An Encyclopedia of the History of Technology (Routledge by Ian McNeil

By Ian McNeil

To be had for the 1st time in paperback, this quantity contains twenty-two chapters through foreign specialists masking the whole historical past of know-how from humankind's earliest use of stone instruments to the exploration of house. Written sincerely and with no pointless jargon, every one bankruptcy strains the advance of its topic from earliest occasions to the current day, stressing the social context and its position in clinical thought.
* Usefully drawn with over a hundred and fifty tables, drawings and photographs
* complete indexes of names and subjects
* crucial interpreting for academics and scholars within the background and Philosophy of technology and expertise, business historical past and Archaeology.

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His other major inventions were the double-acting engine, patented in 33 INTRODUCTION Figure 6: The first practical working steam engine of Thomas Newcomen, 1712. Erected to pump water from a mine near Dudley Castle, Staffordshire, England. 1782, and the rotative engine, patented in 1781. The latter greatly extended the use of the steam engine from pumping to a multitude of purposes and brought additional prosperity to the partnership of Matthew Boulton and James Watt. Throughout his life and that of his extended patent which lasted until 1800, preventing anyone else in Britain building any engine with the essential separate condenser, Watt stuck rigidly to low pressure or atmospheric engines, relying on the condensation of steam to create a vacuum against which the 34 BASIC TOOLS, DEVICES AN D MECHANIS MS pressure of the atmosphere would move the piston.

His offer for the lower quantity was accepted and he set up production, splitting the labour 29 INTRODUCTION force into sections to make the different parts instead of a single gunsmith making all the components of one gun at a time, sawing, boring, filing and grinding each separately so that they would fit together. With a series of machines, jigs, clamps, stops and fixtures, each lockplate, barrel, trigger, frizzle and every other part was exactly the same as all its counterparts. Thus Whitney established the American system of mass production.

Ten years later Hooke devised the universal joint named after him and contributed much to later mechanical engineering. Early machines in Egypt It was not until about the time of Christ that Hero of Alexandria classified the five basic machines as the lever, the wheel and axle, the wedge, the pulley and 17 INTRODUCTION the screw, but the first three of these had been in common use since about 3000 BC. The shaduf for irrigation and the balance beam for weighing were applications of the lever. It was, as we have already said, at about this time that written records started with the Sumerian invention of cuneiform script usually inscribed on clay tablets.

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