Letter to Sir Ths. Lauder from Sir Marc Isambard Brunel

Brunel, Marc Isambard

Brunel means to explain his 'plan of construction of Arches', but he digresses in a wide-ranging letter concerning the current state of aspects of mechanical engineering, forty years to the day since he landed in England at Falmouth. Now his own son is responsible for the London-Exeter railway. He mentions the mechanical handling of timber at Chatham Dockyard. He states 'Now Steam power is subduing every thing', and 'How contracted Mercator's map is now!' thanks to steam vessels. He considers the vast numbers of newspapers and the population potential of America and Australia. 'How little has gold done contrasted with Iron', he muses, and looks at its consumption: 'The scale for defining the range of productive industry and of wealth is certainly the yearly employment of Iron'. He adds that 'The most correct scale of prosperity is the quantity of Brick made'. General Note: Brunel wonders how Australian schoolboys learning geography, looking at a globe, can understand 'how all people that speak English can come from a little spot at the bottom of the Inverted Globe'. Finally, he states that another scale of improvement or of progress in the enlargement of knowledge is the quantity of paper used', and he gives figures to show the huge recent increase. Lauder was secretary to the Board of Scottish Manufactures and Fisheries.


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