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Historical Technology Books: Light science for leisure hours. A series of familiar essays on scientific subjects, natural phenomena, &c. by Richard A. (Richard Anthony) Proctor (1871) - 24 in a series

Technology isn't just computers, networks and phones. Technology has always been part of the human experience. All of our ancestors have looked for ways to help them survive and do less work for more gain. has a host of old technology books (from mid-19th to mid-20th Century) available in many formats and on a host of topics. Many of the technologies discussed within these books are being put to use again these days in the back to the land" and homesteading movements. You might even find something that could address one of your own garden or farm issues but has been lost to time and history. Enjoy! --Douglas

Historical Technology Books: Light science for leisure hours. A series of familiar essays on scientific subjects, natural phenomena, &c. by Richard A. (Richard Anthony) Proctor ((1871) - 24 in a series


THE Essays in the present volume have been selected from my contributions to serial literature during the past three or four years. Although I have for some time been urged to publish such a volume, I think I should not have ventured to do so but for the kindness with which my " Other "Worlds " and " The Sun " have been received, both by the press and the public.

In preparing these Essays, my chief object has been to present scientific truths in a light and readable form clearly and simply, but with an exact adherence to the facts as I see them. I have followed here and always the rule of trying to explain my meaning precisely as I should wish others to explain, to myself, matters with which I was unfamiliar. Hence I have avoided that excessive simplicity which some seem to consider absolutely essential in scientific essays intended for general perusal, but which is often even more perplexing than a too technical style. The chief rule I have followed, in order to make my descriptions clear, lias been to endeavor to make eacli sentence bear one meaning, and one only. Speaking as a reader, and especially as a reader of scientific books, I venture to express an earnest wish that this simple rule were never infringed, even to meet the requirements of style.

It will hardly be necessary to mention that several of the shorter Essays are rather intended to amuse than to instruct.

The Essay on the influence which marriage has been supposed to exert on the death-rate is the one referred to by Mr. Darwin at page 176 (vol. i.) of his "Descent of Man."

This and the other Essays from the Daily News are selected from a large number of articles which I wrote in the years 1868-'TO. It was by my kind friend Mr. Walker, formerly editor of the Daily News, that I was first urged to collect my Essays into a volume. I have to thank the proprietors and the present editor of the Daily News, and the proprietors and editors of the other journals from which the present series has been selected, for freely according me permission to reprint these Essays.


LONDON, May, 1871.

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