JULIE HALLS    Book Number: 84665    Product format: Hardback

The Victorians loved everything about the process of invention, from identifying a perceived need to design, construction, prototypes, patenting and production, but as this wonderful volume shows, perhaps it was the love of invention for its own sake that fascinated them. Britain being the workshop of the world and capable of making anything from ocean liners to coat linings undoubtedly fuelled this craze for finding solutions to problems nobody knew they had and inventors filed designs for gadgets, machines and "apparatus" in their thousand in the Designs Registry at Somerset House in London, where a copy of the design and its specifications was pasted into a huge leather-bound volume. These volumes are now in the care of the National Archive and are rarely seen, due in part to their complex numbering system and partly because they are huge, heavy, fragile and extremely dusty! So we should all be grateful to the dust-covered Julie Halls for doing the heavy lifting for us and reminding us of the inventions that did not change the world, though their earnest inventors really thought they could. We have to say that despite the pointlessness and impracticality of most of the contrivances featured here at the time they were invented, it is surprising how many of them have a modern equivalent or close to it. Henry Whitehead's "Combined Brace and Purse" of 1879 was surely the forerunner of the money belt, a long-reach pruner bears a remarkable resemblance to Jonathan White's 1857 "Design for a Flower and Fruit Gatherer" and we defy you to spot any real difference between Henry Rogers's 1847 "Nurse's Assistant" and today's baby bouncer. Meticulous illustrations are beautifully reproduced in their original colour and inventors' descriptions with the most outrageous claims will make you smile, nay guffaw. 224pp. Beautifully bound US first edition.
Click YouTube icon to see this book come to life on video.
Published price: $30
Bibliophile price: £9.50

Additional product information

ISBN 9780500517628
Browse these categories as well: History, Science & Maths, £5-£20 GIFTS

Customers who bought this product also bought

X-RAY: See Through the World Around You
Bibliophile price: £3.50
Bibliophile price: £2.00