The Father of Swedish Technology

…Patriotiska Testamente, eller Underrättelse om Järn, Stål, Koppar, Mässing, Tenn och Bly för dem, som wilja begynna Manufacturer i dessa ämnen. Jemte en Förtekning på alla dess Mechaniska Inventioner.

Several small woodcuts in the text. 12 p.l., 128 pp. 8vo, early 20th-cent. half-calf & marbled boards, spine gilt. Stockholm: L. Salvius, 1761.

First edition and very rare. Polhem (1661-1751), the father of Swedish technology, was a pioneer in the mass production of replaceable machine parts, which he made with great precision and accuracy. He made other important contributions to applied mechanics, mining engineering, the construction of canals and docks, building materials and the construction of buildings, and the manufacturing of textiles. Polhem also established a mechanical laboratory for the development and construction of machines, technical instruments, astronomical clocks, etc.

This title of this posthumously published work, edited by his son Gabriel, can be translated as “Patriotic Testament, or Information on Iron, Steel, Brass, Tin and Lead for Those who want to start Industries in these Fields. Including a list of all his Mechanical Inventions,” is the best account by Polhem of his numerous achievements and provides his “alphabet” of machines which demonstrated the basic elements of mechanics.

“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 copy. Stamp of Gabriel Marklins on title. Bookplate of Carl Sahlins.

❧ See Johnson, William A., Christopher Polhem. The Father of Swedish Technology (1963) for a full account of Polhem’s wide-ranging activities (our book is no. 32 in the bibliography).

Price: $2,950.00

Item ID: 6374