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An uncommon "commonplace book"

Words and drawings by John Urpeth Rastrick,
one of the pioneers of steam power,
an engineer of the industrial revolution

I "shouldn't" be doing this just now, and will have to content myself with just two images, and very little explanation.

I'm afraid the images are high resolution... I hope you will think they were worth the download time.

John Urpeth Rastrick

Rastrick (that link will take you to the Wikipedia page) lived from 1780- 1856.

He was an engineer. He was one of the men who took steam engines "to the next level", after the era of the Newcomen engine. He was one of the men that began our progress to factories, cars, etc, and the luxurious life we live today.

About 1806, he made his first entries in a "commonplace book". He had filled it by about 1809. He must have done others... has anyone seen them?

Below are two pages from it. It is about 25cm x 40cm. The first page speaks for itself, I hope... do look at it closely. Below it there is another.


I love the almost whimsical... maybe it was a more serious device than I realize... water driven reciprocating "engine" depicted near the middle.

And now, a fairly typical page from the book.

"Oct. 27. 1807
"Estimate for a B&W {Boulton and Watt} Single powered Engine for Steph {"Stephen"}
"Botfield's Old Park... "10 Horse Power"

Anyone know where Old Park would be? Anything about Stephen Botfield?

The term "horse power" had only recently been properly defined... by Watt. (Boulton was the businessman who teamed up with Watt, to help Make It Happen.) See Uglow's book Lunar Men. Watt couldn't sell his steam engines, so he "loaned" them to mine owners and others... and was paid fees which depended on the horsepower-hours generated, and how much the user saved over the cost of operating older alternatives.


So.. you may be able to guess at my frustration at not being able to bring you more at this time, but I hope you enjoy the glimpse into a genius's mind, the mind of a man who contributed greatly to the easy life we live today.

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