that the books would have realized at auction.

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George Watterson Issues the First Extensive Catalogue of the Library of Congress November 1815

In November 1815 George Watterson, Librarian of Congress, published Catalogue of the Library of the United States. To Which is Annexed a Copious Index, Alphabeticaly Arranged. This work of 170 pages and 32 pages of index, was printed for Congress by Jonathan Elliot and issued from Washington. It represented the catalogue of the library of Thomas Jefferson, the foundation of the Library of Congress.

"In it each entry was numbered, not serially, but with the number corresponding with Jefferson's shelf-mark. This number was also inserted in the bookplate, purchased from William Elliot in October 1815, and pasted into each volume. The manuscript catalogue written by Jefferson and submitted to Congress for the purposes of the sale (through Samuel Harrison Smith) in 1814, seems to have been the 'fair copy of the Catalogue of my library' which he had made in 1812. This was later taken away by George Watterson and has now disappeared . . . [Another] catalogue was originally written by Jefferson in 1783, and is so dated by him on the fly-leaf; it was added to and supplemented continuously until the time of the negotiations for the sale in 1814' - Sowerby.

"The present catalogue differs dramatically in arrangement from Jefferson's original system of classification. Jefferson had organized his library according to a system derived from Book 2 of Francis Bacon's ADVANCEMENT OF LEARNING. Beginning with Bacon's three categories of knowledge (memory, reason, and imagination), Jefferson devised forty-four classes or 'chapters.' Within chapters, the books were arranged sometimes analytically, sometimes chronologically, or both, and were subjected to further classification by size. While this method served Jefferson well and offered illuminating intellectual bridges between diverse fields, Watterson recognized the difficulty the average patron might have in accessing the books for which he might be searching. To remedy this problem, in the present catalogue Watterson arranged the catalogue alphabetically within each chapter by first word of the title without being prejudiced towards definite and indefinite articles. Both Watterson and Jefferson realized the imperfections of this new system, but once in place it proved too large a task to rectify it" (William Reese Company, online description, accessed from ILAB website 07-21-2009).

In 1820 Congress published Supplement to the Catalogue of the Library of Congress. This 28-page pamphlet listed approximately 700 titles acquired since the acquisition of Thomas Jefferson's library, with a focus on travels and voyages, the sciences, and European history. Sabin 15566.

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Francis Ronalds Builds the First Working Electric Telegraph 1816

In 1816 English meteorologist and inventor Francis Ronalds built the first working electrostatic telegraph. This was the first "electric" medium for communication. Ronalds's device involved two synchronized clocks whose dials were marked with the letters of the alphabet. Instead of hands, each clock had a rotating disk with a notch cut into it so that only one letter on the clock face was visible at a time. Ronalds placed one clock at each end of eight miles of wire insulated by glass tubing that he had laid down in an elaborate series of back & forth coils in his garden in Hammersmith, London, and used electrical impulses to transmit signals between them. He wrote to Viscount Melville, First Lord of the British Admiralty, offering to demonstrate his telegraph, describing his invention as "a mode of conveying telegraphic intelligence with great rapidity, accuracy, and certainty, in all states of the atmosphere, either at night or in the day, and at small expense." However John Barrow, secretary to the admiralty, wrote back to Ronalds saying that "telegraphs of any kind are now [after the conclusion of the Napoleonic wars] totally unnecessary, and that no other than the one now in use [a semaphore telegraph] will be adopted" (quoted in DNB). Ronalds never patented his work. Eventually Charles Wheatstone and William Fothergill Cooke patented and popularized Ronalds's system. 

Ronalds first published an account of his invention in Descriptions of an Electrical Telegraph, and of some other Electrical Apparatus (London, 1823).

Ronalds was also a pioneer collector of books and pamphlets on electricity, magnetism and telegraphy.  Alfred J. Frost edited a catalogue of his library: Catalogue of books, papers... electricity, magnetism, telegraph in the Ronalds Library (1880).

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"Egyptian": The First Commercially Produced Sans-Serif Typeface 1816

In his last type specimen book before the sale of his foundry to Blake & Garnet, typographer and type-founder William Caslon IV, grandson of the first William Caslon, offered the Egyptian typeface. This was the first sans-serif (sans serif, sanserif) font commercially produced. The name of the font alluded to the ancient models on which it was based. The sixth-century BCE stone inscriptions, to which the ancestry of most Roman types may be traced, were without serifs.

Berry & Poole, Annals of Printing (1966) 208.

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Edward Cowper Introduces Key Steps in Speeding up Cylinder Printing 1816 – 1818

In 1816 printing engineer Edward Cowper of London received British patent No. 3974 for "A Method of Printing Paper for Paper Hanging, and other Purposes."  

"Cowper . . .  recognized, like Nicholson, the advantages of a curved printing surface mounted on a  continously revolving cylinder. The difficulty was to provide this surface. Cowper, who would have been aware of the Bacon and Donkin project, must have realized that single types, however shaped or arranged, had very serious disadvantages, and that the solid stereotype plate offered much better prospects of success if they could be curved.

"The only method of casting stereotypes known at that time was the plaster process, which produced a flat plate. Cowper's patent described how these plates were to be heated and then passed between two rollers to curve them. There was, of course, the risk of breaking the plates during the operation, but the method worked; it was used for printing £1 notes at the Bank of England, where these machines were installed for the purpose" (Printing and the Mind of Man. Catalogue of the Exhibitions and the British Museum and Earl's Court  16-27 July 1963 [1963] No. 408). 

Two years later, in 1818 Cowper received British patent No. 4194 for "Certain Improvements in Printing Presses or Machines Used for Printing."  This described a method of printing on both sides of sheet simultaneously, also called a perfecting press.

"In January 1818 Cowper patented his ink-distributing table, which was attached to the forme, and indentations at its sides gave an endwise motion to two distributing rollers in a movable carriage held on four bearings, and with two small friction pulleys attached. The ink was conveyed by a vibrating roller which was alternately in contact with the table and with a 'ductor or doctor' roller turning in an ink trough. The table and forme both passed under the inking rollers, which received ink from the table and inked the forme as it passed under them. In Cowper's specification the rollers are described as 'covered with leather, felt, composition (treacle and glue) &c.', an indication that he was still gradually working his way towards composition rollers at the time.

"Another Cowper improvement [included in the patent] concerned the method of conveying the sheet of paper from one cylinder to another in a perfecting machine by the construction of two subsidiary 'carrying drums' between the impression cylinders, on which the sheet was carried by means of two sets of endless strings, 'each composed of two or more strings kept tight by weights or springs', the printing cylinders and carrying drums being connected by means of toothed wheels" (Moran, Printing Presses. History & Development from the Fifteenth Century to Modern Times [1973] 127).

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David Ricardo Explains the Distribution of Wealth, Including How it Applies to the Value of Rare Books 1817

In 1817 David Ricardo published The Principles of Political Economy and Taxation in which he expounded the theory of comparative advantage, "a fundamental argument in favor of free trade among countries and of specialization among individuals. Ricardo argued that there is mutual benefit from trade (or exchange) even if one party (e.g. resource-rich country, highly-skilled artisan) is more productive in every possible area than its trading counterpart (e.g. resource-poor country, unskilled laborer), as long as each concentrates on the activities where it has relative productivity advantage" (Wikipedia article on David Ricardo, accessed 12-27-2008).

Concerning the economic value of rare books and manuscripts Ricardo included pertinent observations in Chapter One, Section 1, paragraph 4:

"There are some commodities, the value of which is determined by their scarcity alone. No labour can increase the quantity of such goods, and therefore their value cannot be lowered by an increased supply. Some rare statues, scarce books and coins, wines of a peculiar quality, which can only be made from grapes grown on a particular soil, of which there is very limited quanity, are all of this description. Their value is wholly independent of the quantity of labour necessary to produce them, and varies with the varying wealth and inclinations of those who desire to possess them." 

Carter & Muir, Printing and the Mind of Man (1967) no. 277.

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The First Book is Printed in Persia (Iran) 1817

In 1233/1817 a collection of fatwas relating to the Russo-Persian war was published in Persia by means of printing from movable type.  This was the first book printed in Persia (Iran).

Marzolph, "TULLIP: A Projected Thesaurus Universalis Libri Lithographici Illustrati Persorum," Sadgrove (ed) History of Printing and Publishing in the Languages and Countries of the Middle East (2005) 27.

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Thomas Gilpin Sets Up the First Papermaking Machine in America, & the First Items Printed on his Machine-Made Paper 1817

In 1817 American papermaker Thomas Gilpin set up the first papermaking machine in America at his mill near Philadelphia. Gilpin obtained the U.S. patent for the first continuous papermaking machine in the U.S., based on information secured by his brother in England. According to Dard Hunter, the machine, which was based on the Dickinson cylinder-mould principle, did the work of ten vats in the handmade mills.

The first newspaper to use Gilpin's machine-made paper was was Poulson's American Daily Advertiser published in Philadelphia on April 15, 1818. Probably the first American book printed on American machine-made paper was Mathew Carey's General Atlas, Improved and Enlarged (Philadelphia: M. Carey & Son, 1818). 

The first American book to advertise that it was printed on Gilpin's machine made paper was Carey's edition of Lavoisne's A Complete Geneological, Historical, Chronological and Geograpical Atlas (1820). At the foot of its title page the book indicated that it was "Published by M. Carey and Sons and printed by T. H. Palmer on the Ruthven Press, and on J. & T. Gilpin's Machine Paper."

Hunter, Papermaking: The History and Technique of an Ancient Craft (1947) 538.  

Thanks to John Bidwell, who informed me by email in January 2015 that Carey's 1818 book was the earliest American book that he had seen printed on American machine-made paper.

(This entry was last revised on 02-24-2016.)

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Karl Drais Invents the Two-Wheeled Bicycle- the First Personalized Mechanical Transport June 12, 1817

In 1817 German inventor Karl Drais invented the Laufmaschine ("running machine"), later called the velocipede, draisine (English) or "draisienne" (French), or nick-named, dandy horse. This incorporated the two-wheeler principle that is basic to the bicycle and motorcycle and represented the beginning of mechanized personal transportation. Drais took his first recorded ride on the Laufmachine from Mannheim to Rheinau, now a suburb of Mannheim on June 12, 1817.

"The dandy-horse was a two-wheeled vehicle, with both wheels in-line, propelled by the rider pushing along the ground with the feet as in regular walking or running. The front wheel and handlebar assembly was pivoted to allow steering.

"Several manufacturers in France and England made their own dandy-horses during its brief popularity in the summer of 1819 -- most notably, Denis Johnson of London, who used an elegantly curved wooden frame which allowed the use of larger wheels. Riders preferred to operate their vehicles on the smooth pavements instead of the rough roads, but their interactions with pedestrians caused many municipalities to enact laws prohibiting their use. A further drawback of this device was that it had to be made to measure, manufactured to conform with the height and the stride of its rider, as none of its manufacturers are known to have built an adjustable version. After its brief moment in the limelight, the dandy-horse quickly faded into oblivion.

"However, in the 1860s in France, the vélocipède bicycle was created by attaching rotary cranks and pedals to the front-wheel hub of a dandy-horse" (Wikipedia article on Dandy horse, accessed 04-25-2009).

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William Charles Wells Publishes the First Recognizable Statement of the Theory of Natural Selection 1818

In 1818, a year after the death of Scottish American physician and scientist, William Charles Wells, his Two Essays: One upon Single Vision with Two Eyes; the Other on Dew. A Letter to the Right Hon. Lloyd, Lord Kenyon and an Account of a Female of the White Race of Mankind, Part of whose Skin Resembles that of a Negro was published in London. Wells’s “Account of a female of the white race. . . ." was read before the Royal Society in 1813, but first appeared in print posthumously. It contained the first recognizable statement of the principle of natural selection. In his study of an albino negro woman, Wells assumed a biological evolution of the human species, drawing an analogy between man’s selective breeding of domestic animal varieties and nature’s selection of varieties of men best suited to various climates.  He wrote,

"[What was done for animals artificially] seems to be done with equal efficiency, though more slowly, by nature, in the formation of varieties of mankind, fitted for the country which they inhabit. Of the accidental varieties of man, which would occur among the first scattered inhabitants, some one would be better fitted than the others to bear the diseases of the country. This race would multiply while the others would decrease, and as the darkest would be the best fitted for the [African] climate, at length [they would] become the most prevalent, if not the only race."

Neither Charles Darwin nor Alfred Russel Wallace was familiar with Wells’s paper when they formulated the theory of natural selection, but after Darwin published the Origin in 1859 Wells' paper was called to his attention, and Darwin paid tribute to Wells’s pioneering statement in the historical introduction to the third edition of the Origin. Wells’s paper was contained in the first collected edition of his essays on binocular vision and on dew formation, both of which represented advances in the knowledge of these subjects.

Hook & Norman, The Haskell F. Norman Library of Science and Medicine (1991) no. 2200.

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Cornelius Van Winkle Issues the First American Printer's Manual 1818

In 1818 printer and publisher Cornelius S. Van Winkle of New York published The Printer's Guide; or, an Introduction to the Art of Printing: Including an Essay on Punctuation and Remarks on Orthography. This work, published in small 8vo format, was the first printer's manual written by an American printer and published in the United States.  Van Winkle characterized himself on the title page as "Printer to the University of New-York."

This work was the first printing manual that described American presses, specimens of American typefounders, price lists for printing, and information on supplies.  "While some parts of the manual, as Wroth has demonstrated, derive from Stower, it was prepared by an American printer for the use of American printers. In one sense, American printing may be said to have come of age with the publication of Van Winkle" (Silver, The American Printer, 1797-1825 [1967] 96).

In 1970 The Lakeside Press, R.R. Donnelley & Sons issued an excellent facsimile edition of this manual, even reproducing the foxing and color of the original paper.  From these we learn that the first edition was issued with two separate catalogues of type specimens bound at the end:  A Specimen of Printing Types from the Foundry of E. White, and A Specimen of Printing Types Cast at D. & G. Bruce's Foundry.

Thanks to John Hightower for pointing out in January 2012 that a digital version of the first edition of van Winkle's book is available at openlibrary.org. Google books has a digital version of the 1836 printing by White & Hagar of New York, characterized as "with additions and alterations."

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Mairet Issues a Manual of Lithography, Bookbinding, and Cleaning and Restoring Paper 1818 – 1824

In 1818 F. Mairet published from Dijon, Notice sur la lithographie. Mairet, a paper merchant and distinguished bookbinder, set up the second lithographic press in Dijon, and became the first lithographic printer, besides Senefelder himself, to write a manual on lithography. The book sold successfully and six years later Mairet issued a revised edition, adding to it an essay on bookbinding and on the cleaning (blanchiment) of books and prints.  The title of the second edition, issued from Chatillon-sur-Seine, was Notice sur lithographie. . . suivi d'un essai sur la relieure et le blanchiment des livres et gravures. The second edition, then, became one of the earliest discussions in book form of the methods of restoring books and prints.

Bigmore & Wyman II, 14. , Twyman, Lithography, 93-94.

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James Watt's Workshop, a Time-Capsule of Technology 1819

The workshop of inventor James Watt, containing all the furniture, the floorboards and door, window and skylight, and 8,4320 objects, essentially as they were left upon Watt's death in 1819, are preserved in the Science Museum, London.

"The workshop was in the attic of Watt's home, Heathfield, outside Birmingham. Watt spent a lot of time in the workshop after his retirement in 1800, partly to escape his second wife. His main project in the workshop was copying sculpture, for which he developed the two large copy-mills which dominate the workshop space. Upon Watt's death the room was sealed and, bar a few VIP visits by intrigued VIP visitors in the 1860s, left untouched until 1924. In that year, Heathfield faced demolition, and the room was dismantled and carefully shipped to the Science Museum" (Science Museum website, accessed 06-03-2011).

"It [Watt's workshop] remained on display for visitors for many years, but was walled-off when the gallery it was housed in closed. The workshop remained intact, and preserved, and in March 2011 was again put on public display as part of a new permanent Science Museum exhibition, 'James Watt and our world' "(Wikipedia article on James Watt, accessed 06-03-2011).

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William Lawrence Describes the Natural History of Man 1819

William Lawrence

The Court of Chancery during the reign of George I by Benjamin Ferrers

Surgeon and scientist William Lawrence published Lectures on Physiology, Zoology and the Natural History of Man in 1819. This work set out Lawrence’s radical—and to our eyes, remarkably advanced—ideas concerning evolution and heredity. Arguing that theology and metaphysics had no place in science, Lawrence relied instead on empirical evidence in his examination of variation in animals and man, and the dissemination of variation through inheritance. On the question of cause, Lawrence disagreed with those who ascribed variation to external factors such as climate, and rejected the Lamarckian notion of the inheritance of acquired characteristics. His understanding of the mechanics of heredity was well ahead of his time: he stated that “offspring inherit only [their parents’] connate qualities and not any of the acquired qualities,” and that the “signal diversities which constitute differences of race in animals . . . can only be explained by two principles . . . namely, the occasional production of an offspring with different characters from those of the parents, as a native or congenital variety; and the propagation of such varieties by generation” (p. 510).

While Lawrence did not grasp the role that natural selection plays in the origination of new species, he recognized that “selections and exclusions,” including geographical separation, were the means of change and adaptation in all animals, including humans. He noted that men as well as animals can be improved by selective breeding, and pointed out that sexual selection was responsible for enhancing the beauty of the aristocracy: “The great and noble have generally had it more in their power than others to select the beauty of nations in marriage; and thus . . . they have distinguished their order, as much by elegant proportions of person, as by its prerogatives in society” (p. 454). He investigated the human races in detail, and insisted that the proper approach to this study was a zoological one, since the question of variation in mankind “cannot be settled from the Jewish Scriptures; nor from other historical records” (p. 243).

The Natural History of Man came under fire from conservatives and clergy for its materialist approach to human life, and Lawrence was accused of atheism for having dared to challenge the relevance of Scripture to science. In 1822 the Court of Chancery ruled the Natural History blasphemous, thus revoking the work’s copyright. Lawrence was forced to withdraw the book, a fact reflected in the comparative rarity of the first edition. However, the book’s notoriety was such that several publishers issued their own pirated editions, keeping the work in print for several decades. A list of the London editions of Lawrence’s work, taken from OCLC, follows:

1819 J. Callow (authorized)

1819 s.n. (?)

1822 W. Benbow

1822 J. Smith

1822 Kaygill & Price (unillustrated)

1823 R. Carlile

1823 J. Smith

1834 J. T. Cox

1838 J. Taylor

1840 J. Taylor

1844 J. Taylor

1848 H. G. Bohn

1866 Bell & Daldy

Editions were also published in Edinburgh and America. Darwin owned one of the unauthorized editions listed above, the one issued by “the notorious shoemaker-turned-publisher William Benbow, who financed his flaming politics by selling pornographic prints” (Desmond & Moore, Darwin, p. 253). Darwin was obviously impressed with Lawrence’s work, citing it five times in The Descent of Man (1871). 

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The Earliest Known Dust Jacket 1819 – 1829

Mark Godburn of earlydustjackets.blogspot.com posted on December 13, 2011:

"1819, 1822 & 1829. Earliest publishers' jackets.

"J. C. Osterhausen and G. C. Wilder. Nürnberg: Bei Riegel und Wießner, 1819 & 1822. Two vols. complete. First edition. Paper covered boards. Illustrated. [The Bookmark]

"Each volume has its original plain jacket and slipcase with label. These are now the earliest recorded publishers' jackets. The record was previously held by a sealed wrapping jacket issued late in 1829 on an 1830 British annual. The image at left shows the books in the center, with the slipcases at the outer left and right. The 1822 volume to the center left is wrapped in its light blue jacket; the 1819 volume to the center right has its dark blue jacket open, with a small part of the flaps visible behind. The slipcases are each covered in the same light blue paper as the jacket for the 1822 volume, with the color faded on the outside. A second edition of the first volume was issued in 1829 in a jacket of the same cut with narrow beveled flaps, and a slipcase with the same label as the 1819 slipcase." 

This discovery put the early introduction of publishers' jackets before the introduction of publisher's cloth as a permanent binding material in the 1820s.

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The First Prayer Book of Reform Judaism 1819

Reform Judaism originated in Germany in the early nineteenth century in response to the Haskalah Jewish Enlightenment movement, which advocated more secularization and closer assimilation into European culture. The first Jewish Reform temple, known as the Hamburg Temple (Israelitischer Tempel), opened in Hamburg in 1818. It soon revised the daily prayer book, adding prayers and sermons in German, and choral singing with organ accompaniment. In 1819 it published its first prayer book: Ordnung der öffentlichen Andacht für die Sabbath-und Festtage des ganzen Jahres. Nach dem Gebrauche des Neuen-Tempel-Vereins in Hamburg. Herausgegeben von S[eckel]. I[ssac]. Fränkel und M[eyer]. I[srael] Bresselau. Hamburg: Die Herausgeber, 5579, (1819). The new prayer book combined abbreviated Hebrew prayers and parallel German translations, reflecting the spirit of the newly created Reform faction. 

The Hamburg Temple was closed by the Nazis after Kristallnacht in November, 1938.

Reeve (ed.) Sacred. Books of the Three Faiths: Judaism, Christianity, Islam (2007) 48.

In April 2014 no digital facsimile could be located through Google, and the only image of the title page of the first prayer book of Reform Judaism that I could find online was at this link.

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The First Lithograph Printed in the United States July 1819

In its issue for July 1819 The Analectic Magazine published in Philadelphia included on pp. 67-73 "Art. IX.- Lithography." The original lithograph illustrating this article, created and drawn on stone by the American artist, portrait painter and inventor, Bass Otis, was the first lithograph created and published in the United States. The illustration, signed "Bass Otis lithographie," represents a woodland scene—a flowing stream and a single house upon the bank of the river. The article, signed "C" for the lawyer, chemist, geologist, economist Thomas Cooper, proudly explained how the lithograph came about, using a stone imported from Bavaria and presented to the American Philosophical Society by master printer Thomas Dobson.

Notably Otis's pioneering lithograph appeared within months of the publication by Rudolf Ackermann in London of the English translation of Senefelder's A Complete Course of Lithography: ... Accompanied by Illustrative Specimens of Drawings. To Which is Prefixed a History of Lithography. It is believed that the English translation of Senefelder's work was highly instrumental in spreading the technique of lithography.

In America on Stone (1931) Harry T. Peters raised the issue of whether a frontispiece portrait of Abner Kneeland that Otis engraved for Kneeland's A Series of Lectures on the Doctrine of Universal Benevolence (Philadelphia, 1818) was a lithograph. In 1913 Joseph Jackson, in his article "Bass Otis, America' First Lithographer," Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography XXXVII (1913) 385-94, asserted that this image is a lithograph, based indirectly on a statement published by Senefelder in his Vollständiges Lehrbuch der Steindruckerey (Munich, 1818, p. 132) that lithography was being practiced in Philadelphia in 1818. In any case, Otis signed the image, "B. Otis sc.", an abbreviation for B. Otis sculpsit, meaning B. Otis engraver, rather than lithographer. Furthermore, Jackson acknowledged that Otis's portrait of Kneeland was a combination of printmaking techniques: 

"It displays so many different styles that one is forced to admit that the engraver was not confident of his skill. The background is pure lithotint, part of the face is in stipple, and the remainder of the portait is in line and lithotint. No amateur of engravings can look at it without being struck by its many peculiarities, which until it is shown to have been a lithographic product must have been baffling to every theory concerning the probable method employed.... Strictly speaking the work is not engraving, as that process is generally understood; it is not pure lithography, but an etching on stone in a most primitive manner."

Reading this description of the portrait 100 years after Jackson published, and viewing the reproduction of the portrait online, it seems highly unlikely that Bass's frontispiece portrait of Kneeland is actually a lithograph, as it contains too many different print-making styles that resemble engraving or aquatint. It seems more likely that Jackson was attempting to fit this print into the proverbial Procrustian bed, making a lithograph out of a print that was not a lithograph. In his extensively documented and researched paper, "The Beginnings of Lithography in America," Journal of the Printing Historical Society, No. 27 (1998) 49-67,  Philip J. Weimerskirch confirmed that Otis's 1819 image was the first lithograph published in America.

According to Smyth, The Philadelphia Magazines and their Contributors, 1741-1850 (1892) 180, The Analectic Magazine ceased publication in 1821.

(This entry was last revised on 03-19-2016).

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Foundation of the First Business School December 1, 1819

Established on December 1, 1819, l'Ecole Spéciale de Commerce et d’Industrie (now ESCP Europe) was the first business school. It was founded in Paris by a group of economic scholars and businessmen, including the economist Jean-Baptiste Say, who held the first Chair of Economics, and the trader Vital Roux. The school was patterned after the École Polytechnique founded by politician, engineer and mathematician Lazare Carnot and mathematician Gaspard Monge, but was much more modest in its beginnings, mainly because it did not receive state funding. It soon was renamed Ecole Supérieure de Commerce, and gradually gained in stature and importance during the 19th century. Fifty years after its founding it was acquired by the Chambre de commerce et d'industrie de Paris (CCIP), and became a government institution.

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The Thomas Arithmometer, the First Commercially Produced Mechanical Calculator 1820

Charles Xavier Thomas' Arithometer.

Charles Xavier Thomas

In 1820 Charles Xavier Thomas of Alsace, an entrepreneur in the insurance industry, invented the arithmometer, the first commercially produced adding machine, presumably to speed up and make more accurate, the enormous amount of daily computation insurance companies required. Remarkably, according to the Wikipedia, Thomas received almost immediate acknowledgement for this invention, as he was made Chevalier of the Legion of Honor only one year later, in 1821.  At this time he changed his name to Charles Xavier Thomas, de Colmar, later abbreviated to Thomas de Colmar.

"Initially Thomas spent all of his time and energy on his insurance business, therefore there is a hiatus of more than thirty years in between the first model of the Arithmometer introduced in 1820 and its true commercialization in 1852. By the time of his death in 1870, his manufacturing facility had built around 1,000 Arithmometers, making it the first mass produced mechanical calculator in the world, and at the time, the only mechanical calculator reliable and dependable enough to be used in places like government agencies, banks, insurance companies and observatories just to name a few. The manufacturing of the Arithmometer went on for another 40 years until around 1914" (Wikipedia article on Charles Xavier Thomas, accessed 10-10-2011).

The success of the Arithmometer, which to a certain extent paralleled Thomas's success in the insurance industry, was, of course, in complete contrast to the problems that Charles Babbage faced with producing and gaining any acceptance for his vastly more sophisticated, complex, ambitious and expensive calculating engines during roughly the same time frame. Thomas, of course, produced an affordable product that succeeded in speeding up basic arithmetical operations essential to the insurance industry while Babbage's scientific and engineering goals initially of making mathematical tables more accurate, and later, of automating mathematical operations in general, did not attempt to meet a recognized industrial demand. 

"The [Arithmometer] mechanism has three parts, concerned with setting, counting, and recording respectively. Any number up to 999,999 may be set by moving the pointers to the numbers 0 to 9 engraved next to the six slots on the fixed cover plate. The movement of any of these pointers slides a small pinion with ten teeth along a square axle, underneath and to the left of which is a Leibniz stepped wheel.  

"The Leibniz wheel, a cylinder having nine teeth of increasing length, is driven from the main shaft by means of a bevel wheel, and the small pinion is thus rotated by as many teeth as the cylinder bears in the plane corresponding to the digit set. This amount of rotation is transferred through one of a pair of bevel wheels, carried on a sleeve on the same axis, to the ‘results’ figure wheel on the back row on the hinged plate. This plate also carried the figure wheel recording the number of turns of the driving crank for each position of the hinged plate. The pair of bevel wheels is placed in proper gear by setting a lever at the top left-hand cover to either "Addition and Multiplication" or "Subtraction and Division." The ‘results’ figure wheel is thereby rotated anti-clockwise or clockwise respectively.  

"Use. Multiplying 2432 by 598 may be performed as follows: Lift the hinged plate, turn and release the two milled knobs to bring all the figure wheels to show zero; lower the hinged plate in its position to the extreme left; set the number 2432 on the four slots on the fixed plate; set the lever on the left to "multiplication" and turn the handle eight times; lift the hinged plate, slide it one step to the right, and lower it into position; turn the handle nine times; step the plate one point to the right again and the turn the handle five times. The product 1,454,336 will then appear on the top row, and the multiplier 598 on the next row of figures" (From Gordon Bell's website, accessed 10-12-2011).

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"The Book of Life: A Bibliographical Melody" 1820

In 1820 printer John Johnson, who would later be known for his Typographia (1824), issued fifty copies on paper and two on vellum of a poem entitled The Book of Life; A Bibliographical Melody. These copies Richard Thomson presented to the members of The Roxburghe Club on June 17, 1820. In 2013 I obtained an edition of the poem printed at the Feathered Serpent Press by Susan Acker and presented to the members of the Roxburghe Club of San Francisco and the Zamorano Club of Los Angeles by William P. Wreden in October 1990. The text reads as follows:

THE BOOK OF LIFE; A Bibliographical Melody

THAT Life is a Comedy oft hath been shown,

By all who Mortality's changes have known;

But more like a Volume it's actions appear,

Where each Day is Page, and Chapter a Year.

'Tis a Manuscript Time shall full surely unfold,

Though with Black-Letter shaded, or shining with Gold;

The Initial, like Youth, glitters bright on its Page,

But its Text is as dark—as the gloom of Old Age.

Then Life's Counsels of Wisdom engrave on thy breast,

And deep on thine Heart be her lessons imprest.


Though the Title stand first it can little declare,

The Contents which the Pages ensuing shall bear;

As little the first day of Life can explain

The succeeding events which shall glide in its train.

The Book follows next, and delighted we trace,

An Elzevir's beauty, a Guttemberg's grace;

Thus on pleasure we gaze with as 'raptured an eye, 

Till cut off like a Volume imperfect—we die!

The Life's Counsels of Wisdom engrave on thy breast,

And deep on thine Heart be her lessons imprest.


Yet e'en thus imperfect, complete, or defaced,

The skill of the Printer is still to be traced;

And though Death bend us early in life to his will,

The wise hand of our Author is visible still.

Like the Colophon lines, the Epitaph's lay,

Which tells of what age and what nation our day;

And, like the Device of the Printer, we bear

The form of the Founder, whose Image we wear.

The Life's Counsels of Wisdom engrave on thy breast,

And deep on thine Heart be her lessons imprest.


The work thus completed it's Boards shall enclose,

Till a Binding more bright and more beauteous it shows;

And who can deny, when Life's Vision hath past,

That the dark Boards of Death shall surround us at last.

Yet our Volume illumed with fresh splendours shall rise,

To be gazed at by Angels, and read to the skies,

Reviewed by it's Author, revised by his pen,

In a fair New Edition to flourish again.

The Life's Counsels of Wisdom engraved on thy breast,

And deep on thine Heart be her lessons Imprest.

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The Hetton Colliery Railway, the First Railway that Uses No Animal Power 1820 – 1822

In 1820 British engineer George Stephenson was hired to build an 8- mile (13-km) private railway for the Hetton Coal Company at Hetton Lyons, County Durham, England. Beginning in 1822 the Hetton colliery railway ran from Hetton Collliery, about two miles south of Houghton-le-Spring to a staithe (wharf) on the River Wear. To power the railway Stephenson used a combination of gravity on downward inclines and steam locomotives for level and upward stretches. This was the first railway that used no animal power.  When it finally closed in 1959 the Hetton colliery railway was the oldest mineral railway in Great Britain.

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The Earliest Publisher's Cloth Bindings, Issued by William Pickering 1821 – 1825

The years 1821 to 1825 appear to represent the introduction of publisher's cloth bindings, a key development leading eventually to cloth edition bindings like those customarily used today. In his pioneering study of publisher's bindings, The Evolution of Publishers' Binding Styles 1770-1900, published in 1930, English publisher, novelist, collector and bibliographer Michael Sadleir stated on pp. 42-43 and plate 10, following the opinion of Geoffrey Keynes, that at the beginning of his career London bookseller and publisher William Pickering introduced the first publisher's cloth bindings with printed paper spine labels, beginning with his miniature edition of the works of Virgil in Latin (1821). This was the second book published in his miniature book-sized Diamond Classic Series, set in very small Diamond type, equal to 4.5 point. This set represented a novelty in publishing— not that it was in any way practical since the type was so small as to be barely legible without a magnifying glass. Nevertheless it must have pushed the skills of manual typesetters and punch-cutters to their limit, producing and setting tiny type that was so hard to read.

The first volume in Pickering's Diamond Classic series was Quintus Horatius Flaccus issued in 48mo in 1820. This Sadleir and other collectors had not seen in a publisher's cloth binding. Sadleir illustrated a copy of the Virgil in a cloth binding. The third volume in the series, Cicero's De Officiis, de senectute et de amicitia also issued in 1821, was offered by Pickering bound in reddish brown calico cloth. In addition to the title the paper labels indicated the price (5s, in the case of the Cicero). I have a cloth-bound copy of the Cicero in my collection.

Two years after Sadeir published his book, in 1932 London antiquarian bookseller and bibliographer John Carter issued Binding Variants in English Publishing 1820-1900. In his book Carter argued that it was possible, and even probable that the publisher's cloth bindings sometimes found on Pickering's Diamond Classics were put on a bit later than 1821. Pickering was known to have copies of his books bound up in fairly small quantities as demand warranted, so that the cloth bindings could have been put on later. Carter's argument for this, expressed on p. 20 of his book, was that after a very careful search, the earliest reference he could find to Pickering actually advertising any of his books in cloth bindings was in the "Spring List of 1826":

"The Prospectus of the Oxford English Classics (published in conjunction with Talboys & Wheeler, of Oxford) announces the series as 'neatly done up in extra cloth boards,' and describes the various volumes already published as 'in red cloth, lettered.' (This last, of course, means 'labelled.') "

Carter then suggests that the Pickering Shakespeare, issued as a set of 9 volumes in the Oxford English Classics in 1825 might be the earliest edition that Pickering actually issued from the beginning in publisher's cloth. He then also mentions on p. 22 that the earliest actual mention of publisher's cloth known to him was a Pickering announcement in the Observer of July 31st, 1825, of  another set in the Oxford English Classics, Johnson's Works, in "extra red cloth boards." Carter follows this statement with the following tentative conclusion:

"It is possible that some earlier mention in a newspaper may exist, though I have been unable to find one; but since tradition and external evidence give us Pickering as the introducer of cloth, and since his advertisements do not refer to it before 1825, I myself shall take a stand on that year for the great event. Nothing would please me better than to be convinced of an earlier date, and I am aware that my position is a conservative one; but I think that is all that is proved at present."

This was what I knew on February 14, 2015. Carter's evidence and tentative conclusion was essentially reiterated by Douglas Ball in his Victorian Publishers' Bindings (1985). However, after writing this much I learned that in 1935 Carter issued another shorter work on the subject of publisher's cloth: Publisher's cloth: an outline history of publisher's bindings in England 1820-1900, and duly ordered a copy. It turned out to be a small 8vo pamphlet of 48pp., which most recapped earlier research and presented it in a clearer manner. One point that I noticed in reading Carter's 1935 pamphlet was that the earliest definitive statement that Pickering was responsible for the introduction of cloth edition bindings was made by Charles Knight in his article on printing presses and machinery and bookbinding in issue  No.112, p. 511 of The Penny Magazine in 1833. Knight wrote, "But within the past seven years the introduction of the cheap and yet neat and substantial binding in cloth, which was first attempted by Mr. Pickering, of Chancery Lane, has created a new branch of business, of equal importance to any of the previously existing branches."

 Though Pickering's books issued in 1825 may be the first books bound in publisher's cloth, they are not the earliest books issued in cloth "edition" bindings if one defines an "edition binding" as a cloth casing uniform to an edition, or most of an edition. Pickering was, however, the leading early promoter of publisher's cloth bindings at a time when other publishers issued their books in boards or in leather bindings, and he may be called the inventor of the concept of publisher's cloth. 

In the revised edition of his William Pickering Publisher (1969) surgeon, book collector and bibliographer Sir Geoffrey Keynes repeated on pp. 13-15 the indirect evidence for the dating of Pickering's introduction of cloth bindings which he had obtained from John Carter. The story, recorded in 1855 thirty years after the fact, cannot be depended upon for reliable dating, and mainly confirms Pickering's intent to publish half of the first edition of his Diamond Classics in cloth bindings: 

"An anonymous article on 'The History of Bookbinding' published in the issue of The Bookbinders' Trade Circular for March 1855, pp. 9-120, had stated that the use of cloth for binding had been introduced by Pickering in 1823 after noticing the 'French red' lining of chintz curtains. He was said to have supplied his binder, Archibald Leighton, of Exeter Street, with the right kind of calico. At first Leighton glazed and stiffened the material with glue; later he found starch to be more suitable for the purpose. Probably the latter part of the story was true, but clearly the date 1823 for the first use of cloth was wrong. This was put right in the next issue of the Circular for May 1855, p. 22, where a correspondent, R.E. Lawson, writing from 61 Stanhope Street, contributed an amended version. He agreed that Pickering first introduced cloth into the book trade, but maintained that it was his own suggestion. Lawson was working as a binder for Charles Sully and William Greenfield ('the eminent linguist') and had known Pickering since 1809. His employers had been commissioned to bind the Diamond Classics, and he related the following incident, which presumably took place early in 1820: 'Mr Pickering came one evening—I remember, perfectly well, that the candles were slight—into the shop—I believe No. 2 Upper John Street, Golden Square—and announced to Mr. Sully that he was about to publish the works above named [the Diamond Classics], and wished a quantity done in morocco, and a portion in boards. 'Now,' said he, to Mr. Sully, 'could you suggest some neater mode in which to do the boarded portion than the present one.' I immediated handed to Mr. Pickering, from my side-board, a small oblong quarto of MS music for the guitar, which myself and Mr. Sully were studying under the same master at that time, bound in light blue glazed calico, a remnant of some my mother had been lining her window curtain with, and asked Mr. Pickering 'what he thought of THAT'. 'The VERY THING,' said he, 'and excepting the colour will do admirably.' After a little deliberation, it was decided that they should be done in couleur du puce, which was the case, while the old style of 'lettering' was retained in the now rarely-to-be-met with form of the white printed 'label' of the period! The books came in—one thousand copies; five hundred were done in morocco, five hundred in 'cloth' boards; the cloth was purchased at the corner of Wilderness-row, St. John Street, and the whole of the 'CLOTH' copies were covered by myself with glue, Richard Cross, Mr. Sully's apprentice at the time, 'squaring the boards' and 'drawing in.'

"After this beginning Pickering followed the practice throughout his publishing career. He was afterwards imitated by other publishers, but the smooth red, magenta, puce or dark blue cloth used by Pickering remained for many years the distinguishing mark of his books. Even at the present time [1924] the external appearance of his volumes in their original state has a special attraction which arrests the eye as it passes along a shelf filled with these and other volumes issued by contemporary publishers.

"The use of cloth as a publisher's binding made little difference to the cost of the books and was a considerable economy from the buyer's point of view, since the book could be used without the necessity for re-binding entailed by the flimsy boards and paper backs with which the public had hitherto contented itself. The innovation thus quietly made by Pickering in 1820 had had its effect on the whole subsequent history of the publishing trade in England, and but for him boards or paper covers for books might now be considered to be just as inevitable in this country as they still appear to be on the continent of Europe."

Bernard Warrington, "William Pickering and the Book Trade in the Early Nineteenth Century," John Rylands University Library of Manchester   (1985).

Pickering & Chatto, Catalogue 708, William Pickering and His Successors 1820-1900 (1993).

(This entry was last revised on 02-13-2015.)

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Foundation of the Ecole nationale des chartes February 22, 1821

On February 22, 1821 the École nationale des chartes, an elite French university-level institution providing education and training for archivists and librarians, was founded by royal ordinance at the Bibliothèque royale, predecessor of the Bibliothèque nationale de France.

The school closed in 1823, and reopened following a new ordinance of November 11, 1829. In 1862 the school moved to a site close to the Archives nationales, and later still to the Sorbonne, to facilities intended for the suppressed theology department.

Moore, Restoring Order. The Ecole des Chartes and the Organization of Archives and Libraries in France, 1820-1870 (2008).

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Babbage Begins Construction of his Difference Engine No. 1 1822

About 1820 mathematician Charles Babbage started building a model of his first Difference Engine, a special-purpose machine that linked adding and subtracting mechanisms to one another to calculate the values of more complex mathematical functions. Frustrated by “the intolerable labour and fatiguing monotony of a continued repetition of similar arithmetical calculations”, came up with the plan of designing a machine capable of performing various mathematical functions. The immediate purpose of the machine was to improve the accuracy of printed mathematical tables—especially the Nautical Almanac— which were the most widely used calculating devices of the time.

