The following pages have been prepared with very great care, the chief aim being to give none but recipes which will not disappoint those who attempt to use them. Several of the recipes here given are original, the formulae having been worked out or improved by the author after much labor and experiment. In searching for really good formulae, we have been astonished at the errors which have crept into many of our standard books of recipes. For example, in one case the two separate operations of a well-known process for staining wood are given as distinct, and, of course useless recipes! In a seemingly favorite recipe for a washing fluid, the reader is directed to add vinegar to the ammonia employed, thus entirely neutralizing it. In the same way we find a recipe for transferring printed engravings to wood, in which the alkali (potash) is neutralized with vitriol! We suppose that in the last case, the author of this recipe thought that two strong liquids must be better than one, forgetting or not knowing the fact that one destroys the effect of the other. A very slight knowledge of technological science would have enabled the compilers of these books to avoid such blunders. In addition to these defects, however, most of our large books of recipes contain so much that is entirely useless to the practical man, and so many mere repetitions of the same recipe in different language and terms, that their cost is greatly increased while their value instead of being enhanced, is actually lessened. We have, therefore, endeavored to combine in the following pages all that is really of practical value to the professional or amateur mechanic, and at the same time by giving only one or two of the best recipes under each head, we have not only simplified the work, but we have brought it to such a size and price that every one can afford to buy it.
The subjects treated of in this work are arrarged alphabetically, so as to avoid the necessity of constant reference to the index. A few words in regard to the method pursued in arranging the matter may, however, not be out of place. As we believe that the greatest advantage will be derived from bringing together at one place not only the special instructions in regard to particular processes, but the general information relating to the materials, etc., employed, we have in most cases collected all such matter together under one head. Thus, under the head of " Steel " will be found not only a description of the different kinds of steel, but directions for forging, tempering, etc., but as most persons who consult this book would most likely look under the head " Tempering " for information on that particular subject, we have entered the word "Tempering" and under it give a cross-reference to " Steel." This is the reason why we have introduced so many cross references, every one of which was put in after the book was written, so that the reader will not be disappointed when he turns to the heading to which he is directed. Many of our readers, doubtless, know that in too many volumes of this kind, cross references are inserted merely for the purpose of swelling the apparent amount of information contained in the volume, and very often when the reader turns to the heading to which he is directed, he finds that the subject which he is looking for has been omitted. In the present case, the utmost care has been taken to prevent disappointment of every kind, and whenever information is promised we have endeavored to give it fully, accurately, and in the simplest possible language.