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A Catechism of the Steam Engine   By:

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A CATECHISM OF THE STEAM ENGINE

IN ITS VARIOUS APPLICATIONS TO MINES, MILLS, STEAM NAVIGATION, RAILWAYS, AND AGRICULTURE.

WITH

PRACTICAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE MANUFACTURE AND MANAGEMENT OF ENGINES OF EVERY CLASS.

BY

JOHN BOURNE, C.E.

NEW AND REVISED EDITION.

[Transcriber's Note: Inconsistencies in chapter headings and numbering of paragraphs and illustrations have been retained in this edition.]

PREFACE

TO THE FOURTH EDITION.

For some years past a new edition of this work has been called for, but I was unwilling to allow a new edition to go forth with all the original faults of the work upon its head, and I have been too much engaged in the practical construction of steam ships and steam engines to find time for the thorough revision which I knew the work required. At length, however, I have sufficiently disengaged myself from these onerous pursuits to accomplish this necessary revision; and I now offer the work to the public, with the confidence that it will be found better deserving of the favorable acceptation and high praise it has already received. There are very few errors, either of fact or of inference, in the early editions, which I have had to correct; but there are many omissions which I have had to supply, and faults of arrangement and classification which I have had to rectify. I have also had to bring the information, which the work professes to afford, up to the present time, so as to comprehend the latest improvements.

For the sake of greater distinctness the work is now divided into chapters. Some of these chapters are altogether new, and the rest have received such extensive additions and improvements as to make the book almost a new one. One purpose of my emendations has been to render my remarks intelligible to a tyro, as well as instructive to an advanced student. With this view, I have devoted the first chapter to a popular description of the Steam Engine which all may understand who can understand anything and in the subsequent gradations of progress I have been careful to set no object before the reader for the first time, of which the nature and functions are not simultaneously explained. The design I have proposed to myself, in the composition of this work, is to take a young lad who knows nothing of steam engines, and to lead him by easy advances up to the highest point of information I have myself attained; and it has been a pleasing duty to me to smooth for others the path which I myself found so rugged, and to impart, for the general good of mankind, the secrets which others have guarded with so much jealousy. I believe I am the first author who has communicated that practical information respecting the steam engine, which persons proposing to follow the business of an engineer desire to possess. My business has, therefore, been the rough business of a pioneer; and while hewing a road through the trackless forest, along which all might hereafter travel with ease, I had no time to attend to those minute graces of composition and petty perfection of arrangement and collocation, which are the attribute of the academic grove, or the literary parterre. I am, nevertheless, not insensible to the advantages of method and clear arrangement in any work professing to instruct mankind in the principles and practice of any art; and many of the changes introduced into the present edition of this work are designed to render it less exceptionable in this respect. The woodcuts now introduced into the work for the first time will, I believe, much increase its interest and utility; and upon the whole I am content to dismiss it into circulation, in the belief that those who peruse it attentively will obtain a more rapid and more practical acquaintance with the steam engine in its various applications, than they would be likely otherwise to acquire.

I have only to add that I have prepared a sequel to the present work, in the shape of a Hand Book of the Steam Engine, containing the whole of the rules given in the present work, illustrated by examples worked out at length, and also containing such useful tables and other data, as the engineer requires to refer to constantly in the course of his practice... Continue reading book >>




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