By 1822 Babbage had constructed a model of his Difference Engine No. 1, a special-purpose calculating machine far more complex than any that had previously been conceived, designed to compute mathematical tables by the method of finite differences and to print the results. In the design of his machine Babbage was influenced by the division of labor employed in the celebrated manuscript tables of de Prony, which Babbage had seen in 1819. The division of labor, both physical and mental, became central themes of Babbage’s economic thought later developed in his Economy of Machinery and Manufactures.

Babbage was convinced of the “great utility” of his machine, but knew that constructing a larger version would entail “very considerable expense,” and would also leave him no time to pursue his studies in pure mathematics. On July 3, 1822, as a means of testing the waters, Babbage wrote an open letter to Sir Humphry Davy, president of the Royal Society, in which he presented a detailed description of his Difference Engine. He had his letter published as a pamphlet, and sent it to people he deemed influential:

A Letter to Sir Humphry Davy, Bart. . . . on the Application of Machinery to the Purpose of Calculating and Printing Mathematical Tables (London, 1822).

This was Babbage's first public statement of his plans for his calculating engine, and his first publication on his project for developing calculating engines, on which he would devote most of his creative energy for the remainder of his life. A copy of the pamphlet reached the Lords of the Treasury, who referred it back to the Royal Society on April 1, 1823, with a letter requesting the Society’s opinion of Babbage’s machine. One month later, on May 1, the Royal Society responded to the Treasury as follows:

"That it appears to the Committee, that Mr. Babbage has displayed great talents and ingenuity in the construction of his machine for computation, which the Committee think fully adequate to the attainment of the objects proposed by the Inventor, and that they consider Mr. Babbage as highly deserving of public encouragement in the prosecution of his arduous undertaking" (Great Britain. Parliament. House of Commons. Sessional Papers [1823], p. 6).

This favorable report gained Babbage his first national funding of £1000 toward his construction of the Difference Engine. The project tested the limits of precision obtainable by machine tool makers at the time; it also ended up being far more costly than expected, claiming £17,000 of the government’s money over the next decade before foundering in 1833, largely due to contractual disputes between Babbage and Joseph Clement, the engineer hired to construct Babbage’s machine. By this time Babbage had begun to turn his attention to the Analytical Engine, a far more complex and powerful calculating machine whose design would occupy Babbage for most of the rest of his scientific career.

Remarkably the printing feature of Babbage's Difference Engine No. 1 became known to printers through Thomas Hansard's Typographia, an Historical Sketch of the Origin and Progress of the Art of Printing (1825). In January 2015 when I was reading what Hansard had to say about the highly advanced inventions typesetting and printing inventions of William Church, about which Hansard was incredulous, I came across these remarks of Hansard on p. 689-90:

"But surely this [Church's inventions], wonderful as it may seem, is far exceeded by the proposed application of machinery to the work of the head as well as of the hands?—See what follows!


"Charles Babbage, Esq. F.R.S., London and Edinburgh &c. in a letter addressed to sir Humphry Davy, president of the Royal Society of London, has announced to the world, that he has invented various machines, by which some of the most complicated processes of arithmetical calculation may be performed with certainty and dipatch; and in order to avoid the errors which might be produced in copying and printing the numbers in the common way, the ingenious inventor states, that he has contrived means by which the machines shall take, from several boxes containing type, the numbers which they calculate, and place them side by side; thus becoming at once a substitute for the computer [i.e. a human computer] and the compositor.

 "The scheme of Mr. Babbage is, however, much more within the scope of probability than that of Dr. Church. He does not go to the casting-type process— his authorship and composing go no further than the ten figures— and his object is, to effect accuracy where it is of great consequence, so that i may, perhaps be of general benefit."

Hook & Norman, Origins of Cyberspace (2002) No. 29. 

(This entry was last revised on 01-20-2015.)

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The Fourier Series 1822

French mathematician and physicist Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier published Théorie analytique de la chaleur in 1822. Fourier’s application of new methods of mathematical analysis to the study of heat extended rational mechanics to fields outside of those defined in Newton’s Principia, enabling the systematization of a wide range of phenomena. To further his study of heat, Fourier introduced the Fourier series and Fourier integrals.

Hook & Norman, The Haskell F. Norman Library of Science and Medicine (1991) no. 824.

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Francis Place Founds the Birth Control Movement 1822

Title page of Illustrations and Proofs of the Principle of Population: Including an Examination of the Proposed Remedies of Mr. Malthus, and a Reply to the Objections of Mr. Godwin and Others.

Excerpt from page of Illustrations and Proofs of the Principle of Population: Including an Examination of the Proposed Remedies of Mr. Malthus, and a Reply to the Objections of Mr. Godwin and Others.

Francis Place.

In 1822 English tailor, economist and political radical Francis Place published in London Illustrations and Proofs of the Principle of Population: Including an Examination of the Proposed Remedies of Mr. Malthus, and a Reply to the Objections of Mr. Godwin and Others. Place's book was the foundation work of the birth-control movement. 

“Though many preceded Francis Place in discussing the technique of contraception, he seems to have been the first to venture, at first alone and unaided, upon an organized attempt to educate the masses. Place, holds, therefore, the same position in social education on contraception that Malthus holds in the history of general population theory . . . it was Place who first gave birth control a body of social theory” (Himes, Medical History of Contraception [1930], 212-13). 

Place, the son of an alcoholic London bailiff, overcame enormous economic hardship to become a successful master tailor. In his free time he taught himself mathematics, the law, history and economics; he also became involved in British radical politics, associating with such influential figures as Joseph Hume, Thomas Wakely, Sir Francis Burdett, Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill.  David Ricardo had sent Place a copy of Malthus's work and Place sent Ricardo the manuscript of his book for comments in September 1821 to which Ricardo replied in a lengthy letter to Place dated September 9, 1821.

Place’s Illustrations and Proofs arose from the long-standing controversy between Thomas Malthus and the utopian socialist William Godwin over the nature of human society. Godwin held that there was no limit on human perfectibility, and that society, if freed from the evils of government and other man-made institutions, would advance to an ideal state, free of poverty and governed entirely by reason. Malthus countered Godwin’s utopian claims with his famous Essay on the Principle of Population (1798 and subsequent editions), in which he argued that humanity’s improvement was necessarily limited by the constant struggle between a population’s natural tendency to increase (which was not susceptible to control by reason) and the restraints on population growth, such as famine and disease, imposed by scarce resources. In the second edition of the Essay (1803) Malthus proposed that poverty and other miseries caused by these opposing pressures on populations could be mitigated by voluntary growth-limiting measures such as “moral restraint”; i.e. delayed marriage and sexual continence prior to marriage. Malthus explicitly condemned artificial methods of contraception, however, claiming they were unnatural and would lead to immorality.

Although a supporter of Malthus’s views on population, Place emphatically disagreed with Malthus’s condemnation of birth control. His own life experience had given him first-hand knowledge of both grinding poverty and licentious behavior, and he knew how hopeless a task it was to persuade England’s poor to refrain from sex until they were economically prepared to support a family. His own early marriage, at the age of 19, had rescued him from a life of debauchery; however, “experience . . . emphatically warned him that early marriage meant many children” (quoted in Hime, Introduction, p. 10)—a situation that kept poor families in poverty and led to such social evils as prostitution and child labor. “Thus it was that Place came to be dominated by the compelling persuasion, an opinion that amounted to an idée fixe, that Malthus’s remedy was impracticable, that it was as utopian in its own way . . . as Godwin’s notions of perfectibility. And thus it was that Place, feeling that he had a distinctive contribution to make to the discussion of population problems . . . came out unequivocally [in Illustrations and Proofs] for contraception as the best ‘means of preventing the numbers of mankind from increasing faster than food is provided’” (Himes, Introduction, p. 11). “It was a daring innovation in the history of economic thought . . . when, in 1822, Place published his Illustrations and Proofs of the Principle of Population, the first treatise on population in English to propose contraceptive measures as a substitute for Malthus’s ‘moral restraint’” (Himes, Medical History of Contraception, p. 213).

Place’s Illustrations sold poorly, which prompted him to use more direct methods of communicating his message. In 1823 he began distributing handbills advocating contraception, addressed to “The Married of Both Sexes,” “The Married of Both Sexes in Genteel Life,” and “The Married of Both Sexes of the Working People.” These “received considerable circulation not only in London, but in the industrial districts of the North; while the discussions which ensued caused them to be reprinted in several radical journals of the period . . . the handbills were in advance of modern medical opinion in maintaining that economic indications held a coordinate place with medical indications for contraception” (Himes, Medical History of Contraception, 213, 218).

Himes, “Editor’s introduction,” in Place, Illustrations and Proofs of the Principles of Population, ed. Himes (1930; repr. 1967), 7-63; Medical History of Contraception (1936), 212-20. J. Norman (ed) Morton's Medical Bibliography no. 1696.1.

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William Church Invents the First Machine for Type Composition 1822

In 1822 American physician, inventor and civil engineer living in England William Church received British patent no. 4664 for "An Improved Apparatus for Printing." This patent which was illustrated with 8 large folding engineering drawings consisted of three parts: "first, a machine for casting the printing types, and also of arranging them in boxes of letters, so that the types of the same denomination are placed side by side in ranges, ready to be transferred to the composing machinery. The second part of the apparatus consists of a machine, by which the individual types are selected and composed into words and sentences. The third part of the apparatus is a press for printing and delivering the sheets into a pile" (Church's patent p. 2).

The first patented machine for type composition, Church's invention never seems to have been built or used, and is known almost entirely from his patent, which showed a rapid typecasting machine, a mechanical typesetter, and a newly designed bed-and-platen printing machine, in that order. These three devices comprised a system which was later followed by letterpress printers.  That Church's machine was well known in England at the time the patent was issued is confirmed by the long, critical and almost incredulous discussion of it by Thomas Hansard in his Typographia, an Historical Sketch of the Origin and Progress of the Art of Printing (1825) pp. 665-677 where he discusses "The Printing Machines and other Inventions relative to Printing of Doctor William Church."

"While there is no evidence that a composing machine was built, the design included features which were embodied in later inventions. The type was stored in inclined channels, from which it was relased by the operation of a keyboard. The released type fell into a horizontal race where it was assembled by rocking arms into a continous line. Like other early composing machines, Church's did not provide for justification of the lines, leaving that to be done by hand. Power was provided by a clock-work mechanism" (Printing and the Mind of Man. Catalogue of an Exhibition at Earl's Court, London, 16-27 July 1963 [1963] No. 462).

Huss, Dr. Church's "Hoax": An Assessment of Dr. William Church's Typographical Inventions in which is enunciated Church's Law (1976).

(This entry was last revised on 01-20-2015.)

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The First American Book with Lithographed Illustrations 1822

In 1822 publisher James V. Seaman of New York issued Henry Muhlenberg's expanded edition of James Edward Smith's A Grammar of Botany, Illustrative of Artificial, as Well as Natural Classification with an Explanation of Jussieu's System. The book had first appeared in London in 1821. The first American edition contained 21 black & white plates lithographed by William Armand Barnet and Isaac Doolittle, who had received lithographic training in France, and had opened their lithography business, Barnet & Doolittle, at 23 Lumber Street in New York. "Barnet was the son of the American consul in Paris and Doolittle was a mechanic with an interest in steamboats. Together they studied lithography and arrived in New York in the fall of 1821" (Barnhill, Commercial Nineteenth-Century American Lithography: An Economic History [2010] 3).

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Champollion Deciphers Egyptian Hieroglyphs September 22, 1822

Having studied the three texts on the Rosetta Stone, as well as other texts brought back from Egypt from Napoleon's Egyptian campaigns, on September 22, 1882 French scholar, philologist and linguist Jean-François Champollion announced his depherment of Egyptian hieroglyphs in a report to Bon-Joseph Dacier, Perpetual Secretary of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres. This was published in Paris as Lettre à M. d'Acier relative à l'alphabet des hiéroglyphes phonétiques. In this 55-page report read to the Académie on September 27,

"Champollion described the alphabet that was used to write non-Egyptian names, and in the concluding pages he tentatively announced that he was certain that the phonetic signs were an integral part of 'pure hieroglyphic writing'. Among the select audience was the great Prussian natural scientist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) and also Thomas Young, whose initial reaction is recorded in a letter written to W.R. Hamilton on the Sunday after the reading:

" 'I have found here, or rather recovered, Mr. Champollion, junior, who has been living for these ten years on the Inscription of Rosetta, and who has lately been making some steps in Egyptian literature, which really appear to be gigantic. It may be said that he found the key in England which has opened the gate for him, and it is often observed that c'est le premier pas qui coûte [it's the first step that takes the effort]: but if he did borrow an English key, the lock was so dreadfully rusty, that no common arm would ahve strength enough to turn it. . . .' (Parkinson, The Rosetta Stone [2005] 43-44).

Two years after his preliminary report of the discovery Champollion published a fuller exposition as Précis du système hiéroglyphique des anciens égyptiennes, marking the decisive step in the decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphs. 

"His decipherment opened up the millennia of human history and resolved the pharaonic chronology that had been a major concern of the period. It also showed that human history went back much further than was accepted in the Church's chronology based on the Bible" (Parkinson, op. cit., 45).

(This entry was last revised on 08-04-2014).


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The First Indigenous Arabic Press in Egypt December 1822

In 1822 Muhammad Ali Pasha al-Mas'ud ibn Agha (Arabic: محمد علي باشا‎, Muḥammad ʿAlī Bāšā), self-declared Khedive of Egypt and Sudan, established a government press in Bulaq (Boulaq), Egypt, to print manuals for the military, an official manual for the administration, and textbooks for new schools.

This was the first indigenous Arabic press set up in Egypt by Muslims. It was also the first government press on the African continent, apart from the short-lived presses briefly established by Napoleon during his Egyptian campaign.

"In 1815 he [Muhammad Ali] sent Nicolas Musabiki to Rome and Milan to study type-founding and printing. Muhammad Ali also ordered three presses from Milan - along with the necessary paper and ink from Leghorn and Trieste - and, when Musabiki returned, made him manager of the Bulaq Press, working under 'Uthman Nur al-Din. The press itself, in the meantime, had been established in old Nile port of Bulaq, now a suburb of Cairo, and shortly afterwards, the second, and largest, student mission - it numbered 44 students - had returned from Paris. These men, under the leadship of Rifa'a Bey Rafi' al-Tahtawi, had studied French with a view to the translation of technical books into Arabic. The most prolific of these translators turned out to be al-Tahtawi himself. 

"Al -Tahtawi had been educated at al-Azhar University, then and now the most prestigious center for the study of the Islamic sciences in the Muslim world. There was apparently no opposition by the Shaikhs of al-Azhar to the innovation of printing. . . . Muhmmad Ali attached several professors from al-Azhar to the Bulaq Press to learn the art of printing; one became head of the foundry, another printer-in-chief, and others worked as compositors and proofreaders.

"Between 1822 and 1842, the press at Bulaq published 243 titles. . . . By far the largest number of books - 48 - were on military and naval subjects. Muhammad Ali had seen both the French and the English fleets in action, and realized how vulnerable Egypt was to invasion from the sea. He had also noted how successful the modern arms of the French had been against the antiquated weapons of the Mamluks.

"Interestingly though, the next largest category of books published by the Bulaq Press was poetry. Twenty-six works of poetry in Turkish, Persian and Arabic were published in the first 20 years of the press' operation; clearly the men associated with the Bulaq Press were as interested in traditional Islamic literature as they were in translation of European works on military tactics. After poetry comes grammar, with 21 titles, mathematics and mechanics with 16, medicine with 15 and veterinary medicine with 12. Thre rest of the books published by the press were on religion, botany, agriculture, political administration and so forth" (http://muslimheritage.com/topics/default.cfm?ArticleID=988, accessed 06-10-2012).

In December 1822 the Bulaq Press issued its first book, an Italian-Arabic dictionary by Raphael Antoine Zakhour, an Egyptian born Roman Catholic monk from Aleppo, who had accompanied Napoleon's French expedition on its return to France as a translator:

Dizionario Italiano e Arabo che Contiene in Succinto Tutti Vocaboli che Sono Piu in Uso e Piu Necessari per Imparpar a Parlare de Due Lingue Correttamente Egli e Diviso in Due Parti. Part 1. De Dizionario Disposto Com il Solito Nell-ordine Alfabetico. Parte II. Che Contiene Una Breve Raccolta di Nomi e di Verbi li Piu Neccesari, e Piu Utili all Studio Dell Due Lingue. Bolacco: Dall Stamperio Reale, M.D.CCC.XXII.

Conforming with the idea of Muhammad Ali of "openness toward Europe to achieve development," Italian delegations were sent to Italy, and Italian became the first foreign language taught in Egyptian schools.

By 1851 the Bulaq press issued 570 works.

Cheng-Hsiang Hsu, "A Survey of Arabic-character Publications Printed in Egypt during the Period of 1238-1267 (1822-1851)," Sadgrove (ed) History of Printing and Publishing in the Languages and Countries of the Middle East (2005) 1-16.

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Invention of the Mechanical Pencil December 20, 1822

Though earlier examples of mechanical pencils have survived, in 1822 English engineer and inventor John Isaac Hawkins and English silversmith and inventor Sampson Mordan were the first to patent a metal pencil with an internal mechanism for propelling the graphite (pencil lead) shaft forward during use, as an improvement on the less complex leadholders that merely clutched the pencil lead to hold it into a single position. The two received British Patent No. 4742, "Pencil holders or port crayons; pens for facilitating writing and drawing," published: 20 December 1822. 

"After buying out Hawkins' patent rights, Mordan entered into a business partnership with Gabriel Riddle from 1823 to 1837. The earliest Mordan pencils are thus hallmarked SMGR. After 1837, Sampson Mordan ended the partnership with Riddle and continued to manufacture pencils as "S.MORDAN & CO". His company continued to manufacture pencils and a wide range of silver objects until World War II, when the factory was bombed" (Wikipedia article on Mechanical pencil, accessed 01-03-2013).

"Mordan often made his pencils in whimsical "figural" shapes that resembled animals, Egyptian mummies, or other objects; like his other silverware and goldware, these pencils are now highly collectible" (Wikipedia article on Sampson Mordan, accessed 01-03-2013).

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The Contributions of Thomas Young Toward Deciphering Egyptian Hieroglyphs 1823

In response to French linguist Jean-François Champollion's 1822 report of the decipherment of the Egyptian hieroglyphs, in 1823 English physician, scientist and polymath Thomas Young published An Account of Some Recent Discoveries in Hieroglyphical Literature, and Egyptian Antiquities. Young believed that his discoveries were the basis for Champollion's system. In this book Young emphasized that many of his findings had been published and sent to Paris in 1816. Although Young had correctly found the sound value of six signs, he had not deduced the grammar of the language, and had therefore not deciphered the entire written language.

"Young was also one of the first who tried to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphs, with the help of a demotic alphabet of 29 letters built up by Johan David Åkerblad in 1802 (15 turned out to be correct), but Åkerblad wrongly believed that demotic was entirely alphabetic. 'Dr Young however showed that neither the alphabet of Akerblad, nor any modification of it which could be proposed, was applicable to any considerable part of the enchorial portion of the Rosetta inscription beyond the proper names.'  By 1814 Young had completely translated the "enchorial" (demotic, in modern terms) text of the Rosetta Stone (he had a list with 86 demotic words), and then studied the hieroglyphic alphabet but initially failed to recognise that the demotic and hieroglyphic texts were paraphrases and not simple translations. Some of Young's conclusions appeared in the famous article "Egypt" he wrote for the 1818 edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica" (Wikipedia article on Thomas Young, accessed 07-28-2009).

(This entry was last revised on 08-04-2014).

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The Double Publication of the Double Elephant Folio of Anatomy 1823 – 1826

Considering that it is among the rarest of all anatomies, and certainly the largest, it is remarkable that two nearly identical editions of Paolo Mascagni’s posthumous life-size anatomy were published almost simultaneously. From 1823 to 1826 Francesco Antommarchi, a physician and anatomist of Corsican descent, issued from Paris Planches anatomiques du corps humain executes d’après les dimensions naturelles. This huge work contained 83 lithographed plates of which 48 were hand-colored and 35 were outline keys. The uncut sheets of the atlas measured 970 x 650 mm., or 25.5 x 38.25 inches. To accompany these plates Antommarchi published a folio text (Explication des planches anatomiques . . . in normal folio size with sheets 545 x 350 mm. or 21.5 x 13.75 inches. 

An edition with engraved plates was also published in Pisa under the title Anatomia universa (1823-32). Though the two editions were printed by different processes, the image quality of the two is remarkably similar and it is debatable which is superior from either the artistic or scientific standpoint. In an hommage to Vesalius, Antommarchi had imaginary landscape backgrounds created for the base of his musclemen. These did not appear in the Italian edition. There are other subtle differences: Antommarchi included letter keys within the images of some of the less-complex plates, eliminating the need for outline plates to those images. He also published more anatomical plates than the Italian edition, and, of course, his text was substantially different.

The publication history of these two editions is complex and usually misunderstood. The Paris edition was issued in 15 parts between 1823 and 1826 by the lithographic press of the Comte de Lasteyrie, one of the two founders of lithography in France (the text volume, issued in 1826, bears the imprint of Lasteyrie’s successor, R. Brégeaut). The atlas, with magnificent plates printed on single broadsheets measuring 970 x 650 mm., is comparable in size to the double elephant folio edition of Audubon’s Birds of America (1827-38), which measures about 985 x 660 mm.

Antommarchi's work is undoubtedly the largest lithographically printed book issued during the incunabula period of lithography. It is also the second anatomical atlas ever reproduced through the medium of lithography, overlapping in its years of publication with the Anatomie de l'homme ou descriptions et figures lithographes de toutes les parties du corps humain by the artist/anatomist Jules Germaine Cloquet, which was issued in five normal-sized folio volumes, also in Paris at the presses of Engelmann and de Lasteyrie from 1821 to 1831.

Antommarchi's atlas was issued in both colored and uncolored versions; according to the historian of anatomical illustration Ludwig Choulant, writing in the 1840s when copies of both editions may have remained available from the publishers, copies with colored plates could be purchased for 1050 francs and uncolored copies for 375 francs.

The preface to the text volume of the lithographed edition, written by Antommarchi, and personally signed by him on the verso of the title page, provides valuable information about this work’s publication history. Antommarchi studied under the great Italian anatomist Paolo Mascagni, and at the time of Mascagni’s death was serving as his prosector, responsible for preparing dissections for demonstration. During his career Mascagni spent a great deal of his time, energy and money in the production of a life-sized human anatomy, titled Anatomia universa, which he intended to have printed using engraved copperplates; this required meticulous preparation of very large copperplates for the work’s enormous images. Some scholars have suggested that Mascagni was hoping to have this work printed in color by the Le Blon / Gautier d’Agoty process; however, that process of color-printing mezzotints would not have been able to reproduce Mascagni’s drawings in sufficient detail. At his death Mascagni left this project unfinished, along with two others: an illustrated anatomy for sculptors and painters; and a treatise on the tissues of animals and plants intended as an introduction or “Prodromo” to the Anatomia universa. These manuscripts he put in the hands of Antommarchi, who was left in charge of publishing these three works on behalf of the Mascagni family.

In 1816 Antommarchi issued Mascagni’s anatomy for artists, edited by the author’s brother and grandson, under the title Anatomia per uso degli studiosi di scultura e pittura. According to Antommarchi’s preface to the present work (pp. iii-iv), the uncompleted works by Mascagni that remained after the publication of Anatomia per uso degli studiosi consisted of the following:

1. Trente planches ombrées, gravées sur cuivre et non terminés, de sa grande Anatomie;  

2. Quinze planches au simple trait, gravées presque toutes au dos des planches ombrées. Une multitude de fautes et d’erreurs s’étaient glissées dans la gravure, quoiqu’elle eût été faite du vivant de cet homme célèbre, et sur des dessins aussi soignés qu’ils étaient exacts;

Dix-neuf planches gravées sur cuivre, avec quelques cahiers manuscrits qui devaient servir de prodrome ou l’introduction à la grande anatomie;

4. Un certain nombre de dessins anatomiques et de cahiers manuscrits sur l’anatomie descriptive et l’économie rurale.

[1. Thirty shaded plates, engraved on copper and not completed, of his grand Anatomy;

2. Fifteen outline plates, almost all engraved on the backs of the shaded plates. A multitude of faults and errors have slipped in during the engraving, even though they were made during the lifetime of this famous man [Mascagni], and from drawings as detailed as they were exact;

3. Nineteen plates engraved on copper, with several manuscript notebooks intended to serve as the prodrome or introduction to the grand Anatomy;

4. A certain number of anatomical drawings and manuscript notebooks on descriptive aantomy and rural economy.]

Since the publication of the Prodromo and the grand anatomy would require a large sum of money, a private company was formed, with the Mascagni family’s permission, to supply the necessary funds. As Antommarchi states in his preface (p. iv),

Je fus mis à la tête de cette opération, chargé de coordonner les matériaux, de perfectionner les planches, de faire les textes, et de soigner la publication successive de ces deux ouvrages. [I was placed in charge of this operation, charged with coordinating materials, perfecting the plates, preparing the texts and overseeing the successive publication of these two books.]

Antommarchi issued the Prodromo in 1819. In the meantime he had been appointed physician to Napoleon, then in exile on the remote island of St. Helena, and on 10 September 1819 he was sent to St. Helena to provide medical care to the deposed emperor. It is possible that Napoleon requested Antommarchi’s services because, like Napoleon, Antommarchi was Corsican by birth. Antommarchi brought copies of Mascagni’s plates for the grand anatomy to St. Helena, and continued working on the project in his spare time. Napoleon took a great interest in the anatomy and even consented to have it dedicated to him; however, the emperor died in May 1821, prior to the completion of Antommarchi’s editorial labors. Antommarchi directed Napoleon’s autopsy, cast Napoleon’s death mask, and later published best-selling books about his experiences with the late emperor. Since he could not dedicate his edition to the living man, in homage to Napoleon’s memory, and in reference to the isolation of Napoleon’s remains on the remote island, Antommarchi dedicated his edition of Mascagni’s grand anatomy to the emperor’s tomb on St. Helena. (Napoleon’s body remained on the island until 1840, when it was moved to a tomb created for him in Paris.)

Upon Antommarchi’s return to Italy, as he recounts in his preface (p. v), he received an offer from the private company and Mascagni’s heirs,

où l’on me proposait de m’abandonner en totalité les exemplaires du Prodrome, les cuivres de cet ouvrage, ceux de la grande Anatomie, ainsi que tous les papiers qui pouvaient y avoir rapport. On demandait une somme de huit mille écus de Toscane, pour le paiement desquels on donnerait du temps et prendrait des sûretés convenables. La famille Mascagni, convaincue qu’il serait avantageux à l’acquéreur de ces deux ouvrages d’avoir les cuivres et les exemplaires qui restaient du “Traité sur les vaisseaux lymphatiques” et de l’Anatomie pittoresque, m’en proposait aussi l’acquisition pour la moitié de ce qui portait le prospectus.

[where they proposed to surrender to me in totality the copies of the Prodrome, the copperplates for that work, those of the grand Anatomy, as well as all the papers relating to it. They asked the sum of eight thousand Tuscan crowns, to be paid over time, for which they would take suitable security. The Mascagni family, convinced that it would be advantageous to the buyer of these two works to have the copperplates and remaining copies of [Mascagni’s] “Treatise on the lymphatic vessels” [1787] and the artists’ anatomy, also proposed that I purchase these works for half the sum indicated on the prospectus.]

Before this could be accomplished, however, Antommarchi was informed by M. Moggi, one of the private company’s representatives, that the company had decided not to go through with the deal, and that it wanted to dissolve itself. Antommarchi then went to Florence to propose another arrangement with the Mascagni family:

Je m’adressai de suite à la famille Mascagni, et lui proposait sept mille cinq cents écus, au lieu de six mille cinq cents que lui payait la société. Nous fûmes bientôt d’accord, les actes étaient rédigés, on allait signer; mais Moggi, qui était l’âme de toute cette affaire, avait d’autres vues. L’autorité intervint et refusa de sanctionner la transaction. “Puisqu’on m’empêche d’acquérir, qu’on s’exécute.—Nous ne voulons pas.—Mon travail?—Vous l’avez.—Je l’utiliserai.—Libre à vous.—Résilions.—Nous ne demandons pas mieux.” Ainsi fut fait; nous parùmes devant le magistrat, qui déclara la société dissoute. Mais l’opération était déjà passée en d’autres mains; je n’avais pu l’avoir pour sept mille cinq cents écus: on la céda pour trois mille. La famille Mascagni était désintéressée, je ne devais rien à la nouvelle société; je me disposai à tirer parti de mon travail.

[I next spoke to the Mascagni family and offered them seven thousand five hundred crowns in place of the six thousand five hundred that the company would have paid them. We were soon in agreement, the papers were drawn up and ready to be signed; but Moggi, who was the prime mover in this whole affair, had different ideas. Authorities intervened and refused to sanction the transaction. “Since you are forbidding me to purchase, then you take over.—We don’t want to.—My work?—You have it.—I will use it.—You are free to do so.—Let us quit.—We ask nothing better.” This was done; we appeared before the magistrate, who declared the company dissolved. But the operation had already passed into other hands; I could not have it for seven thousand five hundred crowns: they had sold it for three thousand. The Mascagni family was paid off, I owed nothing to the new company; I prepared to take advantage of my work.] 

The Mascagni family sold the copperplates of the grand anatomy to three professors at Pisa who began preparing their own edition of the work; this edition, containing 44 engraved illustrations and 44 outline plates (compared to 48 hand-colored plates and 35 outline plates called for in our edition) was published between 1823 and 1832 under the title Anatomia universa. In the meantime Antommarchi proceeded to Paris where he arranged to have his versions of the Mascagni plates lithographed by de Lasteyrie and issued under the title Planches anatomiques du corps humain. It is clear from his preface that Antommarchi believed he had full authority to publish his edition which, because of his close working relationship with Mascagni, may be closer to Mascagni’s original intention than the Italian version. Choulant, who provided an incorrect collation of Antommarchi’s edition, objected to the fact that Antommarchi left Mascagni’s name off the title page, but otherwise appears to have agreed. If one thinks of the Anatomia universa, edited by the three Pisa professors, as an adaptation of Mascagni’s plates according to the ideas of the three editors, he may, on the other hand, look upon Lasteyrie’s lithographed edition as Antommarchi’s adaptation, evidently prepared by him at St. Helena for his edition of Mascagni’s plates (Choulant, p. 319).

Complete sets of Antommarchi’s edition, with both the text and all the plates, are extremely rare, especially with the plates hand-colored. In 2012 OCLC and the Karlsruhe Virtuelle Katalog cited four copies of the text and atlas in American libraries (U. Chicago, National Library of Medicine, U. Minnesota and the College of Physicians in Philadelphia) plus six copies in France (Bibliothèque Nationale, Bibliothèque St. Geneviève, Paris BIUM, Bordeaux, U. Reims and U. de Lille), a copy at the British Library and four other European copies (Sachsische Landesbib., U. Leiden, Berlin, Halle). The library database records for these copies did not indicate whether the atlas plates were colored or black and white.

Choulant, History and Bibliography of Anatomic Illustration (1920) 315-320. Roberts & Tomlinson, The Fabric of the Body (1992) 384-96. Twyman, Lithography 1800-1850,  50-52.

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William Clowes Introduces High Speed Printing in Book Production 1823

According to Samual Smiles, Men of Invention and Industry (1884) chapter 8 "William Clowes: Book-printing by Steam",  the London printer William Clowes (1779-1847) was the first to exploit the advantages of high speed printing in book production. Previously the fast steam-powered presses were used primarily for printing newspapers. In 1823 Clowes installed his first steam-powered printing press designed by Cowper & Applegath. Clowes's facility adjoined the palace of Britain's wealthiest man, the Duke of Northumberland, who instituted a court action for noise and pollution abatement caused by Clowes's machines. The presses were excessively noisy, but Clowes succeeded in forcing the Duke to pay the huge costs of moving Clowes's heavy machinery, and in 1827 the firm took over Applegath's premises in Duke Street, Blackfriars. Within "a few years" the firm operated 25 high speed Applegath & Cowper steam presses, 28 hand-presses, six hydraulic presses, and employed over 500 workers. It is notable that the firm reached this extent before Clowes died in 1847, indicating the enormous increase in book production made possible by the new high speed presses and machine-made paper. That they also operated 28 hand-presses during the same period reflects the continuing use of hand-presses for short-run printing, as was the case with many books. Iron hand-presses continued in wide use throughout the nineteenth century.

"Besides the works connected with his printing-office, Mr. Clowes found it necessary to cast his own types, to enable him to command on emergency any quantity; and to this he afterwards added stereotyping on an immense scale. He possessed the power of supplying his compositors with a stream of new type at the rate of about 50,000 pieces a day. In this way, the weight of type in ordinary use became very great; it amounted to not less than 500 tons, and the sterotyped plates to about 2500 tons--the value of the latter being not less than half a million sterling.

"Mr. Clowes would not hesitate, in the height of his career, to have tons of type locked up for months in some ponderous blue-book. To print a report of a hundred folio pages in the course of a day or during a night, or of a thousand pages in a week, was no uncommon occurrence. From his gigantic establishment were turned out not fewer than 725,000 printed sheets, or equal to 30,0000 volumes a week. Nearly 45,000 pounds of paper were printed weekly. The qunatity printed on both sides per week, if laid down in a path of 22 1/3 inches broad, would extend 263 miles in length" Smies, op. cit., 218).

Clowes was also an innovator in terms of working practices and in 1820 became one of the first employers to start a benevolent fund for this workforce; He was a key factor in the huge publishing output of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge.

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"The Harrisburg Pennsylvanian" Conducts the First Opinion Poll 1824

According to the Wikipedia, the first known example of an opinion poll was a local straw vote conducted by The Harrisburg Pennsylvanian in 1824. The straw vote showed Andrew Jackson leading John Quincy Adams by 335 votes to 169 in the contest for the Presidency of the United States.

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First Description of the Greenhouse Effect 1824

In 1824 French mathematician and physicist Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier published "Remarques générales sur les températures du globe terrestre et des espaces planétaires," Annales de Chimie et de Physique, 27 (1824) 136–67. In this paper Fourier showed how gases in the atmosphere might increase the surface temperature of the earth. This was later called the greenhouse effect

Fourier's paper was translated into English by Ebeneser Burgess, and published in the American Journal of Science 32 (1837) 1-20. In December 2013 a digital facsimile of the translation was available at this link.

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Foundation of Animal Ecology 1824

In 1824 physician and physiologist William Frederic Edwards published De l'influence des agents physiques sur la viea founding work of animal ecology.

Edwards's main idea was that vital processes depend on external physical and chemical forces but are not entirely controlled by them. Life is different from heat, light, or electricity, forces which, however, contribute to the production of vital phenomena. Edwards systematically examined all principal functions, mostly of vertebrate species; and by varying the external conditions, he de­termined the nature and degree of their modification. Among the phenomena he studied were the minimum and maximum tem­peratures compatible with life; heat production in young and adult animals; resistance of young animals to cold and to lack of oxygen.

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The English Church Missionary Society Establishes a Press in Malta to Print Books in Arabic & Turkish 1825 – 1842

In 1825 the English Church Missionary Society established a press in Malta to publish books in Arabic and Turkish. These included Christian texts and also secular educational texts intended for Muslim, Christian and Jewish pupils in the new missionary schools and colleges of the Middle East. They also issued a periodical in the style of a newspaper.

Through 1842 this press issued over 150,000 books for distribution throughout the Middle East and Turkey.

"The role of the Malta press in standardising layouts and methods of presentation of printed Arabic texts had a significant impact. Some of the new features which it introduced correspond with several which Elizabeth Eisenstein mentioned, in her seminal work on the printing press as an agent of change, as significant in the systematisation of thought-processes in the formative era of European print culture. The use of title-pages engendered 'new habits of placing and dating' as well as helping the later development of new standards of cataloguing and enumerative bibliography. The use of footnotes, running heads and abbreviations, as well as Shidyaq's experiment's with punctuation, all served to 'reorder the thought of readers and to create a new 'esprit de système.'

"The plates and engravings in some of the Malta books also broke new ground. The views and story illustrations incorporated perspective, which was still a very new convention in Arab pictorial representation, and one which, as McLuhan and others have pointed out, implied a new reordering of concsciousness by the adoption of a fixed point of view. The lithographed diagrams, which accompanied an astronomical work published in Malta in 1833, were another important new feature of the Arabic book. Technical illustrations were sometimes found in Arabic manuscripts; but, as David James has aptly observed, 'in the absence of the printing press, transmission of technical data depends upon the accuracy of the scribe. The problem becomes doubly difficult when information has also to be communicated in the form of diagrams. . . . [which] were regarded by the copyists as little more than an exotic appendage, frequently misplaced and sometimes omitted.' With the introduction of standard, repeatable, engraved diagrams incorproated into printed books, the presentation of such information became transformed.

"In this the Malta press shared with the Bulaq press [founded in 1822] a pioneering role in the Arab world, and what was true of diagrams was equally true of printed maps, in which field the Malta atlas of 1835 also broke new gound. In Tunisia the first atlas was printed in 1860, in Egypt regular Arabic map printing did not begin until 1870, although copies of the Malta atlas itself were made there at an earlier date. . . ." (Roper 118-119).

Roper, "Arabic Books Printed in Malta 1826-42:Some Physical Characteristics," Sadgrove (ed) History of Printing and Publishing the the Languages and Countries of the Middle East (2005) 111-130, with illustrations.

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Roughly 600 Books Year are Produced in the U.K. Circa 1825

In the first quarter of the nineteenth century roughly 600 new books per year were produced throughout the United Kingdom (Twyman, Printing 1770-1970, 10).

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Filed under: Book History, Publishing

The First Tentative Assertion of the Antiquity of Man in England 1825 – 1869

In the summer of 1825 Father John MacEnery, a Catholic priest from Limerick, Ireland, and private chaplain to the Cary family at Torre Abbey in Devon, England, explored Kent’s Cavern, a cave system near Torquay, South Devon. He excavated there in 1825, 1826, and 1829. During this period he unearthed the fossil remains of at least 15 extinct mammals as well as several flint tools, and in August 1829 he discovered two human fossil skeletons, now recognized as dating from the Upper Paleolithic. MacEnery initially believed that the evidence he unearthed confirmed the existence of mankind before the Biblical Deluge, however, after several communications with William Buckland—who vehemently opposed this view—MacEnery was persuaded to change his opinion. In 1823 Buckland had found the first genuine human fossil found in England, but because of the prevailing scientific/religious views, and his own bias, he misinterpretted the evidence. MacEnery's discoveries, and his tentative interpretation of them, represented the first attempt to show the evidence of human antiquity in England. 

MacEnery prepared an account of his explorations at Kent's Cavern entitled Cavern Researches; however, as a private chaplain with no personal funds he could not afford to publish his manuscript. He attempted to raise money for publication by subscription, but without success. His work remained unpublished at his death in 1841, and was lost for a period of time, but it came to light, and in August 1856, remarkably coincident with the discovery of the Neanderthal 1 remains, Edward Vivian presented the first brief account of MacEnery’s memoir of his initial exploration of Kent’s Cavern at the Twenty-Sixth Meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science held in Cheltenham. This was duly published the year later in the Notes and Abstracts of the meeting, pp. 78-82, as "Researches in Kent’s Cavern, Torquay, with the original MS. memoir of its first opening, by the late Rev. J. MacEnery (long supposed to have been lost) and the report of the sub-committee of the Torquay Natural History Society."

Together with paleontologist William Pengelly, Vivian had formed part of a committee appointed by the Torquay Natural History Society in 1846 to explore a portion of the cavern. Vivian’s 1847 report of the committee’s findings had confirmed MacEnery’s account—like MacEnery, the committee found flint implements mixed with the remains of extinct animals in a layer of earth underneath a thick floor of stalagmite. Vivian’s report was read before both the British Association and the Geological Society in 1847, but at that time it was deemed not credible enough for publication.

