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Social and industrial history

This section picks up books that will hopefully interest our readers in the area of social history and industrial archeology, how people lived, the technology people used and the places they worked.


R101: The Airship Disaster, 1930 book
SKU: rtad/166/000
Historic official papers which have not previously been available in a popular form about the R101
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Manual of Formulas: Recipes, Methods and Secret Processes
SKU: mof/400/550
Binding: Paperback: 250 pages

Great little book with hundres of formulas inside from adhesives to making mirrors - things that you never knew you needed!

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Witness: Greenpeace - 25 Years on the Environmental Front Line
SKU: gpw/1202/000
It all started, the authors tell us, in 1971 when three men decided to improvise on the "Quaker tradition of bearing witness" by taking a boat to a nuclear test site. Arrested by the U.S. Coast Guard before they reached their destination, they did succeed in briefly delaying the test, and, more important, in making headlines. From that modest beginning, Greenpeace has evolved into the most visible and consistent of the eco-warrior groups, staging dramatic and increasingly sophisticated interventions to raise awareness of environmental degradation all around the world, and, in the process, risking life and liberty for their beliefs. Their story is compelling in any form, but this volume of photographs captures their energy, conviction, and courage, not to mention the David-and-Goliath-like nature of their struggle against whaling, drift net fishing, nuclear weapons, and the dumping of toxic waste. The battle to slow the destruction of the environment must be waged in many arenas; we should be grateful that Greenpeace remains on the front line. Donna Seaman
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SKU: l/144/000
Binding: Paperback: 189 pages
Anyone alive in the 18th century would have known that 'the longitude problem' was the thorniest scientific dilemma of the day – and had been for centuries. Lacking the ability to measure their longitude, sailors throughout the great ages of exploration had been literally lost at sea as soon as they lost sight of land. Thousands of lives, and the increasing fortunes of nations, hung on a resolution.
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Empowering the Earth
SKU: ete/562/000
Binding: Paperback: 288 pages
Written over eight years of involvement in Green politics, co-operative economics and non-violent direct action, this view of power as a dynamic process, binding people together and building institutions, distinguishes between power which threatens stability and that which enables natural living.
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Gas Engines and Producer Gas Plants 1905 - reprint
SKU: geapgp/470/800
Binding: Paperback: 320 pages
Building a steam engine is tough. Finding a dynamo simpler. But I don't want to be around a homemade boiler. There's a good chance that it's a bomb waiting to go off.

There's a simpler way. Instead of burning coal or wood to make steam in an external combustion engine, the smart thing to do is to convert the fuel to gas and send it into a commercial internal combustion engine driving an alternator. The system might be nothing more than a 5 hp Briggs & Stratton engine and a truck alternator charging 12 volt batteries. No boiler to build. No engine to build. No gasoline to buy. Just build a simple cooker and fire it up.

This is was done in 1905 when Mathot showed people how to use those new "high-tech" one lung engines, powering them with gas generated by cooking wood and coal.

Chapters include selection of an engine, installation, foundation and exhaust, water circulation, lubrication, perfect operation, how to start the engine, perturbations in the operation, producer gas engine, producer gas, pressure gas-producers, suction gas-producers, oil and volatile hydrocarbon engines, and selection of an engine.

The beauty of this book is in details provided for many different gas generators. You get drawings of a Simplex generator, a Dowson unit, a Fichet-Heurtey producer with rotating bed-plate, a Gardie unit, a sawdust purifier, a gas holder and washer, a Fange-Chavanon inverted-combustion producer and many, many more. You'll find more about gas production here than in a dozen other books.

This is not only valuable material to the homesteader and survivalist, but especially to the guy who wants to run his auto on coal and wood. Scaled down versions of these digesters were used all over the world during WWII and the years following due to petroleum shortages. And antique engine fans will find interesting details on early engines, ignitions systems, and more. No promises, but it may be that details here could help you run an engine on methane generated by rotting manure and organic material in a digester.

