Often books appear on my desk that epitomize an era or a phase in history, a great struggle or a social movement. These are books that are more than their physical selves for they hold within a spirit and the direction of an entire generation.
The Victorian era is known for its inventiveness and technological innovations a theme that is captured so well in this book.
Published in 1891 ‘Discoveries and Inventions of the Nineteenth Century’ chronicles and celebrate the new innovations that today we take for granted. This ranges from the Steam engines, printing machines, telegraph and engineering construction to the discoveries of electric power, anesthetics and advances in the sciences.
Intriguing in its details is the concept of the Channel tunnel with actual exploratory work taking place at st Margret’s bay Dover in 1866. It would not be until 1994 that the channel tunnel would be constructed in its modern form; one can only admire the ambition of the Victorian engineers. Where there are great successes there are sometimes also great failures one I found rather amusing was the concept of the underwater cannon. The idea was to fire below the water line through a complicated airlock system to attack the enemy under the waterline.
The book is in wonderful condition containing pages of brilliant illustrations which are such a wealth of ideas and concepts, each one a mini work of art. I feel that you could even enjoy the book without reading a word and just take in all the fascinating diagrams. At over 130 years old it gives us a rare glimpse into our history and is a real item to cherish and to love. Despite its old age the bindings are good and the pictorial front board is still beautiful in its intricacy.
I hope you enjoyed this blog entry I aim to publish one each Month regularly with plans for more on top of that. If you enjoyed please share, we can be found on Twitter and Instagram.