Vivian was able to edit MacEnery's manuscript for publication in London in 1859 as Cavern Researches, or, Discoveries of Organic Remains, and of British and Roman Reliques, in the Caves of Kent’s Hole, Anstis Cove, Chudleigh, and Berry Head

In his preface, Vivian gave a brief account of the manuscript’s history after MacEnery’s death:

"The manuscript was purchased in a lot of sermon notes and other papers by the late Mr. Lear, of Lawrence Place. It was for many years overlooked and supposed to be altogether lost to science . . .  Having accidently discovered that the greater portion of the Memoir was in the possession of Mr. Lear, I published some extracts in the Torquay Directory . . . It was subsequently purchased, with Mr. Lear’s cabinet of fossils, by W. Long, Esq. F.G.S., who most liberally presented it to me with a view to its publication. The manuscript is in a very imperfect state, consisting of fragments the original notes, a portion being rewritten several times with considerable alterations. In order to preserve the freshness of first impressions, and the exact statement of Mr. Mac Enery’s views, I give it, as far as possible verbatim, scrupulously making no addition, and only omitting those passages which are in duplicate or irrecoverably mutilated, and readjusting the whole, as far as practicable, in a connected series . . . " (pp. v-vi).

Vivian issued two versions of Cavern Researches simultantaneously through the same publisher: an 8vo edition of which a digital facsimile is available from the Internet Archive, and a folio edition with 17 lithographed plates not reproduced in the 8vo edition. In the 1980s I owned a copy of the folio edition which was acquired by the Linda Hall Library in Kansas City at the auction of my Darwin's Century collection. The edition size of both versions must have been small, as both are extremely scarce. The complete version of MacEnery’s manuscript (without illustrations) was first published in Part II of William Pengelly’s The Literature of Kent’s Cavern (1869). 

Under the supervision of William Pengelly, Kent's Cavern, and the nearby Brixham Cave, became remarkably fruitful sites for the discovery of human origins in England. One useful summary available online in April 2014 was Donald A. McFarlane and Joyce Lundberg, "The 19th century excavation of Kent’s Cavern, England," Journal of Cave and Karst Studies, 67, no. 1 (2005) 39-47.

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The First Publically Subscribed Passenger Railroad September 27, 1825

On September 27, 1825 British engineer George Stephenson's Locomotion No. 1 (originally named Active), the first steam engine to carry passengers and freight on a regular basis, hawled its first train on the Stockton and Darlington Railway (S&DR). The S&DR was the first publically subscribed passenger railroad.

"It was 26 miles (40 km) long and was built in north-eastern England between Witton Park and Stockton-on-Tees via Darlington and connected to several collieries near Shildon. Planned to carry both goods and passengers, the line was initially built to connect inland coal mines to Stockton, where coal was to be loaded onto sea-going boats. Much of its route is now served by the Tees Valley Line, operated by Northern Rail. It was also the longest railway at the time" (Wikipedia article on Stockton and Darlington Railway, accessed 02-01-2012).

About the same time as the S&DR opened for business British engineer Thomas Tredgold issued  A Practical Treatise on Rail-Roads and Carriages, Shewing the Principles of Estimating their Strength, Proportions, Expense, and Annual Produce . . . (1825), and British colliery and steam locomotive engineer Nicholas Wood issued A Practical Treatise on Rail-Roads and Interior Communication in General, with Original Experiments, and Tables of the Comparative Value of Canals and Rail-Roads (1825).  These books, both of which were published in London, were the first comprehensive works on railway engineering.

Dibner, Heralds of Science (1980) No. 182.

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"Diario de Pernambuco", The First Newspaper Published in South America November 7, 1825

The first newspaper published in South America was the Diario de Pernambuco, first published on November 7, 1825. Published in Recife, Brazil, the Diario remains the oldest continuously circulating daily in Latin America.

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Babbage Describes the Logic and Operation of Machinery by Means of Notation 1826

In 1826 mathematician and engineer Charles Babbage published "On a Method of Expressing by Signs the Action of Machinery," Philosophical Transactions 111 (1826) 250-65, 4 plates. This was the first publication of Babbage's exposition of his system of mechanical notation that enabled him to describe the logic and operation of his machines on paper as they would be fabricated in metal. Babbage later stated that "Without the aid of this language I could not have invented the Analytical Engine; nor do I believe that any machinery of equal complexity can ever be contrived without the assistance of that or of some other equivalent language. The Difference Engine No. 2 . . . is entirely described by its aid" (Babbage, Passages from the Life of a Philosopher [1864], 104).  

Babbage considered his mechanical notation system to be one of his finest inventions, and thought it should be widely implemented. It was a source of frustration to him that no other machine designer adopted it (probably because no other engineer during Babbage's time attempted to build machines as logically and mechanically complex as Babbage's). More than one hundred years later, in the 1930s, when developments in logic were applied to switching systems in the earliest efforts to develop electromechanical calculators, Claude Shannon demonstrated that Boolean algebra could be applied to the same types of problems for which Babbage had designed his mechanical notation system.  

"While making designs for the Difference Engine, Babbage found great difficulty in ascertaining from ordinary drawings-plans and elevations-the state of rest or motion of individual parts as computation proceeded: that is to say in following in detail succeeding stages of a machine's action. This led him to develop a mechanical notation which provided a systematic method for labeling parts of a machine, classifying each part as fixed or moveable; a formal method for indicating the relative motions of the several parts which was easy to follow; and means for relating notations and drawings so that they might illustrate and explain each other. As the calculating engines developed the notation became a powerful but complex formal tool. Although its scope was much wider than logical systems, the mechanical notation was the most powerful formal method for describing switching systems until Boolean algebra was applied to the problem in the middle of the twentieth century. In its mature form the mechanical notation was to comprise three main components: a systematic method for preparing and labeling complex mechanical drawings; timing diagrams; and logic diagrams, which show the general flow of control" (Hyman, Charles Babbage [1982], 58).

Hook & Norman, Origins of Cyberspace (2001) no. 37.

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The First Ecological Experiment; Source of Darwin's Principle of Divergence 1826

In 1826 horticulturalist George Sinclair, head gardener for the Duke of Bedford at Woburn Abbey, published the third edition of Hortus gramineus woburnensis; Or, an account of the results of experiments on the produce and nutritive qualities of different grasses and other plants used as the food of the more valuable domestic animals. . . . This work, published in London, contained 60 lithographed plates by Charles Joseph Hullmandel and was available with plates either black & white or hand-colored.  

In his experiment Sinclair compared the performance of different species and mixtures of grasses and herbs growing on different types of soil. Sinclair first mentioned the experiment in the first edition of Hortus gramineus woburnensis (1816). However, the results, which were so significant for Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection, were not published until the third edition of 1826. They showed that a greater diversity of grasses planted resulted in greater production of plant matter.  

Sinclair’s experiment provided the foundation of Darwin’s “principle of divergence,” a building block of his theory of evolution by natural selection, by illuminating a central question in ecology and evolution: How is diversity of species in the natural world maintained? Darwin referred to Sinclair’s experiment in On the Origin of Species (1859), but did not mention Sinclair’s name or cite his work, and it was only recently discovered that Sinclair’s Hortus gramineus worburnensis was the source of Darwin’s knowledge (see Andy Hector and Rowan Hooper, “Darwin and the first ecological experiment,” Science Magazine 295, no. 5555 [25 Jan. 2002]: 639-40).

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The Earliest Surviving Photograph: A Process that Never "Caught On" 1826 – 1827

In 1826 or 1827 French inventor Nicéphore Niépce created View from the Window at Le Gras, the oldest surviving photograph, using the process of heliography that he had invented around 1822. The photograph shows parts of the buildings and surrounding countryside of his estate, Le Gras, in Saint-Loup-de-Varennes, as seen from a high window. The exposure is thought to have required from eight hours to several days.

"Niépce captured the scene with a camera obscura focused onto a 16.2 cm × 20.2 cm (6.4 in × 8.0 in) pewter plate coated with Bitumen of Judea, a naturally occurring asphalt. The bitumen hardened in the brightly lit areas, but in the dimly lit areas it remained soluble and could be washed away with a mixture of oil of lavender and white petroleum. A very long exposure in the camera was required. Sunlight strikes the buildings on opposite sides, suggesting an exposure that lasted about eight hours, which has become the traditional estimate. A researcher who studied Niépce's notes and recreated his processes found that the exposure must have continued for several days.

"In late 1827, Niépce visited England. He showed this and several other specimens of his work to botanical illustrator Francis Bauer, who encouraged him to present his "heliography" process to the Royal Society. Niépce was unwilling to reveal any specific practical details of his process, so the Royal Society declined his offer. Before returning to France, he gave Bauer the specimens and a draft of the remarks he had prepared to accompany his presentation. After Bauer's death in 1840, the specimens passed through several hands and were occasionally exhibited as historical curiosities. The View from the Window at Le Gras was last seen in 1905 and then fell into oblivion.

"Historian Helmut Gernsheim tracked down the photograph in 1952 and brought it to prominence, reinforcing the claim that Niépce is the inventor of photography. He had an expert at the Kodak Research Laboratory make a modern photographic copy, but it proved extremely difficult to produce an adequate representation of all that could be seen when inspecting the actual plate. Gernsheim heavily retouched one of the copy prints to clean it up and make the scene more comprehensible, and until the late 1970s he allowed only that enhanced version to be published. It was apparently at the time of the copying that the plate acquired disfiguring bumps near three of its corners, causing light to reflect in ways that interfere with the visibility of those areas and of the image as a whole.

"In 1963, Harry Ransom purchased most of Gernsheim's photography collection for The University of Texas at Austin, but the Niépce heliograph was not included in the sale. Shortly thereafter, Gernsheim donated it. Although it has rarely traveled since then, in 2012–2013 it visited Mannheim, Germany as part of an exhibition entitled The Birth of Photography—Highlights of the Helmut Gernsheim Collection. It is normally on display in the main lobby of the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center in Austin, Texas " (Wikipedia article on View from the Window at Le Gras, accessed 10-24-2013).

Why then did Niépce's process never catch on? Why is the invention of photography typically credited to Louis Daguerre and William Henry Fox Talbot?  Clearly the extremely slow speed of developing the image had to be a factor. According to an email I received from historian of science William B. Ashworth, Jr. on March 7, 2014, there were other reasons:

"It is a convoluted, and sad, story.  Niépce travelled to England in 1827 to tend to his mentally ill brother, and he brought several heliographs with him.  He met people who were quite interested in his process, and he tried to make arrangements to give a demonstration to the Royal Society of London.  However, everything went wrong, and it really was no one's fault.  The Royal Society was practically dysfunctional at the time, as the president, Humphry Davy, was dying, and there was considerable scrambling to determine his successor.  John Herschel, who would be a photographic pioneer himself in the 1830s, was so disgusted with the Society that he resigned his position as secretary and refused to attend meetings.  The upshot was that the presentation never came to pass, and the people who would have been the most interested in Niépce’s demonstration, like Herschel, never met Niépce or saw his work.  Niépce returned home, his heliotypes still in his luggage, and although he lived until 1833, and collaborated at the end with Louis Daguerre, he gradually disappeared from public view.  When the Daguerrotype (a different type of photographic process) was first demonstrated to a revitalized Royal Society in 1839, Niépce's name was all but forgotten.  Niépce did all the right things, but he never reached the right people.  Had he made his trip to England a year earlier, or even a year later, he might have found a receptive audience, and the history of photography might have played out quite differently.  Life is like that, sometimes."

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Discovery of the Mammalian Ovum 1827

In 1827 Baltic German naturalist, embryologist, geologist, geographer, meteorologist and explorer Karl Ernst von Baer, professor of zoology at  Albertus-Universität Königsberg (then part of the Russian Empire), published De ovi mammalium et hominis genesi epistolam ad Academiam Imperialem Scientiarum Petropolitanam in Leipzig. The pamphlet of 25 leaves with one hand-colored engraved plate after drawings by the author was written in the form of a letter to the Imperial Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg, of which von Baer was a corresponding member.

In the spring of 1827, while examining the ovaries of a pregnant bitch, Baer became the first to identify the true mammalian egg in the ovary, thus ending a search that had begun at least as early as the 17th century with the investigations of William Harvey and Regnier de Graaf

In von Baer’s own words, “when I observed the ovary . . . I discovered a small yellow spot in a little sac, then I saw these same spots in several others, and indeed in most of them—always in just one little spot. How strange, I thought, what could it be? I opened one of these little sacs, lifting it carefully with a knife onto a watchglass filled with water, and put it under the microscope. I shrank back as if struck by lightening, for I clearly saw a minuscule and well developed yellow sphere of yolk” (quoted in Baer, “On the Genesis of the Ovum of Mammals and Man,” tr. O’Malley, Isis 47 [1956] 120). 

Continuing his investigations, Baer found eggs in a number of other mammals, and thus concluded that “every animal which springs from the coition of male and female is developed from an ovum, and none from a simple formative liquid” (ibid, 149). 

Norman, One Hundred Books Famous in Medicine no. 59. Horblit, One Hundred Books Famous in Science no. 9b. Carter & Muir, Printing and the Mind of Man no. 288a. Kruta, Purkyne, 84. 

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Filed under: Medicine, Science

The First "Leaf Book" 1827

In 1827 English bibliographer Thomas Frognall Dibdin published the fourth and last of his editions of his An Introduction to the Knowledge of Rare and Valuable Editions of the Greek and Latin Classics in London. By this time Dibdin had expanded his work from its original 8vo edition (Gloucester, 1802) which consisted of only 63 pages, to a two-volume work of nearly 1200 pages. The work was expected to be a commercial success with 2000 copies issued on regular paper and 250 issued on large paper.

An innovative feature of the book was that all copies of both versions had pasted to p. 166 of volume 1 a proof leaf, printed on one side only, for William Pickering's very small format (32mo) Diamond Classics edition of the Greek New Testament (1828), making this the first "leaf book."

de Hamel & Silver, Disbound and Dispersed: The Leaf Book Considered (2005) p. 107, Checklist *0.5.

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William Burn Invents The Rolling Press for Bookbinders, the First Machine Used in the Bookbinding Trade 1827

In 1827 London bookbinder William Burn received the Silver Vulcan Medal from the the Society of Arts for his invention of the Rolling Press for Bookbinders. Remarkably was the first machine that was adopted into the bookbinding trade, a hand-craft that was mechanized after printing and paper-making. Its purpose was to flatten and consolidate the folded sheets before they were sewn into a book. Up to this time this process had been done by workmen hammering the sheets with a fourteen-pound beating hammer --a monotonous, strenuous, and time-consuming job. 

"Among other books that were pressed in the presence of the Committee was a minion Bible, which was passed through the press in one minute whereas the time needed to beat the same would have been twenty minutes. It is not, however, merely a saving of time that is gained by the use of the rolling press; the paper is made smoother than it would have been by beating, and the compression is so much greater, that a rolled book, will be reduced to about five sixths of the same book if beaten....

"By 1830 every shop of any sized used the Rolling Press and as a consequence twenty-five men previously engaged on Bible Society and S.P.C.K. were thrown out of employment. Humble Memorials and Petitions were addressed to the Noblemen, Gentlemen and Clergy 'not to let its destructive effects operate any longer against us.' But the Noblemen, Gentlemen and Clergy, scenting further price cuts, held their peace and the grumbling of alarmed workers slowly subsided. The Rolling Press had come to stay and twenty-five years later, the catalogue of the Great Exhibition of 1851 gave it pride of place in the Judges' Survey of Binding Trade innovations" (Darley, Bookbinding Then and Now [1959] 31-33).

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Discovery of Brownian Motion 1828

In 1828 Scottish botanist and palaeobotanist Robert Brown published for private distribution in London at the press of Richard Taylor a small number of copies of his 16-page pamphlet entitled  A Brief Account of Microscopical Observations Made in the Months of June, July, and August 1827, on the Particles Contained in the Pollen of Plants; and on the General Existence of Active Molecules in Organic and Inorganic bodies. 

While studying pollen, Brown observed particles within the grains in a state of constant motion.  He extended his observations to both dead and inorganic matter, and found that such motion was not restricted to live pollen but could be observed in any substance ground fine enough to be suspended in water. In 1879 William Ramsay explained that Brownian motion is due to the impact on particles of the molecules in the surrounding fluid, an explanation proved in 1908 by Jean Perrin. Brown's observations also inspired Einstein's 1905 paper Ueber die von der molekularkinetischen Theorie der Wärme geforderte Bewegung von in ruhenden Flüssigkeiten suspendieren Teilchen, which gave a theory of Brownian motion based on the kinetic theory of gases.

The seemingly random movement of particles suspended in a liquid or gas or the mathematical model used to describe such random movements is often called particle theory.

"The mathematical model of Brownian motion has several real-world applications. An often quoted example is stock market fluctuations.

"Brownian motion is among the simplest continuous-time stochastic processes, and it is a limit of both simpler and more complicated stochastic processes (see random walk and Donsker's theorem). This universality is closely related to the universality of the normal distribution. In both cases, it is often mathematical convenience rather than the accuracy of the models that motivates their use" (Wikipedia article on Brownian motion).

Hook & Norman, The Haskell F. Norman Library of Science and Medicine (1991) no. 353.

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The First "Livre d'Artiste," Illustrated by Delacroix 1828

Faust, Tragédie M. de Goethe, Traduite en Français par M. Albert Stapfer, illustrated by French romantic artist Eugène Delacroix, and published in 1828 in Paris by Ch. Motte and Sautelet, is usually considered the first livre d'artiste. It contained a frontispiece portrait of Goethe and 17 lithographed plates drawn on stone by Delacroix. This was one of the major art books illustrated by lithography and the beginning of the French tradition of the painter-lithographer, with the artist preparing his own images on stone for the press. 

Though the edition met initially with a hostile reception because of the free, fantastic style of the images, Goethe appreciated their power, writing to Eckermann after he had seen some of the lithographs in November, 1826:

"One must acknowledge that this M. Delacroix has a great talent, which in Faust has found its true nourishment. The French public reproach him for an excess of savage force, but, actually, here it is perfectly suitable . . . If I have to agree that M. Delacroix has surpassed the scenes my writing has conjured up in my own imagination, how much more will readers of the book find his compositions full of reality, and passing beyond the imagery which they envision?" (translation in Ray, The Art of the French Illustrated Book 1700-1914 [1982] No. 143, p. 208).

Concerning the images Delacroix later remarked:

"The peculiar character of the illustrations themselves invited caricature and confirmed my reputation as one of the leaders of the school of ugliness. Gérare, however, although an academician, complimented me on some of the drawings, particularly that of the tavern" (translation in Breon Mitchell, The Complete Illustrations from Delacroix's "Faust" and Manet's "The Raven" [1981] vii.)

(This entry was last revised on 05-20-2014).

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The First Common Carrier Railroad in the United States July 4, 1828 – May 24, 1830

Construction of the first line on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, the first common carrier railroad, carrying passengers and freight, in the United States, began on July 4, 1828. The first section, from Baltimore west to Ellicott's Mills (now known as Ellicott City), opened on May 24, 1830.

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The First Inter-City Passenger Railway Hauled by Steam Locomotives, Reaching 24 Miles Per Hour 1829 – September 15, 1830

In 1829 British engineer George Stephenson's Rocket won the Liverpool and Manchester Railway competition, reaching the yet unheard of speed of 24 mph during the 20 laps of the course. This was due to several new design features. The Rocket was the first locomotive to have a multi-tube boiler - with 25 copper tubes rather than a single flue or twin flue.

The Liverpool and Manchester Railway (L&MR) was founded on May 24, 1823, but faced numerous technical hurdles, including the development of

"Wapping Tunnel beneath Liverpool from the south end of Liverpool Docks to Edge Hill. This was the world's first tunnel to be bored under a metropolis. Following this was a 2-mile (3.2 km)-long-cutting up to 70 feet (21.3 m) deep through rock at Olive Mount, and a nine arch viaduct (each arch of 50 feet (15.2 m) span), over the Sankey Brook valley, around 70 feet (21.3 m) high. Not least was the famous 4.75 miles (7.6 km) crossing of Chat Moss" (Wikipedia article on Liverpool and Manchester Railway, accessed 02-01-2012).

Besides this 64 bridges and viaducts needed to be constructed.  The L&MR was the first inter-city passenger railway in which all the trains were timetabled and were hauled for most of the distance solely by steam locomotives. The line opened on September 15, 1830 and ran between the cities of Liverpool and Manchester in North West England. The L&MR was primarily built to provide faster transport of raw materials and finished goods between the Port of Liverpool and mills in Manchester and surrounding towns.

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The First U.S. Steam Locomotive 1829

In 1829 the first steam locomotive ran in the United States.

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The Braille System of Printing and Reading for the Blind 1829

In 1829, at the age of 20, Louis Braille, a student at l'Institut Royale des Jeunes Aveugles in Paris, who had been blind since the age of 5, published Procede pour écrire les Paroles, la Musique et le Plain-chant au moyen de points, a l’usage des aveugles et dispose pour eux. This large quarto volume of 4 preliminary leaves and 32 pages included the first presentation of the Braille system of printing and reading for the blind, which represents letters and numbers by combinations of six dots.

Though Braille introduced his six dot system briefly in his 1829 work, most of the Procede pour écrire was published through the traditional system of printing for the blind using raised letters that was invented by the founder of l'Institut Royale des Jeunes Aveugles, Valentin Haüy.

In 1837 Braille added symbols for mathematics and music to his six dot system.

“The Braille system was not given an immediate welcome; it was only in 1854 that it was officially accepted by the Institute itself. But at an international congress in Paris in 1878 it was adopted throughout Europe. It is now in use virtually throughout the literate world” (Carter & Muir, Printing & the Mind of Man [1967] no. 292.

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Typing a Letter Takes Longer than Writing by Hand 1829

Replica of Burt Typographer.

William Austin Burt.

William Austin Burt of Detroit, Michigan invented an early typewriter, called the Typographer in 1829. The machine that Burt invented was cumbersome and difficult to use. Writing a letter with Burt's "Typographer" took longer than writing by hand.

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Nicolai Ivanovitch Lobachevskii Invents Non-Euclidean Geometry 1829 – 1830

In 1829-20 Russian mathematician Nicolai Ivanovitch Lobachevskii (Lobachevsky), rector of the Kazan Imperial University, published "O nachalakh geometrii" in Kazanskii vestnik, izdavaemyi pri Imperatorskom Kazamskom Universitete nos. 25, parts 1-2, 27, and 28, parts 1-2 (1829-1830), pp. 178-224, 228-241, 227-243, 251-283, and 571-636. The complete work was illustrated with two folding plates. This was the first published work on non-Euclidean geometry. It appeared in the Messenger of the Kazan Imperial University as a series of five papers beginning three years after Lobachevskii read the text of the first and fundamental paper to his colleagues at the University.

Lobachevskii's geometry represented the culmination of two thousand years of criticism of Euclid's Elements, most particularly Euclid's fifth, or parallel, postulate, which stated that given a line and a point not on the line, there can be drawn through the point one and only one coplanar line not intersecting the given line. As this postulate had stubbornly resisted all attempts (including Lobachevskii's) to prove it as a theorem, Lobachevskii came to the realization that it was possible to construct a logically consistent geometry in which the Euclidean postulate represented a special case of a more general system that allowed for the possibility of hyperbolically curved space. Lobachevskii's system refuted the unique applicability of Euclidean geometry to the real world, and pointed the way to the Einsteinian concept of variably curved space-- "the most consequential and revolutionary step in mathematics since Greek times" (Kline, Mathematical Thought from Ancient to Modern Times [1972] 879).

Lobachevskii was not alone in his efforts to develop a non-Euclidean geometry; indeed, its creation is an example of how the same idea can occur independently to different people at about the same time. Janos Bolyai, who published his own system a few years later, has traditionally shared credit with Lobachevskii for the invention of the new geometry. However, the work of both men in this area was anticipated by that of Carl Friedrich Gauss, which, although unpublished, may possibly have been familiar to them.

Despite this confluence of mathematical thought, non-Euclidean geometry went largely ignored until the 1860s, when it was rediscovered and elaborated upon by a new generation of mathematicians including Jules Hoüel, Eugenio Beltrami and Bernhard Riemann.

The Extreme Rarity of this Publication

One reason that the writings of Lobachevskii and János Bolyai may have received little attention from the scientific community is that both works were published in very small and obscure editions. The periodical Kazanskii vestnik, in which Lobachevskii's work was originally published, seems to have had minimal circulation even within Russia. For the Grolier Club exhibition (1958) on which Horblit's One Hundred Books Famous in Science was based, it was necessary to borrow a set of the journal issues from a Soviet library (either the A.M. Gorki Library of Science or the Moscow University Library), while the Printing and the Mind of Man exhibition in London (1963) found the original edition "unprocurable" and displayed only the 1887 German translation. In 2010 no copies of the original printing were recorded in North American or European institutional libraries. One copy was held in a private collection in America.

Carter & Muir, Printing and the Mind of Man (1967) no. 293a. Hook & Norman, The Haskell F. Norman Library of Science & Medicine (1991) no. 1379.

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The First Illustrated Antiquarian Bookseller's Catalogue 1829

In 1829 English antiquarian bookseller John Cochran of London issued A Catalogue of Manuscripts, in Different Languages, on Theology; English and Foreign History; Heraldry; Philosophy, Poetry; Romances; the Fine Arts (Including Calligraphy and some Splendid Persian Drawings;) Sports; Alchemy, Astrology, Divination; &c. &c. of Various Dates, from the Twelfth to the Eighteenth Century, Many of them upon Vellum, and Adorned with Splendid Illuminations. To Which is Added a Small Collection of Manuscripts in the Oriental Languages; with an Appendix Containing a Few Printed Books, Some of them with Manuscript Notes and Autographs of Eminent Persons. This catalogue, written by John Holmes who was later assistant keeper of manuscripts at the British Museum, listed 650 items, each with annotated descriptions, some quite extensive. Presented in a cloth binding with printed paper label on the spine, this antiquarian bookseller's catalogue was the first to include illustrations of items offered for sale— a folding engraved frontispiece and five additional lithographed plates. The lithographs are all dated May 1829.

A.N.L. Munby, Connoisseurs and Medieval Miniatures 1750-1850 (1972) 123 mentions Holmes and Cochran's catalogue in the context of a discussion of collecting by Bertram, the Fourth Earl of Ashburnham.

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The First Attempt Since that of Montfaucon (1739) to Publish a Union Catalogue of Manuscripts in European Libraries 1830 – 1853

In 1830 German jurist, legal historian and paleographer Gustav Friedrich Haenel (Hänel) published in Leipzig Catalogi librorum manuscriptorum, qui in bibliothecis Galliae, Helvetiae, Belgii, Britanniae M., Hispaniae, Lusitaniae asservantur. This work, with approximately 620 pages published in a single quarto volume, was the first attempt since that of Montfaucon in 1739 to publish a union catalogue of manuscripts in European libraries. In this work Haenel left out the vast holdings of the entire Italian peninsula and Germany. Besides listings of manuscripts, Haenel, who visited many of the libraries covered, sometimes provided useful information regarding the history of each library, the number of printed works held, and the number of manuscripts in each library. 

Twenty-three years later, in 1853, the Abbé Jacques Paul Migne published in Paris a revised and expanded edition of Haenel's work entitled Dictionnaire des manuscrits, ou receuil de catalogues de manuscrits existants dans les principales bibliothèques d'Europe. Migne's edition, prepared by an anonymous editor, appeared in two volumes, the pages of which were set in two columns of relatively densely set type. The set appeared as part of Migne's inexpensive and widely distributed series of theological works intended to form a universal library for the Catholic priesthood. To update information in French libraries the editor incorporated information provided in the first volume of the French union catalogue of manuscripts published in 1849.  The editor also added extensive coverage of manuscripts in libraries in Germany and on the Italian peninsula, making this the first truly continent-wide union catalogue of manuscripts since Montfaucon, which continued to be cited when no other convenient source of information was available. 

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The Basis for Electricity Generation 1831

Working at the Royal Institution in London in 1831, Michael Faraday discovered electromagnetic induction, the basis for electricity generation.

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Identified on his Calling Cards as "The Discoverer of Natural Selection" 1831

In 1831 Scottish landowner and fruit farmer Patrick Matthew published from Edinburgh On Naval Timber and Arboriculture with Critical Notes on Authors Who Have Recently Treated the Subject of Planting. From statements made in this book Matthew is considered the first to clearly and completely anticipate the Darwin-Wallace theory of evolution by natural selection. Matthew used the expression “natural process of selection” and was acknowledged by Darwin in the third and subsequent editions of his Origin: “Mr. Patrick Matthew . . . gives precisely the same view on the origin of species as that . . . propounded by Mr. Wallace and myself.” Matthew’s anticipation of Darwin is found in the appendix to his little-read book on arboriculture; however, he gives no scientific evidence for his view. Even so, Matthew had cards printed up identifying himself as “the discoverer of natural selection.”

J. Norman (ed) Morton's Medical Bibliography 5th ed (1991) no. 216.3.

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Writer & Publisher Charles Knight Explains How Mechanized Printing Delivers Information Faster & at Costs Affordable to All 1831

In 1831 writer and publisher Charles Knight of London issued a book entitled The Results of Machinery, namely Cheap Production and Increased Employment. intended for working men, and also presumably women, who were concerned that mechanization was eliminating their jobs or lowering their wages. Knight, who devoted his life and much of his writing and publishing career to making books and periodicals affordable to all, was one of the first to write about the socio-economic advantages of what I have called the mechanized, rather than the hand-printed book. Knight explained how mechanization of papermaking and printing--developments that had in the past 20 years, had both increased the speed of book production while reducing costs, thereby greatly widening the market for books and expanding an industry and creating tens of thousands of new jobs. He was motivated to write this book by Luddite style riots protesting mechanization of agriculture, which had occurred in the South of England in 1830. Knight's book reminds us that the mechanization of the book took place in a period of social resistance to mechanization of various industries. It is also notable that 50,000 copies of Knight's book were sold by the time he issued a new edition in 1845.

"The difference between those of you who object to machines, and the persons who think with Joseph Foster [that the introduction of machinery in weaving is inevitable] is, as it appears to us, a want of knowledge. We desire to impart to you that knowledge. Now, how shall we set about the business of imparting it? You are many in number and are scattered over a large extent of country; some of you are sorely pressed as we conceive, by the evils that result from a want of knowledge, which make it the more necessary that we should address ourselves to you speedily; and some of you are poor, and therefore have not much spare, even for what you may believe may do you good. You, therefore, want this knowledge to be given to you, extensively, quickly, cheaply. It would be out of our power to impart this knowledge at all without machinery: and, therefore, we have begin by explaing how the machinery, which gives you knowledge of any sort by the means of books, is a vast blessing, when comparted with slower methods of multiplying written language; and how, by the aid of this machinery, we can produce a book for your use, without any limit point of the number of copies, with great rapidity, and at a small price.

"It is about 350 years since the art of printing books was invented. Before that time all books were written by the hand. There were many persons employed to copy out books, but they  were very dear, although the copiers had small wages. A Bible was sold for thirty pounds in the money of that day, which was equal to a great deal more of our money. Of course, very few people had Bibles or any other books. An ingenious man invented a mode of imitating the written books by cutting the letters on wood, and taking off copies from the wooden blocks by rubbing the sheet on the back; and soon after other clever men thought of casting metal types or letters, which could be arranged in words, and sentences, and pages, and volumes; and then a machine, called a printing-press, upon the principle of a screw, was made to stamp impressions of these types so arranged. There was an end, then, at once to the trade of the pen-and-ink copiers; because the copiers in types, who could press several hundred books while the writers were producing one, drove them out of the market. A single printer could do the work of at least two hundred writers. At first sight this seems a hardship, for a hundred and ninety-nine people might have been, and probably were, thrown out of their accustomed employment. But what was the consequence in a year or two? Where one written book was sold, a thousand printed books were required. The old books were multiplied in all countries, and new books were composed by men of talent and learning, because they could then find numerous readers. The printing-press did the work more neatly and more correcdtly than the writer, and it did it infinitely cheaper. What then? The writers of books had to turn their hands to some other trade, it is true, but type-founders, paper-makers, printers, and bookbinders, were set to work, by the new art or machine, to at least a hundred times greater number of persons than the old way of making books employed. If the pen-and-ink copiers could break the printing-presses, and melt down the types that are used in London alone at the present day twenty thousand people would at least be thrown out of employment to make room for two hundred at the utmost; and what would be even worse than all this misery, books could only be purchased, as before the invention of printing, by the few rich, instead of being the guides, and comforters, and best friends, of the millions who are now within reach of the benefits and enjoyments which they bestow.

"The cheapness of production is the great point to which we shall call your attention, as we give you other examples of the good of machinery. In the case of books produced by the printing-press you have a cheap article, and an increased number of persons engaged in manufacturing that article. In almost all trades the introduction of machines has, sooner or later the like effects. This we shall show you as we go on. But to make the matter even more clear, we shall direct your notice to the very book you hold in your hand, to complete our illustration of the advantages of machinery to the consumer, that is, to the person who wants and buys the article consumed, as well as to the producer, or the person who manufactures the article produced.

"This little book is intended to consist of 216 pages, to be printed, eighteen on a side upon six sheets of printing paper, called by the makers demy. These six sheets of demy, at the price charged in the shops, would cost four-pence. If the same number of words were written, instead of being printed—that is, if the closeness and regularity of printing were superseded by the looseness and unevenness of writing,—they would cover 200 pages, or 50 sheets, of the paper called foolscap, which would cost in the shops three shillings; and you would have a book difficult instead of easy to read,because writing is much harder to decipher than print. Here, then, besides the superiority of the workmanship, is at once a saving of two shillings and eight pence to the consumer, by the invention of printing, all other things being equal. But the great saving is to come. Work as hard as he could, a writer could not transcribe this little book upon these 200 pages of foolscap in less than ten days; and eh would think himself very ill paid to receive thirty shillings for the operation. Adding, therefore, a profit for the publisher and retail tradesman, a single written copy of this little book, which you buy for a shilling could not be produced for two pounds. Is it not perfectly clear, then if there were no printing-ress, if the art of printing did not exist, that if we found purchasers at all for this dear book at the cost of two pounds, we should only sell, a the utmost, a fortieth part of what we now sell; that instead of selling ten thousand copies could only sell, even if there wree the same quantity of book-buying funds amongst the few purchasers as amongst the many, two hundred and fifty copies; and that therefore, although we might employ two hundred and fifty writers for a week, instead of about twenty printers in the same period, we should have forty times less employment for paper-makers, ink-makers, book-binders, and many other persons, besides the printers themselves, who are called into activity by the large demand which follows cheapness of production. 

"You will perceive, without having the subject dwelt upon, that if we could not give you this book cheaply, we could not give it to you extensively; that, in fact, the book would be useless; that it would be a mere curiosity; that we should not attempt to multiply and copies, because those whose use it was intended for could not buy it. It is also perfectly clear, that if, by any unnatural reduction of the wages of labor, such as happens to the Hindoo, who works at weaving muslin for about sixpence a week, we could get copiers to produce the book as cheaply as the printing-ress (which is impossible,) we could not send it to the world as quickly. We can get ten thousand copies of this book printed in a week, by the aid of about twelve compositors, and two printing machines, each machine requiring two boys and a man for its guidance. To transcribe ten thousand copies in the same time would require more than ten thousand penmen. Is it not perfectly evident, therefore, that if printing, which is a cheap and a rapid process, were once again superseded by writing, which is an expensive and slow operation, neither this book, nor any other book, could be prodcued for the use of the people, that knowledge, upon which every hope of bettering your condition must ultimately rest, would again become the property of a very few; and that mankind would lose the greater part of that power, which has made, as is making them truly independent, and which will make them virtuous and happy?

"The same principle applies to any improvement of the machinery used in printing, or in the manufacture of the paper upon which books are printed. by the use of the printing machine, instead of the printing press, (which machine is only profitably applicable to books printed in large numbers,) the cost of production is diminished at least one-tenth; and by the use of the machine for making paper, a better article is produced, also at a lower rate. This book is printed upon paper as fine as is needful for comfortable reading, instread of paper of a wretched quality; because the paper-machine had diminished the cost of production, by working up the pulp of which paper is composed more evenly, and therefore with a saving. And from both causes united, the diminished price of printing by the machine instead of printing by hand, and the diminished price of machine-made paper, the buyers of this book have six sheets, or 216 pages instead of five sheets, or 180 pages, for a shilling. Thus, not only is the price lessened to the consumer, by the increase of the quantity, but one-sixth more paper, one -sixth more more ink, one-sixth more labor of the compositor or printer who arranges the types, one-sixth more labor of the sewer or binder of the book; all these additions of direct labor and of materials produced by labor are consumed. In selling you this book, therefore, for a shilling, we give you a sixth more matter than you could have had without these new inventions; if we were to take that sixth in quantity, we could lessen the price, and give you the smaller book for tenpence. Thus, there is a decided advantage to the consumer in the diminished cost of the production, and an ample equivalent in mere labor, (which, bear always in mind, is the means of producing commodities, and not the end for they are produced,) in the place of labor thrust out by the printing-machine and the paper-machine.

"We cannot conclude this branch of our subject without one other illustration. About seven years ago the art of engraving on steel was invented; this art arose out of an attempt to multiply plates by machinery. it was said that this art would ruin the engravers as a body; for as steel-plates would not wear out with prining twenty thousand copies, and copper-plates could not give more than a thousand impressions, one steel-plate would stand in the place of twenty copper ones. Yet engravers, as a body, were never so numerous or so flourishing as they are at this moment; simply because steel-plates having made engravings cheap, numbers can have the pleasure of psessing prints, which were formerly only within the reach of a very few. The class of books called Annuals, which consist each of ten or twelve beautiful engravings, with amusing reading at a moderate price, and of which at least one hundred thousand copies are sold, having cost in their production about £50,000, could never had existed without the invention of steel engraving; and there are many other publications of landscapes,views of buildings, maps, &c. which, being rendered cheap by steel engravings, have produced exactly the same effects of increasing the enjoyments of the consumers, and bettering the condition and increasing the numbers of the producers.

 "We think that in the article of Books we have proved to you that maninery has rendered productions cheaper, and has increased the demand for manual labor, and consequently the number of laborers; and that, therefore, machinery applied to books is not objectionable...."

This writing by Charles Knight came to my attention in February 2016 when I read portions of another book that I had acquired by Knight entitled Capital and Labour; Including The Results of Machinery (London: Charles Knight & Co., 1845). The original cloth binding has blind-stamped on its covers: Knight's Weekly Volume for All Readers." Knight inscribed my copy on the front free endpaper: "To Geo. Nicholls Esq With the author's respectful Compts."  Nicholls, a British Poor Law Commissioner, was a particularly appropriate recipient for the book. Knight's "Advertisement" prefacing his 1845 book helps place his 1831 work in perspective:

" 'The Results of Machinery' was written in by me at a period of great national alarm, when a blind rage against a power supposed to interfere with the claims of Labour was generally prevalent, and led, in the Southern agricultural districts expecially, to many acts of daring violence. That little book had a most extensive sale, and is still in constant demand. Fifty thousand copies have been sold since its first publication. I wrote a second tract, 'Captial and Labour,' which was to form part of a Series entitled 'The Rights of Industry.' This Series I never could find leisure to proceed with. It has appeared to me that the two parts might be advantageously incorporated. machinery, in connexion with Capital and labour, is one of the great instruments of Production. In this Volume, then,  thus remodelled, the general object of The Production of Wealth is fully, though, popularly expounded. The original tracts were especially addressed to Working Men. This volume is addressed to all. The statistical details are brought up to the present time."

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Babbage's "On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures" Begins Operations Research 1832 – 1835

In 1832 Charles Babbage published On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, the first work on operations research, partially based on data he had accumulated during the previous ten years in order to build his Difference Engine No. 1. Primary themes of the book were the division of labor and the division of mental labor, to which Babbage devoted chapters 19 and 20. The first part of his chapter on the division of mental labor was an analysis of the methods used by de Prony in the production of his celebrated mathematical tables, and the third and fourth editions included in section 249 a small table calculated by the completed portion of the Difference Engine No. 1.  

Babbage had seen de Prony’s manuscript tables in 1819, and around 1820 began planning the Difference Engine No. 1 based on the principles of the division of labor. With this goal, Babbage visited factories throughout England, inspecting every machine and every industrial process. Rather than a study limited to engineering and manufacturing techniques, his book turned out to be an analysis of manufacturing processes within their economic context. Written when manufacturing was undergoing rapid development and radical change, the book represents an original contribution to British economics.

