Ernest Scott, editor. Australian Discovery. London, JM Dent, 1929. First editions. Volume 1: By Sea; Volume 2: By Land. 8vo; pp. xxxvi, 412, xxxii, 422; b/w portrait frontispieces, 10 b/w plates, 19 maps. Maps include Tasman's chart, Dampiers map, Ptolemy, Desceliers map, routes of Mendana, Quiros and Torres, Orbis Terrarum Otelius 1589, Thevenots map 1663, and more.
Very nice copies, in the original (white) dustjackets, and so very uncommon. $275.00
This small archive—from the estate of J.D. Coker, who served in the U.S. Navy on the US Strategic Bombing Survey Ships' Bombardment section, and who later became a leading official in the U.S. Atomic Preparedness programs (such as the President's Committee on Emergency Preparedness)—are mimeographs and manuscripts that comprise what seems to be the summary of the Navy's bombardment of Kamaishi, Muroran, Hitachi, Kushimoto, Shimizu and Hamamatsu. This was about the extent of the Allied naval bombardments against Japan, as it was not possible for battleships to maneuver close enough to the Japanese homeland to fire against industrial and production centers. (It may have also been the case that the aircraft used to protect the assaulting ships could have perhaps done as much damage to the targets as the ships themselves.)
The archive includes:
The U.S.S. San Jacinto--Propeller, Feb 3, 1855.
1855. New York. Manuscript drawing on thin tracing paper., by the engineer John Shearman. Good condition.
Drawing in pen and ink, on very thin paper, completed in 1855, by John F. Shearman. Rare. $2500.
This is an extremely early engineering drawing of a modern propeller, executed only a dozen years or so after the creation of the modern screw propeller by John Eriksson. Shearman's creation is devoid of the extra blades that appeared on the edges of the fans of Eriksson's first attempts, and as ultimately adopted as the standard response to this knotty fluid dynamics problem. The propeller pictured here was for the USS San Jacinto, a mail packet that ran along the west coast in the 1850s until it was sunk operating as a blockade runner for the Confederate States in 1864. It was a pretty large propeller--more than 15 feet in diameter--and moved the ship it was attached to more than 22 feet for every revolution of the blade.
The USS San Jacinto was an early screw frigate in the United States Navy, and was named for the San JAcinto River, of importance during the Texas Revolution. She is perhaps best known for her role in the Trent Affair of 1861...see more here from Wiki.
Shearman was an engineer who worked at the Brooklyn Iron Works, Roslyn Navy Yard (New York) and a number of other places, practicing his trade from 1845 through 1888.
The U.S.S. San Jactino:
|Name:||USS San Jacinto|
|Builder:||New York Navy Yard|
|Laid down:||August 1847|
|Launched:||16 April 1850|
|Commissioned:||late 1851/early 1852|
|Fate:||Ran aground, 1 January 1865|
|Tonnage:||1,567 long tons (1,592 t)|
|Length:||234 ft (71 m)|
|Beam:||37 ft 9 in (11.51 m)|
|Draft:||16 ft 6 in (5.03 m)|
|Depth of hold:||23 ft 3 in (7.09 m)|
|Propulsion:||Steam engine, screw propeller|
|Speed:||8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph)|
|Complement:||278 officers and enlisted|
|Armament:||• 2 × 8 in (200 mm) guns
• 4 × 32-pounder guns
ITEM: Engraving, Slagh in Vlaenderen. 4x3 inches. Printed ca. 1660. $200. Ref: JF Ptak Science Books Post 1435
This small engraving, Slagh in Vlaenderen (Battle in Flanders or thereabouts), is about 3x4 inches, a tiny engraving (on copper, I believe) depicting a large action between what I would guess to be the Dutch, or the army at Flanders, and the Spanish, sometime in the late 15th century to the early/mid 17th century. There were a number of different years in which this action could have taken place, so I'm not sure what this image actually depicts. The print was made sometime in the mid 17th century, possibly earlier.
