London: John Weale, 1850-53. First Thus. Third edition. Quarto (32cm), three volumes bound as four. Contemporary half parchment, dyed red on boards but undyed on spine, with red cloth over boards, titled in gold on black leather spine labels, with badge of the Oxford and Cambridge University Club at base of spines, edges sprinkled red; marbled endpapers; vol I: [i]-viii, [i]-vi -72, [1-2], -12, -40, -44, -68, -12, -8, -16, -4pp; vol. II part 1: [i]-vi, -340, [1-2], -42, -52, -20, -pp; vol. II part 1: [i-ii], [vii]-[x]; vol. III: [i]-x, -4, -32, -44, -52, -4, -8, -8, -68, -8, -16, -32, -8pp; with 226 engraved plates (41 in vol. I, 2 in vol. II pt 1, 83 in vol. II pt 2, and 100 in vol. III) and 164 in-text wood engravings, complete. With the binding stamp of Harrison, 59 Pall Mall to front free endpapers and the ownership stamp of the Oxford & Cambridge University Club to title page versos. A sturdy set, somewhat bumped, with minor damage to edges of cloth; dirt to top edge, occasional dirt to plates at upper margins and along folds; eight plates partially torn at folds or gutters, a few battered at fore-edges; nevertheless, a generally clean copy in a sound binding: just Very Good.
Issued with noncontinuous pagination and plate numbering.
The Steam Engine was Thomas Tredgold's final major work, a "notable contribution to steam engine design and theory" (James K. Finch, Engineering Classics, p.110). The first edition of 1827 was considerably shorter, with only 20 plates. Architectural publisher John Weale published an expanded edition in 1838 with the assistance of W. S. B. Woolhouse, adding essays on recent technological and scientific developments and 105 new plates, including "examples of the best sea and river vessels, practically illustrating the application of steam-machinery to the purposes of navigation" (Tredgold v.1 p.viii). Weale repeated the process in 1850; this third edition had 101 new plates and essays by George Rennie, Thomas Ewbank, John Dinnen, Robert Armstrong, James Hann, and others. This volume includes illustrations or diagrams of such notable ships as the HMS Megaera, one of the first iron ships ordered by the British Royal Navy; USS Susquehanna, which blockaded Charleston during the Civil War; the East India Company's first steam warship, Berenice; the New World; and the Buckeye State, a packet steamer that participated in a race organized by P. T. Barnum to draw publicity for Jenny Lind.
Tredgold (1788-1829) was a self-taught engineer and widely read technical author who also published on timber and carpentry, cast iron, railroads and carriages, and heating and ventilation. Several of his works became "the standard textbooks of English engineers" (ODNB). He may be best remembered for his definition of engineering, used by the Institute of Civil Engineers in its 1828 application for a royal charter: "the art of directing the great sources of power in nature for the use and convenience of man" (Miller, "The Classics of Engineering Literature," College English 19:2, 1957).
His work on steam engines was thorough: "[f]ew details of engine design escaped Tredgold's attention, but his book is a curious combination of fact, theory, and speculation" (Finch 110). The Steam Engine was first published during "an in-between period--the half century following Watt's inventions--during which the basic techniques of modern steam power slowly were evolving" (105). It demonstrates the evolution of "two new practical engineering sciences, thermodynamics and machine design," as well as outlining the history of engine development (105). LOWNDES 2709.