"Adam Smith had never really abandoned the belief, reasonable enough in his day, that agriculture was the principal source of Britain’s wealth; Ricardo’s ideas were focused on corn; Babbage for the first time authoritatively placed the factory in the centre of the stage. The book is at once a hymn to the machine, and analysis of the development of machine-based production in the factory, and a discussion of social relations in industry. . . .

"The Economy of Manufactures established Babbage’s position as a political economist and its influence is well attested, particularly on John Stuart Mill and Karl Marx. Babbage’s pioneering discussion of the effect of technical development on the size of industrial organizations was followed by Mill and the prediction of the continuing increase in the size of factories, often cited as one of Marx’s successful economic predictions, in fact derives from Babbage’s analysis. . . . Babbage wrote with many talents: a natural philosopher and mechanical engineer, his knowledge of factory and workshop practice was encyclopaedic; he was well-versed in relevant business practice; and he was without rival as a mathematician among contemporary British political economists" (Hyman, Charles Babbage, Pioneer of the Computer (1982) 103–4).

On the Economy of Machines and Manufactures was also the first book on operations research, discussing topics like the regulation of power, control of raw materials, division of labor, time studies, the advantage of size in manufacturing, inventory control, and duration and replacement of machinery. Besides regular pagination and chapters Babbage divided his book into numbered sections, which reached No. 467 by the third and fourth edition (1835), though the Table of Contents extended only to section No. 463. The book was indexed to the section numbers rather than to pages. 

In Chapter XI, "Of Copying", Babbage analyzed a surprisingly wide range of methods of duplication, including many different kinds of printing of different products, only a few categories of which were printing on paper. In section 159 he broke down the process of preparing the stereotype plates on which his book was printed into six different stages, and in Chapter XXI, "On the Cost of Each Separate Process in a Manufacture", section 256 he presented an exceptionally detailed accounting of all the costs in the production of the 3000 copies of the first edition of his book, which presumably he paid, followed by analyses of these costs in sections 257-262, the costs not including the extra charges for the small number of large paper copies (222 x 142mm) which Babbage ordered for presentation to his friends. Among the details mentioned in section 256 was that the book was printed on large sheets with 16 pages up, resulting in gatherings of 32 pages. As the book was printed from stereotype plates we may thus assume that the book was also printed by machine rather than by handpress, especially as its publisher Charles Knight was an early exponent of machine printing and its cost efficiencies. Though Babbage does not discuss the gold-stamped cloth bindings in which most of edition appeared, these were very early gold-stamped cloth edition bindings.

The work was Babbage’s most complete and professional piece of writing, and the only one of his books that went through four editions during his lifetime. The work was  translated into French and German, and appeared in an American edition also in 1832. Hook & Norman, Origins of Cyberspace (2002) No. 42.

(This entry was last revised on 03-01-2015.)

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Yisrael & Nissan Bak Operate the First Press in Palestine Since About 1577 1832

In 1832 Yisrael Bak and his son Nissan opened a printing press in the town of Safed  (Safad) in northern Palestine (now Israel). This was the first press to operate in Palestine since about 1577.

Ayalon, "The Beginnings of Publishing in pre-1948 Palestine," in Sadgrove (ed) History of Printing and Publishing in the Languages and Countries of the Middle East (2005) 69.

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Janos Bolyai Independently Invents Non-Euclidean Geometry 1832 – 1833

In 1833 Hungarian mathematician János Bolyai published "Appendix scientiam spatii absolute veram exhibens: a veritate aut falsitate axiomatis xi Euclidei (a priori haud unquam decidenda) independentem. . . ." appended to a textbook by his mathematician father Farkas Bolyai, entitled Tentamen juventutem studiosam in elementa matheseos purae I pp. [2] [1]-26 [2] pp. (second series). The two volumes appeared in Maros Vasarhelyini, Hungary (now Romania) printed by Joseph and Simon Kali, at the press of the Reform College.

Although the idea of a non-Euclidean geometry had occurred independently to several nineteenth-century mathematicians, János Bolyai was one of the first to publish an organized, deductive and logically based system that was avowedly non-Euclidean. He was preceded only by Lobachevskii (Lobachevsky), whose "O nachalakh geometrii" (On the Foundations of Geometry) had been published in the obscure periodical, Kazanskii vestnik, izdavaemyi pri Imperatorskom Kazamskom Universitete in Kazan, Russia, in 1829-30, but Bolyai remained unaware of the Russian's work until 1848, when he came across the German translation Lobachevskii's Geometrische Untersuchungen (1840). Bolyai and Lobachevskii are generally given equal credit for the invention of non-Euclidean geometry.

János Bolyai began developing his new geometry in 1820, and completed it five years later. He undertook this task despite the warnings of his father, who discouraged his son in the strongest terms from trying to prove or refute Euclid's parallel axiom; in a letter written in 1820, Farkas told his son not to "tempt the parallels" and to "shy away from it as from lewd intercourse, it can deprive you of all your leisure, your health, your peace of mind and your entire happiness." The elder Bolyai found his son's new geometry of "absolute space" unacceptable, but finally, in the summer of 1831, decided to send János's manuscript to his old friend Carl Friedrich Gauss. Neither of the Bolyais knew that Gauss had been working for thirty years on developing his own non-Euclidean geometry, so János was dreadfully shocked to read in Gauss's reply that he [Gauss] could not praise János's system since to do so would be to praise himself! Despite this blow, János agreed to let his paper be published as an appendix to his father's obscure mathematics textbook printed in a small edition by an equally obscure Hungarian school publisher.

Unsurprisingly, Bolyai's paper failed to attract the attention of contemporary mathematicians, and his new geometry remained almost completely unknown until 1867, when German mathematician Heinrich Richard Baltzer publicized the achievements of Bolyai and Lobachevskii in his Elemente der Mathematik.

Bibliographical Comments

The Tentamen was very crudely or amateurishly printed at a school press; copies exhibit the earmarks of non-professional or inexperienced publishing, particularly in the clumsy typography and numerous errata and corrigenda leaves, which must have made the Tentamen extremely difficult to use. These leaves were printed on different paper stocks and were obviously added after the original printing. Hook & Norman, The Haskell F. Norman Library of Science and Medicine (1991) No. 259 included a collation and discussion of tentative issue points. The subscribers' lists in Vol. i (1r+v) and Vol. ii (266v) indicate that 156 copies were subscribed for, and the edition was probably not much larger than this. 

In January 2016 antiquarian bookseller William P. Watson of London published preliminary results of his bibliographical researches on Bolyai's work in his Catalogue 21, Science, Medicine, Natural History, item No. 14, from which I quote:

"... Apart from the Appendix, hardly any two copies of the Tentamen agree in collation, and the great variation amongst them, including cancel leaves and gatherings, indicates that the publishing history of this work was confused, and remains confusing.

"Bolyai illustrates his textbook with 14 folding plates, five of which are inventively augmented with numerous small flaps. These plates contain as many as 10 slips, often concealed one behind the other; plate 10 also displays a single volvelle, which has gone unrecorded in most bibliographies to date; although not described in the printed or on-line catalogue entries, it is present in most copies. One point of bibliographic confusion has been clarified: the Horblit/Grolier Catalogue (based on the Smithsonian copy) lists an overslip on plate 6 that is not recorded in any other copy. Upon investigation it appears that an integral part of the plate (the lower portion of the diagram labelled T.144) was inadvertently detached during rebinding and subsequently reattached on a stub, leading to the conclusion that this was a required flap.

"Fewer than 25 copies are known: Stanford University: Haskell Norman collection (sold 29 October 1998 Christie's New York); Yale (Cushing copy, the first volume with Appendix only); Smithsonian Institution (Dibner copy, which was also the copy described in Horblit); Huntington (formerly the Burndy Library; the copy owned by Bolyai's translaor into English, George Bruce Halsted); Boston Public Library; University of Kentrucky (Louisville), and four in private collections. In Europe there are copies recorded at the Royal Society London; University College London; Austrian National Library; Hungarian National Library (Budapest); Leipzig, Göttingen (two, one Gauss's copy) Bordeaux (Jules Hoüel, translator of the Appendix 1867) and Trento (vol 1 only, and that seriously defective, lacking text and all the plates). There are two copies in private collections, one comprising vol. 1 only. There was one in Berlin (lost or destroyed in WWII). The copy sometimes described at Kanazawa Institute of Technology appears to be a ghost.

"There are numerous variations in collation etc. amongst these copies. We are compiling a detailed census and concordance which should be available shortly...."

Kline, Mathematical Thought from Ancient to Modern Times (1972) 873-880.

(This entry was last revised on 01-04-2016.)

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Rafinesque Deciphers the Mayan System of Counting 1832

Because of the destruction of most of the Maya codices in the sixteenth century, scholars had extremely limited access to the original texts. It was not until 1810 that the first reproduction of any Mayan codex— five pages from the Dresden Codex— were reproduced by Alexander von Humboldt in his Vues de cordillères, et monuments des peuples indigènes de l'Amérique. From this very limited reproduction in 1832 European-American autodidact polymath, mathematician, botanist, zoologist, and malachologist Constantine Samuel Rafinesque, while working in Philadelphia, deciphered the Maya's system of numerals.

In 1832 Rafinesque published his discovery in his periodical, the Atlantic Journal, and Friend of Knowledge: A Cyclopedic Journal and Review of Universal Science and Knowledge: Historical, Natural, and Medical Arts and Sciences: Industry, Agriculture, Education, and Every Useful Information. He announced it in a three-part article addressed to Jean-François Champollion, whose name he misspelled, "on the Graphic systems of America, and the Glyphs of Otolum or Palenque, in Central America." In the second part of this article, on page 42, Rafinesque briefly explained his discovery of the meaning of the Maya bar and dot system in which a dot equals one and a bar equals five. 

 "Later findings proved him right and also revealed that the Maya even had a symbol for zero, which appeared on Mesoamerican carvings as early as 36 B.C. (Zero didn't appear in Western Europe until the 12th century)"  (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/mayacode/time-flash.html, accessed 10-10-2009).

Like most of Rafinesque's numerous other publications, his Atlantic Journal enjoyed very limited success, and folded after only eight issues.  Copies of the original edition are extremely rare.  My copy is a facsimile reprint issued by the Arnold Arboretum, Boston, in 1946.

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The First Lithographed Books Printed in Persia are Issued 1832 – 1837

The first book printed in Persia (Iran) by means of lithography was a copy of the Koran published in Tabriz, dated either 1248/1832 or 1250/1834.  The first illustrated book printed by lithography in Persia was a copy of Maktabi's Leili va Majnun published in 1259/1843. 

"Illustrating lithographic books became a current practice in Iran as of 1263/1847.

"Shortly after the year 1270/1854, printing in movable type ceased altogether [in Iran]. For about two decades, all books published in Iran were produced by way of lithographic printing" (Marzolph, "A Projected Thesaurus Universalis Lbiri Lithographici Illustrati Persorum," Sadgrove (ed) History of Printing and Publishing in the Languages and Countries of the Middle East [2004] 27).

"The first lithographic printing press was brought to Persia in 1821 from Tiflis (Tbilisi), on the orders of the Crown Prince, ʿAbbās Mirzā. The Persian painter Allāhverdi who had studied lithography there, returned to Tabriz in March 1821 with a complete set of lithographic equipment (Akty, sobrannye kavkazskoyu arkheograficheskoyu komissieyu VI/2, pp. 238-39). The four volumes mentioned by Moḥammad-ʿAli Khan Tarbiyat (1934, p. 662), namely the two-volume of Majlesi's Ḥayāt al-qolub (I, pub. in 1240/1824-25; II, in 1241/1825-26), the Bustān of Saʿdi (1247/1831-32), and the Maḵāreq al-qolub of Nerāqi (1248/1832-33), were probably printed in Tabriz by this press.  

"What is certain is that in 1248/1832-33 a lithographic printing press began to operate in Tabriz. It was established through the efforts of Mirzā Ṣāleḥ Širāzi. In 1829, the equipment for the lithography and a printing specialist were presented as a gift to the Embassy of Ḵosrow Mirzā to Russia of which Mirzā Ṣāleḥ was a member (Rozanov, p. 225; Shcheglova, 1979, p. 31). The first books lithographed were the Qur’ān in 1248/1832-33 and the Zād al-maʿād of Majlesi in 1251/1836. The lithographer was Āqā-ʿAli b. Ḥājji Moḥammad-Ḥosayn al-Šarʿ Tabrizi (Tarbiyat, 1931, p. 450).  

"In Tehran, the first lithographed item was, the newspaper called Kāḡaḏ-e aḵbār (lit. newspaper) published by Mirzā Ṣāleḥ in 1837. There were only three issues, and these came out in Moḥarram-Jomādā I 1253/May-August 1837 (Ṣadr-Hāšemi I, no. 37). As far as printing of books is concerned, the first publications are datable to 1838. These were the Noḵba of Moḥammad-Ebrāhim Eṣfahāni (Mošār, col. 1571), the Soʾāl o javāb of Majlesi (Ibid, col. 909), and the kolliyāt of Hafez (Tarbiyat, 1931, p. 453). It is possible, however, that the first lithographed book was the Qur’ān, as reported by Il’ya Berezin (1819-96) who visited Tehran in 1843 and met Mirzā Ṣāleḥ there (Berezin, p. 248). Berezin also noted that the lithographic press remained mainly idle.  

"The first lithographic editions, as well as those typeset, were the work of printing enthusiasts who enjoyed the financial backing and patronage of such princely notables as ʿAbbās Mirzā in Tabriz and Manučehr Khan Moʿtamed-al-Dawla in Tehran. The number of published books remained therefore insignificant until the middle of the 1840s, when businessmen and booksellers began to realize the potential profits of the book printing trade. By late 1840s, there were already at least six lithographic printing houses at work in Tehran, and dozens of books were published (Shcheglova, 1979, pp. 33-34). From this time on, one can speak of regular lithographic book printing in Persia. The reasons for the success of the lithographic method of printing are obvious and well-known: simpler and cheaper equipment in comparison to that required for the typographic printing, availability of a large number of professional copyists, and the traditional culture of calligraphy. Although considerably less expensive than manuscripts, lithographed books retained the usual format of the handwritten codex in a sturdy binding. . . ." (http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/lithography-i-in-persia, accessed 05-26-2012).

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Exploiting the New Technology of Mechanized Printing, Charles Knight Publishes "The Penny Magazine," Britain's First Low Priced Mass-Circulation Magazine 1832 – 1845

English writer, publisher, printer, and social reformer Charles Knight published The Penny Magazine of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge every Saturday from March 31, 1832 to October 31, 1845. The magazine, of which each issue consisted of 8 pages liberally illustrated with woodcuts, was marketed to the English working classes, and the developing middle class. The images allowed even the semi-literate to derive enjoyment from its pages. As its title indicated, the magazine sold for only a penny per issue, the price being the same anywhere within the United Kingdom, making the magazine affordable to virtually anyone. In the April 7, 1832 issue Knight published an essay by the American writer, educator and politician Edward Everett entitled "Advantages of the Diffusion of Knowledge" about the value of education in improving the mass of society, a view which Knight, and other members of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, which sponsored the magazine, undoubtedly shared. Besides literary and historical books, Knight, sometimes in cooperation with the SDUK, published many works oriented toward social and economic reform, including all four editions of Charles' Babbage's On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactureswhich coincidentally was first published the same year that Knight began publication of The Penny Magazine.

An aspect of the magazine was that Knight, as publisher and frequent writer, sometimes communicated with his readers by writing articles for the magazine himself. At the end of the first year of publication, on December 18, 1832 he wrote a preface to the first volume. In that he stated that the magazine was very successful, with circulation reaching 160,000 by the end of the first month after publication, and reaching 200,000 the first year. From this he assumed that the magazine was being read each week by a million people. Only forty years earlier, he wrote, Edmund Burke had written that there were only 80,000 readers in all of England.

To print and distribute 200,000 copies weekly required large quantities of machine-made paper, and pushed the limit of printing technology at the time, using stereotype plates on mechanized presses invented by Augustus Applegath, which were in operation at the printing house of William Clowes in London. Obviously proud of the technical aspects which made the magazine affordable and widely available, in the magazine's second year of publication Knight wrote and published a memorable series of articles in four "Monthly Supplements" to the regular issues under the general title "The Commercial History of a Penny Magazine." "No. 1--Introduction & Paper-Making"  appeared in Issue 96, August 31 to September 30, 1833, pp. 377-84. "No. 2. Wood-cutting and Type-founding" appeared in Issue 101, September 39 to October 31, 1833, pp. 417-24. "No. 3. Compositors' Work and Sterotyping" appeared in issue 107, October 31 to November 30, 1833, pp. 465-72, and "No. 4. Printing Presses and Machinery—Bookbinding" appeared in issue 112, November 30 to December 31, 1833, pp. 505-11. These articles represent the one of the best illustrated introductions to the history and technology of printing, woodcut illustration and binding as practiced during the first third of the nineteenth century. They also appear to be the earliest widely circulated general description of the new processes of machine paper manufacturing and high speed printing technology. In Issue 96, p. 381 there is a full-page woodcut of a papermaking machine--undoubtedly the first image of a device of this type seen by a wide number of people. Incidentally the paper on which my copy of the first three volumes was printed is of very good quality. In issue 112, p. 509 there is a full-page woodcut of an Applegath steam-powered press as used in Clowes' pressroom, with detailed explanatory captions. This was undoubtedly the first widely seen image of a high speed cylinder press.

Regarding the advantages of the high speed steam rotary press developed by Koenig and Applegath, Knight first explained how two men, using the fastest iron handpress, such as that invented by Earl Stanhope, could produce 250 impressions per hour. He then compared this output to that of the new printing machinery: 

"Before the invention of stereotyping it was necessary to print off considerable impressions of the few books in general demand such as bibles and prayer-books, that the cost of composition might be so far divided as to allow the book to be sold cheap: with several school-books, also, it was not uncommon to go to press with an edition of 10,000 copies. Two men, working eight hours a day each, would produce 1000 perfect impressions (impressions on each side) of a sheet per day; adn thus if a book consisted of twenty sheets, (the size of an ordinary school-book,) one press would produce the twenty sheets in 200 days. If a printer therefore, were engaged in the production of such a school-book, who could only devote one press to the operation, it wouldrequire nearly three quarters of a year to complete 10,000 copies of that work. . . . 

"But take a case which would allow no time for this long preparation. Take a daily newspaper, for instance, of which great part of the news must be collected, and written, and printed within twenty four hours. Before the application of machinery to the printing of newspapers, in 1814, there were as many daily London newspapers as at present; but their average size was much smaller than those now published. The number of each paper printed was less than at present; and the later news was much more incompletely given. The mechanical difficulties of printing a large number within a limited time required to be overcome by arrangements which involved considerable expense; and thus less capital was to be expended upon that branch of the outlay by which the excellence of a newspaper is mainly determined,--namely, the novelty, the completeness, and the accuracy of its intelligence. Let us take, for example, the 'Times' newspaper for some years prior to 1814, when it began to be printed by machinery. When that was originally established, somewhere about forty years ago, the present system of reporting speeches in parliament on the same night that they were spoken was scarcely ever attempted. A few lines mentioning the subject of the debate, and the names of principal speakers, were sometimes given, but anything like a sektch of the general debate or a report of any remarkable speech, was deferred to a future day, if it were published at all. . . . .

"The printing press, as we have mentioned, will, at the ordinary rate, enable two men to take off two hundred and fifty impressions in an hour. By the most violent exertions the pressmen of a daily newspaper were enabled, with relays, to work off about five hundred copies in an hour. One press would therefore produce ten thousand copies in about twenty hours. It is manifest that such a rate of speed, if such a quantity were demanded, would be incompatible with the production of a daily paper, the condition of whose existence is that it must be wholly printed and issued in four and twenty hours. Let us double the speed by printing in duplicate; and we find that ten thousand copies can be produced in about ten hours. But even this rate carries the publication of several thousands of the ten thousand printed into the next afternoon. We may, therefore, assume that without triplicates, which we believe were never resorted to, no daily paper previous to 1814 could aim at the sale of a greater number of copies than could be printed off even with duplicates in six hours--of which number the publication would often not be complete till after mid-day. The number printed of the most popular daily paper, would therefore be limited to five thousand; and this number could not be produced in time without the most perfect division of labour aiding the most intense exertion, provided that paper were printed by hand. The 'Times' newspaper now produces ten thousand copies in two hours and a half, from one set of types.

"If the difficulties that existed in producing any considerable number of newspapers before the invention of the printing machine were almost insurmountable, equally striking will the advantages of that invention appear when we consider its application to such a work as the 'Penny Magazine.' Let us suppose that the instruction of the people had gone on uninterruptedly in the schools of mutual instruction, and that the mechanical means for supplying the demand for knowledge thus created had sustained no improvement. In this series of papers we have endeavoured constantly to show that the price at which a book can be sold depends in great part upon the number printed of that book. But at the same time it must be borne in mind, that the number of any particular work thus produced must be limited by the mechanical means of production. If the demand for knowledge had led to the establishment of the 'Penny Magazine' before the invention of the printing machine, it is probable that the sale of twenty thousand copies would have been considered the utmost that could have been calculated upon. This invention has forced on other departments of printing, and larger presses have therefore been constructed to compete in some degree with the capacity of the machine for printing a large form of types. Twenty years ago there probably was no press in England large enough to work off a double number of the 'Penny Magazine.' One thousand perfect copies, therefore, could only have been daily produced at one press by the labour of two men. The machine produces sixteen thousand copies. If the demand for the 'Penny Magazine,' printed thus slowly by the press, had reached twenty thousand, it would have required two presses to produce that twenty thousand in the same time, namely ten days, in which we now produce one hundred and sixty thousand by the machine; and it would have required one press to be at work one hundred and sixty days, or sixteen presses for ten days, to effect the same results as the machine now effects in ten days. But, in point of fact, such a sale could never have been reached under the old system of press-work. The hand-labour, as compared with the machine, would have added at least forty per cent. to the cost of production, even if the sixteen presses could have been set in motion. Without stereotyping, no attempt would have been made to set them in motion; for the cost of re-engraving wood-cuts, and of re-composing the types, would have put a natural commercial limit to the operation. With stereotypes, the numbers printed would have been limited by the time required for the production of the stereotype-plates; in the same way as the number of a newspaper worked by hand is limited, as we have seen, by certain natural obstacles, which could not be passed with profit to those concerned in the production. At any rate the difference in the cost of printing by machinery and printing by hand would either have doubled the price of the 'Penny Magazine,' or in the same proportion diminished its size and its quality. Under those circumstances a sale at twenty thousand would have been a large sale. The saving of labour and the saving of time by the printing machine enable, in a great degree, this little work to be published at its present cost, and to be delivered, without any limitation to its supply, at regular periodical intervals throughout the United Kingdom. Without this invention a demand beyond the power of a press or two to meet would have become embarrassing. The work would have been perpetually out of print, as a failure in the supply of a book is termed. If extraordinary efforts had been made to prevent this, great expenses would have been created by the irregular exertion. The commercial difficulties of attempting a supply beyond the ordinary power of the mechanical means employed would have been insurmountable--the demand could not have been met.

"Having thus explained the general advantages of the printing machine for meeting the demand which now exists for books of large numbers, we will conduct our readers to Mr. Clowes's printing establishment, where there are more printing machines at work than at any other office in the world. It may be convenient, how ever, first to refer to the engraving of the sort of printing machine there principally employed, with the description of its several parts. The visitor to Mr. Clowes's office will be conducted into a room in which there are ten machines generally in full work. In an opposite room are six similar machines. The power which sets these in motion is supplied by two steam-engines. Upon entering the machine-room the stranger will naturally feel distracted by the din of so many wheels and cylinders in action; and if his imagination should present to him a picture of the effects which such instruments are producing and will produce, upon the condition of mankind, it may require some effort of the mind to understand the mode in which any particular machine does its work. Let us begin with one on which the 'Penny Magazine' is preparing to be printed off. One man, and sometimes two men, are engaged in what is technically called making ready; and this with stereotype plates is a tedious and delicate operation. The plates are secured upon wooden blocks by which they are raised to the height of moveable types; but then, with every care in casting, and in the subsequent turning operation, these plates, unlike moveable types, do not present a perfectly plane surface. There are hollow parts which must be brought up by careful adjustment; and this is effected by placing pieces of this paper under any point where the impression is faint. This process often occupies six or seven hours, particularly where there are casts from wood-cuts. Let us suppose it completed. Upon the solid steel table at each end of the machine lie the eight pages which print one side of the sheet. At the top of the machine, where the laying on boy stands, is a heap of wet paper. The visitor will have seen the process of wetting previously to entering the machine-room. Each quire of paper is dipped two or three times, according to its thickness, in a trough of water; and being opened is subjected, first to moderate pressure, and afterwards to the action of a powerful press, till the moisture is equally diffused through the whole heap. If the paper were not wetted, the ink, which is a composition of oil and lamp-black, would lie upon the surface and smear. To return to the machine. The signal being given by the director of the work, the 'laying-on boy turns a small handle, and the moving power of the strap connected with the engine is immediately communicated. Some ten or twenty spoiled sheets are first passed over the types to remove any dirt or moisture. If the director is satisfied, the boy begins to lay on the white paper. He places the sheet upon a flat table before him, with its edge ready to be seized by the apparatus for conveying it upon the drum. At the first movement of the great wheels the inking apparatus at each end has been set in motion. The steel cylinder attached to the reservoir of ink has begun slowly to move,--the 'doctor' has risen to touch that cylinder for an instant, and thus receive its supply of ink,--the inking-table has passed under the 'doctor' and carried off that supply--and the distributing-rollers have spread it equally over the surface of the table. This surface having passed under the inking-rollers, communicates the supply to them; and they in turn impart it to the form which is to be printed. All these beautiful operations are accomplished in the fifteenth part of a minute, by the travelling backward and forward of the carriage or table upon which the form tests. Each roller revolves upon an axis which is fixed. At the moment when the form at the back of the machine is passing under the inking-roller, the sheet, which the boy has carefully laid upon the table before him, is caught in the web-roller and conveyed to the endless bands of tapes which pass it over the first impression cylinder. It is here seized tightly by the bands, which fall between the pages and on the outer margins. The moment after the sheet is seized upon the first cylinder, the form passes under that cylinder, and the paper being brought in contact with it receives an impression on one side. To give the impression on the other side the sheet is to be turned over; and this is effected by the two drums in the centre of the machine. The endless tapes never lose their grasp of the sheet, although they allow it to be reversed. When the impression has been given by the first cylinder, the second form of tapes at the other end of the table has been inked. The drums have conveyed the sheet during this inking upon the second cylinder; it is brought into contact with the types; and the operation is complete.

"The machine which we have thus imperfectly described is a most important improvement of Koenig's original invention. That, like most first attempts, was extremely complicated. It possessed sixty wheels. Applegath and Cowper's machine has sixteen only. The inking apparatus of this machine is by far the most complete and economical that ever was invented. Nothing can be more perfect than the distribution of the ink and its application to the types. It has therefore entirely superseded Koenig's machine: and as the patent has expired, its use is rapidly extending, not only in England, but throughout Europe. Our limits will not permit us to attempt any description of the other machines which are employed in London. The most remarkable are the two now used by the 'Times' newspaper; each of which produces four thousand impressions per hour on one side of a sheet. These machines are modifications of Applegath's and Cowper's; and the additional speed is gained by having the sheets laid on at four different points instead of at one, and by employing four printing cylinders to press in succession upon one form. . . . " 

According to the title pages of volumes 1-3 in my collection, after these volumes were completed the issues of volume 1 were available for 4s. 6d. in nine monthly parts or 6s. bound in cloth, and issues of volume 2 were available for 6s in twelve monthly parts and 7s. 6d. bound in cloth, the same low price maintained for volume 3. Besides his own series on printing and book manufacturing, from 1841 to 1843 Knight commissioned from George Dodd a series of 44 illustrated articles on various manufacturing industries in England for The Penny Magazine. These he reissued in book form in 1843 as Days at the Factories; or, the Manufacturing Industry of Great Britain Described and Illustrated by Numerous Enravings of Machines and ProcessesThis included expanded versions of Knight's articles on book production.

In February 2015 I was surprised to find a copy of the American issue of Volumes 1 & 2 of Knight's Penny Magazine. This was characterized on its title page as "American Re-Issue, From the English Plates." It was printed on different, inferior paper, from the original stereotype plates, its main publisher being J. S. Redfield in New York in 1845. Copies were also distributed by various other named publishers in different cities as well as "The Cheap Publication Offices Generally Throughout the United States." This version did not include Knight's introduction to the first volume. Whether this reissue was a result of Knight's termination of the magazine in London in 1845, or just a coincidence, was unknown to me.

(This entry was last revised on 02-21-2015.)

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The Earliest Known Printed Dust Jacket (Now Lost) 1832

The earliest known printed detachable paper covering for a book is for The Keepsake . . . 1833 published by Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, Green & Longman in London, 1832. This was printed on front and back, the back cover containing an advertisement. It was designed to enclose the book completely, like wrapping paper.  Such wrappers were probably intended to be discarded by the user. The unique copy of the original with the jacket belonged to antiquarian bookseller and bibliographer John Carter, who reported on it in Publisher's Weekly in 1934, and Bibliographical Notes & Queries in 1935  The original was lost in 1952 "on the way to the Bodleian," as reported by Carter in Books and Book-Collectors (1956). Fortunately it had been photographed.

Tanselle, Book-Jackets: Their History, Forms, and Use (2011)  No. 32.1 (p. 112) illustrating the jacket from Carter's photograph as plate 1.

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The Phenakistoscope, the First Device to Demonstrate the Illusion of a Moving Image 1832 – 1834

In 1832 Belgian physicist Joseph Antoine Ferdinand Plateau (Joseph Plateau) of Brussels became first person to demonstrate the illusion of a moving image. Plateau's device, which he called the phenakistoscope ("spindle viewer"), used the persistence of motion principle to create an illusion of motion. It consisted of two disks, one with small equidistant radial windows, through which the viewer could look, and another containing a sequence of images drawn around the disk in concentric circles. When viewed in a mirror through the first disk's slots, the pictures on the second disk appeared to move. The synchronization of the windows and the images created an animated effect.  Also in 1832, Viennese mathematician and inventor Simon von Stampfer invented a similar device, which he called a stroboscope.  

Two years later, 1834 when British mathematician William George Horner invented what came to be known as the zoetrope. Horner named his device a "daedalum," but it was widely called "the wheel of the devil." Perhaps the reference to the devil had less to do with Horner's device than with the often psychodelic and sometimes grotesque animated designs created for it.

Horner's invention made two significant improvements over the phenakistoscope: it could be viewed without a mirror, and more than one person could view the moving pictures at the same time.  Horner's device did not become widely popular until the 1860s when it was patented by both English and American makers, including the American game pioneer Milton Bradley. An American developer William F. Lincoln named his version of the toy the "zoetrope", meaning "wheel of life." This name became widely applied to the device.

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One of the First Applications of Spatial Analysis in Epidemology 1832 – 1834

In 1834 French economist, statistician and demographer Louis-François Benoiston de Châteauneuf, as head of a French commission, issued from Paris Rapport sur la marche et les effets du choléra-morbus dans Paris et les communes rurales du département de la Seine / par la commission nommée, avec l'approbation de M. le ministre du commerce et des travaux publics, par MM. les préfets de la Seine et de police ; année 1832. This work contained one of the earliest applications of spatial analysis in epidemiology—an early thematic map by geographer and cartographer Charles Picquet, in which the 48 districts of Paris were represented by color gradient according to the percentage of deaths from cholera per 1000 inhabitants.

In December 2013 digital versions of this work were available from the Bibliotheque nationale de France and other sites. 

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John Murray's "The Works of Lord Byron", the First Gilt-Stamped Cloth Edition Bindings January 1832 – 1833

The London bookbinder Archibald Leighton (1784-1841), who pioneered the use of cloth publisher's bindings for publisher William Pickering, probably originally introduced in 1825, continued to experiment with cloth as a bookbinding material, and in 1832 developed the first book cloth that could take and retain impressed gilt decoration rapidly and in sufficient quantity to allow for gilt-stamped cloth edition bindings. This historical observation was first made by novelist, publisher, book collector and bibliographer Michael Sadleir in his book entitled The Evolution of Publishers' Binding Styles 1770-1900 (1930) pp. 49-50. Sadleir wrote:

"Previously, although it had been possible to lay down gold on cloth, each book had to be done by hand and with an expenditure of time and trouble which rendered the process useless for an edition of any size. This date of 1832 is fixed in an interesting manner. In that year John Murray began the publication of a 12mo edition of the works of Byron, bound in dark green cloth with title, etc., in a shield on the spine. Vols. 1 and 2 of that edition were originally issued with dark green paper labels, printed with the title and device in gold; Vols. 3 to the end had the same title and device gold-printed actually on the cloth itself. It was between the issue of Vols. 2 and 3 that Archibald Leighton perfected his process for preparing the surface of the cloth and so introduced the gold-blocking of cloth which has been practised ever since."

As far as I could determine in February 2015, Sadleir's observation remained accurate except that the transition from paper label to the gilt label stamped directly on the cloth occurred in the second volume of Murray's set of Byron. The set, entitled The Works of Lord Byron; with his Letters and Journals and his Life by Thomas Moore, Esq., was originally intended, as stated on the titles of vols 1-12, to be complete in 14 volumes, but was extended to 17, including a "very careful and copious index to the whole collection."  The volumes were issued at the rate of one per month beginning in January 1832, with publication concluding in 1833. The books were covered in a green, water-silk embossed cloth. The first volume was issued with a green paper label on the spine with the title and a coronet printed in gold. Between the issue of this and the second volume published a month later the technique of gold blocking on cloth became a workable proposition, with the result that the lettering and coronet were stamped directly onto the cloth of the remaining 16 volumes.  

Besides the development of the appropriate book cloth, another significant factor in the development of cloth edition bindings pointed out by Douglas Ball in his Victorian Publishers' Bindings (1985) pp. 14-15 was the development, and patenting in 1832 of the Imperial Arming Press, also called an embossing or stamping press, which allowed for quality stamping onto cloth and leather with excellent control and very high pressure.

In Bookbinding Then and Now (1959) Darley pp. 35-36 offers perspective on the significance and impact of this invention:

"The press was called an Arming Press, probably because the first use envisaged for it was embossing coats of arms on the sides of books. It was an iron printing press converted to the needs of the binding trade. No one knows who made the first of these presses. Arnett, writing in 1835, three years after the event [introduction of its use in Murray's Byron] describes the Imperial Press of Cope and Sherwin: the Judges' report of the 1851 Exhibition names Hopkinson's press--and others. No patent was involved: all followed the pattern of the iron printing presses developed during the eighteen-twenties, the difference being that the platen of the Amring Press was enlarged to hold a heater box, and the block worked downward from above instead of the face-up way of type in the printing press. Into the heater box went either a gas burner, or for those binderies not yet fitted with gas, two iron bars previously made red hot in the fire. The heat thus provided heated the block screwed or glued to the platen; one impression of this heated block on a case previously washed with glaire, rubbed with a greasy rag, and having gold leaf laid in place, in the time-honoured way, could cover that case with lettering and ornament in no more time than a finisher would need for impressing one tool.

"As is the way of machines, the Arming Press imposed Conditions. Before the spine of a cover could enter the narrow gap between platen and bed of the machine, the binder had to make a case separate form the book. For the first itme in the long history of binding the sacrosanct practice of lacing-on boards had to be abandoned. In 1832 no self-respecting binder would ahve omittted this essential process in binding unless driven to it. And when driven to it he would ahve held his peace about so grave a transgression.

"The changes resulting from this Arming Press, the binding trade's second machine, were great. On the one hand the making of separate cases was a simplication in the process of covering books; on the other it made available to cloth bindings something wonderfully like the elaborations that hitherto had belonged exclusively to hand-tooled leather. it also created in the trade two new classes of workers— case-makers and blockers, as well as engravers of brass blocks for the binding trade— and it enabled publishers, for the first time, to issue their publications in a style that was pleasing and acceptable as a permanent binding."

Here is a video produced by binder Trevor Lloyd showing the design and operation of a restored Imperial arming press:

Wolf, From Gothic Windows to Peacocks: American Embossed Leather Bindings, 1825-1855 (1990) 12.

Tomlinson & Masters, Bookcloth 1823-1980 (1996) 9.

(This entry was last revised on 03-19-2016.)

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Korsakov is Probably the First to Use Punched Cards for Information Processing and Storage September 1832

While working in the statistics department of the Police Ministry, Semen Nikolaevich Korsakov (Russian: Семён Николаевич Корсаков; Semyon Nikolayevich Korsakov), a Russian government official and inventor, developed several "machines for the comparison of ideas" to "enhance natural intelligence."  In the design of his machines Korsakov appears to have been the earliest to use punched cards for information processing and storage.

Korsakov's machines "included the 'linear homeoscope with movable parts', the 'linear homeoscope without movable parts', the 'flat homeoscope', the 'ideoscope', and the 'simple comparator'. The purpose of the devices was primarily to facilitate the search for information, stored in the form of punched cards or similar media (for example, wooden boards with perforations). Korsakov announced his new method in September 1832, and rather than seeking patents offered the machines for public use.

"The punch card had been introduced in 1805, but until that time had been used solely in the textile industry to control looms. Korsakov was reputedly the first to use the cards for information storage.

"Korsakov presented his ideas to the Imperial Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg, but their experts rejected his application, failing to see the potential of mechanizing searches through large stores of information. His machines were largely forgotten until after the Second World War, when a revival of historical interest resulted in the publication (in 1961) of several documents from the Academy's archives relating to Korsakov's machines and the uncovering of a book about them written by Korsakov himself" (Wikipedia article on Semen Korsakov, accessed 10-07-2010).

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William Whewell Coins the Term "Scientist" 1833

English polymath, scientist, Anglican priest, philosopher, theologian, and Master of Trinity College, Cambridge William Whewell, one of the first historians of science, coined the term scientist to describe an expert in the study of nature.

When Whewell coined the word people we now call scientists were often called "natural philosophers."  The term scientist did not gain wide acceptance until the end of the ninteenth century.

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Filed under: Science

The First Great American Contribution to Physiology 1833

In `833 U.S. Army surgeon William Beaumont published Experiments and Observations on the Gastric juice, and the Physiology of Digestion in Plattsburgh, New York at the newspaper press of F. P. Allen. This was the first great American contribution to physiology. While stationed at Fort Mackinac, near Michilimackinac, on Mackinac Island, Michigan, close to the Canadian border— then and now an extremely remote location— Beaumont had been presented with a unique opportunity in the person of one of his patients, the young French Canadian soldier Alexis St. Martin, who was left with a permanent gastric fistula after suffering a gunshot wound to the stomach. Beaumont's experiments and observations, conducted between 1825 and 1831, conclusively established the chemical nature of digestion, the presence and role of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, the temperature of the stomach during digestion, the movement of the stomach walls and the relative digestibility of certain foods—all of which revolutionized current theories of the physiology of digestion.

The most important presentation copy extant of Beaumont's work is the copy Beaumont inscribed to his longtime friend James W. Kingsbury, an army officer whom Beaumont had met when both men were stationed in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin in the early 1830s. Kingsbury was a man of some prominence in St. Louis, where he had married a local heiress, Julia Antoinette Cabanne, and acquired from his father-in-law a 425-acre tract of land that is now home to Kingsbury Place, one of St. Louis's most elegant residential communities. In 1835 Beaumont moved his family to St. Louis, where he remained the rest of his life; his decision to settle in the city, although motivated by professional ambition, certainly also owed something to the presence of his friend Kingsbury there.

Kingsbury was quite familiar with Beaumont's researches on digestion, as Beaumont had continued his experiments with Alexis St. Martin during his tenure at Prairie du Chien. When Beaumont decided to publish his Experiments and Observations by subscription, Kingsbury, who by then was back to St. Louis, acted as one of Beaumont's agents, distributing prospectuses for the book to local booksellers and other likely purchasers. The Beaumont archives at Washington University's Becker Medical Library includes a letter that Kingsbury wrote to Beaumont on July 14, 1833; this is the earliest letter written to Beaumont to contain a reference to Beaumont's book:

"Your book will be valuable to any one whether a medical man, or a plain farmer, especially when Diet is all the rage as it is now. I hope it may prove as profitable to your purse, as it has to your standing in the great world, where you are located you do not require Alex's intestines to gain you a name or practice. Send me on some 4 or 5 of the prospectus. I shall take one or two copies, my friends will take some & I trust that the talent of the country will have & manifest a feeling for kindred abilities."  

At the end of his letter Kingsbury repeats his request:  

"Send your prospectus as soon as you can we have about 16 doctors here to be examined."  