What attracted me to this print was the minuteness of the figures in the background--the horse depicted here is not a millimeter long in the original, but we can see that the artist took enough care and had the imagination to make the horse run.
Ditto for the soldier just to the left of the horse and out of formation--even when you hold the print close, you really can't see that there's a figure there unless you use a magnifying glass. This sample was scanned at 1000 dpi and represents a section of the print that is maybe 8 mm across.
The next sample shows an island that in the original is about an inch across, and as you can well see the sub-detail from the image above is just a fragment of this detail.
And the print in all of its glory, appearing on your monitor at about full scale.
I am constantly amazed at the precision and care and artistry of these early engravers, and how much they cared to include interesting details that were all but invisible to the majority of its viewers. But that's not the point.
Panorama of the British Navy at its Height 1909, 15 x 90 inches
The Illustrated London News Panorama of the Force We Must Maintain: a Navy Adequate in Strength to ensure our Shores from Invasion, our Empire from Hostile Attempts, and our Trade from Destruction in War.
Two long, folding sheets published as a special supplement in the “Illustrated London News”, March 27, 1909, after paintings by Norman Wilkinson. Each sheet 45 inches long and are intended to be joined, and so make a very impressive 15”x90” display.
The images of the ships are very detailed, and the key at the bottom identifies 183 warships (with notes on tonnage, armament, speed and age). The pair, $450
Item: large (14x11) inch single page illustration fro The Illustrated London News for 1911. $55.00 ref: JF Ptak Science Books Post 1408
There's nothing quite so satisfying as seeing a representation of quantitative data like this where the graphical displays are flying. "One Dreadnought Buys 52 Dirigibles and 235 Aeroplanes" is a full-page diagram appearing in the 3 June 1911 , making a very strong point that in the new air-age 2 million pounds for one battleship buys a lot of aircraft. Of course this is a British journal and the ship is flying an American flag--the image originally appeared in the Scientific American just a short while before this publication, and so it also enumerates American and international aircraft, making for a lovely representation of a broad range of airplanes filling up the same sky.
ITEMS: (1) Full-page, 15x10 inch cross section frm the 14 August 1909 issue of The Illustrated London News featuring the Olympia. Very good condition. $50
(2) Full-page, 14x9 inch cross section of the HMS Mauretania. 1907. Good condition. $50
ref: JF Ptak Science Books Post 1382
"...And a Gymnasium."
Resting comfortably in-between this blog's Cross Sections and Looking-At-Things-Straight-On series is this straight-on cross section of the midship section of the HMS Olympic.
This cross section appeared in the 14 August 1909 issue of The Illustrated London News, just six months or so after she was laid down. The Olympic was finished in 1911 and sailed through until 1935, a considerably much-longer career than her two sister ships, the Titanic and the Britannic. The Titanic of course was launched in 1911 and went down on 12 April 1912; the Britannic lasted a little longer, though this ship never really had much of a career, launched just before the beginning of WWI and then used immediately as a hospital ship, striking and being sunk by a mine in 1916. The three ships were beasts, about 882 feet long and about 53,000 tons displacement. The viewer certainly gets a good idea of the scope of the ship from this image.
Third class looks pretty rustic, a no-bones approach to ocean travel, stuffed into the space next to the squash courts and under the gym.
Next comes the HMS Mauretania, again form The Illustrated London News right at the time of its record-setting speed attempt to cross the Atlantic in November 1907. The ship was long (almost 800 feet) and about the fastest ocean-going ship in the world,. crossing and re-crossing the Atlantic in 12 days.
