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Select Mechanical Exercises: Shewing How to Construct Different Clocks, Orreries, and Sun-Dials, on Plain and Easy Principles. with Several Miscell Paperback – May 27 2010

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Great Book, Not-So-Great Print Quality Nov. 15 2011
By R. Anderson - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
James Ferguson was a self taught painter, philosopher, teacher, and astronomer in the 18th century. This work includes descriptions of several clocks, three orreries, a sun-dial, tables of calculations, and several miscellaneous articles on everything from inflation rates (in terms of horse prices) from 1100 to 1750 to how to divide a circle into equal parts. I bought this book looking for good instruction on how to build his famous mechanical paradox, and found a surprisingly clear description that was easy to read and understand. Even so his descriptions of his other clocks and orreries are really meant for clock makers, and are sometimes difficult to decipher (a basic understanding of gear design is a must). This book does not include illustrations of all of his works, more of which would help the reader to understand his designs. Some of the illustrations are in his Astronomy, which I also intend to buy.

The only real drawback about this book is the print quality, which is the result of scanning and printing a reproduction of the original. Some of the illustrations are blurry or too darkly inked to read, while some of the text is faded. Overall the quality was good enough for reading and I found some of his illustrations reproduced on the web elsewhere for clarification.