MECHANICK EXERCISES OR The Doctrine of Handy-Works Joseph Moxon

The Doctrine of Handy-Works

Hardbound reprint of 1703 edition
354 pages, many illustrations

Review by Jim Wilson

Whew! If you love old books as I do, this one is a joy to read. BUT if you have problems reading OLDE ENGLISH, you're in trouble!

Just two short paragraphs as an example. Bear in mind that for almost every occasion of the letter `S' the Olde English uses a cursive lower case `f'.

Nor is it easie to find by any Authority,  what part of the Mechanicks was first Practiced by Man: therefore I shall wave that too  and only consider,  that if we ourselves were the first Men,  what Branch of the Mechanicks we would first Need and have Recourse to.

I have considered and Answer, That without the Invention of Smithing, primarily, most other Mechanick Invention would be at an end:  The Instruments, or Tools, that are used in them, being either made of Iron, or some other matter, form'd by the help of Iron.  But pray take Notice, that by Iron, I also mean steel, it being originally Iron.
Fig. 1 Click for enlargement Confused? Don't worry, it gets worse! The Illustrations are not lettered in a way that we are familiar with, so it takes a little time to figure out exactly which illustration, on which plate, the author is referring to.

Click on image to left for larger image.

Starting with setting up a forge and bellows, he goes through the basic processes all the way to filing and finishing. And he manages to dispose of Blacksmithing in only 62 pages out of the 354 that the book contains.

I enjoyed the book. Not everyone will. This is another one that (was) long out of print. Try Inter Library Loan at your public library. The copy that I was able to borrow was an OLD Zerox copy.

Since writing this review we found the reprint edition. Moxon is one of the few resources available for this period of time and is widely used in reconstructions and museum work.

Joseph Moxon
Mecanick Exercises or the Doctrine of Handy-Works

Hardbound reprint of 1703 edition

Introduction by John S. Kebabian
Copyright © 1975 by The Early American Industries Association

1994 Edition, The Astragal Press
5 Cold Hill Road #12
P.O. Box 239
Mendham, NJ 07945
LOC TT144.M93 1989

Copyright © 2000 by Jock Dempsey, DEMPSEY'S FORGE
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