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"self-conceit would never allow them to be sensible of "this truth, and who reject as useless all ore in which

they do not observe pure gold, as they display very "little acuteness, must be often duped by the tinsel glare "of false metal; and they give me as little uneasiness as "those who have no desire to know the origin of inven❝tions, or how they were brought to their present utility. "If my extending the term Invention farther than is per"haps usual, by comprehending under it several police"establishments, be a fault, it is at any rate harmless, "and on that account may be pardoned without much apology."

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Germany, beyond all dispute, has given birth to more important discoveries and inventions than any other part of Europe; and gunpowder, printing, and a variety of useful machines, will remain lasting monuments of the inventive genius of the Germans. In chemistry and mechanics they seem however to have made the greatest figure, and for this a very satisfactory reason may be assigned. Germany, since the earliest periods, has been celebrated for its mines. To facilitate the labour of working these, machinery was necessary; and to extract the metal from the ore, and turn it to advantage, required a knowledge of chemical operations. Necessity is said to be the mother of invention; and it is natural to suppose that a people will always employ the efforts of their genius on those objects from which they are most likely to derive benefit.

In the history of chemical discoveries and mechanical inventions, above all, professor Beckmann has enjoyed, therefore, an advantage which might have been wanting to a writer of any other nation. It will require no great

sagacity to discover, that allusion is here made to the opportunities he had of consulting many German works, little or perhaps not known in other parts of Europe, and of searching ancient annals and public records never before drawn from their obscurity to give testimony in favour of the arts. He indeed seems to have applied to every source that was likely to enrich his subject; and the voluntary contributions of learned friends enabled him to enlarge his work with much useful information, for which he expresses on several occasions his grateful acknowledgement.

The German original made its appearance in separate parts at various times; and the whole as yet published, a few small tracts excepted, is now presented to the public in an English dress. The different articles in the translation are not placed exactly in the same order as in the original; but as they were arranged by the author neither alphabetically nor chronologically, this difference is of very little importance to the reader.

As the original was published in parts at different times, the author, when he found materials, gave additions to a few of the articles in some of the subsequent parts. In the translation these additions are incorporated into the articles to which they belong, and, the translator flatters himself, in such a manner as the author intended. The translator must observe also, that he has taken the liberty to abridge the original in a few places where he thought it necessary, and to give some of the text in the form of notes. The passages omitted were for the most part dry etymological researches, which could not have been well understood except by those versed in the German language; and the parts of the text now to be found among the notes,

must undoubtedly appear to every reader of taste much better disposed in that manner than as they were in the original. The translator has likewise occasionally added a few notes, which, to those who read for improvement, may not appear superfluous.

A work of this nature, comprehending such a variety of scientific subjects, could not but present difficulties to the translator. The abundance of technical terms, not to be found in common dictionaries, which every where occurred, and the numerous notes and illustrations necessary to be preserved, rendered his task, indeed, both arduous and irksome. How far he has succeeded, it becomes not him to determine. He has often appeared in the same humble character before the tribunal of the public; and he has the satisfaction of reflecting, that he never found cause to be dissatisfied with the reception given to his labours. He trusts, therefore, that he shall still meet with the same indulgence; and that the present performance, if entitled to no praise, may, at least, be allowed to rank among others of the like kind which deserve no

censure.

PREFACE

ΤΟ

THE SECOND EDITION.

THE first edition of this work having experienced a very favourable reception, the public are now presented with a second, carefully corrected, and enlarged by a fourth volume. The inventions which form the subject of the additional part are no less interesting than those contained in the preceding volumes; and the history of them, while it tends to throw new light on the progress of civilisation and refinement, cannot fail of affording gratification to those fond of archæological researches.

To dwell on the merit of this work is needless. Its importance has been fully established; and were farther testimony required, it might be found in the use made of it, both here and on the Continent, by the compilers of dictionaries of the arts, and other publications of the same kind, who have taken copious extracts from it on different subjects, and often without any acknowledgment.* Considering, therefore, its utility; the number of inventions the history of which is still involved in obscurity; and the

* See the note, vol. iv. p. 324.

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