ITEMS: (1) "The Price of Armed Peace" (described below), Illustrated London News, 14 x 10 inches, printed 21 August 1909. Full page illustration. Good condition. $50 (2) Ships are a Nation's Shoes--We Need Shoes. National Marine League of the United States, 1934. 3 leaves, 7x5 inches. $35
ref: JF Ptak Science Books Post 1380
It is a hallmark in displaying ideas and information that brevity, design and clarity carry the day. For this reason we have the Pie Chart (happily invented by a very ingenious and polymathic idea-experimenter in the form of William Playfair in 18011), and not the Enormous Cake Chart, which had been baked previously for hundreds of years in the ovens of Raymond Llull2 (and those he influenced) and then to a lesser degree by Giordano Bruno. The entwined, overlapping combinatorial diagrams that were initiated by these folks didn't really start to get straightened out until the ideas were in the hands of Leibniz and Euler, and then prettily and usefully, finally, by Playfair. It was through the 19th century that the pie chart began it great ascent in the hands of Guerry and Lalanne and Nigthengale, and then on to Jevons, and then on into modernity. But the thing that made these contributions significant was the amount of information they were able to easily and cogently display.
The pie chart could definitely have been used in these two displays, below--the information was certainly simple enough, and the comparisons easy. But there was a certain genius to displaying the data using children and shoes that enabled the information to ride along with its viewer deeper into the future than if it had simply been encrusted in circles.
For example, in the first image, a full-page illustration from The Illustrated London News for 21 August 1909, "The Price of Armed Peace, the Cost of the World's Great Navies", displays the size of expenditure on leading navies in terms of children's toy boats. I am positive that the lasting image here would've been the size of the German toy gunboat compared to the dreadnaught of Great Britain. Likewise the ships/shoes comparison of the next image, published by the National Marine League of the United States, a sort of PAC for the merchant marine. They simply state that ships are the nation's shoes, then interlace a graphic showing the paltry showing of American ship tonnage compared to 10 other leading maritime nations, and then smply state that "we need shoes". The graphical display shows vividly that the United States' total ship tonnage was tiny--eleventh of eleven powers--but the bit that would no doubt stay in the heads of any readers was the shoe part, which would then be associated with the diagram, which on the face of it was a little muddled and not clear. This was a smart sales job, delivering a brisk message that would not be befuddled by numbers--it wasn't that the U.S. ranked 11th in total maritime tonnage against other leading powers, it was that we needed shoes.
1. Playfair wrote his Statistical Breviary in London in 1801.
2. For example in his logic machines as seen in the Ars Magna.
JF Ptak Science Books Post 1366
There were many integral components to firing a cannon on a ship, not the least of which were the Powder Boys, the small, young, semi-strong kids who would run the gunpowder from a below-decks armory to whatever gun deck was needed. It was a relatively simple procedure, filling up a longish tube (cannon derived from the Italian cannone--or large tube--which came from the Latin canna from the Greek kannē , meaning something like a reed or any similar hollow thing) with gunpowder and then cannonball/shot and then wad, then causing the gunpowder/propellant to ignite and throw the ball. Basically, that was it, though you needed to maintain the cannon, aim it, and so on (don't forget to first swab the bore from unexploded gunpowder so you don't blow things up!).
The (first) image above of found modernist/semi-dadaist artwork comes form 1812 and was found in Rees'1 Encyclopedic Dictionary from the article on "Shipbuilidng" and illustrates the ways in which the stern of a ship can be outfitted with cannons--actually, the sterns of the HMS Bodiceae (28 18-pounders) and HMS Hamadryad (36 guns). Also by this time cannons had been carried on naval ships for nearly four hundred years, while the first cannons appeared on the ground in Europe another few hundred years before that.
In the third detail (below) we see the coverage of the four cannons placed in the stern of the Bodicae, mainly pointing out its weaknesses, showing the undefended arc, which comprises about 1/3, or about 60 degrees of the defensive posture. The Hamadryad on the other hand shows 100% coverage of the 180+ degrees of attack possibilities shown, along wioth secondary and teriary areas of fire coverage covered by mor ethan one gun.
A fine,tiny detail from the full engraved sheet:
This is pretty much all that was needed to fire a cannon, except the men of course.
1. I've written about before here, just enter "Rees" in the google box and there will be a dozen or so other posts.