JACOB, Joseph.

Observations on the Structure and Draught of Wheel-Carriages.

London: Printed for Edward and Charles Dilly, in the Poultry.1773

4to, 2 leaves (half-title and title), pp. iii, 2 leaves (contents), pp. 99, (1), and 14 folding and stilted engraved plates. Half-title and final errata page badly dust-soiled and creased, half-title with two short tears repaired, errata leaf with repair to upper inner corner (not touching text) and two small edge repairs, otherwise a clean copy. Red quarter morocco and cloth sides of the late 19th century, yellow patterned endpapers, spine lettered in gilt and with shelf-mark, Newport library bookplate. Provenance: 1: early signature of H. Mackworth at top of half-title (Sir Herbert Mackworth, 1737–1791, MP, FRS, and grandson of the industrial and mining entrepreneur Sir Humphry Mackworth). 2: small oval stamp of Newport library in south Wales, where Mackworth lived, on half-title, title, backs of plates, and a few elsewhere.

SOLE EDITION. In this book Jacob discusses the construction of the mechanism of carriages, waggons and carts, including ways to decrease friction between the axle and the wheel, design of the axle, suspension, improved methods of turning, etc. On page 54 is a reference to ball bearings as an improvement to Wyatt’s ‘flat rollers’ (roller bearings?), which is a very early reference to their use (the first recorded application of ball bearings was not until 1780, and they were patented in 1794). Jacob and his business partner John Viney were wheel and coach manufacturers in London. Jacob had three patents, dated 1769, 1771 and 1774, all for improvements in carriage building. In this book Jacob also discusses improved ways of making wheels using a single piece of wood for the rim, a design originally suggested to Viney by his friend Benjamin Franklin, and recorded in the diary of John Adams, second president of the United Sates, who visited the business in 1786 with Thomas Jefferson. Jacob and Viney fell out over the design of the wheel, which Jacob initially rejected but later patented. This uncut copy evidently lost its wrappers at an early stage and the unprotected half-title and final page became rather dust-soiled. The binding put on this copy by the Newport library would most probably be its first binding. Priced accordingly.


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