MIT Institute Archives & Special Collections

Dampf und Elektricität: die Technik im Anfang des Zwanzigsten Jahrhunderts. 12 Zerlegbare, zum Teil Bewegliche Medelle mit Zeichen-Erklärungen und Erläuterndem Text (Leipzig, ca. 1900)

First view: flaps closed
Second view: one flap open
Third view: lamp detail

The scanned images shown here are pages from Dampf und Elektricität, a novel attempt to explain to the general public how machines work and especially how the electrical and mechanical parts of devices interrelate. The full title translates loosely as "Steam and Electricity: the Technology at the Beginning of the Twentieth Century, with Twelve Composite Models Containing Movable Parts, plus Explanatory Keys and Illustrated Text." By lifting multiple layers of flaps the viewer is able to penetrate deeper and deeper into the lithographed image of a machine to see how its external and internal parts are positioned. The reproduction of a composite model shown here pictures the telephone, the phonograph, and the filament arc lamp.

Late nineteenth and early twentieth century books were often produced using paper made from wood pulp containing short fibers and high acid content. The brittle condition of Dampf und Elektricität calls attention to some of the challenges of rare book preservation.

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