All these books are contained in the library of the British Museum, except that of Plumier,* who appears not to have seen a rare book of more remote date than any of the above, namely, "Panoplia Omnium," etc, by Hartman Schopper, printed at Frankfort-on-the-Maine in 1548, about twenty years after the Reformation: this old work contains 180 highly characteristic engravings, cut plank-ways on wood, and taken from every grade of life, civil, religious, and military, not forgetting the liberal and constructive arts, amongst which arc included that of the turner, and those of a variety of artisans whose pursuits are intimately allied to our present subject. This work, which will be again referred to, shows that a great degree of perfection and subdivision in the practice of the mechanical arts existed even at that early period.
The execution of Plumier's work is honourable to its author, from the industrious care and exactness which it exhibits, more especially when it is considered that it is almost the first work published upon the subject: a second edition, with extra plates, and additional text, was published in Paris, 1749, when it also appeared in folio. It formed the basis of the article on the art of Tuning published in 1791, in "l' Encyclopedie Methodique," (begun in 1782,) by Diderot, D'Alembert, and others, wherein forty crowded engravings of turning machinery are contained: various other French works on the same subject quickly followed. First, the earlier edition of the " Manuel du Toumeur," 2 vols, quarto, 1792-4, Paris, by L. E. Bergeron; this work is highly satisfactory, and is a record of all the material improvements introduced in the mechanism of the lathe by our continental neighbours, subsequent to the period at which Plumier wrote; and from these machines many of our modern contrivances are taken, although during the interval which has since elapsed, considerable changes have been introduced, as well in the manner of turning as in the material of the apparatus, wood being in many cases supplanted by metal, a more useful change as regards the excellence of construction, and also the strength and durability of the machinery.
* It is rather singular that not only Plumier's, but all the subsequent French and English works, written exclusively on turning (except Rich's) should be absent from that extensive and national collection of books.
A second edition of Bergeron's work, revised by his son-in-law, Hamelin Bergeron, was published in 1816; another smaller publication, entitled "L' Artdu Toumeur, par M.Paulin Desormeux," in2 vols. 12mo., with an atlas, was printed in Paris in 1821; and lastly, two small volumes 16mo, with plates, entitled " Nouveau Manuel du Toumeur,ou Traite complet et simplifiede cet Art, ridige par M. Dessables," the second edition of which, printed in 1839 and forming a part of the "Encyclope'die-Roret" completes the list of French works devoted to the subject, the last two being in some respects compilations from Bergeron; the latter works only include the practice of hand-turning, leaving unnoticed the rose-engine, the eccentire-chuck, and various apparatus described in the old books, although the" Manuel- Roret" contains, in an appendix, some extracts relative to the art of turning, from more scientific journals, and the printed transactions of various societies with explanatory notes, by Mapod, "Tourneur-mecanicien." In England, where, during the last half-century, the art has perhaps been far more extensively practised, both as a source of emolument and of amusement, we find in addition to the brief articles in the various encyclopaedias, periodicals, and a few works devoted to mechanical subjects, only the following treatises on detached portions of the art, namely:
1817. "Specimens of Eccentric Circular Turning, with Practical Illustrations for producing Corresponding Pieces in that Art. By John Holt Ibbetson, Esq."
1819. "Tables; by which are exhibited at one view all the divisions of each circle on the dividing plate. By C. H. Rich, Esq."
1825. A second edition of Ibbetson's Specimens.
1833. "A Brief Account of Ibbetson's Geometric Chuck, manufactured by Holtzapffel & Co., with a selection of 32 Specimens, illustrative of some of its powers. By J. H. Ibbetson, Esq." *
1838. A third edition of Ibbetson's Specimens of Eccentric Circular Turning. "With considerable Additions, including a description and copperplate engravings of the Compound Eccentric Chuck, constructed by the Author, and used by him in the execution of his Specimens."
The mention of the above publications by Mr. Ibbetson, enables me to particularise the services he has rendered to his fellow amateurs; and their inspection will abundantly show the great care and perseverance that he has devoted to the pursuits of turning, and the deserved eminence he has attained therein.
He has not only attended to the production of numerous highly ornamental combinations and effects, many of which are displayed in the treatises before cited; others in his "Practical View of an Invention for the better protecting Bank Notes against Forgery," editions 1 and 2, - 1820 and 21, and in numerous communications to the Mechanics' Magazine; he has done more than this by constructing with his own hands the major part of the apparatus that he has used, many of which are original, and will be duly noticed in their appropriate places, in this work.
The best notices in our language of the general application of the art, are probably those contained in Rees's Cyclopaedia, under the heads of "Turning," "Lathe," and "Rose Engine."
* For Mr. Ibbetson's first description of his modification of the Geometric Chuck, see Mechanics Magazine, 30th Dec, 1826.
Several amateurs have undertaken the translation of Bergeron's Manuel into the English language, and others have commenced new works, but none of these have been carried to completion. The former proceeding would have called for a re-construction ruction of the book, which, although it abounds with a great deal of original, useful, and practical matter, is rather diffuse, and refers to apparatus that have been so far altered and superseded by others of more recent construction, and subsequent invention, that such a translation, if adapted to the present state of the art, would almost amount to a new work.