The author of these pages has been repeatedly urged, by many amateurs, to write a work upon the subject, but by no one more than by his late father, in conjunction with whom he made several beginnings; but the pressure of other business has prevented their efforts from arriving at maturity, and the delay has been materially lengthened by the difficulty of determining upon the most suitable arrangement. The first intention was to have written the book as a series of lessons; to have begun with the description of the plain or simple lathe, and so to have selected the examples, as to have successively described the more important and valuable of those instruments and methods which are now used.

The writer still pursued the same views after the loss of his father, in 1835, and the work was somewhat advanced on that plan, but ultimately abandoned, as he found the information upon each individual topic would then be scattered, difficult of reference, and introduced without any apparent order. That arrangement of the work would also have prevented him from introducing the notice of many useful contrivances, and from instituting a variety of comparisons between different methods, the insertion of which would greatly facilitate the explanations, and present a choice of proceeding.

Moreover, as the art now embraces a much more extensive and still increasing range of objects and instruments, than it did at the time when Bergeron wrote, the difficulties of arrange-ment that he experienced, are now proportionally increased. The author also felt some doubt as to his ability to produce, upon the first method, a work that should satisfactorily meet the wants of amateur turnes generally, in reflecting upon the widely different views with which they had, even for some conturies, practised turning and the mechanical arts.

Many persons have followed these arts as a source of active and industrious employment, accessible at all hours, in the intervals between their other pursuits; a source of amusement that renders the amateur independent of the ordinary artisan for the supply of a great variety of works of utility for the common wants of life, including those constantly required either for the domestic establishment, or those personally experienced by its inhabitants, of every age and occupation.

Other amateurs have pursued the art of turning as a source of elegant recreation, and of inventive and skilful pastime; one closely allied to the fine arts, insomuch as its greatest success depends upon a just appreciation of sculpture and painting, and for the attainment of which the education and opportunities of the man of independent leisure eminently qualify him; whilst the embellishment of the drawing-room, cabinet, and boudoir, stimulate him to apply his knowledge and skill to that end, and in which he frequently administers at the same time to the extension and cultivation of tasteful form in ordinary manufactures.

There is also a class of amateurs who have preferred the pursuit of such branches of the art as unite, with taste and design, a certain admixture of the more exact acquirements connected with mathematical and general science, and the arts of construction; and who have devoted their time and ingenuity to the production of models, embracing a variety of objects relative to the arts of peace and war; and also to the construction of various machines and apparatus, or to the still more praiseworthy attempt of improving those already in use, or of inventing new ones; the services that have been thus rendered by men of independence and education are neither few nor slight. In all such cases the progress is more rapid and certain, when the pencil is devoted to the production of the drawing, and the tool to the formation of the rough model, as proceedings in common, prior to making the finished apparatus.

In selecting topics from the very numerous branches of the subject, the author has endeavoured to supply the more immediate wants of all classes of amateurs, and under these circumstances he has thought it best, for the convenience and choice of the general reader, to separate the practical division of the subject of Turning into three distinct and different parts, to be preceded by three general or preliminary volumes, to contain miscellaneous information more or less required in the pursuit of every branch of the mechanical arts; thus di\iding the entire work into six volumes - namely,


Materials, their DIFFERENCES, Choice, and Preparation; various Modes OF working THEM, generally without Cutting Tools.


The Principles or Constroctcon, and Purposes or Cutting Tools.

Vol. III.

Abrasive and Miscellaneous Processes.

Vol. IV. The Principles and Practice or Hand or Simple Turning.

Vol. V.

The Principles and Practice or Ornamental or Complex Turning.

Vol. VI

The Princeples And Practice Of Amateur Mechanical Engineering

The first volume, which is now in the hands of the reader, relates principally to the materials for turning and the mechanical arts, arranged under the heads of the three great sources from which they are respectively derived; namely, the vegetable, the animal, and the mineral departments of nature; it includes also their treatment in the extended sense of the word, so far as regards their preparation for the Lathe, and their employment in various distinct branches of mechanical art, the practices of which do not in general require the use of tools with cutting edges.

The metallic materials are submitted to the greatest variety of processes, and which mainly depend on their properties of fusibility, malleability, and ductility; and consequently, the formation and qualities of alloys arc considered, as also the arts of founding and soldering; those of forging works in iron and steel which are comparatively thick, and the nearly analogous treatment of thin works or those in sheet metals; drawing tubes and wires, hardening and tempering, and a variety of correlative information is also offered, for the particulars of which the reader is referred to the Table of Contents.

The second volume, on cutting tools, is intended first to explain the general principles of cutting tools, which arc few and simple; he forms and proportions of tools are however extensively modified, to adapt them to the different materials, to the various shapes to be produced, and to the convenience of the operator, or of the machine in which they are fixed. The remarks on the tools will inevitably be somewhat commingled with the account of their practical use, and the consideration of the machines with which they are allied, as indeed it is difficult to say where the appellation of tool ends, and that of machine or engine begins. The tools will be treated of in different chapters, on Chisels and Planes, Turning Tools, Boring Tools, Screw Cutting Tools, Saws, Files, Shears and Punches, and in various subdivisions.

The third volume will be devoted to the description of abrasive processes; namely, those for restoring or sharpening the edges of the cutting tools; those for working upon substances to which, from their hardness or crystalline structure, the cutting tools are quite inapplicable; and also to the modes of polishing, which may be viewed as a delicate and extreme application of the abrasive process, and the final operation after the cutting tools; and lastly, to the ordinary modes of staining, lackering, varnishing, and other miscellaneous subjects.

The titles of the fourth, fifth, and sixth volumes are, it is expected, sufficiently descriptive of their contents, which will be arranged with a similar attempt at order and classification, upon which it is unnecessary here to enlarge. From the systematic arrangement attempted throughout the six volumes, it is hoped that instead of the numerous descriptions and instructions, being indiscriminately mixed and scattered, they will assume the shape of so many brief and separate treatises, and will in a great measure condense into a few consecutive pages, the remarks offered under every head; a form that will admit of any subject being selected, and of a more easy and distinct reference and comparison, when the reader may find it necessary; a facility that has been particularly studied.

Every one of the six volumes may be considered as a distinct work and complete in itself; this will admit of any selection being made from their number. At the same time it is to be observed that the first, second, and third are written as accompanying volumes, and will have an index in common, so as to constitute a general and preliminary work; the addition to which, of one of the other volumes, will render the subject complete for any of the three classes of amateurs before referred to, should the entire work be deemed too extensive.