Great, raw, rare energy information from a simpler time begging to be adapted to today's world. We've been consuming oil faster than we've been finding it for many years now. Shortages are on the way. This might be a way around the problem. Interesting stuff.

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Green Pages - The Business of saving the World
SKU: gp/376/000
Binding: Paperback: 256 pages
Both a handbook and a directory," Green Pages" details the future influence of environmental issues on European business and the changes in technology, design, research and politics that these issues engender.
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Empires of Nature and the Nature of Empires: Imperilaism, Scotland and the Environment (Paperback)
SKU: SKU11cd9db3227a6f566e7225cf4e269
Originally delivered as the Callander Lectures at the University of Aberdeen in 1995, this is a survey of the historiography of the environmental history of the British Empire, suggesting new modes of analysis and connections with the Scottish experience. Environmental history has grown considerably as an area of historical study. This historiography offers opportunities for the globalizing of human history in relation to its natural context. Within this field, some of the major studies have emerged in relation to the British Empire, examining the environmental effects of the social and economic impact of imperialism in the various continents of the world. The book undertakes a survey of this literature. It examines a wide range of research and publications, and divides them into the apocalyptic, the neo-whiggish and the longer-perspective schools. The author takes some of the contributors to task for their analytical excesses, and makes suggestions for the future direction of the field. In doing so, it draws parallels with current environmental issues. It also connects studies of the environment to the Scottish experience, and the dominance of the Scots in the relevant agencies of the British Empire.
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A Little History of British Gardening - Jenney Uglow
SKU: alhobg/676/300
Did the Romans have rakes? Did the monks get muddy? Did the potato seem really, really weird when it arrived on our shores?

This lively 'potted' history of gardening in Britain takes us on a garden tour from the thorn hedges around prehistoric settlements to the rage for decking and ornamental grasses today. It tracks down the ordinary folk who worked the earth - the apprentice boys and weeding women, the florists and nursery gardeners - as well as aristocrats and grand designers and famous plant-hunters. Coloured by Jenny Uglow's own love for plants, and brought to life in the many vivid illustrations, it deals not only with flowery meads, grottoes and vistas, landscapes and ha-has, parks and allotments, but tells you, for example, how the Tudors made their curious knots; how housewives used herbs to stop freckles; how the suburbs dug for victory in World War II.

With a brief guide to particular historic or evocative gardens open to the public, this is a book to put in your pocket when planning a summer day out - but also to read in your deckchair with a glass of cold wine, when dead-heading is simply too much.

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BP Book of Industrial Archaeology
SKU: bpia/820/175
Binding: Hardcover: 428 pages
This book is suitably written for the numerous people who have passed through any of our now disused industrial sites and wondered "I wonder what this or that building was?". Each chapter takes you through major milestones in the technology that helped shape our industrial heritage. The use of contemporary and modern photographs,together with easily read text encourages the reader to delve deeper into their chosen or main interest,ranging from docks,textiles,power production or railways. Suitable for the beginner or true enthusiast.
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About Pembrokeshire: Gwlad Yr Hur / The Land of Enchantment
SKU: 060208/108/576
John Seymour, the author of this book, is a writer well known for his guide books, novels and documentaries. Living and farming in Pembrokeshire, he is eminently qualified to describe his county of adoption. This book is a brief guide for visitors to Pembrokeshire and was first published to support the Pembrokeshire Royal National Eisteddfod of Wales (Eisteddfod Sir Benfro, 1972). The cover illustration shows Pentre Ifan cromlech, a neolithic burial chamber in the north of the county. This cromlech was chosen as the Eisteddfod Sir Benfro symbol to represent the enduring nature of Wales and its culture.

