Engineering drawing, though it had its roots in scientific and technical illustration at the time of the Renaissance and in architectural and naval draughtsmanship in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, was essentially a product of the Industrial Revolution. The numerous drawings reproduced in this book offer a representative selection of the work produced for the transport industries - ships, railway engines, motorcars, aeroplanes - during the past two hundred years. Many are superb examples of draughtsmanship, and a number are equal in quality to the best drawings of any kind. The illustrations can be looked at in two complementary ways. The drawings may be enjoyed for their visual quality alone, but it is also important to grasp their significance for the design and production processes to which they relate. As all the drawings were originally produced for a specific purpose, their place in the story of engineering needs to be understood. In their text and detailed captions, the authors place each drawing in its context and describe the development of the skills of draughtsmanship as they interacted with the entrepreneurial demands of rapidly developing technology.
The book as a whole therefore makes an important contribution to the history of technology, as well as providing outstanding examples of the richness of the visual resources that emanated from the Industrial Revolution. This is an impressive work of scholarship that draws not just on the extensive collections of engineering drawings that exist in Britain (where the Industrial Revolution had its beginnings), but also from American and European sources. Drawings normally unseen and often unknown outside a small circle of specialists are now presented to a wider public.