Even though Beaumont's scientific advisors urged him to have his book issued by established medical publishers such as Lippincott in Philadelphia, Beaumont decided to self-publish his book. He had it typeset at the press of the town newspaper in Plattsburgh, New York, and sold through a prospectus and agents. The Beaumont archives in St. Louis include a remarkably complete account of Beaumont's adventure in self-publishing, which included his placing some copies of the first edition for sale in Boston. These were issued with a cancel title and the imprint Lilly, Wait & Co., 1834.  

Only one other presentation copy of this work is recorded: the Haskell F. Norman copy, which sold at Christie's NY in 1998. That was one of fifty copies which Beaumont had bound in full leather. Considering normal book production practice, it is likely that the special full-leather copies were produced after the main edition. The Norman copy was inscribed by Beaumont to William Dunlap, whose relationship with Beaumont is unknown.  

Dibner, Heralds of Science no. 130.  Horblit, One Hundred Books Famous in Science no. 10. Lilly, Notable Medical Books p. 185. Hook & Norman, The Haskell F. Norman Library of Science and Medicine (1991) no. 152. Norman, One Hundred Books Famous in Medicine, no. 61. Peters & Fulton, William Beaumont's Letter to his New Haven Bookseller, Hezekiah Howe. . . , pp. 1-17. Horsman, Frontier Doctor: William Beaumont, America's First Great Medical Scientist. Myer, William Beaumont: A Pioneer American Physiologist. Hunter, Kingsbury Place: The First Two Hundred Years, pp. 5, 7-8.

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Theory of the Ice Age; Global Cooling and Warming 1834 – 1841

Although Swiss-American paleontologist-glaciologist-geologist Louis Agassiz is usually credited with originating the theory of the Ice Age, one of the primary progenitors of glacial geological theory was Swiss-German geologist Jean de Charpentier, who began studying glaciers after the Glacier de Gietroz disaster of 1818, in which a lake dammed by the glacier burst through the ice. By studying the Rhone Valley and the huge blocks of granite scattered mysteriously throughout it from the Alps to the Jura, Charpentier confirmed the theory proposed in 1821 by his friend Ignaz Venetz, that these so-called "erratic" (i.e., unconformable) blocks could only have been moved by the action of glaciers, which must have arisen after the formation of the Alps since many of the blocks were mineralogically identical to rocks found in some Alpine peaks.

Using the geological evidence he had gathered, Charpentier was able to refute other current hypotheses explaining the presence of the erratic blocks; nevertheless, when he introduced his glacier theory in a paper read before the Schweizerische Naturforschende Gesellschaft in Geneva in 1834, he was met with incredulity and scorn. In spite of the hostile reception of his ideas, Charpentier maintained his position, inviting others to come visit him and see the evidence for themselves. One of these visitors in 1836 was Agassiz.

"In the meantime, the German botanist Karl Friedrich Schimper (1803–1867) was studying mosses which were growing on erratic boulders in the alpine upland of Bavaria. He began to wonder where such masses of stone had come from. During the summer of 1835 he made some excursions to the Bavarian Alps. Schimper came to the conclusion that ice must have been the means of transport for the boulders in the alpine upland. In the winter of 1835 to 1836 he held some lectures in Munich. Schimper then assumed that there must have been global times of obliteration (“Verödungszeiten“) with a cold climate and frozen water. Schimper spent the summer months of 1836 at Devens, near Bex, in the Swiss Alps with his former university friend Louis Agassiz (1801–1873) and Jean de Charpentier. Schimper, de Charpentier and possibly Venetz convinced Agassiz that there had been a time of glaciation. During Winter 1836/7 Agassiz and Schimper developed the theory of a sequence of glaciations. They mainly drew upon the preceding works of Venetz, of de Charpentier and on their own fieldwork. . . . At the beginning of 1837 Schimper coined the term ice age (“Eiszeit“).  In July 1837 Agassiz presented their synthesis before the annual meeting of the Schweizerische Naturforschende Gesellschaft at Neuchâtel. The audience was very critical or even opposed the new theory because it contradicted the established opinions on climatic history. Most contemporary scientists thought that the earth had been gradually cooling down since its birth as a molten globe.

"In order to overcome this rejection, Agassiz embarked on geological fieldwork. He published his book Studies on Glaciers (Études sur les glaciers) in 1840. De Charpentier was put out by this as he had also been preparing a book about the glaciation of the Alps. De Charpentier felt that Agassiz should have given him precedence as it was he who had introduced Agassiz to in-depth glacial research. Besides that, Agassiz had, as a result of personal quarrels, omitted any mention of Schimper in his book. Altogether, it took several decades until the ice age theory was fully accepted. This happened on an international scale in the second half of the 1870’s" (Wikipedia article on Ice Age, accessed 11-04-2009).

In 1837 Agassiz may have been the first to propose in a formal scientific way that the Earth had been subject to a past ice age. Charpentier did not publish his Essai sur les glaciers et sur le terrain erratique du bassin du Rhone in Lausanne until 1841, a year after Agassiz published Etudes sur les glaciers in Neuchâtel. Agassiz's work, which appeared simultaneously in both French and German editions, consisting of a text volume and a splendid and visually impressive folio atlas of lithographs, undoubtedly received the lions' share of attention relative to Charpentier's more modest production.

Though Karl Schimper may also have originated the idea of glaciation, and proposed the radical idea that ice sheets had once covered much of Europe, Asia, and North America, Schimper never published his ideas. He discussed them with Louis Agassiz, who went on to appropriate the ideas as his own and, much to Schimper's and Charpentier's dismay, undeservedly received most of the credit for their origination.

Hook & Norman, The Haskell F. Norman Library of Science and Medicine (1991) nos. 17 & 462.

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The First Commercially Viable Method of Color Printing 1834 – 1835

In 1835 London-based English artist and printer George Baxter received patent No. 6916, "Improvements for Producing Coloured Steel Plate, Copper Plate, and Other Impressions." His patent included an example of a print requiring 14 different impressions on the hand press before completion. The original printed patent in my possession, which reproduced Baxter's original color artwork in black & white like all early patents, could not accurately show the progression of colors involved, but the patent did explain the concepts.  Even though Baxter's process was elaborate, it was the first commercially viable method of color printing. A perfectionist, Baxter never personally profited from the process, probably because he used so many colors and extra hand-touches to achieve his desired results. 

Perhaps also because of the extreme complexity of the technique, Baxter's patent seems not to have been infringed upon. Eventually Baxter licensed the process to other printers, such as George C. Leighton, who being less perfectionistic, modified the process, and produced commercial color prints more efficiently and more profitably.

"Baxter’s process for producing colour prints combined relief and intaglio printing methods. A ‘key’ plate was prepared, usually made of steel and using any combination of engraving, stipple, etching and aquatint. Baxter also appears to have used mezzotint and lithography to create his key plate on occasion. The key plate provided the main lines of the image and much of the tone, light and shade. It was usually printed in a neutral tone, such as light grey or terracotta. Often Baxter used more than one colour to ink the key plate – for example, to gradate the image from blue in the sky, to buff in the middle distance and to a darker colour in the foreground; i.e. inking the plate à la poupée. Usually Baxter used aquatint for landscapes and stipple to work faces and figures.

"Following printing of the key plate, relief blocks were prepared, usually from wood but also from zinc or copper, using impressions of the key plate to create the blocks. Usually one block was prepared for each colour, although sometimes two or more colours or tints were included on the same block, requiring hand inking of each individual area. Each colour was applied and allowed to dry before adding the next colour. It is thought that Baxter usually started printing with a blue tint and then progressed through the other colours in a predetermined order – all blocks were numbered sequentially and labelled with the colour to be used. Sometimes up to 24 separate colours were used, although ten could be considered an average number. Baxter achieved his precise registration by fixing the print over a number of spikes, over which the blocks would also fit.

"Baxter is thought to have used hand-colouring for finishing touches on occasion – for example, '… extra touches of red on the mouths, high white lights upon jewels . . .' It is also believed Baxter occasionally applied glaze via an additional printing step all over the image, composed of his usual varnish with a ‘hard drier’ added to make it insoluble in water. More often, however, it is thought that Baxter glazed areas of the print selectively by hand using a glaze composed of gum arabic, egg white and Castile soap" (Wikipedia article on George Baxter, accessed 05-17-2012).

Probably the first published "Baxter Prints" were two small cameo prints of birds illustrating the title pages of Robert Mudie's The Feathered Tribes of the British Islands (London, 1834). The are captioned in small type, "Engraved on Wood and Printed in Colours, by G. Baxter."  The following year Baxter color printed title page vignettes and also the frontispieces of Mudie's 4-volume set, The Heavens, the Earth, the Sea, and the Air.  My copy of the first edition of Mudie's The Sea, presumably issued after the Baxter's patent was granted, has a color frontispiece entitled "Evening on the Sea,"captioned "Baxter's Patent Oil Colour Printing."

Burch, Colour Printing and Colour Printers (1910) 124-134.  

♦ For collectors and students of Baxter prints there is the New Baxter Society in England.

(This entry was last revised on 03-19-2014.)

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Quetelet's Statistical Study of the "Average Man" 1835

In 1835 Belgian astronomer, mathematician, statistician and sociologist Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet published in Paris Sur l'homme et le développement des facultés, ou essai de physique sociale. In this statistical study of the development of human physical and intellectual qualities Quetelet introduced the concept of the "average man." 

"Quetelet's use of the average man was founded upon the belief that if there is no change in any underlying causal relationship-- if there is a `persistence of causes'— then there will be a tendency for the average of large aggregates of even unhomogeneous data to be stable. . . . Quetelet italicized this as a fundamental principle: `The greater the number of individuals observed, the more do individual peculiarities, whether physical or moral, become effaced, and allow the general facts to predominate, by which society exists and is preserved' " (Stigler,  171-172). 

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The First Manuals to Discuss "Machine Printing" as a Reflection of the Spread of New Technology 1835 – 1879

The distinction between printing by "machine" and handpress printing seems to have originated in the language of the first patents on steam-driven mechanized printing granted to Friedrich Koenig in London between 1810 and 1814. High speed presses initially attempted to meet the nearly insatiable demand for higher production output from newspapers, beginning in 1814 with The Times of London, and in 1820 there were only eight steam presses in huge printing industry of London, nearly all being used by newspapers, except for those of Strahan, the King's Printer. But in the 1830s we find the earliest confirmation that high speed presses were also in wide use for other applications in Charles Knight's exposition of the latest advances in papermaking and printing technology used in his Penny Magazine, printed on the steam-driven Applegath & Cowper presses at W. Clowes & Sons.

The transition from the hand press to the "machine" in book production appears generally to have been slow, and it does not appear to be well documented in the technical literature. The earliest discussion of machine printing in a general manual on the printing arts that I have found appeared in the first edition of Frey's Manuel nouveau de typographie, imprimerie, contenant les principes théoriques et pratiques de limprimeur-typographe, issued in 1835 in the series of portable technical manuals from La Librairie Encyclopédique de Roret, published by Nicolas Roret. Frey's book discusses the operation of and illustrates "machine" presses of the French Thonnelier type. There is some irony in this, I think, since machine press technology was initially developed in England.

In the widely used American printing manual by Thomas F. Adams of Philadelphia entitled Typographia . . . (1837) there is no discussion of "machines" but in the second edition, which was very significantly revised, and given a new title as Typographia, or the Printer's Instructor (1844), the last chapter X "Improved Presses" discusses "machine printing" briefly with examples of machines on pp. 270-72, and this section was expanded in several of the following eleven editions. The 1858 edition discusses Hoe's rotary press and particularly recommends the Adams Power Press, invented by Isaac Adams. as "the best power press for book work." By 1864, the date of the last edition of Adams' Typographia,  Adams' book was outdated, and was replaced by Thomas Mackellar's The American Printer, which first appeared in 1866. This I have not seen in the first edition but in the edition of 1871, which is available online, the author makes the statement on p. 212 that "most books, however, are printed on the bed-and-platen power-press invented by Isaac Adams, of Boston,- the only machine-press yet discovered that is capable of producing fine work and exact register. It will give from six to eight thousand impressions per day." MacKellar also provides fine images of some of the latest machine presses. From this we may conclude that by 1870 a high percentage of book printing in America, except for small editions, was being done by machine. However, it should also not be forgotten that many book printers continued to use hand presses, especially of the StanhopeColumbian, and Albion type, throughout the nineteenth century, and that a few handpress printers of limited editions continue to use similar 19th century presses in the second decade of the 21st century.

"Although there has been a tendency to equate the emergence of the cylinder printing machine with the application of steam-power, the two developments were not necessarily interrelated. Power, other than that supplied by a human being, could be and was applied to ther presses besides those constructed on the cylinder principle, and some cylinder machines were worked by hand. Efficient steam-engineers were not universally available for another thirty years after Koenig's invention. . . . As late as 1851, the Printing Machine Managers Trade Society had a membership of only 130, indicating that in London, the main centre of printing, there could not have been many machines at work" (Moran, Printing Presses. History & Development from the Fifteenth Century to Modern Times [1973] 123).

As the machine press industry grew, the first separately published book on machine or mechanized printing appears to be that of C. F. Wittig of Leipzig who in 1861 published Die Schnellpresse, ihre Mechanik und Vorrichtung zum Druck aller typographischen Arbeiten. This work of 105 pages appears to be the first book published in German on the subject. Wittig's work predated the first work on the subject in French by Monet (1872) and the first book in English by Gaskill (1877). Revised editions of Wittig's book appeared in 1866 and 1878. In February 2015 a digital edition of the expanded 140-page second edition of Wittig's book, which he co-authored with C. F. Fischer, printed at their plant, and self-published, was available from Sächsische Landesbibliothek - Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Dresden at this link.

Soon a second book on high speed or machine printing was published in Germany, by Andreas Eisenmann, and entitled Die Schnellpresse, ihre Construction, Zusammenstellung und Behandlung : praktischer Leitfaden für Buchdrucker und Maschinenbauer. This work was also issued in Leipzig, in 1865. In February 2015 a digital edition of this work was available from Sächsische Landesbibliothek - Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Dresden at this link. Bigmore & Wyman, A Bibliography of Printing (1880-86; 2001 edition) III, 91, and I, 194.

The first separate work on machine printing in French was issued in 1872 by Adolphe-Lucien Monet, who characterized himself as "Prote des Machines" at the press of J. Claye in Paris. The same press published Monet's book as Le conducteur de machines typographiques. Guide pratique. Études sur les différents systèmes de machines mise en train - Découpage. Monet continued to develop his text, publishing an extensively revised and expanded treatise on the subject in 1878:  Les machines et appareils typographiques en France et à l'etranger. This 437-page work contained 176 illustrations as compared to only 42 in the first edition. A further revised and expanded edition with 484 pages appeared in 1898. Bigmore & Wyman, II, 48-49.

In 1877 Jackson Gaskill of London, characterizing himself as "Thirty Years Machine Manager," published the first manual published in English exclusively on machine printing: The Printing-Machine Manager's Complete Practical Handbook; or, The Art of Machine Managing Fully Explained. Gaskill's book contained numerous text illustrations showing available machine presses plus an 11-plate color insert showing the 11 press passes required in printing a six-color plate. By the time Gaskill published he was able to divide his book into chapters on machine presses used for special purposes including "BookWork Machines", "Book and Magazine Machines", Book, Magazine, and News Machines", "Magazine and News Machine", "Book and General Commercial Work". He ended his book with extracts from the rules of "The London Society of Machine Managers", established in 1873. The society was large enough to have a controlling council of 25 members and strong enough to pay a full time secretary £130 per annum. Gaskill's book was also notable for its 23-pages of advertisements at the back for a wide variety of presses and related equipment and supplies. Bigmore & Wyman, I, 255, did not consider Gaskill's pioneering treatise very satisfactory.

Two years later, in 1879 printer and writer on printing Frederick J. F. Wilson produced a second attempt at an English language manual on machine printing with Typographic Printing Machines and Machine Printing. A Practical Guide to the Selection of Bookwork, Two-Colour, Jobbing, and Rotary Machines. With remarks upon their Construction, Capabilities, and Peculiarities. Also Instructions in Making Ready, the Preparation of Engravings, Etc. Without acknowledging the existence of Gaskill's book, or the prior works in French and German, Wilson began his preface by stating "At the time this Handbook was originally planned and announced, no modern practical work on Printing-Machines or Machine-Printing existed." Wilson's book represents a significant advance over Gaskill's brief handbook, both from the standpoint of text and illustrations, and it must have experienced a much wider circulation than that of Gaskill, as it underwent four editions by 1884. Nevertheless Bigmore & Wyman III, 88 did not consider it fully satisfactory. Wilson's last word on the topic was a much expanded book issued in 1888, two years after the publication of Bigmore & Wyman's last volume. A collaboration with Douglas Grey, it was entitled A Practical Treatise upon Modern Printing Machinery and Letterpress Printing.

(This entry was last revised on 03-15-2016.)
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The First Complete Printed Edition in Arabic of the Thousand and One Nights 1835

The first complete printed edition of the Thousand and One Nights in the original Arabic, Kitab Alf layla wa-layla, was produced in Bulaq (Boulaq) Egypt, a district of Cairo, by Matba‘at Bulaq in 2 volumes in 1251  AH, or 1835. The opening page was decorated with woodcuts, and the entire text was framed by double rules.  The edition was printed by letterpress. It was preceded by the 1814-1818 Arabic edition issued in Calcutta (Kolkata), India by the British East India Company with an English title page.  That edition contained only the first 200 "Nights."  

The first description of 1835 edition that I ever saw was item No. 50 in A Selection of Books, Autographs and Manuscripts, Jointly offered for sale by Antiquariat Inlibris and Kotte Autographs in 2012.  They indicated that OCLC listed eight copies in institutions and that no copy had appeared at auction within the past 50 years.

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The First Comprehensive Guide to Collecting Autographs 1836

In 1836 Pierre Jules Fontaine published in Paris Manuel de l'amateur d'autographesFontaine's book was the first comprehensive guide to collecting autographes. It provided a history of all the auction sales of autographs that had been conducted in France from their beginning in 1822 up to 1836.

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Coriolis Solves Differential Equations Using a Mechanical Device 1836

In Note sur un moyen de tracer des courbes données par des équations différentielles published in 1836 French mathematician, mechanical engineer and scientist Gaspard-Gustave Coriolis described a mechanical device to integrate differential equations of the first order. This was the beginning of researches on solution of differential equations using mechanical devices.

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Origins of the National Library of Medicine 1836

In 1836 the Eighth Surgeon General of the United States Army Joseph Lovell purchased books and journals, establishing the Library of the Surgeon General's Office, also called the Library of the Surgeon General of the Army on the National Mall in Washington, DC.

In 1840 the library issued its first catalogue as a manuscript notebook. This library eventually evolved into the National Library of Medicine, now located in Bethesda, Maryland.

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Filed under: Libraries , Medicine

Probably the First Book on a Secular Subject Printed in Arabic in Middle East 1836

In 1836 a pocket-sized Arabic grammar was issued from the American Press, in Beirut, Lebanon in an edition of 1000 copies. This was probably the first book on a secular subject printed in Arabic in the Middle East. The work by Nasif al-Yaziji, Kitab fasl al-khitab fi usul lughat al-a'rab (The Conclusive Discouse of the Rules of the Arab's Language)

". . . was printed by the Protestant missionaries of the 'American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions' (ABCFM) who had opened a printing shop in Beirut two years earlier in 1834. The author of the concise treatise on Arabic grammar was Nasif al-Yaziji (1800-1871) a local Greek Catholic scholar from a little village south of Beirut who later became one of the most celebrated Christian Arab authors of the nineteenth century. With his numerous philological works, but moreover with his poetry and rhyming prose he influenced a whole generation of Arab intellectuals and thus became a pioneer and outstanding protagonist of the so called Nahda, the renaissance of Arabic language and literature" (Lehrstuhl für Türkische Sprache, Geschichte und Kultur, Universität Bamberg, The Beginnings of Printing in the Near and Middle East: Jews, Christians and Muslims [2001] no. 5).

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Christian Thomsen Founds the "Three-Age" System in Archaeology 1836

Danish archaeologist, Christian Jurgensen Thomsen, the first curator of the National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen, edited and published in Copenhagen a guidebook to the national museum entitled Ledetraad til Nordisk Oldkyndighed. In this small book Thomsen formulated a method of classifying the museum’s archeological collections according to whether the artifacts were made of stone, bronze or iron. He claimed that these three groupings represented three chronologically successive archeological ages; this was the genesis of the Three-Age system, “the basic chronology that now underpins the archaeology of most of the Old World” (Rowley-Conway, From Genesis to Prehistory. The Archaeological Three Age System and its Contest Reception in Denmark, Britain, and Ireland [2007] 1).

The second chapter of the guide, contributed by Thomsen, described his dating scheme and applied it to the monuments and antiquities of the North. Thomsen defined the three ages as follows:

"The Age of Stone, or that period when weapons and implements were made of stone, wood, bone, or some such material, and during which very little or nothing at all was known of metals....

"The Age of Bronze, in which weapons and cutting implements were made of copper or bronze, and nothing at all, or but very little was known of iron or silver....

"The Age of Iron is the third and last period of the heathen times, in which iron was used for those articles to which that metal is eminently suited, and in the fabrication of which it came to be employed as a substitute for bronze" (Thomsen, Guide to Northern Archaeology [1848], pp. 64–68).

Thomsen was a scholar with a background in the history of numismatics rather than a field archaeologist. He based his study of artifacts on the associations between stylistic change, decoration and context, topics which may have interested him initially through his numismatic researches. Thomsen recognized the importance of examining objects from "closed finds," allowing him to determine the common associations of artifacts for various periods which he divided into his Three-Age system. Thomsen’s assistant. archaeologist Jens J. A. Worsaae, later demonstrated the stratigraphic succession of the stone, bronze and iron ages in Denmark through archeological fieldwork.

An English translation of Ledetraad til Nordisk Oldkyndighed, by the Earl of Ellesmere, was published in 1848. Spencer, Ecce homo (1986) no. 3.488.

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Origins of the Morse Code 1837

In 1837 Samuel F. B. Morse invented a practical form of electromagnetic telegraph using an early version of his “Morse code.” 

Morse originally devised a cipher code similar to that used in existing semaphore telegraphs, by which words were assigned three or four-digit numbers and entered into a codebook. The sending operator converted words to these number groups and the receiving operator converted them back to words using this codebook. Morse spent several months compiling this code dictionary.

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The Penny Post: Perhaps the Greatest Single Stimulus to Written Communication 1837 – 1840

Until the development and widespread adoption of the electric telegraph, letter writing was the only way to communicate with people at a distance, and because of the high cost of telegraph, until the invention of the telephone, and later of email, letter writing remained the primary method. However, prior to 1840 sending a letter could cost as much as a day's wage for the working classes, and those receiving a letter had to pay for its delivery. Prepayment was also social slur on the recipient; one had to be financially solvent to receive a letter. If the recipient could not afford to pay for a letter, it was returned to sender. Thus for the working classes, leaving home often meant losing touch with family and friends.

In 1837 English teacher, inventor and social reformer Rowland Hill circulated his privately printed pamphlet, Post Office Reform: its Importance and Practicability. In this Hill explained why the postal system needed reform, and laid out his principles for reform. It may be validly argued that Hill's invention of the Penny Post was the greatest stimulus to written communication in history, making written communication affordable to all classes of society.

"The penny post inaugurated and administered by Rowland Hill required the adoption of four novel principles: (1) prepayment of postage, (2) payment by weight instead of by the number of sheets, (3) the use of envelope, (4) the use of adhesive stamps on letters. Prior to this reform, for example, the use of an envelope would have been a novelty to most letter-writers and entailed double postage" (Carter & Muir, Printing and the Mind of Man [1967] 306a).

"In the 1830s, charges were notoriously inconsistent since the Post Office determined single, double, or triple rates according to the number of miles a letter traversed to get to its destination and the number of sheets of paper (and enclosures) a writer used. A letter might not necessarily travel the most direct or economical route. In addition, postal workers used “candling” — an inexact method of holding a letter up to the light — to assess the number of letter sheets or enclosures. Any reader of Jane Austen’s Emma (1815) knows that to save costs, cross writing was common — a writer turned his or her letter horizontally and “crossed” (or wrote over) the original text at a right angle rather than use an additional sheet of paper. Folded letters with a wax seal may look quaint, but like cross writing, this was also a pre-1840s cost cutting measure since that same missive, posted in an envelope, would receive double charge." 

"One of the first things Queen Victoria did when she came to the throne in 1837 was to appoint a Select Committee on Postage, chaired by Robert Wallace MP and charged to look into the condition of the post with a view towards postal rate reduction. Victoria, on August 17, 1839, gave royal assent to the Postage Duties Bill and, in 1840, ushered in Uniform Penny Postage and the enormously popular adhesive postage stamp, prepaid by the sender (an unpaid letter cost the recipient 2 pence to encourage prepayment). The Penny Post abolished the much-abused system of franking — postmarks granting Members of Parliament and the Queen free carriage of mail — and transformed the mail from an expensive tax for revenue to a civic service affordable to all social classes" (http://www.victorianweb.org/technology/letters/intro.html, accessed 04-17-2013).

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Sir Thomas Phillipps, the Greatest Private Collector of Manuscripts in the 19th Century, and Maybe Ever 1837 – 1871

From his private press at his estate at Middle Hill, Broadway, Worcestershire, England, Sir Thomas Phillipps issued Catalogus librorum manuscriptorum in bibliotheca d. Thomae Phillips, Bt., listing the most significant collection of manuscripts ever assembled by a collector. According to A.N.L. Munby, this catalogue of Phillipps's manuscript collection, published in fascicules, or parts, over more than thirty years, was issued in only 50 copies, of which only three surviving copies may be considered complete. The fascicules were printed by a variety of printers, only some of whom worked at Phillipps's estate, and Phillipps bound up copies from both corrected and uncorrected sheets, resulting in copies that are exceptional in their bibliographical complexity. The catalogue includes 23,837 entries, which, for various reasons outlined by Munby, describe a considerably larger collection that may have comprised about 60,000 manuscripts. In 1968 Munby issued, in an edition of 500 copies, a facsimile of a complete copy of the Phillips catalogue which belonged at the time to rare book dealer Lew D. Feldman: The Phillipps Manuscripts. Catalogus librorum manuscriptorum . . . with an introduction by A.N.L. Munby. (London: Holland Press).

"Philipps began his collecting while still at Rugby School and continued at Oxford. Such was his devotion that he acquired some 40,000 printed books and 60,000 manuscripts, arguably the largest collection a single individual has created. . . . A.N.L. Munby notes that '[h]e spent perhaps between two hundred thousand and a quarter of a million pounds[,] altogether four or five thousand pounds a year, while accessions came in at the rate of forty or fifty a week.' His success as a collector owed something to the dispersal of the monastic libraries following the French Revolution and the relative cheapness of a large amount of vellum material, in particular English legal documents, many of which owe their survival to Phillipps. He was an assiduous cataloguer who established the Middle Hill Press (named after his country seat at Broadway, Worcestershire) in 1822 not only to record his book holdings but also to publish his findings in English topography and geneology."

"During his lifetime Phillipps attempted to turn over his collection to the British nation and corresponded with the then-Chancellor of the Exchequer Disraeli in order that it should be acquired for the British Library. Negotiations proved unsuccessful and ultimately the dispersal of his collection took over 100 years. Phillipps's will stipulated that his books should remain intact at Thirlestaine House, that no bookseller or stranger should rearrange them and that no Roman Catholic should be permitted to view them. In 1885 the Court of Chancery declared this too restrictive and thus made possible the sale of the library which Phillipps’s grandson Thomas FitzRoy Fenwick supervised for the next fifty years. Significant portions of the European material were sold to the national collections on the continent including the Royal Library, Berlin, the Royal Library of Belgium and the Provincial Archives in Utrecht as well as the sale of outstanding individual items to the J. Pierpont Morgan and Henry E. Huntington libraries. By 1946 what was known as the 'residue' was sold to London booksellers Phillip and Lionel Robinson for £100,000, though this part of the collection was uncatalogued and unexamined. The Robinsons endeavored to sell these books through their own published catalogues and a number of Sothebys sales. The final portion of the collection was sold to New York bookseller H.P. Kraus in 1977 who issued a sale catalogue the same year: the last to bear the title Bibliotheca Phillippica. A five-volume history of the collection and its dispersal, Phillipps Studies, by A.N.L. Munby was published between 1951 and 1960" (Wikipedia article on Sir Thomas Phillipps, accessed 11-25-2008).

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Pitman Shorthand, & The First "Correspondence Course" 1837

In 1837 Isaac Pitman published Stenographic Sound-Hand in London at the press of Samuel Bagster, introducing Pitman shorthand, a shorthand system for the English language.

Pitman's first pamphlet on the system, issued in London by Samuel Bagster, a publisher of bibles and related books on religion, consisted of only 11 pages and two lithographed plates.

In contrast to previous shorthand writing systems, which were mostly orthographic, or based on short-cuts in spelling, Pitman's system was mostly phonetic. 

In the 1840s Pitman offered instruction in his shorthand system by correspondence course. This was the first widely adopted practice of distance education, responsible, to a large extent, for the successful dissemination of Pitman's system.

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Ronalds, Cooke & Wheatstone Develop the First Commercial Electric Telegraph July 25, 1837 – January 1, 1845

The first commercial electrical telegraph, based on technology originally invented by Francis Ronalds, was co-developed by Sir William Fothergill Cooke and Charles Wheatstone, and patented in May 1837 as an alarm system.  The Cooke-Wheatstone telegraph was first successfully demonstrated on July 25, 1837 between Euston and Camden Town in London. It entered commercial use on the Great Western Railway over the 13 miles (21 km) from Paddington station to West Drayton on April 9, 1839. On January 1, 1845 criminal John Tawell was apprehended following the use of a needle telegraph message from Slough to Paddington. "This is thought to be the first use of the telegraph to catch a murderer. The message was:


"The Cooke-Wheatstone system did not support punctuation, lower case, or the letters J, Q, and Z; hence the misspelling of 'just' and 'Quaker'. "Second class compartment" should also probably read "second first-class carriage"; this information was not significant, however, as Tawell was not arrested at the station, but at a nearby coffee shop" (Wikipedia article on Electrical Telegraph, accessed 12-22-2011).

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Mathematical Model of a Continuously Growing Population 1838

Belgian mathematician Pierre François Verhulst published from Brussels "Notice sur la loi que la population suit dans son accrossement" in Correspondance mathématique et physique X, 113–121. In this paper Verhulst constructed the simplest mathematical model of a continuously growing population with an upper limit to its size. "The concept of r/K selection theory derives its name from the competing dynamics of exponential growth and environmental limitation introduced here" (Wikipedia article on Pierre François Verhulst, accessed 01-13-2009).

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Foundation of the Public Record Office 1838

The British Parliament established the Public Record Office (PRO) in 1838 to reform the keeping of government archives and court records. 

"Up till this time the records were being held, sometimes in poor conditions, in a variety of places."Some of these were court or departmental archives (established for several centuries) which were well run and had good or adequate catalogues; others were little more than store-rooms. Many of the professional staff of these individual archives simply continued their existing work in the new institution. A good number of documents were transferred from the Tower of London and the chapter house of Westminster Abbey, though the Domesday Book was not moved from Westminster until the 1850s, when proper storage had been prepared.

"The PRO was placed under the control of the Master of the Rolls, a senior judge whose job had originally included responsibility for keeping the records of the Chancery Court, and was originally located in the mediaeval Rolls Chapel (the former Domus Conversorum), a sort of halfway house for Jews who converted to Christianity, on Chancery Lane at the boundary of the City of London with Westminster. The first Master of the Rolls to take on this responsibility was Lord Langdale, while his Deputy Keeper, the historian Sir Francis Palgrave, had full-time responsibility for running the Office.

"There was no right to consult the records freely for scholarly purposes until 1852, despite the 1838 Public Record Office Act's intention of enabling public access. Fees were paid by lawyers who used the archives to consult a limited number of documents. These charges were abolished for serious historical and literary researchers after a petition was signed in 1851 by 83 people including Dickens, Macaulay, and Carlyle.

"A purpose built archive was designed and built between 1851 and 1858 (architect: Sir James Pennethorne) and extended onto the site of the Rolls Chapel, which was demolished as it was structurally unsound, between 1895 and 1902. Public search rooms were opened in 1866, but greater access led the authorities to restrict certain classes of document, and to favour visitors who were experienced in dealing with historical material.

"The growing size of the archives held by the PRO and by government departments led to the Public Records Act 1958, which established standard procedures for the selection of documents of historical importance to be kept by the PRO. Even so, growing interest in the records produced a need for the Office to expand, and a second building was opened at Kew in south-west London in 1977. The Kew building was expanded in the 1990s and all records were transferred from Chancery Lane to Kew or the Family Records Centre in Islington by 1997. The Chancery Lane building is now known as the Maughan Library, the largest library of King's College London" (Wikipedia article on Public Record Office, accessed 07-11-2009).

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Filed under: Archives, Libraries

Foundation of the Cell Theory 1838

In 1838 German botanist Matthias Jakob Schleiden published "Beiträge zur Phytogenesis" in Müller's Archiv für Anatomie, Physiologie und wissenschaftliche Medicin (1838) 137-76, which was issued from Berlin. Schleiden’s work represented key step in the evolution of the search for the elementary unit common to the animal and plant kingdoms. Acting upon his belief that plants represented aggregates of individual cells, Schleiden published a study of the vegetable cell, beginning with the cell nucleus (discovered by botanist Robert Brown in 1832), and proceeding to a discussion of its role in the formation of cells. Schleiden’s “watch-glass” theory of cell formation was wrong—he believed that they crystallized in a formative liquid containing sugar, gum and mucous—but it focused attention on the problem of cell reproduction and provided a testable hypothesis. More significant was Schleiden’s insistence that plants consisted entirely of cells and cell products. Tradition has it that the cell-theory was conceived in a conversation between Schleiden and Schwann on phytogenesis. In 1839 Theodor Schwann published from Berlin Mikroskopische Untersuchungen, in which he demonstrated that Schleiden’s conclusion also applies to animals, thus establishing the cell as the elementary unit common to both plant and animal kingdoms.

Norman (ed) Morton's Medical Bibliography (1991) no. 112. Carter & Muir, Printing and the Mind of Man (1967) no. 307a.  Hook & Norman, The Haskell F. Norman Library of Science & Medicine (1991) no. 1907. Hughes, History of Cytology, 37ff.

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Charles Knight Invents "Illuminated Printing" & Offers Printed Color Plates at a Low Price for the Mass Market 1838 – 1845

In 1838 English printer and publisher Charles Knight received British patent No. 7673 for "Improvements in the Process and in the Apparatus used in the Production of Coloured Impressions on Paper, Vellum, Parchment, and Pasteboard by Surface Printing." Knight called his color printing process "illuminated printing," and invented it for the economical printing of colored pictures, maps, and drawings.

"At first only four colours were contemplated, and by some ingenious mechanism he contrived that they should all be applied in the course of a single passage of the sheet through the press, which was operated by hand. Knight, like Savage, had a decided preference for a press of the 'Ruthven' type, in which the platen was normally at the back, but was brought over the forme by means of two springs, which 'gave' to the pull, but resumed their ordinary position when the bar was released. Knight fitted the machine, in place of the usual bed, with a polygonal revolving frame, or, as he called it, 'prism' (attached to a rising table), each face of which, carrying a colour block, was applied in sucession to the sheet as the frame revolved. In an alternative method, the frame with the blocks on it revolved ona sort of turn-table, placed on the bed of the press; whilst in a third, the tympan, with the sheet attached, was carried from block to block. It will be remembered that this idea of printing several colours at one operation of the press had been to some extent anticpated by Lalleman, at Paris, two centuries earlier. The specification also describes an apparatus in which the colour blocks were on beds, hinged to the sides of a square table, and turned backward to be inked by hand, and down again for the impression. The process was in regular operation in 1839, as the Quarterly Review for December in that year contains an article, headed "The Printer's Devil," in which is a description of Clowes' printing establishment, and a fairly lengthy reference to Knight's colour-printing method, which the writer of the article in question saw at work, in connection with the production of "Patent Illuminated Maps." He describes the printing apparatus as resembling a square box, each of the four sides of which carried a printing plate, for blue, yellow, red and black respectively, which were applied to the sheet in the ordered named, the last having the letterpress matter for the names of places,etc. The tints being partly blended on the paper, three more were furnished in that way, i.e. the yellow and the red gave orange, the yellow and blue green, and so on, there being thus seven colours in all" (Burch, Colour Printing and Colour Printers [1910] 141-43).

In 1839 Knight issued a couple of examples of his "illuminated printing" in his publication of engraver John Jackson's A Treatise on Wood Engraving Historical and Practical. One of my copies contains at p. 715 as called for in the List of Illustrations, "A Café in Constantinople, and a Design for a Pattern, two of "Mr. Knight's Patent Illuminated Prints." My other copy substitutes Knight's "Patent Illuminated Map" of Ancient Jerusalem, a double-page tip-in, for the Constantinople scene.  Both copies also contain a more finely detailed Baxter print of "Parsonage at Ovingham" at p. 713. This book, which contained 269 illustrations, for the most part wood-engravings by Jackson himself, including a full-page engraved portrait of Jackson's teacher, Thomas Bewick, was co-authored by the writer William Chatto, who wrote the first seven chapters, and signed a preface explaining his authorship. Jackson failed to credit Chatto on the title page—a fault that was corrected in the second edition of 1861. A specially bound copy in my collection, presented by Jackson to the London bookseller Thomas Tegg on July 10, 1839, is labeled on the spine "Treatise on Wood Engraving / Illustrations by Jackson" confirming, however, that Jackson did not take credit for the text.

In 1840 Knight published a series of his "illuminated maps" in Hughes, The Illuminated Atlas of Scripture Geography: A Series of Maps Delineating the Physical and Historical Features in the Geography of Palestine and the Adjacent Countries accompanyied with An Explanatory Notice of Each Map. . . This small 4to contained 20 double-page maps color-printed by Knight's process. Regarding the maps, the work stated on p. 6:

"Lastly, we have to explain in a few words the peculiarities which distinguish the appearance of these Maps from any which have hitherto been published. These are, —1st, That, by a novel method of printing, the various divisions of the countries are covered with distinct colours, so that the boundaries are clearly perceived at the first view; and 2nd, That the mountains, instead of being, as in maps engraved in the usual manner, indicated by black lines, are in white, distinctly and prominently relieved by the coloured ground. In the best engraved maps a serious imperfection has always been felt to result from the names and the hills being alike printed in black, in consequence of which, either names are obscured by the hills, or the hills must be omitted in order to allow of the names being read. This renders them exceedingly difficult of reference; and it may be generally remarked of engraved maps, that in proportion as the physical features of country are fully and correctly delineated, so do the names and boundaries become obscure and unintelligble. In the ordinary process of map-engraving, the evil complained of appears unavoidable; but this is no longer the case when a different medium is used for conveying each part of the requisite information. By the method adopted in this series of Maps, the physical features of the countries—their hills and valleys—their lakes and streams—are clearly delinieated, without in the least interfering with the exhibition of names and places; while their various divisions, distinguished by colours, are presented at once and distinctly to the eye of the student. They will thus, it is believed, be found better calculated than any hitherto published to serve the important purposes of School and Home Education."

While the quality of the color prints in the works issued in 1839 and 1840 was quite good, during 1844 and 1845 Knight issued Old England: A Pictorial Museum in ninety-six fascicules in small folio format containing 24 plates printed by his patented color printing process, and a total of 2,488 numbered wood engravings. The color plates in this work are relatively crude and take on an almost painterly quality in their inexact registration. When the set was complete title pages were issued for two volumes, and Knight offered the set for sale in publisher's cloth bindings, blind-stamped and gilt in 1845. Old England must have been a commerical success, selling a large number of copies, since copies were readily available on the rare book market more than 100 years later in 2012, when I acquired two copies.

(This entry was last revised on 02-11-2015.)

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The Most Famous Image in the Early History of Computing 1839

Portrait of Jacquard woven in silk on a Jacquard loom.

In 1839 weaver Michel-Marie Carquillat, working for the firm of Didier, Petit et Cie, in Lyon, France wove in fine silk a Portrait of Joseph-Marie Jacquard, The image, including caption and Carquillat’s name, taking credit for the weaving, measures 55 x 34 cm.; the full piece of silk including blank margins measures 85 x 66 cm.

