London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1876. Eleventh edition. Quarto (30cm). Rebound in modern brown calf, titled in gold on leather spine labels; plain modern endpapers; [i]-vii, [xi]-xii, [i-ii], [ix]-x, [i-ii], -495pp; portrait frontispiece with tissue guard, 37 engraved plates (some folding), and 546 in-text wood engravings. Printed in two columns. With the embossed mark of the Birmingham Free Library to title page and plates. Tears at folds of plates XI and XVIII neatly mended with archival tissue tape; large tears at folds of plates XVII, XXIV, and XXV repaired with paper; pl XXIV with a thin, two-inch hole. A tight, fresh binding, with minor dirt to upper margins throughout, some thumbsoiling to initial leaves, and occasional offsetting to folding plates, overall a sturdy copy: Good or better.
John Bourne, an engineer and surveyor, published several works on steam engines that were reprinted numerous times through the second half of the nineteenth century. This book combines a history of steam engines and an explanation of the scientific principles behind them with technical descriptions of the main types of engine and "practical instructions for its proportionment, manufacture, and management" (preface p.xii). The author suggests that this may have been the first attempt of its kind at providing a practical guide to steam engine construction and maintenance. First published in 1846 by the Artizan Club, the title was evidently successful: it was reprinted in eleven editions in twenty years, with substantial revisions and additions. Bourne's Catechism on the Steam-Engine was similarly popular, reprinted from 1843 to 1897 (Bibliotheca Mechanica p.49). Scientific American wrote that Bourne "has rendered substantial service in this way, and there are no works on mechanical engineering more useful and reliable than his" (1866, p.304). This edition is uncommon in the trade, with only 7 copies recorded in OCLC.