1971 1st edition. 68-pages. 'A brief guide for visitors... first published to support the Pembrokeshire Royal National Eisteddfod Of Wales 1972.' Some nice illustrations, including two by Sally Seymour

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Science of Energy: A Cultural History of Energy Physics in Victorian Britain
SKU: tsoe/546/000
Between Isaac Newton in the 17th century and Albert Einstein in the 20th century, few innovations in science have had such wide-ranging effects as "energy". Traditional accounts of the energy concept have tended to emphasize its "discovery", an inevitable product of the advancement of science in the 19th century. By contrast, this new history places the "construction" of the concept firmly in its social, economic and political context.
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The Code Book - paperback
SKU: tcb/350/000
The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography From the best-selling author of Fermat's Last Theorem, The Code Book is a history of man's urge to uncover the secrets of codes, from Egyptian puzzles to modern day computer encryptions. As in Fermat's Last Theorem, Simon Singh brings life to an anstonishing story of puzzles, codes, languages and riddles that reveals man's continual pursuit to disguise and uncover, and to work out the secret languages of others. Codes have influenced events throughout history, both in the stories of those who make them and those who break them. The betrayal of Mary Queen of Scots and the cracking of the enigma code that helped the Allies in World War II are major episodes in a continuing history of cryptography. In addition to stories of intrigue and warfare, Simon Singh also investigates other codes, the unravelling of genes and the rediscovery of ancient languages and most tantalisingly, the Beale ciphers, an unbroken code that could hold the key to a USD 20 million treasure.

Secret writing has been altering the course of history for thousands of years - from ancient Chinese messages written on silk, wrapped up, covered in wax and swallowed by the courier to today's quest for the ultimate, unbreakable code. Likening codes to bacteria and codebreakers to antibiotics, the author of the acclaimed Fermat's Last Theorem examines what he describes as the 'evolution' of cryptography. This isn't a definitive history, rather Singh adopts an absorbing magpie approach, using snippets of history to illustrate his points, interspersed with examples of cryptanalysis. With information as valuable as ever, and ever easier to intercept and abuse, he makes a plea for the continuing importance of codes as a way of protecting our privacy. (Kirkus UK)

'A fascinating meander through the centuries; replete with tales of intrigue, political chicanery, military secrecy and academic rivalry.' The Times

Simon Singh is a science journalist and TV producer. Having completed his PhD at Cambridge he worked from 1991 to 1997 at the BBC producing Tomorrow's World and co-directing the BAFTA award-winning documentary Fermat's Last Theorem for the Horizon series. In 1997, he published Fermat's Last Theorem, which was a best-seller in Britain and translated into 22 languages.

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The Guardian Book of the Countryside
SKU: thbotc/620/399
Binding: Hardcover: 256 pages

From the spread of the railways and flight to the cities in the early 19th century, through to the floods and global warming on the 21st century, this beautiful selection of journalism reflects the changing face of rural Britain over the past 200 years. Poignant and informative, this volume demonstrates how the countryside adapts to everything we throw at it and celebrates Britain's long and abiding relationship with the outdoors.

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The Lost Journals of Nikola Tesla - ebook
SKU: ljnt/ebook/000

Tesla is preceded in greatness only by Michael Faraday who in 1831 rocked the scientific world with his discovery that magnetism can produce electricity, if it is accompanied by motion. Faraday discovered the principle, but not how to make it power the world; Tesla alone accomplished this singular feat. Tesla is one of only two Americans to have a unit of electrical measurement named in his honor. Names for units of electrical measurement are derived by using the names of scientists who made the greatest contributions in electrical science, forming perhaps the most elite group in the world. Throughout the entire history of electrical science only fifteen men worldwide have received this honor. Tesla is one of these great men. In addition, Tesla received fifteen honorary degrees from famous universities worldwide, including Yale and Columbia in the United States.