This image, of which perhaps only about 20 examples survived, was woven on a Jacquard loom using 24,000 Jacquard cards, each of which had over 1000 hole positions. The process of mis en carte, or converting the image details to punched cards for the Jacquard mechanism, for this exceptionally large and detailed image, would have taken several workers many months, as the woven image convincingly portrays superfine elements such as a translucent curtain over glass window panes.

The Jacquard loom did no computation, and for that reason it was not a digital device in the way we think of digital today. However the method by which Jacquard stored information in punched cards by either punching a hole in s standardized space in a card or not punching a whole in that space is analogous to a zero or one or an on and off switch. It was also an important conceptual step in the history of computing because the Jacquard method of storing information in punched cards, and weaving a pattern by following the series of instructions recorded in a train of punched cards, was used by Charles Babbage in his plans for data and program input, and data output and storage in his general purpose programmable computer, the Analytical EngineOffsite Link. Trains of Jacquard cards were programs in the modern sense of computer programs, though the word "program" did not have that meaning until after the development of electronic computers after World War II.

Once all the “programming” was completed, the process of weaving the image with its 24,000 punched cards would have taken more than eight hours, assuming that the weaver was working at the usual Jacquard loom speed of about forty-eight picks per minute, or about 2800 per hour. More than once this woven image was mistaken for an engraved image. The image was produced only to order, most likely in an exceptionally small number of examples. In 2012 the only publically recorded examples were those in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Science Museum, London, The Art Institute of Chicago, and the Computer History Museum, Mountain View, California. The image was the subject of the book by James Essinger entitled, Jacquard's Web. How a Hand Loom led to the Birth of the Information Age (2004).

To Charles Babbage the incredible sophistication of the information processing involved in the mis en carte — what we call programming— of this exceptionally elaborate and beautiful image confirmed the potential of using punched cards for the input, programming, output and storage of information in his design and conception of the first general-purpose programmable computer—the Analytical Engine. The highly aesthetic result also confirmed to Babbage that machines were capable of amazingly complex and subtle processes—processes which might eventually emulate the subtlety of the human mind.

“In June 1836 Babbage opted for punched cards to control the machine [the Analytical Engine]. The principle was openly borrowed from the Jacquard loom, which used a string of punched cards to automatically control the pattern of a weave. In the loom, rods were linked to wire hooks, each of which could lift one of the longitudinal threads strung between the frame. The rods were gathered in a rectangular bundle, and the cards were pressed one at a time against the rod ends. If a hole coincided with a rod, the rod passed through the card and no action was taken. If no hole was present then the card pressed back the rod to activate a hook which lifted the associated thread, allowing the shuttle which carried the cross-thread to pass underneath. The cards were strung together with wire, ribbon or tape hinges, and fan-folded into large stacks to form long sequences. The looms were often massive and the loom operator sat inside the frame, sequencing through the cards one at a time by means of a foot pedal or hand lever. The arrangement of holes on the cards determined the pattern of the weave.

“As well as patterned textiles for ordinary use, the technique was used to produce elaborate and complex images as exhibition pieces. One well-known piece was a shaded portrait of Jacquard seated at table with a small model of his loom. The portrait was woven in fine silk by a firm in Lyon using a Jacquard punched-card loom. . . . Babbage was much taken with the portrait, which is so fine that it is difficult to tell with the naked eye that it is woven rather than engraved. He hung his own copy of the prized portrait in his drawing room and used it to explain his use of the punched cards in his Engine. The delicate shading, crafted shadows and fine resolution of the Jacquard portrait challenged existing notions that machines were incapable of subtlety. Gradations of shading were surely a matter of artistic taste rather than the province of machinery, and the portrait blurred the clear lines between industrial production and the arts. Just as the completed section of the Difference Engine played its role in reconciling science and religion through Babbage’s theory of miracles, the portrait played its part in inviting acceptance for the products of industry in a culture in which aesthetics was regarded as the rightful domain of manual craft and art” (Swade, The Cogwheel Brain. Charles Babbage and the Quest to Build the First Computer [2000] 107-8).

(This entry was last revised on 02-28-2016.)

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Foundation of the First Parcel Express Agency in the U.S. 1839

"The first parcel express agency in the United States is generally considered to have been started by William Harriden, who in 1839 began regular trips between New York City and Boston, Massachusetts as a courier transporting small parcels, currency and other valuables" (Wikipedia article on Railway Express Agency, accessed 11-07-2013). 

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Daguerreotypes: The First Commonly Used Photographic Process January 7 – August 19, 1839

On January 7, 1839 members of the Académie des Sciences first viewed examples of Daguerréotypes invented by the painter and printmaker, Louis-Jacques Daguerre.

On July 3, 1839 French  mathematician, physicist, astronomer and politician François Jean Dominique Arago made the first brief scientific announcement and explanation of Daguerre's process to the Chambre des députés. This he repeated to the Académie des sciences on August 19. Arago's report was published in the Comptes rendus IX (1839) 250-67.

Later in 1839 Daguerre published in Paris his first account of the process in a pamphlet called Historique et description des procédés du Daguerréotype et du diorama. Daguerre's method of fixing an image on a metal plate became the first commonly used photographic process. It produced a single positive image on a highly polished silver-plated sheet of copper.

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The First Separate Publication on Photography January 31, 1839

Upon learning about the exhibition of Daguerréotypes at the Académie des Sciences on January 7, 1839, English inventor William Henry Fox Talbot hastily read a paper on January 31 to the Royal Society entitled Some Account of the Art of Photogenic Drawing, or the Process by which Natural Objects may be made to Delineate Themselves with the Aid of the Artist's Pencil.

This paper, which Talbot had printed and distributed to friends as a pamphlet in February, 1839, was the first separate publication on photography.  In it Talbot suggested that fixed negatives might be used to produce multiple positive images.

In 1835 Talbot had developed a method of fixing negative images on paper previously made light-sensitive by successive coats of sodium chloride and silver nitrate, thus becoming the first to produce permanent paper negatives. 

Gernsheim, The History of Photography (1969) Ch. 7, Gernsheim, Incunabula of British Photographic Literature (1984) no. 646. Hook & Norman, The Haskell F. Norman Library of Science and Medicine (1991) no. 2049.

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Perhaps the First "Selfie" Photograph Circa October 1839

In February 2014 a daguerreotype self-portrait taken by the American photography pioneer Robert Cornelius of Philadelphia was considered the first American photographic portrait of a human ever produced, and since this was a self-portrait, it was also possibly the first "selfie."

The daguerreotype is preserved in the Library of Congress, which produced this description:

"Daguerre announced his invention of a photographic method to the French Academy of Sciences in August 1839. That October, a young Philadelphian, Robert Cornelius, working out of doors to take advantage of the light, made this head-and-shoulders self-portrait using a box fitted with a lens from an opera glass. In the portrait, Cornelius stands slightly off-center with hair askew, in the yard behind his family's lamp and chandelier store, peering uncertainly into the camera. Early daguerreotypy required a long exposure time, ranging from three to fifteen minutes, making the process nearly impractical for portraiture. (Source: "Photographic Material," by Carol Johnson. In Gathering History: the Marian S. Carson Collection of Americana, 1999, p. 100)" (http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/dag/item/2004664436/, accessed 02-27-2014).

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George Bradshaw Issues the First Railway Timetable October 19 – October 25, 1839

On October 19, 1839 English cartographer, printer and publisher George Bradshaw of Manchester issued from Manchester and London a very small cloth-bound book entitled Bradshaw's Railway Time Tables and Assistant to Railway Travelling, at the cost of sixpence (2½p). This published route maps and train schedules for the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, the first twin-track inter-urban passenger railway in which all the trains were timetabled and ticketed. One week later, on October 25, 1839, Bradshaw issued a similar time table for the London and Birmingham Railway, the first intercity line built into London, at the price of 1s. These were the first railway timetables —very necessary tools for travelers in the new and confusing railroad networks. The original Bradshaw time tables were published before the limited introduction of standardized Railway time in November 1840, and its subsequent development into standard time. As a result Bradshaw provided an explanation of the time then employed by the railroads:

NOTE. LONDON TIME is kept at all the Stations on the Railway, which is 4 minutes earlier than Reading time; 7 1/2 minutes before Cirencester time; 11 minutes before Bath and Bristol time; and 18 minutes before Exeter time."

From this small beginning Bradshaw expanded into publishing a wide variety of time tables and travel guides. After his early death in 1853 his business continued—so much so that "Bradshaw" became synonymous with time table and travel guide. The last Bradshaw guides were published in 1961.

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Luigi Menabrea Publishes the First Computer Programs, Designed for Babbage's Analytical Engine. Ada Lovelace Translates them Into English 1840 – 1843

In 1842 Italian mathematician and politician Luigi Federico Menabrea published "Notions sur la machine analytique de M. Charles Babbage" in Bibliothèque universelle de Genève, nouvelle série 41 (1842) 352–76. This was the first published account of Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine and the first account of its logical design, including the first examples of computer programs ever published. As is well known, Babbage’s conception and design of his Analytical Engine—the first general purpose programmable digital computer—were so far ahead of the imagination of his mathematical and scientific colleagues that few expressed much curiosity regarding it. Babbage first conceived the Analytical Engine in 1834. This general-purpose mechanical machine— never completely constructed—embodied in its design most of the features of the general-purpose programmable digital computer. In its conception and design Babbage incorporated ideas and names from the textile industry, including data and program input, output, and storage on punched cards similar to those used in Jacquard looms, a central processing unit called the "mill," and memory called the "store."The only presentation that Babbage made concerning the design and operation of the Analytical Engine was to a group of Italian scientists.

In 1840 Babbage traveled to Torino (Turin) Italy to make a presentation on the Analytical Engine. Babbage’s talk, complete with charts, drawings, models, and mechanical notations, emphasized the Engine’s signal feature: its ability to guide its own operations—what we call conditional branching. In attendance at Babbage’s lecture was the young Italian mathematician Luigi Federico Menabrea (later prime minister of Italy), who prepared from his notes an account of the principles of the Analytical Engine. Reflecting a lack of urgency regarding radical innovation unimaginable to us today, Menabrea did not get around to publishing his paper until two years after Babbage made his presentation, and when he did so he published it in French in a Swiss journal. Shortly after Menabrea’s paper appeared Babbage was refused government funding for construction of the machine.

"In keeping with the more general nature and immaterial status of the Analytical Engine, Menabrea’s account dealt little with mechanical details. Instead he described the functional organization and mathematical operation of this more flexible and powerful invention. To illustrate its capabilities, he presented several charts or tables of the steps through which the machine would be directed to go in performing calculations and finding numerical solutions to algebraic equations. These steps were the instructions the engine’s operator would punch in coded form on cards to be fed into the machine; hence, the charts constituted the first computer programs [emphasis ours]. Menabrea’s charts were taken from those Babbage brought to Torino to illustrate his talks there"(Stein, Ada: A Life and Legacy, 92).

Menabrea’s 23-page paper was translated into English the following year by Lord Byron’s daughter, Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace, daughter of Lord Byron, who, in collaboration with Babbage, added a series of lengthy notes enlarging on the intended design and operation of Babbage’s machine. Menabrea’s paper and Ada Lovelace’s translation represent the only detailed publications on the Analytical Engine before Babbage’s account in his autobiography (1864). Menabrea himself wrote only two other very brief articles about the Analytical Engine in 1855, primarily concerning his gratification that Countess Lovelace had translated his paper.

Hook & Norman, Origins of Cyberspace (2002) No. 60.

"Without being Worked out by Human Head & Hands. . . ."

While she was working on her translation, on July 10, 1843 Ada Lovelace composed a letter to Babbage concerning her notes to Menabrea's paper on programming Babbage's Analytical Engine. This autograph letter, preserved in the British Library (Add. MS 37192 folios 362v-363), includes the following text:

"I want to put in something about Bernouilli's Numbers, in one of my Notes, as an example of how an implicit function may be worked out by the engine, without  having been worked out by human head & hands first. Give me the necessary data and formulae."

The letter is notable for suggesting that Ada's knowledge of mathematics was limited, and that she may have mainly contributed poetic language to her annotations of the English translation of Menabrea's key paper, while incorporating mathematical examples written by Babbage. Because of Ada's fame as Byron's daughter, and her social position as the Countess of Lovelace, Babbage hoped that Ada's translation and annotation of Menabrea's paper would help promote building the Analytical Engine.

In October 1843, Ada Lovelace's "Sketch of the Analytical Engine Invented by Charles Babbage . . . with Notes by the Translator" was published in Scientific Memoirs, Selected from the Transactions of Foreign Academies of Science and Learned Societies 3 (1843): 666-731 plus 1 folding chart. At Babbage’s suggestion, Lady Lovelace added seven explanatory notes to her translation, which run about three times the length of the original. Her annotated translation has been called “” (Bromley, “Introduction” in Babbage, Henry Prevost, , xv). As Babbage never published a detailed description of the Analytical Engine, Ada’s translation of Menabrea’s paper, with its lengthy explanatory notes, represents the most complete contemporary account in English of this much-misunderstood machine.

At Babbage’s suggestion, Lady Lovelace added seven explanatory notes to her translation, which run about three times the length of the original. Her annotated translation has been called “the most important paper in the history of digital computing before modern times” (Bromley, “Introduction” in Babbage, Henry Prevost, Babbage’s Calculating Engines, xv). As Babbage never published a detailed description of the Analytical Engine, Ada’s translation of Menabrea’s paper, with its lengthy explanatory notes, represents the most complete contemporary account in English of this much-misunderstood machine.

"Babbage supplied Ada with algorithms for the solution of various problems, which she illustrated in her notes in the form of charts detailing the stepwise sequence of events as the machine progressed through a string of instructions input from punched cards" (Swade, The Cogwheel Brain, 165). 

These were the first published examples of  computer “programs,” though neither Ada nor Babbage used this term. She also expanded upon Babbage’s general views of the Analytical Engine as a symbol-manipulating device rather than a mere processor of numbers, suggesting that it might act upon other things besides number, were objects found whose mutual fundamental relations could be expressed by those of the abstract science of operations. . . . Supposing, for instance, that the fundamental relations of pitched sounds in the science of harmony and of musical composition were susceptible of such expression and adaptations, the engine might compose elaborate and scientific pieces of music of any degree of complexity or extent (p. 694) . . . Many persons who are not conversant with mathematical studies, imagine that because the business of the engine is to give its results innumerical notation, the nature of its processes must consequently be arithmetical and numerical, rather than algebraical and analytical. This is an error. The engine can arrange and combine its numerical quantities exactly as if they were letters or any other general symbols; and in fact it might bring out its results in algebraical notation, were provisions made accordingly (p. 713).

Much has been written concerning what mathematical abilities Ada may have possessed. Study of the published correspondence between her and Babbage is not especially flattering either to her personality or mathematical talents: it shows that while Ada was personally enamored of her own mathematical prowess, she was in reality no more than a talented novice who at times required Babbage’s coaching. Their genuine friendship aside, Babbage’s motives for encouraging Ada’s involvement in his work are not hard to discern. As Lord Byron’s only legitimate daughter, Ada was an extraordinary celebrity, and as the wife of a prominent aristocrat she was in a position to act as patron to Babbage and his engines, though she never did so.

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Probably the World's Oldest Picture Postcard 1840

What has been characterized as "the world's oldest picture postcard" was sent in 1840 to a writer named Theodore Hook who lived at Fulham in London. The image on the hand-colored card with a Penny Black stamp caricatures the postal service by showing post office "scribes" sitting around an enormous inkwell.  It is thought that Hook, a playwright and novelist noted at the time for his "wit and drollery," probably sent the postcard to himself as a practical joke.

The significance of Hook's card was not realized until 2001, when postal historian Edward B. Proud discovered it in a stamp collection. Until then it had been thought the postcard was invented in Austria, Germany or the United States in the 1860s. 

In March 2002 Hook's postcard sold for £31,750 including buyer's premium, at an auction at the London Stamp Exchange.

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Young & Delcambre's "Pianotype" : The First Composing Machine That Was Actually Used, and the First Books Printed from its Typesetting 1840 – 1842

In 1840 James Hadden Young and Adrien Delcambre, both of whom were residents of Lille, France, received British patent no. 8428 for "An Improved Mode of Setting up Printing Types." Young and Delcambre's machine, as produced by Henry Bessemer, was the first typesetting machine known to have been used in a printing office. However, their machine was not a great improvement conceptually over William Church's invention of 1822, which was patented but probably never constructed. The design of the Young & Delcambre machine led to its being called the "Pianotype." The machine set a single continuous line of type; line breaking and justification were later done by hand.

"Type was held in long, narrow boxes from which it was releaed by a keyboard so that it slid down an inclined channel to a point where it was assembled into a line. The problem of making the type arrive in the right order, although solved by Church, had to be solved over again by Bessemer. He curved the channels to make them of equal length. . . " (Printing and the Mind of Man. Catalogue of the Exhibitions at the British Museum and at Earls Court, London 16-27 July 1963 [1963] No. 463.)

The first book typeset on the Young & Delcambre machine was English physician Edward Binns' The Anatomy of Sleep; or, the Art of Procuring Sound and Refreshing Slumber at Will published in London by John Churchill. This semi-popular work, printed in an edition of 500 copies in 1842, and with an unusual hand-colored and gilt engraved title page, was one of the first scientific studies of sleep. The verso of the title page indicated that the book was "Printed by J. Z. Young By the New Patent Composing Machine, 110 Chancery Lane."  

In his preface Binns aluded to the innovative methods employed in typesetting his book:

"It would be unjust to the ingenious inventors of the Machine by which this work has been composed, not say, that we believe it must and will, at no very distant period, supersede in many departments of typography composition in the usual mode. But the use of compositors can never be entirely dispensed with, even supposing the machine to be ten times more perfect that it is. The opposition with which its inventors have had to contend, is what might have been anticipated, but was certainly unexpected by the author. But that in time it will come generally into use, he thinks there cannot be a shadow of doubt. He consequently looks upon the publication of the "Anatomy of Sleep" as an epoch in the history of typography, from which it is possible to conceive a new era in the history of literature may be dated" (pp. ix-x).

Binns's book was extensively reviewed in English periodicals beginning in October and November of 1842. The manner in which it was produced did not escape the notice of reviewers as in a very long review in The Monthly Review 3, No. 3 (November 1842) the review began on p. 275:

"The first thing we shall notice about this beautifully-got-up volume is that it has been been typographically composed by machinery,— by means of an apparatus somewhat after the construction of a piano-forte, which touched, it may be by female fingers, drops the letters into their proper places; dispensing with the usual number, and certain of the usual operations, of regular compositors. This, however, is not the only wonder, nor the greatest mystery connected with the book; for it deals in wonders and treats on subjects that have hitherto baffled the investigations of man, and which there are grounds for believing will for ever transcend the physiological discoveries of mortals. What is sleep? In what condition is the mind of every person during a considerable portion of every four-and-twenty hours of his ordinary existence?. . . ." 

Soon after publication of Binns's book, George Biggs applied the Young & Delcambre technology in the publication of the Family Herald or Useful Information and Amusement for the Million, the first issue of which appeared in London on on December 17, 1842. Owned and edited by James Elishama Smith, an image of the Young & Delcambre machine appeared in the title-piece of the journal. However, the use of the Young and Delcambre machine was opposed by the London Union of Compositors, particularly because women were employed to operate the machine, and the journal ceased publication in this form after 22 issues. According to Colin Clair, A Chronology of Printing (1969) 146, the Young & Delcambre machine was also used in 1841 for typesetting another weekly, the London Phalanx.
Machine typesetting did not become a mainstream method of typesetting until the 1880s, after the invention of the Linotype.

(This entry was last revised on 03-11-2016.)

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Exceptionally Wide Commemoration of the Quatercentenary of Gutenberg 1840

About 2010 I acquired a thin folio publication entitled Histoire de l'invention de l'imprimerie par les monuments.(Paris: de l'Imprimerie Rue de Verneuil, No. 4, Juin 1840.) The work is characterized on its half-title as Album typographique éxécuté a l'occasion du jubilé Européen de l'invention de l'imprimerie.  This volume of about 50 pages is unusual in many respects. As an exhibition piece, the work for which may have been contributed without charge by the craftsmen involved, the names of individuals responsible— the printer, engraver, and occasionally even typefounder, typesetter, and inkmaker—are identified in small type on many leaves.  On the title page a decorative engraving depicts the iron press, seemingly of a Stanhope design modified by one of the Didots, used for printing this work, under which the artist and engraver are credited. This is followed by an elaborate leaf of dedication that would appear to be an engraving in calligraphic style, but which, the leaf states, is printed from movable type. This is followed by an elaborate chromolithographic profile portrait of Gutenberg. The work shows many illustrations of the methods of cutting punches, typefounding, and setting type.  It includes remarkable facsimiles on hand-made paper of a leaf of Donatus printed by Gutenberg and preserved in the Bibliothèque royale plus a full-size double page opening of the Gutenberg Bible also in the same library, both of which were printed from type cast in facsimile of Gutenberg's original fonts. Finally, at the end of the booklet are proofs of some of the blocks used after they had been cancelled.

According to Bigmore & Wyman I, 329, who attribute authorship to E. Duverger, this work was printed in an edition of only 150 copies.  A second edition was published in 4to, of which 850 copies were printed. Because the work was scarce and little-known the bibliographers provided an unusually complete summary of its contents.

In Old Books, New Technologies (2013) David McKitterick had this to say about Duverger's thin book:

"Until about 1840, the practice in preparing type facsimiles was to use type drawn from existing stock. While this restricted the choice of prints, it avoided the need for investment in re-cutting punches, making new matrices and casting new type. There was a sufficiency of old cases of type available. But at about that date a new mood set in. It was to be seen at its most acute in a book celebrating the anniversary of Gutenberg. In 1840 Eugène Duverger's Histoire de l'invention de l'imprimerie par les monuments was printed in Paris, and published in Strasbourg by Treuttel & Wurtz. The celebratory tone of what was little more than an album was testablished by the limited number of copies printed, including 150 with polychrome colouring. Historical significance was incidental, though the bibliophile Charles Nodier for one was full of admiration for the way in which Duverger led his readers through the processes of printing. Mainly a collection of reproductions from early books, it has gained some notoriety thanks to a series of fictitious letters claiming to have been written by Gutenberg and full of detail about printing. More significantly, it included facsimile resettings of an early edition of Donatus, one of the earliest of all printed books, and of the 36-line Bible. These resettings were not in existing type approximating the original, but in newly cut copies by Charles Desriez, cast by Charles Mesnager. By using two qualities of paper, a softer and darker one for the Donatus, the printers were able to show off Desriez's considerable achievement, though they could not hide the fact that his types - both that for the 36-line Bible and the smaller quantity cast in imtation of B-42- were of different sets, or widths, from the originals" (p. 11).

In April 2013, while reading the Catalogue of the William Blades Library on the history of printing (1899) I noticed that Blades owned other commemorations of the quatercentenary issued in Vienna, Stuttgart, Hannover, Leipzig, Strassbourg, Zurich, Halle, Bremen, Dresden, as well as Paris.  This set me to wondering how extensive the commemoration might have been. The best answer that I found was in Colin Clair's A Chronology of Printing (1969) where in his entry for 1840 Clair stated, "To celebrate 400 years of printing, no fewer than 143 memorial volumes were published."

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Production of the First Protein Crystals 1840

Crystals of plant and animal products do not typically occur naturally. In 1840 F. L. Hünefeld published his accidental observation of the first protein crystals— those of hemoglobin—in a sample of dried menstrual blood pressed between glass plates.

Hünefeld, Der Chemismus in der thierischen Organisation, Leipzig: Brockhaus, 1840, 158-63.

Lesk, Protein Structure, 36. Tanford & Reynolds, Nature’s Robots, 22. Judson, Eighth Day of Creation, 489.

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The Penny Black May 1, 1840

As part of the postal reforms initiated by Rowland Hill, the world's first adhesive postage stamp was distributed in London. With an elegant engraving of the young Queen Victoria, the Penny Black was an immediate success. The first stamps were not perforated. 

Although May 6 was the official date that the stamps became available, there are covers postmarked May 2, due to postmasters selling the stamps from May 1. A single example is known on an envelope with a postmark dated  May 1, 1840. 

"The Penny Black was in use for only a little over a year. It was found that a red cancellation was hard to see on a black background and the red ink was easy to remove, making it possible to re-use stamps after they had been cancelled. In 1841, the Treasury switched to the Penny Red and issued cancellation devices with black ink, much more effective as a cancellation and harder to remove. However, the re-use of stamps with the un-cancelled portions of two stamps to form an unused whole impression continued, and in 1864 the stars in the top corners were replaced by the check letters as they appeared in the lower corners, but in reverse order" (Wikipedia article on Penny Black, accessed 01-31-2012).


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Cantata by Mendelssohn to Honor Gutenberg June 1840

During ceremonies dedicating a new statue of Johannes Gutenberg, in the city of Leipzig's quadicentennial celebration of the invention of printing, Felix Mendelssohn's Festgesang -- a cantata for male chorus, brass, and tympani -- was first performed in the town square by a chorus of 200 men, 16 trumpets, and 20 trombones.

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Charles MacKay Issues an Exposition of Financial Bubbles 1841

In 1841 Scottish poet, journalist, and song writer Charles Mackay issued Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds. The three volume work published in London on what later came to be called "investor psychology" contained, among many other things, notable descriptions of financial bubbles. It also contained early discussions of topics which were much later studied by sentiment analysis.

"Among the alleged bubbles or financial manias described by Mackay is the Dutch tulip mania of the early seventeenth century. According to Mackay, during this bubble, speculators from all walks of life bought and sold tulip bulbs and even futures contracts on them. Allegedly, some tulip bulb varieties briefly became the most expensive objects in the world, 1637.

"Other bubbles described by Mackay are the South Sea Company bubble of 1711–1720, and the Mississippi Company bubble of 1719–1720. . . .

"Financier Bernard Baruch credited the lessons he learned from Extraordinary Popular Delusions with his decision to sell all his stock ahead of the crash of 1929" (Wikipedia article on Extraordinary Popular Delusions, accessed 12-09-08).

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Panizzi's 91 Rules for Standardizing the Cataloguing of Books 1841

In 1841 Antonio Panizzi, Keeper of the Department of Printed Books at the British Museum (now the British Library), issued 91 Rules for Compilation of the Catalogue. These rules represented the first rigorous and thorough attempt to standardize cataloguing of printed books. They appeared in the Catalogue of Printed Books in the British Museum, Volume 1, pp. v-ix, published in 1841. Remarkably only this single volume, covering the letter A, was published under Panizzi's direction. Though Panizzi supervised compilation of the full catalogue of the British Museum library in manuscript, the full catalogue did not begin to appear in print until 1881, two years after Panizzi's death. 

Along with publication of his 91 Rules, Panizzi had his new discipline of cataloguing applied in the first volume, which consisted of 457 two-column pages in small folio. Various of Panizzi's rules reflect social attitudes of the day. For example:

"V. Works of Jewish Rabbis, as well as works of Oriental writers in general, to be entered under their first name."

Concerning the rules and the catalogue Panizzi wrote in his preface to the first volume:

"The rules on which this Catalogue is based were sanctioned by the Trustees on the 13th of July, 1839; and, with the exception of such modifications as have been found necessary in order to accelerate the progress of the work, they have been strictly adhered to. Some additional rules, the want of which was not foreseen at the commencement, are printed in italics.

"The application of the rules was left by the Trustees to the discretion of the Editor, subject to the condition that a Catalogue of the printed books in the library up to the close of the year 1838 be completed within the year 1844. With a view to the fulfillment of this undertaking it was deemed indispensable that the Catalogue should should be put to press as soon as any portion of the manuscript could be prepared; consequently the early volumes must present omissions and inaccuracies, which it is hoped, will diminish in number as the work proceeds.

"In giving to the world the first volume of a Catalogue, which promises to be of an unprecedented extent, the Editor thinks that it would be premature to name each gentleman in his department to whose zeal and talents he is indebted for much that will add to its usefulness. He looks forward to a continuation of the same assistance; and he, therefore, reserves till after the conlusion of the work the particular expression of his obligations.

"British Museum, July 15th, 1841

"A. Panizzi"

From his comments above we may assume that Panizzi may have originally intended to issue a complete printed catalogue within the time frame set by the Trustees. However, he must have felt that the first volume of the catalogue was "rushed" into print in order to meet the Trustees' deadline of a complete catalogue being issued by the end of 1844. That no further volumes of the printed catalogue appeared in print until 40 years later, beginning two years after his death, was in no small part due to Panizzi's own objections to the huge cost of printing versus what he perceived as relatively small utility, and rapid obsolescence of printed catalogues, requiring frequent supplements. Having only a manuscript catalogue meant, of course, that the catalogue could only be consulted by users of the reading room. It also meant uneven legibility depending upon the quality of handwriting of whoever entered the data. It also meant that making a duplicate copy of a large printed catalogue would be very costly and might incorporate scribal errors. Having a printed catalogue would, of course be more legible, and having more than one copy available would allow more than one user to search the same portions at a time. Having the printed catalogue available at other research libraries would allow users in other cities and countries to know the holdings of the British Museum. Clearly this would stimulate scholarship. But to Panizzi and other librarians accustomed to working with manuscript catalogues these aspects did not seem convincing at the time. In his Memoirs of Libraries, Vol. II (1859) librarian and historian of libraries Edward Edwards devoted a chapter (pp. 850-868) of his section on library economy to the question of whether to print or not to print library catalogues because this was a topic currently in active discussion. Edwards clearly believed that the act of preparing a manuscript catalogue for the press would improve cataloguing, and that printed catalogues were superior to manuscript.  But the wheels of progress seem to have turned slowly in the catalogue department of the British Museum and in other national libraries, including the Bibliothèque nationale de France where the printed author catalogue did not begin to appear until 1897

The dramatic improvements in cataloguing resulting from Panizzi's new rules are evident if we compare the new catalogue entries with those in the prior British Museum catalogue compiled in Latin under the editorship of Henry Baber and Henry Ellis: Librorum impressorum qui in Museo britannico adservantur catalogue (7 vols. in 8, London, 1813-19). In August 2014 a digital facsimile of the first volume A-B was available from the Hathi Trust Digital Library at this link. Among the limitations of the Baber & Ellis cataloguing format, based on 16 rules loosely drawn up by Ellis, were sporadic cross-referencing and the cataloguing of anonymous works under a single title word arbitarily chosen by the individual cataloguer. For a discussion of the eventual advantages to scholarly research resulting from Panizzi's rules see my entry for the printed catalogue (1881-1900).

In spite of the eventual advantages to scholarship that would be gained by more sophisticated and standardized cataloguing, critics such as Nicolas Harris, decried the excess time and effort involved in these reforms. In 1846 Harris, who became one of Panizzi's most vocal critics, published Animadversions on the Library and Catalogues of the British Museum: A Reply to Mr. Panizzi's Statement; and a Correspondence with that Officer and the Trustees.

(This entry was last revised on 08-25-2014.)

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The First American Book with Chromolithographed Illustrations 1841

In 1841 American Thomsonian physician Morris Mattson published The American Vegetable Practice, or a New and Improved Guide to Health, Designed for the Use of Families. The book, in 2 volumes, the first concerning men, and the second, shorter volume concerning women's health, was issued in Boston by Daniel L. Hale. The first volume included 2 black and white plates and 24 chromolithographed botanical plates produced by the Boston lithographer William Sharp and his partner Francis Michelin, both of whom had previously worked for lithographer and chromolithographer Charles Hullmandel in London. In his preface Mattson wrote (p. xi):

"The colored illustrations in the material medica, will, I presume, meet with the entire approbation of the public. They have been procured at great expense; and were executed by a new process, invented by Mr. Sharp, recently of London, being the first of the kind ever issued in the United States. The different tints were produced by a series of printed impressions, the brush not having been used in giving effect or uniformity to the coloring. Connoisseurs in the arts have spoken of them in terms of admiration, and Mr. Sharp will no doubt succeed in bringing his discoveries to a still greater degree of perfection."

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The Invention of Anastatic Printing Enables Inexpensive Facsimiles and Pirated Editions October 1841 – October 25, 1845

The graphic reproduction process which came to be called anastatic printing first began to be known in October 1841 when the proprietors of the London journal, the Athenaeum received from a correspondent in Berlin a reprint of 4 pages of their issue of September 25, containing some woodcut illustrations. This was so perfect a facsimile that they immediately inquired as to how it had been done, and they learned that it had been made by a secret new process. In their issue No. 736 of December 4, 1841 the Athenaeum published a notice on p. 932 entitled "Printing and Piracy-New Discovery" concerning the dangers to the publishing industry that such a high quality facsimile method could pose, particularly with regard to expensive illustrated works, production of facsimiles of which had previously been assumed to be difficult and expensive. The new process, it was learned, had been invented by a C. F. Baldamus of Germany, and promoted by the German engineer and entrepreneur Carl Wilhelm Siemens, later known in England as William Siemens. Siemens went into partnership with the English engineer Joseph Woods, who developed the process and received British Patent No. 10,219 in 1844 for "Improvements in Producing Designs and Copies, and in Multiplying Impressions either of Printed or Written Surfaces." In the patent, which included 3 large folding engineering plans of machinery used, Woods proposed to call the process "anastatic printing." The process was rapidly adopted and used under other names such as "photozincography." 

On April 12, 1845 American writer, poet, editor, literary critic, and magazinist Edgar Allan Poe published in the Broadway Journal I, 229-231 an article entitled "Anastatic Printing."  With this new process of facsimile reproduction Poe foresaw huge advantages over the stereotype process, as anastatic printing plates could be produced quickly and cheaply, obviating the need to store bulky stereotype plates or flong.  He foresaw an increase in the production of pirated editions since anyone with anastatic equipment could reproduce any book they wanted.  Poe also believed that anastatic technology would enable authors to write out and publish their own books as facsimiles of manuscripts, including drawings, avoiding the costly and time-consuming typesetting process. 

Here is what Poe wrote:

"It is admitted by every one that of late there has been a rather singular invention, called Anastatic Printing, and that this invention may possibly lead, in the course of time, to some rather remarkable results — among which the one chiefly insisted upon, is the abolition of the ordinary stereotyping process: — but this seems to be the amount, in America at least, of distinct understanding on this subject.

" 'There is no exquisite beauty,' says Bacon, 'without some strangeness in the proportions.' The philosopher had reference, here, to beauty in its common acceptation; but the remark is equally applicable to all the forms of beauty — that is to say, to everything which arouses profound interest in the heart or intellect of man. In every such thing, strangeness — in other words novelty — will be found a principal element; and so universal is this law that it has no exception even in the case of this principal element itself. Nothing, unless it be novel — not even novelty itself — will be the source of very intense excitement among men. Thus the ennyue who travels in the hope of dissipating his ennui by the perpetual succession of novelties, will invariably be disappointed in the end. He receives the impression of novelty so continuously that it is at length no novelty to receive it. And the man, in general, of the nineteenth century — more especially of our own particular epoch of it — is very much in the predicament of the traveller in question. We are so habituated to new inventions, that we no longer get from newness the vivid interest which should appertain to the new — and no example could be adduced more distinctly showing that the mere importance of a novelty will not suffice to gain for it universal attention, than we find in the invention of Anastatic Printing. It excites not one fiftieth part of the comment which was excited by the comparatively frivolous invention of Sennefelder [sic]; — but he lived in the good old days when a novelty was novel. Nevertheless, while Lithography opened the way for a very agreeable pastime, it is the province of Anastatic Printing to revolutionize the world.

"By means of this discovery anything written, drawn, or printed, can be made to stereotype itself, with absolute accuracy, in five minutes.

"Let us take, for example, a page of this Journal; supposing only one side of the leaf to have printing on it. We dampen the leaf with a certain acid diluted, and then place it between two leaves of blotting-paper to absorb superfluous moisture. We then place the printed side in contact with a zinc plate that lies on the table. The acid in the interspaces between the letters, immediately corrodes the zinc, but the acid on the letters themselves, has no such effect, having been neutralized by the ink. Removing the leaf at the end of five minutes, we find a reversed copy, in slight relief, of the printing on the page; — in other words, we have a stereotype-plate, from which we can print a vast number of absolute facsimiles of the original printed page — which latter has not been at all injured in the process — that is to say, we can still produce from it (or from any impression of the stereotype plate) new stereotype plates ad libitum. Any engraving, or any pen-and-ink drawing, or any MS. can be stereotyped in precisely the same manner.

The facts of the invention are established. The process is in successful operation both in London and Paris. We have seen several specimens of printing done from the plates described, and have now lying before us a leaf (from the London Art-Union) covered with drawing, MS., letter-press, and impressions from wood-cuts, -the whole printed from the Anastatic stereotypes, and warranted by the Art-Union to be absolute fac-similes of the originals. The process can scarcely be regarded as a new invention, — and appears to be rather the modification and successful application of two or three previously ascertained principles -those of etching, electrography, lithography, etc. It follows from this that there will be much difficulty in establishing or maintaining a right of patent, and the probability is that the benefits of the process will soon be thrown open to the world. As to the secret — it can only be a secret in name. 

"That the discovery (if we may so call it) has been made can excite no surprise in any thinking person — the only matter for surprise is, that it has not been made many years ago. The obviousness of the process, however, in no degree lessens its importance. Indeed its inevitable results enkindle the imagination, and embarrass the understanding. Every one will perceive, at once, that the ordinary process of stereotyping will be abolished. Through this ordinary process, a publisher, to be sure, is enabled to keep on hand the means of producing edition after edition of any work the certainty of whose sale will justify the cost of stereotyping — which is trifling in comparison with that of re-setting the matter. But still, positively, this cost (of stereotyping) is great. Moreover, there cannot always be certainty about sales. Publishers frequently are forced to reset works which they have neglected to stereotype, thinking them unworthy the expense ; and many excellent works are not published at all, because small editions do not pay, and the anticipated sales will not warrant the cost of stereotype. Some of these difficulties will be at once remedied by the Anastatic Printing, and all will be remedied in a brief time. A publisher has only to print as many copies as are immediately demanded. He need print no more than a dozen, indeed, unless he feels perfectly confident of success. Preserving one copy, he can from this, at no other cost than that of the zinc, produce with any desirable rapidity, as many impressions as he may think proper. Some idea of the advantages thus accruing may be gleaned from the fact that in several of the London publishing warehouses there is deposited in stereotype plates alone, property to the amount of a million sterling.

"The next view of the case, in point of obviousness, is, that, if necessary, a hundred thousand impressions per hour, or even infinitely more, can be taken of any newspaper, or similar publication. As many presses can be put in operation as the occasion may require : — indeed there can be no limit to the number of copies producible, provided we have no limit to the number of presses. The tendency of all this to cheapen information, to diffuse knowledge and amusement, and to bring before the public the very class of works which are most valuable, but least in circulation on account of unsaleability — is what need scarcely be suggested to any one. But benefits such as these are merely the immediate and most obvious — by no means the most important.

"For some years, perhaps, the strong spirit of conventionality — of conservatism — will induce authors in general to have recourse, as usual, to the setting of type. A printed book, now, is more sightly, and more legible, than any MS. and for some years the idea will not be overthrown that this state of things is one of necessity. But by degrees it will be remembered that, while MS. was a necessity, men wrote after such fashion that no books printed in modern times have surpassed their MSS. either in accuracy or in beauty. This consideration will lead to the cultivation of a neat and distinct style of handwriting — for authors will perceive the immense advantage of giving their own manuscripts directly to the public without the expensive interference of the type-setter, and the often ruinous intervention of the publisher. All that a man of letters need do, will be to pay some attention to legibility of MS., arrange his pages to suit himself, and stereotype them instantaneously, as arranged. He may intersperse them with his own drawings, or with anything to please his own fancy, in the certainty of being fairly brought before his readers, with all the freshness of his original conception about him.

"And at this point we are arrested by a consideration of infinite moment, although of a seemingly shadowy character. The cultivation of accuracy in MS., thus enforced, will tend with an inevitable impetus to every species of improvement in style — more especially in the points of concision and distinctness- and this again, in a degree even more noticeable, to precision of thought, and luminous arrangement of matter. There is a very peculiar and easily intelligible reciprocal influence between the thing written and the manner of writing — but the latter has the predominant influence of the two. The more remote effect on philosophy at large, which will inevitably result from improvement of style and thought in the points of concision, distinctness, and accuracy, need only be suggested to be conceived.

"As a consequence of attention being directed to neatness and beauty of MS., the antique profession of the scribe will be revived, affording abundant employment to women — their delicacy of organization fitting them peculiarly for such tasks. The female amanuensis, indeed, will occupy very nearly the position of the present male type-setter, whose industry will be diverted perforce into other channels.

