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Masters' Library


Record of Scientific Progress by Robert Grimshaw, 1891



In these days of progress, scientific knowledge is more extended in scope and diffusion, and influences each year more people; so that the number of those not interested in scientific advancement is rapidly decreasing.

But scientific books and periodicals are already so numerous that it would be impossible for the average person to read even a small portion of those in his own language, to say nothing of those which, being in foreign tongues, are not directly available to the majority.

To serve the millions for whose pleasure and benefit science must no longer be a sealed book, who wish to be reasonably well-informed on practically the whole range of scientific progress, but who may lack time and opportunity to read more than a few of the excellent special periodicals from which the text-books and cyclopedias largely draw their data.


I have prepared these pages, which I hope will save time and eyesight to the unscientific, and serve for ready reference to those whose thought and action lie within technical circles.

As far as practicable, the best periodicals and other sources of information in the entire range of useful science have been laid under tribute, and leaders in inventive and manufacturing circles have added from their knowledge.

From the immense mass of material thus gathered and received the main items of interest have been selected, divested of unnecessary detail and couched in simple language, suited to the mass of intelligent English-speakers. I have tried to make the record complete, concise, popular, useful, interesting, convenient, and accurate. I should be glad to receive for next year's record authentic data concerning new and important inventions, investigations, and discoveries.

Despite the wonderful advances made in the science of electricity, and in the many applications thereof, steam is still king of the forces by which civilized man is enabled to make progress against those of nature, and to increase his supremacy over his less progressive fellows; and a record of the triumphs in steam engineering is to some extent an index of the degree of such progress.

The science or profession of steam engineering has been set apart from the rest of mechanical engineering, once so called, because of the extent of its scope, and of the peculiarities which make it necessary to be studied as a separate science and practiced as a separate art.

The past year has been noted in this particular for progress made in marine engines, particularly in the development and application to the propulsion of large vessels in successful commercial practice, of the triple and quadruple expansion engines, and the application to locomotives of the compound principle.


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