the title of this work is sufficient to declare its contents, a
few prefatory remarks may not be superfluous as to its design
and the manner in which that design has been carried out.
It has ever been to the writer a matter of surprise and regret
that although the art of turning has been so long and so
successfully pursued in this country, both by artisans and
amateurs, no work has appeared in the English language treating
upon the subject, except one or two sketches and imperfect
Some years since Mr. Holtzapffel advertised a forthcoming series
of seven volumes, intended to supply this manifest deficiency in
our scientific and mechanical literature, and the subject would
have been handled by him in a thoroughly exhaustive and masterly
The untimely death of that gentleman occurred after the
publication of the first three volumes, which are indeed
complete in themselves, and of immeasurable value to the
mechanic and amateur.
introductory, “simple turning by hand tools” being the special
subject of the proposed fourth volume.
The present proprietors of the firm of Holtzapffel & Co. having,
in their catalogue even up to the time of the most recent
edition, continued to advertise the seven volumes, amateurs
especially have anxiously hoped for the publication of some part
at least of the remainder of the series.
That expectation is, it
is to be feared, little likely to be rewarded; and, not until
that fact had been ascertained with something bordering upon
certainty, did the author of the present work venture to take up
the pen and endeavor to set forth the principles and practice of
an art which, like so many others, he has found so absorbing and
attractive, and withal so delightful a source of recreation to
mind and body.
Several things, however, contributed to make the writer hesitate
to undertake such a work. In the first place he was aware that a
number of possible readers would probably be more competent
than, himself for such a task, especially those whose means
might have enabled them to procure a large amount of the most
modern and approved apparatus connected with the Lathe, and
whose occupations might allow of more leisure for their
extensive use than falls to the lot of the writer.