"These considerations are of vital importance — but there is yet one beyond them all. The value of every book is a compound of its literary value and its physical or mechanical value as the product of physical labor applied to the physical material. But at present the latter value immensely predominates, even in the works of the most esteemed authors. It will be seen, however, that the new condition of things will at once give the ascendency to the literary value, and thus by their literary values will books come to be estimated among men. The wealthy gentleman of elegant leisure will lose the vantage-ground now afforded him, and will be forced to tilt on terms of equality with the poor devil author. At present the literary world is a species of anomalous Congress, in which the majority of the members are constrained to listen in silence while all the eloquence proceeds from a privileged few. In the new regime, the humblest will speak as often and as freely as the most exalted, and will be sure of receiving just that amount of attention which the intrinsic merit of their speeches may deserve.

"From what we have said it will be evident that the discovery of Anastatic Printing will not only not obviate the necessity of copy-right laws, and of international law in especial, but will render this necessity more imperative and more apparent. It has been shown that in depressing the value of the physique of a, book, the invention will proportionately elevate the value of its morale, and since it is the latter value alone which the copy-right laws are needed to protect, the necessity of the protection will be only the more urgent and more obvious than ever."

The American patent No. 4, 239  for"Improvement in Anastatic Printing" was granted to C. F. Baldamus and F. W. Siemens of Berlin, Prussia on October 25, 1845. 

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The Basis for Blueprints 1842

In 1842 English mathematician, astronomer, chemist, and experimental photographer/inventor Sir John Herschel, invented the cyanotype, a photographic process that resulted in a cyan-blue print.

"The photosensitive compound, a solution of ferric ammonium citrate and potassium ferricyanide, is coated onto paper. Areas of the compound exposed to strong light are converted to insoluble blue ferric ferrocyanide, or Prussian blue. The soluble chemicals are washed off with water leaving a light-stable print."

The process was used through the 20th century by architects and engineers for the production of blueprints.

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Christian Doppler States the Doppler Principle (Doppler Shift, Doppler Effect) 1842

In 1842 Austrian mathematician and physicist at Czech Technical University in Prague Christian Andreas Doppler published Über das farbige Licht der Doppelsterne und einige andere Gestirne des Himmels. (On the Colored Light of the Binary Stars and Some Other Stars of the Heavens). 

This was the first statement of the Doppler principle (Doppler shift, Doppler effect), which states that the observed frequency changes if either the observer or the source is moving. Doppler mentions the application of this principle to both acoustics and optics, particularly to the colored appearance of double stars and the fluctuations of variable stars and novae; however, his reasoning in the optical arguments was flawed by his erroneous belief that all stars were basically white and emitted light only or mostly in the visible spectrum. Five years later, the astronomer Hippolyte Fizeau will publish a paper announcing his independent discovery of the effect, noting the usefulness of observing spectral line shifts in its application to astronomy. This point was of such fundamental importance to Doppler's principle that it is sometimes called the Doppler-Fizeau principle. The acoustical Doppler effect was verified experimentally in 1845, and the optical effect in 1901. Modified by relativity theory, it became one of the major tools of astronomy. It also has numerous commerical applications beyond astronomy, such as in Doppler radar and in Doppler ultrasound imaging to evaluate blood flow.

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Steenstrup's Theory of Alternation of Generations or Metagenesis 1842

A portrait of Japetus Steenstrup 

In 1842 Danish zoologist and biologist in København Johannes Japetus Smith Steenstrup published Om Fortplantning og Udvikling gjennem vexlende Generations-raekker. In this work Steenstrup expounded the the theory of the alternation of generations, or alternation of phases or metagenesis. He showed that certain animals produce offspring which never resemble them but which, on the other hand, bring forth progeny which return in form and nature to their grandparents or more distant ancestors. 

J. Norman (ed) Morton's Medical Bibliography (1991) no. 217.

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"The Illustrated London News", the First Fully Illustrated Weekly Newspaper, Begins Publication May 14, 1842

On Saturday, May 14, 1842 politician and journalist Herbert Ingram and Mark Lemon, editor of Punch, published the first issue of The Illustrated London News. "Costing sixpence, the magazine had 16 pages and 32 woodcuts. It included pictures of the war in Afghanistan, a train crash in France, a steamboat explosion in Canada and a fancy dress ball at Buckingham Palace."

This was probably the first attempt to publish an illustrated news publication. The Illustrated London News continued as a weekly until 1971. According to Gale Digital Collections, publisher of the online archive of The Illustrated London News, circulation was 60,000 in 1842 and, 300,000 at its peak in the 1860s. 

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"Family Herald", The First Periodical Typeset, Printed and Bound Entirely by Machine, Begins Publication December 17, 1842

On December 17, 1842 the first weekly issue of Family Herald or Useful Information and Amusement for the Million appeared in London. Owned and edited by James Elishama Smith, and published by George Biggs, the journal was typeset using the Young & Delcambre typesetting machine, an image of which was used in the title-piece of the journal. The original format was only four folio-sized pages. Because women operated the typesetting equipment its use was opposed by the London Union of Compositors, and the journal ceased publication in this form after only 22 weekly issues. 

Biggs relaunched the Family Herald on May 13, 1843 in a 16-page double-column quarto format priced at only 1d, presumably using conventional manual typesetting methods. In this form it became a major success with circulation reaching 300,000 in 1855, falling to 200,000 in 1860.

Blake (ed), Dictionary of Nineteenth Century Journalism in Great Britain and Ireland (2009) 213-214.

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The Contributions of the Scheutz Brothers to the Early History of Difference Engines and the Calculating and Printing of Mathematical Tables 1843 – 1857

In 1843 Swedish authors and inventors Georg and Evard Scheutz, inspired by Dionysius Lardner’s account of Babbage’s Difference Engine, working in Stockholm, constructed the first working difference engine based on Babbage's design. One of the reasons the Scheutzs were able to build the engine, while Babbage could not, was that they were willing to machine the parts to lower tolerances than Babbage demanded, with the result that the Scheutz machine was prone to errors.

In 1849 Georg Scheutz published in Stockholm Nytt och enkelt sätt att lösa nummereqvationer af hogre och lägre grader efter Agardhska teorien: För praktiska behov [A new and simple method of solving numerical equations of higher and lower degree with the help of Agardh’s theory: For practical purposes]. and Bihang till skriften: Nytt och enkelt sätt att lösa nummereqvationer af hogre och lägre grader efter Agardhska teorien. Innehällande seriemetodens tillämpning vid bestämmandet af imaginära, lika, och nära hvarandra belägna rötter i en eqvation. Af C[arl] A[dolph] Agardh [1785-1859] . . . Utgifvet af Georg Scheutz [Appendix to the treatise: A new and simple method of solving numerical equations, using Agardh’s theory, containing the serial method used in determining imaginary, exact, and approximate roots of an equation. By C. A. Agardh, . . . edited by G. S.].

The Scheutz machine, of which three examples were built, was based upon Charles Babbage’s design for his famous Difference Engine No. 1, which Babbage worked on intermittently between 1822 and 1834 before abandoning the project uncompleted (only a small working portion, about one-ninth the size of the projected Difference Engine, was ever constructed; the uncompleted machine ended up costing the British Government over £17,000).

Georg Scheutz—described by Lindgren as an “auditor, printer, journalist and editor, political commentator, spokesman for technology, translator and inventor”—first learned of Babbage’s Difference Engine circa 1830. Although his imagination was immediately fired by the possibilities of such a machine, he was unable to begin designing his own version until 1834, when Dionysius Lardner published his detailed review of Babbage’s Difference Engine in the July issue of the Edinburgh Review. Drawing on the information in Lardner’s article, Scheutz and his teenage son Edvard began working on their own design for a difference engine, which was both simpler and cheaper to produce than Babbage’s machine.

The Scheutz difference engine no. 1, a prototype model built by Edvard, was completed in 1843 and certified by members of the Swedish Academy of Sciences. Despite this mark of favor, the Scheutzes were initially unable to stir up any interest or official support for their machine, either at home or abroad. They did no further work on the Scheutz machine until 1850, when, in response to renewed interest in machines for printing tables, they began working on the Scheutz difference engine no. 2.

However, the Scheutz machine no. 1 did not lie entirely fallow during the seven years between 1843 and 1850, for in 1849, Georg Scheutz used it to produce and print a table of a polynomial of the third degree, which he published in Nytt och enkelt sätt att lösa nummereqvationer af hogre och lägre grader efter Agardhska teorien. This little one-column table, found on p. 74 of Scheutz’s pamphlet, is the earliest known automatically produced numerical table.

"In [Scheutz’s Nytt och enkelt sätt att lösa nummereqvationer af hogre och lägre grader efter Agardhska teorien] he gave an exposition of the method of solving equations by the method of differences, which the professor of botany, mathematician and latterly bishop Carl Adolph Agardh had presented in 1809. In an addendum he remarks that while the method is excellent, it is time consuming when used on equations of high degree. He then adds that this disadvantage could be removed if one 'could assign the laborious and time consuming figure work to some assistant, that never tired, never made an error and dealt with the numerical calculations for the higher degrees as swiftly and certainly as those for the first degree.” Georg Scheutz notes that such an assistant does in fact exist and he gives an example of a stereotyped table calculated and printed by the first engine. . . . The table shows that Scheutz still was fascinated by the machine’s capability to solve equations. But more importantly, this table is the only existing illustration [emphasis ours] of what the Scheutz prototype engine could do. It is also the oldest automatically made numerical table in the world, which has been preserved " (Lindgren, Glory and Failure: The Difference Engines of Johann Müller, Charles Babbage and Georg and Edvard Scheutz [1987] 138-39).

Lindgren was the first to note the existence of this numerical table generated by the Scheutz difference engine no. 1. Prior to this, the first examples of tables produced by a Scheutz engine were thought to have been contained in the Scheutz’s Specimens of Tables, Calculated, Stereomoulded and Printed by Machinery (London, 1857), which the Scheutzes produced, probably with Charles Babbage's cooperation, in both English and French editions as a means of showcasing the improved Scheutz difference engine no. 2, which was produced by the brothers in 1853.

The standard histories of computing, including Aspray’s Computing before Computers (1990), contain no reference to the table printed by the Scheutz difference engine no. 1. 

Merzbach, Georg Scheutz and the First Printing Calculator (1977). 


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One of the Earliest Photographs of Books 1843 – 1844

William Henry Fox Talbot, one of the inventors of photography, photographed books in his library during 1843-1844. This was undoubtedly one of the earliest photographs of books. Fox Talbot later published this photograph in The Pencil of Nature

"An exceptional student first at Harrow and later at Cambridge, Talbot was a man of great learning and broad interests. Mathematics, astronomy, physics, botany, chemistry, Egyptology, philology, and the classics were all within the scope of his investigative appetite. The Philosophical Magazine, Miscellanies of Science, Botanische Schriften, Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians, Philological Essays, Poetae Minores Graeci, and Lanzi's Storia pittorica dell'Italia are among the volumes represented in this photograph—truly an intellectual self-portrait. The image appeared as plate 8 in The Pencil of Nature. Paradoxically, A Scene in a Library was taken out of doors, where the light was stronger" (http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/2005.100.172, accessed 10-25-2011).

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Neptune: The First Planet Discovered by Mathematical Rather than Observational Means: Discovered Simultaneously by Le Verrier and Adams 1843 – 1846

The French astronomer Urbain Jean Joseph Le Verrier and the British astronomer John Couch Adams independently predicted the existence and position of the planet Neptune using only mathematics—a pivotal event in the history of astronomy. Neptune, whose existence was visually confirmed in 1846, was the first planet to be discovered by mathematical rather than observational means. The discovery of Neptune not only represents the greatest triumph for Newton’s gravitational theory since the return of Halley’s Comet in 1758, but it also marks the point at which mathematics and theory, rather than observation, began to take the lead in astronomical research. Discovered independently by two astronomers in working in England and in France, this discovery was not published in one or even two publications, but in a small group, thus making it somewhat more complicated than is usual in the study and collecting of documents in the history of science.

The discovery of Neptune resulted from the need to develop a theory explaining the motion of the solar system’s seventh planet, Uranus, the movements of which could not be completely accounted for by the gravitational effects of Jupiter and Saturn. Several astronomers since the planet’s discovery in 1781 had suggested that the perturbations in Uranus’s orbit could be caused by an as yet unknown trans-Uranian planet. However, the complex mathematics required for proving this hypothesis was so daunting that no one had attempted the task.

This situation changed in the 1840s when John Couch Adams, a young British mathematician recently graduated from Cambridge, and Urbain J. J. Le Verrier, a professor of astronomy at the École Polytechnique in Paris, each independently started working on a mathematical theory of Uranus’s movements that would take into account the existence of an eighth planet in our solar system. Adams began tackling the problem in 1843 and by 1845 had completed his solution, which later proved to predict the unknown planet’s position within two degrees. He communicated his results to James Challis, the director of the Cambridge Observatory, and to Astronomer Royal George Biddell Airy at Greenwich, but neither man recognized the significance of Adams’ achievement, and Adams’ work remained for the time disregarded and unpublished.

Meanwhile, Le Verrier had begun his own work on the Uranus problem in the summer of 1845, encouraged by François Arago, who by then had become France’s leading astronomer. On November 19, 1845 Le Verrier published his first brief paper on the subject in the Comptes rendus de l’Académie des sciences, following it with three more equally brief papers published on June 1, August 31 and October 5, 1846. These short papers, totaling only 34 pages, were preliminary to the full and detailed account Le Verrier gave of his results in the 254-page Recherches sur les mouvements de la planète Herschel; on p. 5 of that work Le Verrier referred to the Comptes rendus papers as “publications partielles.” Recherches sur les mouvements de la planète Herschel was issued both as part of France’s official astronomical annual, Connaissance des temps (equivalent to Britain’s Nautical Almanac), and as a separate offprint. The offprint can be distinguished by the presence of the publisher’s imprint and the phrase “Extrait de la Connaissance des Temps pour 1849” on p. 254.

Le Verrier sent his results to several European astronomers, including Johann Gottfried Galle at the Berlin Observatory, who received Le Verrier’s communication on September 23, 1846. Two days later, after scanning the night skies with the Observatory’s 9-inch telescope, Galle wrote to Le Verrier with exciting news:

"The planet whose position you indicated really exists. The same day I received your letter I found a star of the eighth magnitude that was not recorded on the excellent Carta Hora XXI (drawn by Dr. Bremiker) . . . The observation of the following day confirmed that it was the planet sought" (quoted in Dictionary of Scientific Biography).

In June 1846 word of Le Verrier’s trans-Uranian researches reached Astronomer Royal Airy, who had let Adams’ work on the same subject languish neglected over the previous several months. Attempting to claim priority of discovery for England, Airy ordered Professor Challis to begin searching for the new planet (which Challis observed, but failed to recognize as such, prior to Galle’s sighting), and informed Le Verrier of Adams’ results in a letter written on October 14. The resulting priority dispute, inflamed by the French press, aroused bitter feelings on both sides, but Adams remained gracious throughout. In his An Explanation of the Observed Irregularities in the Motion of Uranus, on the Hypothesis of Disturbances Caused by a More Distant Planet; with a Determination of the Mass, Orbit, and Position of the Disturbing Body read before the Royal Astronomical Society on November 13, 1846 and issued as a separate pamphlet that year, Adams gave the chronology of his own findings but explained that:

"I mention these dates merely to shew that my results were arrived at independently and previously to the publication of M. Le Verrier, and not with the intention of interfering with his just claims to the honors of the discovery, for there is no doubt that his researches were first published to the work, and led to the actual discovery of the planet by Dr. Galle, so that the facts stated above cannot detract, in the slightest degree, from the credit due to M. Le Verrier" (p. 5).

The two astronomers later became good friends.

Dibner, Heralds of Science, 16 (Adams). Lequeux, Leverrier: Magnificent and Detestable Astronomer (2013) 12; ch. 2. Littmann, Planets Beyond: Discovering the Outer Solar System (2004) ch. 4. Hook & Norman, The Haskell F. Norman Library of Science & Medicine (1991) nos 7 (Adams), 1343 (Le Verrier). 

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Possibly the First Book Written During Hand Typesetting Rather than on Paper 1843 – 1865

In March 2014 English antiquarian bookseller Simon Beattie drew the attention of the Ex-Libris newsgroup to a book he planned to exhibit at the New York Antiquarian Book Fair beginning on April 3, 2014. This book, which he characterized as "The first unwritten book," was published anonymously by writer and printer C. L. Lordan, "From the Press of J. Lordan, Romsey," England, in 1843. Beattie raised the question to the readers of Ex-Libris whether they knew of any earlier book composed by its author on the "composing stick," the tool used to compose lines of type when typesetting was done by hand, rather than on paper.

Lordan's book was entitled Colloquies, Desultory and Diverse, but Chiefly upon Poetry and Poets: Between an Elder, Enthusiastic, and an Apostle of the Law. It was an octavo (206 x 129 mm) in half-sheets, [4], iv, [2], 200pp. plus a colophon leaf. Beattie stated that the method of writing the book was mentioned in a printed inscription on the leaf preceding the title-page. This leaf reads, "From Circumstances Herinafter Adverted to, The Sixty Copies of this Orignal Edition are Dispensed on Customary 'Considerations.' "

According to Beattie,

"The explanation is provided in full in a long dedication to John Wilson (a.k.a. ‘Christopher North’), the Scottish critic who edited Blackwood’s Magazine: ‘Of the little volume before you, one individual has been the composer, and compositor and imprinter throughout … The pen has been a stranger to the prose part of its composition, and the scribe’s office subverted: — with the exception of acknowledged quotations, I have been unaided by a line of manuscript or other copy. There is a rhythmical extravaganza in the sixth chapter, which I very reluctantly
signalize in this place, because the skeleton of twenty lines of it, or thereabouts, was pen-traced; the composing-stick has otherwise been my sole mechanical 'help to composition'." 

"Included are ‘colloquies’ about Wordsworth and Shakespeare, and ‘twenty minutes talk about Milton’. The text was published in a trade edition the following year, where it was described as ‘the first unwritten book’. The identity of J. Lordan has not been specifically determined; the typography looks fairly normal throughout, save for the first leaf and the colophon, which are printed in a rather primitive type-face. C. L. Lordan’s name appears in the imprint of a number of later books of Romsey interest, but as a publisher rather than a printer.

"OCLC locates 5 copies (BL, Cambridge, Folger, Library of Congress, South Carolina."

Users of this database may have noticed that I sometimes collect copies of items that I write about, especially in the field of book history. That only 60 copies of this very unusual volume were issued, and from the very unusual printing location— the town of Romsey, appealed to me, and I was pleased to successfully order the book. When I wrote this database entry on March 27, 2014 I planned to pick it up at the New York Book Fair in April. 

Whether Lordan's book was actually the first book composed by its printer on the composing stick was unclear from responses that came from readers of Ex-Libris. My first thought was that I had heard, but never confirmed, that the French 18th century printer novelist / pornographer Nicolas-Edme Rétif may have done some of his writing directly on the composing stick. Whether he actually issued a complete book in this manner was unknown to me; perhaps I will have time to research the question some day.

Other books written on the composing stick mentioned by readers of Ex-Libris were:

1. Beattie mentioned that possibly certain works by the paper historian and printer Dard Hunter were written during the hand-typesetting process.

2. Rowan Gibbs wrote that "Benjamin Farjeon is said to have done this with the first edition of his first novel, Shadows on the Snow, published in Dunedin [New Zealand] at the end of 1865. He was working as a compositor on the Otago Daily Times."

3. Others indicated that various, presumably short works, had been written directly into type in various book arts projects in the past few decades. 

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Michael Faraday on Decay in Leather Bookbindings April 7, 1843

In a paper on Light and Ventilation delivered at the Royal Institution where he worked on April 7, 1843 chemist and physicist Michael Faraday attributed decay in leather bookbindings and chairs to the heat and sulphur fumes emanating from the illuminating gas then used. Faraday began his career as a bookbinder.

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The First Commercial Christmas Card May 1, 1843

On May 1, 1843 English Academic painter and illustrator John Callcott Horsley designed the first commercially produced Christmas card, commissioned by English civil servant and inventor Henry Cole.  The card, which read "A Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year to You," was controversial because it included a picture of a family with a small child drinking wine together. This possibly contributed to its commercial success with two printings totalling 2050 cards sold in 1843 for one shilling each. On November 24, 2001 a copy of this card sold for £22,500 at auction at Henry Aldridge and Son in Devizes, Wiltshire, England.

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The First Published Computer Programs, Translated and Augmented by Lord Byron's Daughter October 1843

In October 1843, Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace, daughter of Lord Byron, translated Menabrea’s paper, "Notions sur la machine analytique de M. Charles Babbage" (1842).  Her "Sketch of the Analytical Engine Invented by Charles Babbage . . . with Notes by the Translator" published in Scientific Memoirs, Selected from the Transactions of Foreign Academies of Science and Learned Societies 3 (1843): 666-731 plus 1 folding chart, was the first edition in English of the the first published account of Babbage’s Analytical Engine, and, more significantly, of its logical design.

In 1840 Babbage traveled to Torino to present to a group of Italian scientists an account of the Engine. Babbage’s talk, complete with drawings, models and mechanical notations, emphasized the Engine’s signal feature: its ability to guide its own operations. It also included the first computer programs though Babbage did not use that word. In attendance at Babbage’s lecture was the young Italian mathematician Luigi Federico Menabrea (later Prime Minister of Italy), who prepared from his notes an account of the principles of the Analytical Engine, which he published in French in 1842.

In keeping with the more general nature and immaterial status of the Analytical Engine, Menabrea’s account dealt little with mechanical details. Instead he described the functional organization and mathematical operation of this more flexible and powerful invention. To illustrate its capabilities, he presented several charts or tables of the steps through which the machine would be directed to go in performing calculations and finding numerical solutions to algebraic equations. These steps were the instructions the engine’s operator would punch in coded form on cards to be fed into the machine; hence, the charts constituted the first computer programs. Menabrea’s charts were taken from those Babbage brought to Torino to illustrate his talks there (Stein, Ada: A Life and Legacy, 92).

Menabrea’s paper was translated into English by Babbage’s close friend Ada, Countess of Lovelace, daughter of the poet Byron and a talented mathematician in her own right. At Babbage’s suggestion, Lady Lovelace added seven explanatory notes to her translation, which run about three times the length of the original. Her annotated translation has been called “the most important paper in the history of digital computing before modern times” (Bromley, “Introduction” in Babbage, Henry Prevost, Babbage’s Calculating Engines, xv). As Babbage never published a detailed description of the Analytical Engine, Ada’s translation of Menabrea’s paper, with its lengthy explanatory notes, represents the most complete contemporary account in English of this much-misunderstood machine.

Babbage supplied Ada with algorithms for the solution of various problems, which she illustrated in her notes in the form of charts detailing the stepwise sequence of events as the machine progressed through a string of instructions input from punched cards (Swade, The Cogwheel Brain, 165). This was the first published example of a computer “program,” though neither Ada nor Babbage used this term. She also expanded upon Babbage’s general views of the Analytical Engine as a symbol-manipulating device rather than a mere processor of numbers, suggesting that it might act upon other things besides number, were objects found whose mutual fundamental relations could be expressed by those of the abstract science of operations. . . . Supposing, for instance, that the fundamental relations of pitched sounds in the science of harmony and of musical composition were susceptible of such expression and adaptations, the engine might compose elaborate and scientific pieces of music of any degree of complexity or extent (p. 694) . . . Many persons who are not conversant with mathematical studies, imagine that because the business of the engine is to give its results in numerical notation, the nature of its processes must consequently be arithmetical and numerical, rather than algebraical and analytical. This is an error. The engine can arrange and combine its numerical quantities exactly as if they were letters or any other general symbols; and in fact it might bring out its results in algebraical notation, were provisions made accordingly (p. 713).

Much has been written concerning what mathematical abilities Ada may have possessed. Study of the published correspondence between her and Babbage (see Toole 1992) is not especially flattering either to her personality or mathematical talents: it shows that while Ada was personally enamored of her own mathematical prowess, she was in reality no more than a talented novice who at times required Babbage’s coaching. Their genuine friendship aside, Babbage’s motives for encouraging Ada’s involvement in his work are not hard to discern. As Lord Byron’s only legitimate daughter, Ada was an extraordinary celebrity, and as the wife of a prominent aristocrat she was in a position to act as patron to Babbage and his engines (though she never in fact did so).

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The First Book Illustrated with Photographs October 1843 – 1853

In October 1843 Anna Atkins, an English amateur botanist and the first woman phtographer, published the first installment of Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions. Atkins published this work privately with a handwritten text from her home in Sevenoaks, Kent, England. She issued a very small number of copies from cyanotypes contact printed by placing specimens directly onto coated paper, allowing the action of light to create a sillhouette effect. Photographs of British Algae was the first book illustrated with photographs, and the first serious application of photography to a scientific subject. The paper Atklns used for the first volume contains a watermark reading "Whatman Turkey Mill 1843." Atkins extended the work into three volumes, with the last part appearing in 1853. 

In May 2011 only seventeen copies of Atkins's book were recorded, in various states of completeness. Only the copy in the Royal Society seems to be complete as Atkins intended, with 389 plates.  Robert Hunt's copy, with 382 plates was sold at Christie's, London for £229,250 ($406,460) in May 2004.

♦ In December 2013 further background information and digital facsimiles were available from the NYPL Digital Gallery.

Goldschmidt & Naef, The Truthful Lens (1980) No. 5.

(This entry was last revised on 01-14-2014.)

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"The News of the World", a Newspaper for the Newly Literate Working Classes, Begins Publication October 1, 1843

On October 1, 1843 John Browne Bell began publication in London of The News of the World. 

"Priced at just three pence (equal to £1.04 today), even before the repeal of the Stamp Act (1855) or paper duty (1861), it was the cheapest newspaper of its time and was aimed directly at the newly literate working classes. It quickly established itself as a purveyor of titillation, shock and criminal news. Much of the source material came from coverage of vice prosecutions, including transcripts of police descriptions of alleged brothels, streetwalkers, and 'immoral' women" (Wikipedia article on News of the World, accessed 07-07-2011).

(This entry was last revised on March 28, 2014.)

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The First Full-Length Exposition in English of an Evolutionary Theory of Biology is Published Anonymously 1844

In 1844 the anonymous author of Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation provided the first full-length exposition in English of an evolutionary theory of biology; it was the most sensational book on its subject to appear prior to Darwin’s On the Origin of Species. By stating the case for evolution in a manner comprehensible to the general public, if not acceptable to the scientific community, the book absorbed the worst of the general public opposition to the concept, thus helping to prepare the way for the Origin. Vestiges was one of the greatest scientific best-sellers of the Victorian age, going through at least twelve large editions in England, numerous American editions, and several foreign-language translations. Remarkably, the identity of its author, the Scottish publisher, writer, and geologist Robert Chambers, was kept secret throughout his lifetime, and only divulged after Chambers's death in 1871. Secrecy of authorship undoubtedly contributed to the sensationalism surrounding the work.

Vestiges also played a significant role in transmitting some of Charles Babbage’s pioneering ideas on programming and coding mathematical operations. Babbage, in his Ninth Bridgewater Treatise (1837), had likened the Creator to a kind of master computer programmer (although this term did not exist in Babbage’s time), and the operations of the universe to a gigantic program whose myriad changes over time had been set up from the very beginning. Babbage’s ideas were alien to most of the Victorian public, since virtually no one in Babbage’s time was accustomed to thinking in terms of a programmed series of mathematical operations. However, Babbage’s ideas about natural laws resembling “programs” received a much wider audience through the Vestiges. The thirteenth chapter of Vestiges, entitled “Hypothesis of the development of the vegetable and animal kingdoms,” is devoted to the question of how the earth’s most complex organisms could have evolved from its simplest, given the observed fact that “like begets like.” On pages 206-211 of the 1844 edition, Chambers showed that evolutionary change occurring over long periods of time could be seen as similar to the workings of Babbage’s Difference Engine, programmed from the beginning of its operation to produce in sequence several different series of numbers according to a succession of mathematical rules. This is one of the very earliest references to computing within the context of biology.

"During the whole time which we call the historical era, the limits of species have been, to ordinary observation, rigidly adhered to. But the historical era is, as we know, only a small portion of the entire age of our globe. We do not know what may have happened during the ages which preceded its commencement, as we do not know what may happen in ages yet in the distant future. All, therefore, that we can properly infer from the apparently inevitable production of like by like is, that such is the ordinary procedure of nature in the time immediately passing before our eyes. Mr. Babbage’s illustration powerfully suggests that this ordinary procedure may be subordinate to a higher law which only permits it for a time, and in proper seasons interrupts and changes it" (Chambers 1844, 211).

Hook & Norman, Origins of Cyberspace (2002) no. 55.

J. Norman (ed) Morton's Medical Bibliography 5th ed (1991) no. 218.

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Foundation of Microphotography; Landmark in Hematology, Oncology, and Pathology 1844 – 1845

In 1844 and 1845 French physician Alfred François Donné published Cours de microscopie compémentaire des études médicales in Paris. The folio atlas of plates, which appeared one year after the text, included twenty plates showing engraved images of 86 microdaguerreotypes taken by medical student, later physicist Léon Foucault. Because daguerreotypes were unique images they could not be duplicated by a photographic process like prints from photographic negatives, and had to be engraved for reproduction by printing.

Donné, a French public health physician, began teaching his pioneering course on medical microscopy in 1837, a time when the medical establishment remained largely unconvinced of the microscope’s usefulness as a diagnostic and investigative tool. In July 1839 Louis Daguerre, one of the inventors of photography, announced to the Académie des Sciences his “daguerreotype” process for creating finely detailed photographic images on specially prepared glass plates. Donné immediately embraced this new art, and within a few months had created not only the first documented photographic portrait in Europe, but also the earliest method of preparing etched plates from daguerreotypes. Donné resolved to incorporate photography into his microscopy course, and in February 1840 he presented to the Académie his first photographic pictures of natural objects as seen through the microscope. “It was Alfred Donné who foresaw the helpful role that projections of microscopic pictures could play during lectures on micrography” (Dreyfus, p. 38).

Over the next few years Donné continued to refine his photomicrography methods with the help of his assistant, Léon Foucault (who would go on to have a distinguished career as a physicist).  Donne's and Foucault's work was the first biomedical textbook to be illustrated with images made from photomicrographs. Among its noteworthy images are the first microphotographs of human blood cells and platelets, and the first photographic illustration of Trichomonas vaginalis, the protozoon responsible for vaginal infections, which Donné had discovered in 1836. The text volume of the Cours contains the first description of the microscopic appearance of leukemia, which Donné had observed in blood taken from both an autopsy and a living patient. His observations mark the first time that leukemia was linked with abnormal blood pathology:

"There are conditions in which white cells seem to be in excess in the blood. I found this fact so many times, it is so evident in certain patients, that I cannot conceive the slightest doubt in this regard. One can find in some patients such a great number of these cells that even the least experienced observer is greatly impressed. I had an opportunity of seeing these in a patient under Dr. Rayer at the Hôpital de la Charité. . . . The blood of this patient showed such a number of white cells that I thought his blood was mixed with pus, but in the end, I was able to observe a clear-cut difference between these cells, and the white cells . . . "(p. 135; translation from Thorburn, pp. 379-80).

The following year this abnormal blood condition was recognized as a new disease by both John Hughes Bennett (a former student of Donné’s) and Rudolf Virchow.

Norman, Morton's Medical Bibliography (1991) nos.  267.1, 3060.1. Dreyfus, Some Milestones in the History of Hematology, pp. 38-40, 54-56, 76-78. Frizot, A New History of Photography, p. 275. Gernsheim & Gernsheim, The History of Photography 1685-1914, pp. 116, 539. Hannavy, Encyclopedia of Nineteenth-Century Photography, Vol. 1, p. 1120. Wintrobe, Hematology: The Blossoming of a Science, p. 12. Bernard, Histoire illustrée de l’hématologie, passim. Thorburn, “Alfred François Donné, 1801-1878, discoverer of Trichomonas vaginalis and of leukaemia,” British Journal of Venereal Disease 50 (1974) 377-380.

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Morse Transmits the First Message by Morse Code May 24, 1844

On May 24, 1844 Samuel F. B. Morse transmitted the first message on a United States experimental telegraph line (Washington to Baltimore) using the “Morse code” that became standard in the United States and Canada. The message, taken from the Bible, Numbers 23:23, and recorded on a paper tape, had been suggested to Morse by Annie Ellworth, the young daughter of a friend. It was “What hath God wrought?” The recipient of Morse's message was Morse's associate in developing the telegraph, machinist and inventor Alfred Vail

Vail, who had worked with Morse since September 1837, expanded Morse's original experimental numeric code based on a optical telegraph codes, to include letters and special characters, so it could be used more generally. Vail determined the frequency of use of letters in the English language by counting the movable type he found in the type-cases of a local newspaper in Morristown. The shorter marks were called "dots", and the longer ones "dashes", and the letters most commonly used were assigned the shorter sequences of dots and dashes. Vail was thus responsible for inventing the most useful and efficient features of the Morse Code.

The Morse Code became the first widely used data code.

Probably the first publication of the Morse Code was in Vail's Description of the American ElectroMagnetic Telegraph: Now in Operation between the Cities of Washington and Baltimore (Washington: Printed by J. & G. S. Gideon,1845). Vail issued two versions of this in 1845: a 24-page pamphlet, with the title just mentioned, which was probably the first, and a much-expanded 208-page book "with the Reports of Congress, and a Description of All the Telegraphs Known, Employing Electricity or Galvanism." The rear wrapper of the 24-page pamphlet states that it was sold for 12.5 cents, and that the larger work which was "just published" by Lea & Blanchard, Philadelphia, was available for 75 cents.

Hook & Norman, Origins of Cyberspace  (2002) no. 208.

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The First Photographically Illustrated Book Commercially Published. June 1844 – April 1846

From June 1844 to April 1846 British inventor William Henry Fox Talbot published The Pencil of Nature in six fascicules in London through the firm of Longman, Brown, Green & Longmans. This work was illustrated with 24 calotypes or talbotypes, a photographic process invented by Fox Talbot in 1841, in which salted paper prints were made from paper negatives. It was the "first photographically illustrated book to be commercially published," or "the first commercially published book illustrated with photographs."  

Because the work was a complete novelty to the book-buying public Fox Tablot published a brief "Notice to the Reader" explaining the nature of the images:

"The plates of the present work are impressed by the agency of Light alone without any aid whatever from the artist's pencil. They are the sun-pictures themselves, and not, as some persons have imagined, engravings in imitation."

Fox Talbot originally intended to publish additional fascicules but discontinued publication after six because the work was a commercial failure. "The numbers of issues produced were not great in comparison to printed works for obvious reasons of technical difficulty, but were still considerable for such a pioneering endeavour. There is slight variance in the numbers quoted in different sources but it is certain over a thousand booklets of the six parts were manufactured. It is beyond dispute that 285 copies of the first pamphlet were created and, with encouraging sales figures 150 copies were produced of the second part. It seems probable that 150 copies of each of the final parts were manufactured. Fox Talbot himself sold the parts for 7/6d, 12/- and 21/-. Additionally, some of the completed series were bound together and a subscription list raised headed by Queen Victoria, while Fox Talbot also gifted a few to his family and close friends. A very few of these bound volumes still exist today" (http://special.lib.gla.ac.uk/exhibns/month/Feb2007.html, accessed 01-14-2015). Approximately 40 copies of original edition of The Pencil of Nature have survived.

Two facsimiles were published in print in the 20th century, one in the 21st. The text and images are also available online. 

(This entry was last revised on 01-14-2015.)

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Friedrich Keller Rediscovers Paper Making from Wood Pulp & Industrializes the Process October 26, 1844 – August 1845

Though Matthias Koops in England produced paper from wood pulp as early as 1801, credit for the discovery of the industrial process for making wood pulp paper is generally given to the German machinist and inventor Friedrich Gottlob Keller, and to the Canadian poet and inventor Charles Fenerty, both of whom appear to have independently announced the discovery of similar processes in 1844. However, neiter Fenerty nor Keller exploited the process; that was accomplished by the German industrialists, Heinrich Voelter, and Johann Matthäus Voith.

Fenerty began experimenting with wood pulp around 1838. On October 26, 1844 he took a sample of his paper to the leading newspaper in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the Acadian Recorder. According to the Wikipedia he wrote the following letter on this piece of wood pulp paper: 

Messrs. English & Blackadar,

Enclosed is a small piece of PAPER, the result of an experiment I have made, in order to ascertain if that useful article might not be manufactured from WOOD. The result has proved that opinion to be correct, for- by the sample which I have sent you, Gentlemen- you will perceive the feasibility of it. The enclosed, which is as firm in its texture as white, and to all appearance as durable as the common wrapping paper made from hemp, cotton, or the ordinary materials of manufacture is ACTUALLY COMPOSED OF SPRUCE WOOD, reduced to a pulp, and subjected to the same treatment as paper is in course of being made, only with this exception, VIZ: my insufficient means of giving it the required pressure. I entertain an opinion that our common forest trees, either hard or soft wood, but more especially the fir, spruce, or poplar, on account of the fibrous quality of their wood, might easily be reduced by a chafing machine, and manufactured into paper of the finest kind. This opinion, Sirs, I think the experiment will justify, and leaving it to be prosecuted further by the scientific, or the curious.

I remain, Gentlemen, your obdt. servant,


The Acadian Recorder Halifax, N.S. Saturday, October 26, 1844

Fenerty seems never to have exploited his process. Keller, on the other hand, sold his process to a paper specialist Heinrich Voelter, and in August, 1845 both Keller and Voelter received a German patent, which reverted entirely to Voelter, and Keller became unemployed.  In 1848 industrialist Johann Matthäus Voith began working with Voelter to develop means of mass producing paper by wood pulp processing, and by 1852 Voelter was selling numerous wood-grinding machines for the papermaking process, and producing wood pulp paper at his mill in Heidenheim. Voith continued to improve the process, and in 1859 he created the first Raffineur, a machine that refined the raw wood pulp and significantly improved the quality of paper products.  Voelter and Voith's business continues today as a division of the German industrial company Voith AG.

"Throughout his life, Keller received no royalties from his invention. In 1870 he received from a number of German paper makers and other associations a small sum of money, which he used to buy a house in Krippen, Germany. Then towards the end of his life, various countries put together a fair sum of money for him, enough for a worry-free retirement, and he also received several awards in recognition of his invention" (Wikipedia article on Friedrich Gottlob Keller, accessed 03-26-2012). 

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The First Annotated Bibliography of the History of Economics 1845

The Scottish economist John Ramsay McCulloch, Professor of political economy at University College London, wrote extensively on economic policy, and was a pioneer in the collection, statistical analysis and publication of economic data. His The Literature of Political Economy. A Classified Catalogue of Select Publications in the Different Departments of That Science with Historical, Critical, and Biographical Notices, published in London in 1845, was the first annotated and classified bibliography of classics in the historical literature of economics. Some of the annotations extend for more than a page and include extensive quotations. Each section begins with a general introduction, followed by a list of the principal works relating to that aspect of political economy, with notes on the individual works. There is a comprehensive author, title and subject index.

McCulloch was a noted book collector of books on a wide range of subjects besides economics. He published privately a listing of his library as  A Catalogue of Books, the Property of the Author of the Commercial Dictionary (London, 1856). McCulloch was also one of the earliest clients of the London bookseller Bernard Quaritch, and they remained close friends. In his Contributions towards a Dictionary of British Book-Collectors, fascicule VI, Quaritch and historian of economics James Bonar published reminiscences of McCulloch, a photograph, and two facsimiles of letters from McCulloch to Quaritch. After McCulloch's death in 1864 Quaritch sold McCulloch's library to McCulloch's friend, the banker and politician Samuel Jones-Loyd, 1st Baron Overstone for £5000. Bonar states that a significant portion of the books were destroyed in a fire at Overstone's house soon afterward. Lord Overstone's daughter bequeathed the surviving portion of McCulloch's library to the University of Reading.

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Mechanization of Punch-Cutting for Printing Types August 14, 1845

On August 14, 1845 Thomas W. Starr of Philadelphia received U.S. Patent no. 4130 for Improvement in Preparing Matrices for Type by the Electrotyping Process.

