The Industrial Revolution saw a marvel of new machinery burgeon from the explosion in technological innovation. The new mechanics reshaped transportation, construction and manufacturing and scientists, inventors and entrepreneurs flourished in a fierce commercial environment. Attaining technical superiority was paramount and Gregory’s manual A treatise of mechanics was marketed towards the non-specialist practitioner, filling a gap in the literature between dense theoretical works and simplistic guides for the amateur. Combining theory and practice in accessible language, the work was a popular success and re-issued in multiple impressions, including this 4th ‘corrected and improved’ edition of 1826.
Olinthus Gregory (1774–1841) was an English mathematician and foundation member of the Royal Astronomical Society whose first work, Lessons Astronomical and Philosophical (1793) was published at the age of 19. His manuscripts on the sliding rule and astronomy brought him to the attention of the Royal Military Academy (Woolwich) where he was appointed mathematical master in 1802, and professor five years later. His A treatise of mechanics, theoretical, practical and descriptive (first published 1806), and experiments undertaken with mortars, guns and muskets in 1823 to determine the velocity of sound, were his most significant contributions to physical science.
This set was presented to Henry Goodwyn in 1850 as a prize for mathematics by the Court of Directors at the East India Company’s Military Seminary, Addiscombe, whose armorial binding covers the three-volumes. Goodwyn was appointed a Fellow of the University of Calcutta when a Colonel in the Bengal Lancers (Indian Army) and Chief Engineer in Calcutta in 1854.
Volume III is full of remarkable Illustrations bringing to life a marvellous array of inventions powered by pulleys, cogs, wheels, balances, levers, condensers and engines. This updated edition includes six additional plates reflecting the ‘extraordinary impulsion received by the mechanical arts in the last two or three years’ [Gregory in his Preface].
Digital Collections | Library (2nd Sep 2020). A treatise of mechanics, theoretical, practical and descriptive Plates. In Website Digital Collections | Library. Retrieved 28th Jan 2022 15:18, from https://unsw.recollect.net.au/nodes/view/3070