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3.9 out of 5 stars
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on November 24, 2003
The full title of this book is _Five Hundred and Seven Mechanical Movements, Embracing All Those Which Are Most Important In Dynamics, Hydraulics, Hydrostatics, Pneumatics, Steam Engines, Mill and other Gearing, Presses, Horology, and Miscellaneous Machinery: and including Many Movements Never Before Published and Several Which Have only Recently Come into Use. At least that was the full title of the seventeenth edition of 1893; the book itself dates back to 1868.
This book is a joy to browse though. It is a little gold mine of ideas for the mechanical designer. Yet, anyone with mechanical aptitude should enjoy it. The many crisp line drawings are presented with a minimum of explanation and no dimensioning. You see, it was assumed back in those days that a person with natural mechanical aptitude could look at a diagram, or a machine, and figure it out. Not only that, but it was assumed that once you had the idea, then you could work out all the details for yourself without having to be told everything down to the last screw size. While there is a descriptive paragraph indexed to every drawing, most of the time you don't really need it.
This book comes from an age when engineers and designers had to have the talent and the knowledge to use the mechanical principles of levers, linkages, cams, gears, etc. to produce a given motion- and to link together many such elegant little mechanisms to get a bigger job done- reliably. This isn't done much anymore. Now most machines are huge, cobbled-up, Rube Goldberg devices of pneumatic or hydraulic cylinders, screw actuators, or servo motors- all interconnected by electronic controllers. The whole thing is controlled by software of even more dubious reliability.
Up to the "digital revolution", this book shows how it was always done- it's how I learned it. Of course, once upon a time, a mechanical designer actually had to understand machinery, and the basic principles of physics, and not just how to write code....
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on June 25, 2015
The title is exactly what it says. A book of 507 mechanical movements, each numbered.

Each open page has the images of the pics to the left page, and their descriptions on the right page. Every movement gets exactly one pic and a short description as there are 9/ page pair (left and right). These give a rough idea of what is going on, but that is all. A rough idea.
The descriptions are too short and rarely use labels to illustrate what pieces they are talking about. The pics are sketch drawings, done in 2D, and have nothing extra to convey meaning (even a directional arrow would be very useful for some pics). Not to mention that some things are described and in parentheses states (not shown). There is no way to tell from the pics or descriptions on how to mount or make any of the devices listed within.

I would not describe this book as a text book, learning manual, or other guide to learning mechanical movements. More like a reference for those already having a knowledge of what is going on.

I purchased this book to learn how to make mechanical moving devices that I can create with a 3D printer, but have gained almost nothing from this book in that regards. I still give it 3 stars as it is factual and interesting, but not great for developing any new skills from.
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on March 27, 2014
A book meant to describe 507 mechanical movement needs more than 121pgs to do it, it seems. Typically, for each example, they give you an un-labelled diagram, and a 1-2 sentence description. Usually this is okay, it takes a little bit of puzzling over to see what the mechanism does, but in some cases, the picture lacks sufficient detail to distinguish between a fixed joint, an articulation and a central pivot point. The more complicated or more foreign mechanisms are left to be understood perhaps only by those who have seen something similar to them before.
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on February 6, 2003
Excellent soruce of lots of mechanical ideas. Even though they are from the 1800's, this a wealth of info for engineers and tinkers like me. This helps to understand and lay out simple and complex levers, gearing, and control mechanisms that would be difficult to find anywhere else. A most valuable tool for any engineering/design/shop library!
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on May 10, 2016
Classic insight into gears, pulleys and similar simple mechanical movements. An excellent reference work.
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on November 6, 2015
Good Book...
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on February 8, 2015
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on February 6, 2016
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on January 25, 2003
This book is interesting, but IMHO, it has too many similar mechanical ideas/pictures and the picure quality is poor. I understand those picture/diagrams are very old, and the printing itself is not the problem, but still, they could resize the diagram little bigger.
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on December 24, 2003
This book, actually just a collection of poor small line drawings and brief descriptions, is hardly worth anything.
Impressive title though...
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