"Electrotyping, that is the growing of a copper shell from an impression of typeset matter, which could be backed up with metal and used to print from as a substitute for cast stereotype plates, was invented in about 1840 and spread rapidly in the printing trade. The use of electrotyping to make matrices from cast type was the subject of US Patent 4130 of 1845, granted to Thomas Starr. By the 1850s, the electrotyping of matrices had entered the normal practice of typefounders. Increasingly, later in the century, punchcutters turned from cutting their designs in steel – especially the more elaborate ones – towards making them in typemetal, from which electrotyped matrices could be grown" (http://typefoundry.blogspot.com/2009/01/recasting-caslon-old-face.html, accessed 10-10-2011).

Printing and the Mind of Man. Catalogue of the Exhibitions at The British Museum and at Earls Court London (1963) no. 17. 

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The Horizontal Rotary Press Accelerates Printing 1846

In 1846 inventor and printing press manufacturer Richard M. Hoe of New York patented the horizontal rotary printing press, dramatically increasing the speed of printing.

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Beginning of the American Conservation Movement 1846

A Report on the Trees and Shrubs Growing Naturally in the Forests of Massachusetts issued by American educator and president of the Boston Society of Natural HistoryGeorge B. Emerson, in 1846 was one of the earliest pleas for "a wiser economy" in the use of forests, and a pioneering treatise on conservation. This non-technical guide to the state's principal trees grew out of a zoological and botanical survey of Massachusetts headed by Emerson.

" 'The cunning foresight of the Yankee,' George Emerson complained,' seems to desert him when takes the axe in hand.' The wanton destruction of the state's woodlands was endangering not only wildlife and the ecological order, but the very basis of the human economy as well. It is not generally remembered today that until 1870 the United States took the vast part of its energy and materials from the forest. For 250 years, from the first settlement to the advent of steel fabrication, America lived in an age of wood. The people of Massachusetts, numbering almost 750,000 when Emerson wrote his book, had to take from the forests almost every product they made: houses furniture, ships, wagons. sleighs, bridges, brooms,whips, shovels, hoes. casks, boxes. baskets, bootjacks. From the maples they got sugar, from hickories and chestnuts a good supply of nuts. Most basic was their cordwood for winter fuel; according to Emerson, this fuel, costing an average of four dollars a cord, was annually worth five million dollars. The railroads required another 55,000 cords, chiefly pine, for their locomotives. Altogether, then, the state could not have survived without a steady, cheap supply of trees. Even the bark was needed for tanning leather, while sumac and barberry roots supplied valuable dyes to the cloth industry. Yet each year the forests were recklessly cut away, and no provision was made to replant and protect them. By the 1840s Massachusetts was already importing great quantities of both hard- and softwood from Maine and New York; and Emerson warned that 'even those foreign resources are fast failing us.'

"At best, then, the practical art of woodland management existed only at a primitive level in New England. In 1838 Emerson canvassed some of the more knowledgeable people of Massachusetts to gather a fund of folk wisdom for the future. Two chief principles emerged from his survey to guide the woodsman in cutting: for timber, select only the more mature trees, but for fuel, cut the entire woodland 'clean and close.' In the latter case the consensus of opinion was that the forest would renew itself enough to be profitably cut again every twenty-three years, though the average would vary widely from species to species. 'When the trees are principally oak, white, black, and scarlet, the forest may be clean cut three times in a century,' Emerson noted. After each cut, some of his correspondents maintained, the old stumps would sprout anew and thus perpetuate the oak woods. But in the experience of others, this seldom happened. Instead, the pines would spring up to replace the oak grove, or vice versa. It had long been a vexing problem for the state's farmers to explain why such a succession occurred, and when one's livelihood depended on whether it was oak or pine one had to sell, a reliable answer was vital. According to some countrymen, the cause lay in a magical spontaneous generation that no one could predict. Emerson, though, was sure that by some natural means the older woods must perpetually contain its successor species, either as seeds lying domant in the soil or as small trees growing unobserved on the forest floor" (Worster, Nature's Economy. A History of Ecological Ideas. 2nd ed. [1994] 68-69).

In 1875 Emerson issued a second edition of his treatise in 2 volumes, doubling the length of the text and including many more illustrations including fine chromolithographs of leaves, flowers, and seeds of numerous species.

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Boucher de Perthes' Pioneering Treatise on the Antiquity of Man 1846 – 1849

French writer, archeologist, and antiquary Jacques Boucher de Perthes privately published in Abbeville De l'industrie primitive ou des arts à leur origine in 1846. This was his first work on the ancient stone implements discovered at Abbeville where he was Director of customs. In 1837, following the lead of Casimir Picard, Boucher de Perthes began investigating Abbeville’s rich archeological and paleontological sites. He donated some of the products of his early excavations to the Muséum national d’histoire naturelle in Paris, directed by the geologist Pierre-Louis Cordier. It was in response to a request by Cordier in a letter dated July 12, 1840 that Boucher de Perthes made his first discovery of an “antediluvian” stone tool, a biface Paleolithic axe found in 1840 in the Menchecourt quarry outside of Abbeville. The layer of sand in which the stone axe was found also contained the bones of extinct mammalian species, indicating that the axe was coeval with these species. The Menchecourt axe, and other “antediluvian” artifacts found in nearby sites, convinced Boucher de Perthes that humanity was very much older than had previously been supposed.  

Boucher de Perthes attempted to alert the scientific community to his findings via correspondence with Cordier and other prominent scientists, but was ignored. Undiscouraged, he kept up with his excavations, and also began writing De l’industrie primitive, in which he described and illustrated with simple line drawings the results of his first decade of excavation, and made the case for the antiquity of the human species based on the stratigraphic relationship between “antediluvian” stone tools and the bones of extinct mammals. In 1846 he had a very small edition of this work printed, which must have been intended mostly for presentation to colleagues such as Cordier. In that same year Boucher de Perthes sent the manuscript of De l’industrie primitive to the Académie des Sciences in the hope of a favorable review. The Académie appointed a five-man commission, headed by Cordier, to prepare an evaluation of Boucher de Perthes’ work; in the end, however, the Académie declined to issue a report.

Boucher de Perthes had intended to publish De l’industrie primitive in 1847, but held up publication pending approval of the Académie. After receiving Cordier’s polite but negative response in 1849 Boucher went ahead and re-issued the volume with a new title, Antiquités celtiques et antédiluviennes, referencing the ancient age of to which the antiquities belonged—a time before the Biblical flood. The printed title page was dated 1847, but a pasted-in printed note opposite stated that “this work, printed in 1847, could not, because of circumstances, be published until 1849.” 

Until about 1860 Boucher de Perthes faced enormous opposition to his views of prehistoric man. In his 1860 paper reviewing Boucher de Perthes’ discoveries, the English archaeologist and geologist John Evans summarized the difficulties that beset Boucher de Perthes in gaining the acceptance for his discoveries by the scientific establishment:

"It is now some years since a distinguished French antiquary, M. Boucher de Perthes, in his work, entitled ‘Antiquités Celtiques et Antédluviennes’ called attention to the discovery of flint implements fashioned by the hand of man in the pits worked for sand and gravel in the neighbourhood of Abbeville, in such positions, and at such a depth below the surface of the ground, as to force upon him the conclusion that they were found in the very spots in which they had been deposited at the period of the formation of beds containing them. The announcement by M. Boucher de Perthes, of his having discovered these flint implements under such remarkable circumstances, was, however, accompanied by an account of the finding of many other forms of flint of a much more questionable character, and by the enunciation of theories which by many may have been considered as founded upon too small a basis of ascertained facts. It is probably owing to this cause that, neither in France nor in this country, did the less disputable nor completely substantiated discoveries of M. de Perthes receive from men of science in former years the attention to which they were justly entitled" (Evans, "Flint Implements in the Drift,” Archaeologia XXXVIII [1860] 2).

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Alfred Bonnardot Issues the First Book on the Restoration of Rare Books and their Bindings 1846

In 1846 French bookbinder, restorer, and writer Alfred Bonnardot published Essai sur la restauration des anciennes estampes et des livres rares, ou Traité sur les meilleurs procédés a suivre pour réparer, détacher, décolorier et conserver les gravures, dessins et livres. Ouvrages spécialment utile aux artists, aux collectionneurs, aux marchands d'estampes, aux bibliophiles, etc. This was the first book on the restoration of rare books and their bindings. It also covered issues of restoration of works of art on paper, and was directed toward artists, collectors, print dealers and bibliophiles. The small work consisted of 80 pages, including an index.  

Bonnardot later issued a Supplément of 31 pages with 15 pages of revisions to the previous work and an additional Chapter XV (pp. 16-31) "De la restauration et de la reliure provisoire des livres rares." The Table des Chapitres was published on the first leaf of the index (p. 79).  15 pages of revisions to a text of only 80 pages, plus the addition of an additional chapter as an afterthought, suggest a work that was rapidly published, probably before the author had the opportunity to make sufficient revisions. 400 copies were printed.

In 1858 Bonnardot published a greatly revised second edition of this work. According to his preface to the later edition, the first edition was sold out by 1850, but presumably, having rushed the first edition, Bonnardot took sufficient time to put out a more definitive second edition. The revised edition, published 12 years after the first, consisted of eight preliminary pages, and 352 pages of text. In addition to the greatly expanded text, this edition is useful for its chronological listing, with comments, of rare works on the topics covered in the text. The list includes some books that Bonnardot knew about but was not able to see. The second edition also included an "Exposé des divers systèmes de reproduction des anciennes estampes et des livres rares." This covered lithographic, photographic, and other means of reproduction.  A German translation of the 1858 edition was published in 1859.

Portions of Bonnardot's 1858 edition were translated into English in Buck, Book Repair and Restoration . . . including some Translated Selections from Essai sur l'art de Restaurer les Estampes et les Livres par A. Bonnardot, Paris 1858 (1918).

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First Installments of the First Government-Sponsored National Union Catalogue of Manuscripts 1846 – 1849

In 1849 the first volume of Catalogue général des manuscrits des bibliothèques publiques des départements publié sous les auspices du Ministre d’instruction publique was published in Paris by the Imprimérie nationale. The 904-page quarto volume, with 2 folding lithographed plates, was the first installment of the first government-sponsored national union catalogue of manuscripts. The series eventually reached its fifty-ninth volume in 1975.

The first volume was undertaken under the leadership of the mathematician, paleographer and book thief, Guglielmo Libri. To this volume Libri made several major contributions. Besides his catalogue of the Seminary at Autun, first published separately in 1846, Libri wrote the catalogues of the city library and the medical school library at Montpellier, and of the library at Albi. Because Libri resigned from the commission before the catalogues received their final editing his work was revised for publication by Félix Ravaisson-Mollien.

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The First Periodical Issued With a Mounted Paper Photograph 1846

Eager to show that paper photography was the equal to graphic media such as lithography, etching, steel and wood engraving, William Henry Fox Talbot, author of The Pencil of Nature, made a deal with Samuel Carter Hall, editor of the most important Victorian magazine on art, the Art Union Monthly Journal, to include one of his paper photographs in every copy of the June 1846 issue in Volume 8 of the journal. 

To make the approximately 6,000 calotypes needed for the Art Union issue, Fox Talbot's assistant and printer, Nicolaas Henneman, used every negative he could find in the shop. More than half of the images published in The Pencil of Nature (15 different images) also turn up in copies of the Art-Union. However, Henneman's print staff was not capable of such mass production, resulting in poor print quality. The paper was not properly exposed, nor well fixed or washed, and prints were sometimes badly pasted onto the magazine leaves. These factors caused the images to fade almost as soon as they were created, resulting in poor publicity for Talbot. Nevertheless, as few copies of Fox Talbot's The Pencil of Nature were issued, Vol. 8 of the Art Union Monthly Journal was the first periodical to be illustrated with a mounted paper photograph, and the photographs it included were the first paper photographs seen by a wide audience.

Gernsheim, Incunabula of Photography, No. 620.

Goldschmidt & Naef, The Truthful Lens (1980) p. 15.

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Discovery of Surgical Anesthesia October 16 – November 18, 1846

American surgeon Henry Jacob Bigelow published "Insensibility during Surgical Operations Produced by Inhalation," Boston Medical  and Surgical  Journal XXXV, no. 16 (November 18, 1846): 309-17.

This was the first formal announcement of the discovery of surgical anesthesia, probably the greatest medical discovery made in America during the nineteenth century. The Boston dentist W. T. G. Morton, after experimenting with ether anesthesia in his dental practice, obtained permission from John Collins Warren, chief of surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital, to attempt anesthesia on a surgical patient. On October 16, with Morton administering the ether, Warren successfully removed a portion of a vascular tumor from the neck of his patient. The following day, Morton again administered ether to a patient undergoing an operation to remove a fatty tumor from her arm. At this point the surgeons at Massachusetts General refused to employ Morton’s “Letheon” any further unless Morton revealed its exact nature—which he had hitherto kept secret in the hopes of patenting it—and allowed its free use at the hospital.

On November 6, on the advice of Henry J. Bigelow, Morton at last divulged that his “Letheon” was in fact sulfuric ether. On November 7, Morton administered ether to a patient undergoing amputation of the leg; with the success of this operation, “the value of ether as an anesthetic was established once and for all.”  Norman, One Hundred Books Famous in Medicine, 64A. Wolfe, Tarnished Idol,  75-83. 

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Filed under: Medicine

The Introduction of Anesthesia in Obstetrics December 1, 1846

News of the introduction of ether anesthesia in surgery by the dentist W. T. C. Morton in Boston reached Europe on December 1, 1846, and on December 19 James Robinson, an English dentist, became the first in Great Britain to anesthetize a patient with ether.  The practice was quickly adopted by British surgeons for surgical operations; however, anesthesia was not used in childbirth in either Europe or the United States until January 19, 1847, when James Young Simpson, professor of midwifery at the University of Edinburgh, etherized a laboring woman afflicted with a severely contracted pelvis.

The following month Simpson wrote Notes on the Inhalation of Sulphuric Ether in the Practice of Midwifery. This 11-page paper was his first on the practice of anesthesia—recording the obstetric cases in which he had successfully used ether. These included “the operation of turning, in cases of the employment of the long and of the short forceps, as well as in several instances in which the labour was of a natural type” (p. 3). He concluded by addressing the objections of contemporary obstetricians and the lay public as to the propriety of alleviating the pains of childbirth:

“I have stated that the question which I have been repeatedly asked is this—will we ever be ‘justified’ in using the vapour of ether to assuage the pains of natural labour? . . . I believe that the question will require to be quite changed in its character. For, instead of determining in relation to it whether we shall be ‘justified’ in using this agent under the circumstances named, it will become, on the other hand, necessary to determine whether on any grounds, moral or medical, a professional man could deem himself ‘justified’ in withholding, and not using any such safe means (as we at present pre-suppose this to be), provided he had the power by it of assuaging the pangs and anguish of the last stage of natural labour” (p. 11).

Simpson published his paper in the Monthly Journal of Medical Science issued from Edinburgh. There appear to be two issues of the offprint of Simpson’s paper:  one with a statement on the title reading “Extracted from 75th No. of the Monthly Journal of Medical Science, published Feb. 24, 1847,” and the other reading “Extracted from the Monthly Journal of Medical Science for March 1847.” 

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Sending Weather Information by Telegraph 1847

American physicist Joseph Henry, first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, and a pioneer in telegraphic research, realized in 1847 that storms in the United States generally move from west to east. Henry wrote in the Smithsonian's 1847 annual report that "the extended lines of telegraph will furnish a ready means of warning the more northern and eastern observers to be on the watch for the first appearance of an advancing storm."

By 1849, Henry worked out an arrangement with a number of telegraph companies to allow free transmission of local weather data to the Smithsonian. He proposed to supply "the most important stations" with barometers and thermometers. By the end of the 1849 150 volunteers throughout the United States reported weather observations to the Smithsonian regularly by telegraph. This became the basis for the first national weather service where weather observations from distant points could be "rapidly" collected, plotted and analyzed at one location -- the beginnings of "surface weather analysis".

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George Boole Develops Boolean Algebra 1847 – 1854

In 1847 English mathematician and philosopher George Boole published a pamphlet entitled The Mathematical Analysis of Logichis first exposition of Boolean algebra. Seven years later in 1854, Boole published a much longer exposition entitled An Investigation of the Laws of Thought, on Which are Founded the Mathematical Theories of Logic and Probabilities. This work contains the full expression of the first practical system of logic in algebraic form.

"He [Boole] did not regard logic as a branch of mathematics, as the title of his earlier pamphlet [The Mathematical Analysis of Logic (1847)] might be taken to imply, but he pointed out such a deep analogy between the symbols of algebra and those which can be made, in his opinion, to represent logical forms and syllogisms, that we can hardly help saying that (especially his) formal logic is mathematics restricted to the two quantities, 0 and 1. By unity Boole denoted the universe of thinkable objects; literal symbols, such as x, y, z, v, u, etc., were used with the elective meaning attaching to common adjectives and substantives. Thus, if x=horned and y=sheep, then the successive acts of election represented by x and y, if performed on unity, give the whole of the class horned sheep. Boole showed that elective symbols of this kind obey the same primary laws of combination as algebraic symbols, whence it followed that they could be added, subtracted, multiplied and even divided, almost exactly in the same manner as numbers. Thus, (1 - x) would represent the operation of selecting all things in the world except horned things, that is, all not horned things, and (1 - x) (1 - y) would give us all things neither horned nor sheep. By the use of such symbols propositions could be reduced to the form of equations, and the syllogistic conclusion from two premises was obtained by eliminating the middle term according to ordinary algebraic rules.

"Still more original and remarkable, however, was that part of his system, fully stated in his Laws of Thought, formed a general symbolic method of logical inference. Given any propositions involving any number of terms, Boole showed how, by the purely symbolic treatment of the premises, to draw any conclusion logically contained in those premises. The second part of the Laws of Thought contained a corresponding attempt to discover a general method in probabilities, which should enable us from the given probabilities of any system of events to determine the consequent probability of any other event logically connected with the given events" (Wikipedia article on George Boole, accessed 01-09-2008).

Though the audience for Boole's highly specialized work would have been judged to be small, and the edition size reduced accordingly, the existence of three issues of the first edition, all dated 1854, would suggest that the edition may have required several years to sell. The points of the issues are as follows:

1. Probable first issue: London: Walton and Maberly, Upper Gower-Street, and Ivy Lane, Paternoster-Row. Cambridge: Macmilan and Co., errata leaf bound in the back, and binding of black zigzag cloth with blindstamped border, panel, central lozenge and corner and side ornaments.

2. Probable second issue: London: Walton and Maberly as above, but with the errata after the last numbered leaf of preliminaries, an additional printed "Note" leaf following 2E4 concerning a more complex error, an eight-page Walton and Maberly catalogue of "Educational Works and Works in Science and General Literature" and a binding of black blind-panelled zigzag cloth without the central lozenge.

3. Third issue: London: Macmillan and Co. Errata on recto of last unsigned leaf, and bound in green cloth, gilt-lettered spine. This may be a later, or remainder binding

Hook & Norman, The Haskell F. Norman Library of Science and Medicine (1991) no. 266.

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The First Scientific Instrument to Record Scientific Information in Real Time 1847

In 1847 German physician and physiologist Carl Friedrich Wilhem Ludwig published "Beiträge zur Kenntniss des Einflusses der Respirationsbewegungen auf den Blutlauf im Aortensysteme" in Archiv für Anatomie, Physiologie und wissenschaftliche Medizin (1847) 242-302 issued from Berlin.

This was the Ludwig's first description of his kymograph, the first instrument to record scientific information in graphic form in real time, which Ludwig created by modifying Poiseuille’s hemodynamometer so that it could record its results graphically. This device, further modified by Marey and Chaveau, became a standard tool for the graphic recording of experimental results; it is illustrated in Ludwig's plate numbered 10 in the journal volume. 

Ludwig's paper was accompanied by 5 plates showing the apparatus and its method of graphic recording on a metal drum covered with smoked paper which was scratched with a moving stylus, leaving smoke-free lines. These paper sheets were then removed from the drum and fixed with varnish to preserve the record.

J. Norman (ed). Morton's Medical Bibliography 5th ed (1991) No. 770.

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The First Separately Published Bibliography on the History of Science 1847

In 1847 mathematician, logician and pioneer collector of the history of mathematics, Augustus de Morgan published Arithmetical Books from the Invention of Printing to the Present Time, being Brief Notices of a Large Number of Works Drawn up from Actual Inspection.

De Morgan's work was the first separately published bibliography on the history of science excluding economics; McCulloch's annotated bibliography of the history of economics preceded it in 1845. The bulk of de Morgan's book consisted of an extensively annotated list of treatises on arithmetic from 1491 to 1846, arranged in chronological order; de Morgan claimed that he had personally examined every book. Most of the books described were from de Morgan’s own library. De Morgan stated that he was able to acquire his library at relatively low cost because of the obscurity of the subjects involved. A few of the books he described came from the libraries of collector friends, and a few from the library of the British Museum. There is an index of 1,580 entries.  In The History and Bibliography of Science in England (1968) A. N. L. Munby stated that “only in the physical descriptions of books cited is De Morgan’s great work disappointing.”

De Morgan was an eloquent exponent of the value of collecting the history of science. He wrote on p. ii his prefatory letter to Arithmetical Books:

“The most worthless book of a bygone day is a record worthy of preservation. Like a telescopic star, its obscurity may render it unavailable for most purposes; but it serves, in hands which know how to use it, to determine the places of more important bodies.”

After de Morgan's death in 1871 his library of about 4500 books, pamphlets, manuscripts and autograph letters was purchased by British banker and politician Samuel Jones-Loyd, 1st Baron Overstone and donated by him to the University of London, becoming the first special collection at the Unversity of London library. Even though de Morgan’s library was not kept together when it was transferred, his books were separately identified in the printed catalogue of the Library published in 1876. Thus it is possible to study one of the pioneering collections of books formed in England not just on mathematics, but on a wide range of the history of physical sciences. In 2012 the Senate House Library of the University of London showed examples from de Morgan's library on its website: http://www.ull.ac.uk/specialcollections/demorganexploration.shtml

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The Earliest Photographs of War 1847

 According to Yale's Beinicke Library's online exhibition, The Power of Pictures, depicting an exhibition at the library from October to December 2013, the earliest photographs of war were made in 1847 by an unknown daguerreotype photographer in Saltillo, Mexico.

"Twelve daguerreotypes in a walnut case depict U.S. Army troops, General John Wool and his staff, Lieutenant Abner Doubleday, the Virginia Regiment, an artillery battalion, and scenes around town. The presence of the photographer when the image was made lent an eye-witness authenticity to war photographs that paintings or prints struggled to attain. Perhaps the photographer of the Civil War, Alexander Gardner, put it best when he suggested, 'Verbal representations of such places, or scenes, may or may not have the merit of accuracy; but photographic presentments of them will be accepted by posterity with an undoubting faith' " (http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/exhibitions/social-commemoration, accessed 10-27-2013).

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The Relationship Between Optical Activity, Crystalline Structure and Chemical Composition 1847

In his dissertation published in 1847 French chemist and microbiologist Louis Pasteur reported a series of “investigations into the relation between optical activity, crystalline structure, and chemical composition in organic compounds, particularly tartaric and paratartaric acids. This work focused attention on the relationship between optical activity and life, and provided much inspiration and several of the most important techniques for an entirely new approach to the study of chemical structure and composition. In essence, Pasteur opened the way to a consideration of the disposition of atoms in space.” (DSB)

Pasteur, Thèses de physique et de chimie, Presentées à la Faculté des Sciences de Paris. Paris: Bachelier, 1847.

Lesk, Protein Structure, 36.

Hook & Norman, The Haskell F. Norman Library of Science & Medicine (1991) no. 1652.

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Aspects of Concordance Production Before and During the Early Years of Computerization 1847 – 1965

"In 1911 Professor Lane Cooper published a concordance of William Wordsworth's poetry so that scholars could readily locate words in which they were interested. The 1,136 page tome lists all 211,000 nontrivial words in the poet's works, from Aäliza to Zutphen's, yet remarkably, it took less than 7 months to construct. The task was completed so quickly because it was undertaken by a highly organized team of 67 people—3 of whom had died by the time the concordance was published—using 3-by-5 inch cards, scissors, glue, and stamps.

"The task of construction of concordances has traditionally been very onerous and time-consuming. As an example, a concordance for the Greek version of the New Testament was compiled by William Moulton and Alfred Geden and first published in 1897. The work has undergone several revisions since then, and responsibility for the task has been passed down through three generations of the Moulton family. . . .The task is not entirely mechanical, since several inflections of the verb are recorded under one heading.

"The Greek New Testament concordance was just one of many comprehensive indexes to various books—such as the Bible, the works of Shakespeare, and the writings of classical philosophers—produced by hand in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The prefaces of these works tell of many years of painstaking toil, presumably driven by a belief in the worthiness of the text being indexed. The term concordance originally applied just to biblical indexes. Its root, concord, means unity, and the term apparently arose out of the school of thought that the unity of the Bible should be reflected in consistency between the Old and New Testaments, which could be demonstrated by a concordance.

"The 1960s and 1970s saw another ebullition of concordance making, this time fueled by the ease with which indexes could be constructed with the aid of a computer. All that was required was enough motivation to type a work into a machine-readable format and access to a sufficiently powerful computer system and suitable software. In this way concordances came into being for all sorts of literature, from Charlotte Brontë to Dylan Thomas, from the Tao-Tsang to Charles Darwin. There are even concordances of musical compositions and of mathematical sequences and values. A 1965 index of Byron's works was not computer-generated but concedes that the computer will be the concordance maker of the future, predicting that the author's work 'may be considered the last of the hand-made concordances.' Its construction was begun in 1940, well before computers were available for this tedious task, and we can sense the compiler's frustation that in 1965 it may have been better to discard the 285,000 cards compiled over 25 years and have a computer construct the information in a matter of days. Nevertheless, the compiler righly points out that there ae advantages to manually constructed concordances, including the opporutnity to spot errors in the original text. It was also noted that the pleasure of working with Byron's poetry would have been lost on a machine (Young, ed., A Concordance to the Poetry of Byron, 4 vols., 1965).

"As computers capable of constructing concordances become more and more accessible, the task of compiling such an index becomes less and less significant. What was once the work of a lifetime—or longer—is now a relatively modest project. In 1875, Mary Cowden Clarke proudly wote in the preface to her concorance of Shakespeare that 'to furnish a fiathful guide to this rich mine of intellectual treasure . . .has been the ambition of a life; and it is hoped that the sixteen years' assiduous labour . . . may be found to have accomplished that ambition' (Clarke, The Complete Concordance to Shakspeare, 1875 [first published 1847]). It may have been hard for Mrs. Clarke to imagine that a century later, just one person, Todd K. Bender, professor of English at the University of Wisconsin, would produce nine concordances in the time it took her to construct one. [footnote: Bender is the sole author of 9 concordances but has coauthored 22 more]. Mrs. Horace Howard Furness, the author of a concordance of Shakespeare's poetry that was also published in 1875 and whose husband and son both wrote books about Shakespeare's work, describes herself as a 'harmless drudge' (Furness, A Concordance to Shakespeare's Poems: An Index to Every Word Therein Contained, 1875). Clearly concordance making is an ideal task for mechanization" (Witten, Moffat, Bell, Managing Gigabytes. Compressing and Indexing Documents and Images 2nd ed. [1999] 1-3).  

Note the links are my additions. My additions are in brackets; the author's footnote I incorporated into the quote. I also expanded the bibliographical references within the quote. In the printed book these are brief references to expanded citations in the bibliography at the end of the book.

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Marsh's First Publication on Ecology September 30, 1847

U.S. Congressman from Vermont, George Perkins Marsh, spoke to the Agricultural Society of Rutland County, Vermont, calling attention to the destructive impact of human activity on the land, especially through deforestation, and advocating a conservationist approach to the management of forested lands.

In 1848 Marsh's speech was published as Address Delivered Before the Agricultural Society of Rutland County, Sept. 30, 1847.

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The First Publically Supported Municipal Library in the U.S. 1848

The Boston Public Library, the first publicly supported municipal library in the United States, was founded in 1848.

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Filed under: Libraries

The Associated Press is Founded 1848

In 1848 the Associated Press (AP) was founded in New York City to reduce the high cost of telegraphic transmissions among six highly competitive newspapers.

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The First Mechanical Printing Press Arrives in Japan 1848

The first mechanical printing press, using western style movable type and western style printing ink, arrived in Nagasaki, Japan for the use of the Japanese in 1848. Though the Jesuits had operated a European style printing press in Nagasaki for a limited time in the sixteenth century, the Japanese favored woodblock printing as a way to reproduce their semi-cursive writing. Printing from woodblocks in East Asia remained an unmechanized, laborious process, in which printing was done on only one side of the paper because of the need to rub the back of the paper with a hand tool. This would have tended to spoil the other side of the paper, and the water-based inks used tended to soak through the paper.  Unlike Western printing which had used oil-based inks since Gutenberg's original invention of printing ink, only water-based inks were used in Asia.

The first western style printing presses were introduced in Korea over 30 years later, in 1881-83.

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Spencerian Script Begins 1848

Believing that America needed a style of penmanship that could be written quickly, legibly and elegantly for both business correspondence and personal letter-writing, in 1848 American educator and handwriting teacher Platt Rogers Spencer published, with Victor M. Rice, Spencer and Rice's System of Business and Ladies' Penmanship.

"Spencerian Script was developed in 1840, and began soon after to be taught in the school Spencer established specifically for that purpose. He quickly turned out graduates who left his school to start replicas of it abroad, and Spencerian Script thus began to reach the common schools. Spencer never saw the great success that his penmanship style enjoyed, having died in 1864, but his sons took upon themselves the mission of bringing their late father's dream to fruition.

"This they did by publishing and distributing Spencer's unpublished book, Spencerian Key to Practical Penmanship, in 1866. Spencerian Script became the standard across the United States and remained so until the 1920s when the spreading popularity of the typewriter rendered its use as a prime method of business communication obsolete" (Wikipedia article on Spencerian Script, accessed 09-19-2010).

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Foundation of the Boston Public Library 1848

In 1848 the Boston Public Library was founded. It was the first publicly supported municipal library in the United States, the first large library open to the public in the United States, and the first public library in the U.S. to allow people to borrow books and other materials, and take them home to read and use.

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The French Revolution of 1848 in Europe's Year of Revolutions February 1848

Like the French revolutions of 1789 and 1830, the economic crisis in France leading to the French Revolution of 1848, sometimes known as the February Revolution, began in agriculture. Failure of the potato crop in 1846, and a poor harvest of grain in 1847 increased the price of bread and other foodstuffs. The food shortage— not limited to France—was exacerbated by an increase in population that had occurred in France and other European countries since the beginning of the eighteenth century. Inhabitants of rural areas crowded into towns where they found few factories to employ them. During this crisis, in some instances, people who had low-paying jobs had to work an entire day to earn enought to pay for a loaf of bread. As a result of widespread hunger, in 1848 revolutions occurred in almost every European city with more than 50,000 inhabitants. But within a year reactionary forces won out and the revolutions collapsed.

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The Communist Manifesto February 21, 1848

Having been commissioned by The Communist League at its second congress held in London from November to December 1847, German philosopher, political economist, historian, political theorist, sociologist, communist, and revolutionary Karl Marx and German social scientist, author, political theorist, philosopher, and communist Friedrich Engels published Manifest der Kommunistischen Partei through the German printer J.E. Burghard in London on February 21, 1848.

Supplies of the pamphlet reached the continent just as the Revolutions of 1848 began.  

"The revolutionary upsurge in Europe owed nothing to the 'Manifesto'; but the panic-stricken authorities found its subversive sentiments a good excuse for action against its authors. Marx and his wife were arrested and expelled from Belgium. Later the Neue Rheinische Zeitung, Marx's principal organ of expression, was suppressed in Cologne, the final issue being defiantly printed in red, and Marx himself was expelled in turn from Germany and France. He then emigrated to England ('the most important landmark in his career' as E. H. Carr put it), where he spent the rest of his life—much of it in the reading room of the British Museum. He is buried in Highgate cemetery in London" (Carter & Muir, Printing and the Mind of Man [1967] no. 326).

Rather than predicting communism's future forms, The Communist Manifesto set out the League's purposes and program. It presented an analytical approach to the class struggle and the problems of capitalism. 

"The Communist Manifesto was first published (in German) in London by a group of German political refugees in 1848. It was also serialised at around the same time in a German-language London newspaper, the Deutsche Londoner Zeitung. The first English translation was produced by Helen Macfarlane in 1850. The Manifesto went through a number of editions from 1872 to 1890; notable new prefaces were written by Marx and Engels for the 1872 German edition, the 1882 Russian edition, the 1883 French edition, and the 1888 English edition. This edition, translated by Samuel Moore with the assistance of Engels, has been the most commonly used English text since" (Wikipedia article on The Communist Manifesto, accessed 09-18-2010).

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The First of the Industrial Insurance Companies that Processed Immense Amounts of Data May 30, 1848

The Prudential Mutual Assurance, Investment and Loan Association was founded in Hatton Garden, London on May 30, 1848. The Prudential was the first of the great industrial life insurance companies that handled the insurance policies of millions of people, and processed an immense amount of data, initially by hand.

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The Railroad also Becomes an Information Distribution Network November 1, 1848

On November 1, 1848 the first WH Smith railway bookstall opened in Euston Station, London.

Railroad transportation and railroad stations provided a whole new market for printing, publishing, and bookselling. Inexpensive novels or "Yellowbacks" were published to supply a wider range of society. It became a common practice to publish novels in weekly, fortnightly or monthly parts to spread the cost.

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Application of Jacquard Punched Paper Technology to Typesetting Machinery 1849

In 1849 inventor William Martin of St. Pierre-les-Calais, France, who characterized himself as a "mechanist," received British patent No. 12,421 for "Certain Improvements in Machinery for Figuring Fabrics, Parts of which Improvements are applicable to Playing certain Musical Instruments, and also to Printing and other like Purposes."

Besides describing improvements to Jacquard punched card or punched paper apparatus for weaving and for playing musical instruments such as a player piano, Martin described in his patent specification how his invention was applied to typesetting. Martin believed that the method would both speed up the typesetting process, and also allow typesetting information to be stored for future use in later editions. In his patent specification he wrote:

"A somewhat similarly constructed apparatus to that just described as applicable for playing musical instruments may also be applied to machinery or apparatus for composing or setting up type for letter-press printing. It is well known that types have been composed or set up by machinery, and that the mechanism of the apparatus generally employed for this purpose consists of a series of levers in connection with the keys of a finger board, arranged in somewhat the same manner as the keys of a pianoforte, organ, or other similar keyed instrument. The types are arranged in vertical columns behind these levers, and by depressing one of the keys with the finger the corresponding lever will be brought into action and a type or letter thereby pushed out from its column into a channel, along which it is carried to the composing stick. My improvements are applicable to any of the machines now in use, and which are worked by means of a key-board or other similar arrangement of levers that are acted on by the fingers of the compositor. In the Drawing, however, I have only shewn the Invention as applied to a machine constructed on the principle of Messrs. Clay and Rosenborg's Invention, in which the types are arranged in columns in front of an endless travelling belt or band on which they are published by small levers whenever the corresponding key is depressed.

"Figure 17 represents a section of a cylinder with moveable pins or pegs, and precisely similar in construction and operation to the cylinder shewn at Figures 12, 13, and 14. In order to avoid complexity in the Drawings, I have not thought it necessary to shew more than two or three pins or pegs; but it will of course be understood that the cylinder must be furnished with the property quantity of moveable pins arranged all round, as shewn in the other Figures. The perforated paper h passes over a slotted plate i, as in the former instance, and the perforation may be made in the paper either by means of a series of finger levers corresponding with the letters or characters , or by means of the reading machine already described. The operation of the apparatus is as follows:— The perforated paper h is made to pass slowly over the slotted plate i, the pin cylinder B being caused to rotate in the same direction, and at the same speed. By this means the pins or pegs c will be brought into contract with the perforated paper, and if they meet with holes in the paper they will enter, and thus causing their outer collars 2 to pass outside the supporting ring or guide g, as shewn at 3; the pin thus kept out will continue its progress until it reaches the under side of the bell-crank lever x, the outer end of which will therby be lifted up, and by means of a pusher w, at the opposite of the other arm of the lever, will push a single type or character out from the bottom of the column v into a channel in which (in Clay and Rosenborg's machine) there is a travelling endless band, which carries the type or character (thus thrust out) into the composing stick. Immediately that the pin or peg c escapes from the end of the lever x, the latter is brought back again into its original position by means of the spring y, and the pin or peg c continues its progress until it again comes in contact with another portion of the perforated paper; and if it meets with an unperforated part, it will be thrust inwards as seen at 4 (Fig. 12). It will of course be understood, that instead of pushing out the type or character on to the endless band, and therby carrying forward to the composing stick it may be pushed into an inclined channel, down which it will slide by its weight, as in the type-composing machines of Messrs. Young and Delcambre. The advantages resulting from the application of the perforated sheet of paper to this purpose are, that when once the paper is placed in the machine it will only be necessary to communicate motion to the several parts of the machine; as, as the peg or pin barrel b and the perforated paper rotate, the type will be set up or composed without further trouble; whereas, in the machines already existing, it requires a great deal of practice to be accustomed to the key or finger board and to work or set up the type with speed. Another advantage is, that when once a perforated paper has been made, it may, after being used, be kept until a second or third edition of the book to be printed is required, when it will only be necessary to place the paper in the machine and actuate the mechanism, and the type will be quickly composed or set up without the aid of a skilled workman."

Thompson, History of Composing Machines  (1904) p. 12  states that Martin's advanced ideas were not actually applied in the typesetting industry until 1867 when Alexander Mackie introduced it in his typesetting machine called the "Pickpocket." In 1887 Tobert Lanston invented the Monotype which was driven by punched paper rolls.

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The First Index to Periodical LIterature 1849 – 1853

While a student at Yale University, American bibliographer and librarian William Frederick Poole published the first index to periodical literature, based on the limited holdings of the specific library at which he worked. It was entitled, An Alphabetical Index to Subjects, Treated in the Reviews and Other Periodicals, to which No Indexes Have Been Published Prepared for the Library of the Brothers in Unity. Yale College. This index extended to 154pp., and, as its title indicated, was a subject index only.

Three years later, after graduating from Yale and becoming librarian of the Boston Mercantile Library Association, Poole issued An Index to Periodical Literature in 1853. Extending to 521 pages, this was the first general index to periodical literature, indexing both subjects and personal names.

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Report on Select Committee on Public Libraries July 23, 1849

On July 23, 1849 the British House of Commons published Report from the Select Committee on Public Libraries; Together with Proceedings of the Committee, Minutes of Evidence, and AppendixThis proceedings was largely motivated by the report of librarian Edward Edwards entitled Approximate Statistical View of the Principal Public Libraries of Europe and of the United States of America, which was published as an Appendix  on pp. 255-305. The validity of much of these statistics has been criticized, but their publication had a beneficial effect on library development.

As a result of this report, which contained extensive testimony by Edward EdwardsFrançois Pierre Guillaume GuizotGuglielmo (William) Libri, and Samuel Smiles, politician William Ewart sponsored the 1850 Public Libraries Act, and because of his contributions Edward Edwards was appointed the first librarian of the first major library opened under the Public Libraries Act, the Manchester Free Library.

Edwards resigned from this post in 1858; the following year he issued the first comprehensive account of the development of libraries

(This entry was last revised on 06-16-2014.)

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"Notes and Queries", An Early Newsgroup, Begins Publication November 3, 1849

English writer, folklorist, and demographer William John Thoms edited the first issue of Notes and Queries: A Medium of Inter-Communication for Literary Men, Artists, Antiqaries, Genealogists, Etc. published on November 3, 1849. It's motto, quoting Captain Cupple from Dickens's Dombey and Son, which had been published between October 1846 and April 1848, was "When found, make a note of." 

The format of the periodical consisted of "Notes" or miscellaneous findings of correspondents that they and the editors considered of interest to the readership, and "Queries", and responses to queries, which formed the bulk of the publication. Because of its frequent publication, and the question and answer nature of the contents, the magazine may be considered a print analogy to a moderated Internet newsgroup, or an early form of social media.

In 2011 the magazine was published as an academic journal by Oxford University Press.

 "The articles are typically much longer than they were during the journal's early years, though they are still shorter than those of the typical academic journal. In addition, the 'Notes' now far outweigh the 'Queries', and book reviews have also been introduced. The focus is now almost entirely on literature" (Wikipedia article on Notes and Queries, accessed 06-05-2011).

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