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The Survival of the Bark Canoe
SKU: sbc/sand/232/299
McPhee is one of the few contemporary writers whose own enthusiasm, acquisitive curiosity and delight in the minor marvels evokes a similar reader response. Here the subject is canoes, and McPhee, admiring, intimidated and bemused, pries into the craft of Henri Vaillancourt, a young man from New Hampshire, who makes his own canoes. "He carves their thwarts from hardwood and their ribs from cedar. . . . No nails, no screws, or rivets, just root lashings." Henri, like many artists, is shy, taciturn, vain, and given to occasional headlong decisions in uncertain situations. These qualities were noted by McPhee on a canoe trip (Henri's fourth) with some friends north into the Maine wilderness. "A canoe trip is a society so small and isolated that its frictions. . . can magnify to stunning size." McPhee, in his customary style - as seamless and resilient as one of Henri's canoes - reports on bits of Americana (Indians, voyageurs, loggers) sights and sounds. He observes water and winds, the antics and cries of loons, gathering fresh clams, two full-scale steam locomotives abandoned in the forest, "bits of Thoreau flying back and forth," and a muddy portage; there is also an amusing account of gathering tensions and personality clashes (punctuated by Henri's "bummer!"). McPhee displays none of the exhibitionism of the "personal" journalist, yet his fidelity to the scene never sacrifices vigor and high spirits. Another unique profile by a master craftsman. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Memories of Kentish Watermills:
SKU: mkw/sand/298/399
A unique and poignant study of over 50 watermills that once existed on the Rivers Cray & Darent. This book covers Sevenoaks, Orpington down to the River Thames. Alan Stoyel, one of the countries leading authorities on watermills, chronicles his visit to these mills. His book opens a window on a traditional world now completely gone - not a single mill remains. There are C. 100 photographs including many old images accompanied by extended captions.
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Petrol-Driven Motor Cars (1909)
SKU: pdmc/cam/062/000
Binding: Paperback: 24 pages

There is a huge amount of information on all aspects of the early development of the petrol-driven car up to 1909 in the 23 pages of this booklet. Amongst others you get information on the chassis, steering, wheels, transmissions, ignition, motors, and their balancing, all extracted from A Text-Book of Mechanical Engineering, published in London in 1909 although the contents cover British, European and American developments. 35 drawings and diagrams.

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The History of Hot Air Engines
SKU: thohae/ebook/000/000
Binding: pdf document - in presentation format


  • Preface
  • The hot-air drive in the 2nd century before the Christian era.
  • The requirement of portable power during the Industrial Revolution, Stirling, Ericsson, Rider, Lehmann, Buschbaum and others.
  • The electricity need in remote areas, the Philips idea 1937 - 1979
  • The Stirling-renaissance, Sun-driven, Combined Heat and Power
  • Stirling, the air-independent motor, AISP
  • Different thermic principles, Motors, Refrigerators, Heatpumps
  • The Stirling-refrigerator, Windhausen, Philips, AIM
  • Different working-mediums, air, gas, water, metals
  • The hot-air motor as toy, investment or speculation?
  • The function of the Stirling motor
  • Construction types, Stirling, Ericsson, Ringbom, Freikolben, Rupp, Vacuum-motor.
  • The rulers of the game for the model constructor: The hot-air engine
  • Epilogue
  • Sources
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Bentley BR2 World War I Rotary Aero Engine: Building the One Quarter Scale Working Replica
SKU: bbre/cam/432/1064
First published by Australian Lew Blackmore in 1986, after he had won the Duke of Edinburgh Challenge Trophy with his model of this engine at the 1982 'Model Engineer Exhibition', I believe this is still the only book describing the construction of a large scale, working model of a real aero engine. Modelling the BR2 does make a fascinating and challenging project for the more experienced model engineer; it is also a popular one, as the number of examples that can be seen at exhibitions, and the fact that this is the fourth printing of the book, evidence.
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How to Read Industrial Britain
SKU: htrib/308/bp/270
Binding: Hardback - 208 pages
This book is a joy for anyone wanting to investigate our industrial heritage and discover the secret history behind familiar, everyday features of our urban and rural landscapes.
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Terra Cotta Work - Modelling, Moulding, and Firing
SKU: cam/tcw/236/000
Binding: Softback

This book covers in detail the factory production techniques of the late 19th Century and early 20th Century. The production of mantles, chimney pots, sculptures and etc... It is a reprint of a 1905 book.

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