Inledning til Mecaniken och Bygnings-Konsten, sämte en Beskrifning öfwer åtskillige af Framledne Commerce-Rådet och Commendeuren af…Hr. Polhem opfundne Machiner.

Inledning til Mecaniken och Bygnings-Konsten, sämte en Beskrifning öfwer åtskillige af Framledne Commerce-Rådet och Commendeuren af…Hr. Polhem opfundne Machiner.

Large engraved vignette on title & another at the head of the first leaf of Part II and 30 fine folding engraved plates (numbered I–XXVIII plus XV* & a second plate numbered XVI). 184 pp. 4 p.l., 183, [1] pp. Small 4to, cont. speckled sheep, contrasting vellum lettering piece on spine. Stockholm: tryckt af P.J. Nyström, 1752.

First edition and very rare; WorldCat locates only one copy in North America. This Introduction to the Mechanics and the Art of Construction, including a Description of Several of the Machines invented by the late…Mr. Polhem is the best early treatise on the mechanical and industrial processes devised by Christopher Polhem (1661-1751), the “father of Swedish technology.” He built a remarkable factory for iron and other metal products at Stjaernsund in 1704, producing a wide array of iron and steel products for industry, agriculture, and general consumption. The manufactory used division of labor, hoists, and conveyor belts to minimize manual labor, anticipating the mass-production techniques later adopted in America and England. His “alphabet” of machine components enabled him to build every conceivable machine and demonstrated the basic elements used by later machine builders. His rolls mills were an advance over contemporary methods of metal-working.

Polhem published his Patriotiska Testamente in 1761; it gives the first description of rolling mills and other methods of iron-working, but had only a few text diagrams. In our work, the last part (pp. 155-end) gives an explanation of many of Polhem’s machines, which are illustrated on 23 of the 30 plates (nos. 6-28). The balance of the work describes other industrial developments in Sweden in the first half of the 18th century.

“These new techniques of production exerted an important influence in Sweden and elsewhere. They represent the highest level of accomplishment of an iron industry based on charcoal and dependent for primary power on water-wheels and horse-driven gins…The general understanding of the use of rolls was not new, but Polhem was doing many new things with them: partly because of his more vivid vision of the advantages of a less direct process of production, partly because his versatility as an engineer made it possible for him to achieve new results by better methods of machine construction…Polhem’s work provides a fresh standard for measuring the technical accomplishment of the first generation of the eighteenth century.”–Singer et al, A History of Technology, III, pp. 342–343.

Fine fresh copy. Small tear to third plate, carefully repaired on verso at an early date, with no loss of image.

Price: $6,500.00

Item ID: 6372