Volume 2, The First Stages of Mechanization, covers the period of technological progress from the middle of the fifteenth century to the middle of the eighteenth century.
Great changes took place during this period of transition, moving technology forward by leaps and bounds. Instead of using millennia, or centuries, or half centuries as units of time to discuss developments as in preceding periods, the last half of this volume describes the developments by decades to show the rapid evolution of techniques.
Acceleration was not the only change – geographical zones in which progress was taking place were shifting from country to country, until finally the West became the leader in advancing technology.
All the technological discoveries made throughout the world from the middle of the fifteenth to the middle of the eighteenth centuries are described in historical context. The contributing authors discuss not only the inventions but the inventors and new techniques that finally led to the nineteenth-century Industrial Revolution. Printing, the spiral spring, modern fortifications and firearms, instruments of measurement, clockmaking, naval construction and port installations, weaving and dyeing of fabrics, and chemical and glass products were among the innovations whose development is dramatically recounted in this volume.
Each chapter, written by a distinguished expert in the field, has been composed especially for this history and represents an original work rather than a synthesis of earlier material.
Lavishly illustrated with hundreds of photographs, drawings, and diagrams that are clearly understandable to both the novice and the experienced technician, The First Stages of Mechanization not only provides a fascinating chronicle of industrial civilization, but an impressive record of the human creative spirit.