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By Ian McNeil

* 22 sections conceal the whole box of the background of know-how and every part summarises the improvement of its topic from the earliest instances to the current day* Written with no pointless jargon* 2 vast indexes of Names and issues* Usefully illustrated with one hundred fifty black & white images and line drawings to give an explanation for key advances`Contain[s] an enormous quantity of trustworthy info over a truly huge box. it's definitely a piece of which I shall myself make common use ... it merits to discover a spot ... in each reference library.' - instances larger schooling Supplement`The assurance is superb ... a most beneficial single-volume resource which for its comprehensiveness and simplicity of reference will earn its position in either expert and common reference collections.' - Reference Reviews`Informative and entire, awesome in its insurance ... covers each point of know-how from the Stone Age to the distance Age ... will surely support readers to get a grip on and suppose of a tremendous variety of topics ... a useful and useful addition to most dept bookshelves or libraries.' - New Civil Engineer`The authors represented during this booklet are to be congratulated for his or her readable and trustworthy surveys of the previous and current prestige of the main parts the place mankind has harnessed technology for the construction of worthy items and processes.' - selection

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Sample text

Cast iron, however, was developed by the Chinese as early as the fourth century BC. Greece and Rome The Greeks were great builders but, apart from a few exceptions such as Archimedes, were theoretical scientists rather than practical technologists. Their contributions to sciences such as mathematics and astronomy, were considerable—not to mention philosophy—but they were not great inventors except, perhaps, in the production of mechanical devices to strike the worshipping plebeians in the temples with a sense of awe.

Newcomen died in 1729, but engines of this type continued to be made until the early years of the nineteenth century. At least 1047 are recorded as having been built including those in France, Hungary, Sweden, Spain, Belgium and Germany. Many people ascribe the invention of the steam engine to James Watt, but this is far from the truth. Great though his contribution was, Watt was fundamentally an improver of the Newcomen engine which was his starting point. In 1757 he was appointed ‘Mathematical Instrument Maker to the University of Glasgow’, where he was allowed a small workshop.

He devoted much of his life to the design and attempted manufacture of, first, a Difference Engine (see Figure 5), which he started in 1823, and then, from 1834, an Analytical Engine. The former was a special-purpose calculating machine, the latter a universal or multi-purpose calculator. He pursued these goals for much of his long life, but unfortunately he was ahead of his time. His machines were purely mechanical and the precision needed in their manufacture was almost beyond even such an excellent craftsman as he employed— Joseph Clement.

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