JF Ptak Science Books Post 2356
I've written earlier in this blog about the magnificent-ish and often described book by John Comenius called The Visible World...1, which also happens to be the first illustrated children's book. It was also a book about virtually anything, and everything, and certainly not a book about nothing, because sooner of later Comenius would get to the topic and deal with it, right or wrong.
The book was originally written in 1676, and translated into English in 1726; in that edition the translator states the purpose of the work:
To entice witty children to it, that they may not conceit a torment to be in the school, but dainty/are., For it is apparent, that children (even from their infancy almost) are delighted with Pictures, and willingly please their eyes with these fights: And it will be very well worth the pains to have once brought it to pafs, that fcare-crows may be taken away out of Wifdom's Gardens..."
Though much is said of other illustrations in that book (I was drawn to it for the illustration of the human soul) I don't often see very much at all on the subject of his display of trades--for example, the barber, illustrated below. The trusting bit about these cuts is that it shows a relatively simple image of common working life, which frankly is not terribly common, or at least so with the commentary on the tools of the trade, which are listed in the text and annotated in the image. It is interesting to see the reference to the comb used to sometimes "curl" the customer; and also the "crisping iron" which is a tong-like device that would be used to further curl the hair. In the background we see the remnant from an older time, a barber using a "pen-knife" to "sometimes...cutteth a vein", a practice of balancing the humours, of curing maladies from major aliments to gunshots to dandruff and ingrown toenails--anatomy and the understanding of the body may have progressed a little more quickly than figuring out disease. This practice lasted in places until deep into the 19th century, and is still used today in are cases where Dr. House might find something absolutely suited for this procedure, or for the application of leeches, which did much the same thing. (The Brits imported millions of these buggers from France for this purpose, even into the 19th century.)
There's much much more to come in this book--just follow the link to the original at Project Gutenberg.
1. The work itself: John Amos Comenius, Orbis Senfualium Piélus: Omnium Principalium in Mundo Rerun/ &f m Vita АШопит, translated as Pictura et Nomenclatur, the Visible World, or A Nomenclature, and Pictures of all Chief Things that are int he World, translated into English by Charles Hoof...1726.