Various and Ingenious Machines (2 vols.)

Volume One: Power Generation and Transport / Volume Two: Manufacturing and Weapons Technology


This two-volume work describes the early history of mechanical engineering from prehistory, when mining and agriculture first appear, to the beginnings of industrialisation. The old definition that if it moves it’s mechanical is used and consequently the books are divided into four major sections: power generation and transport in the first volume; manufacturing technology and weapons technology in the second volume. Background chapters to each section broadens the text and depth is added by analytical appendices describing the principles of operation, optimum operating conditions, and the limits of performance of historically important machinery; all presented in easily understood graphical format. The text is profusely illustrated by over 800 figures and should be of value to historians, industrial archaeologists, and engineers.


EUR €323.00USD $390.00

Biographical Note

Bryan Lawton, Ph.D. (1970), Salford University, currently Reader in Thermal Power at Cranfield University. His research fields include engines, guns, rockets, skin burns and computer tomography. He has co-authored books on transient temperatures, ballistics, and trauma.

Review Quote

' ...a most readable book, copiously illustrated and referenced with an extensive bibliography, showing a considerable depth of scholarship with much new analytical material.' John Anning, Transactions of the Newcomen Society, 2005. ' Lawton nicely traces the history of mechanical engineering development along with its interesting and ingenious machines...This set, with its good illustrations and indexes, well presents an interesting, informative early history of mechanical engineering. Highly recommended ' M.G. Prasad, Choice, 2005.

Table of contents

Volume 1 Mechanics Chapter 1 Machine Elements Chapter 2 Power Transmission Power generation Chapter 3 Power, Food, and Slavery Chapter 4 Muscular Work and Power Chapter 5 Muscle technology Chapter 6 Waterpower Chapter 7 Wind and Other Sources of Power Transport Chapter 8 Characteristics of Transport Chapter 9 Land Transport - Prehistory and the Ancient Civilisations - Persia, Greece and Rome - Medieval, Renaissance and Early Modern Chapter 10 Land Transport technology Chapter 11 Water Transport Chapter 12 Ship Technology Chapter 13 Undersea and Aerial Transport Volume 2 Manufacture Chapter 14 Attitudes to Manufacture Chapter 15 Agriculture - Introduction Chapter 16 Ancient and Medieval Mining Chapter 17 Renaissance and Early Modern Mining Chapter 18 Ancient and Medieval Metalworking Chapter 19 Renaissance and Early Modern Metalworking Chapter 20 Textile Manufacture Chapter 21 Warfare Chapter 22 Ancient and Classical Weapons Chapter 23 Medieval and Early Modern Weapons Chapter 24 Weapons Technology


Historians, archaeologists, engineers, and students of the history of technology who wish to gain a deeper understanding of pre-industrial engineering technology, and in particular those working on reconstructive or industrial archaeology.