Bound manuscripts of Peale’s Franklin Institute lectures, 1831–1833. The lectures are mainly mechanical in nature, with additional content on engineering and chemistry. Written in ink in Peale’s hand, with occasional hand-drawn illustrations. 8vo, contemporary brown half morocco; front cover with title label; spine ruled in gilt. Approximately 209 handwritten leaves, with nearly half of them including writing on both sides. Includes a preliminary leaf on which binding instructions made on behalf of Mrs. Caroline Peale to the Philadelphia firm of Pawson & Nicholson are recorded, along with the following titles:
Matter – Motion – Forces
Machines – States – Derivatives
Simple Machines – Lever
1st, 2d, 3d order
Weighing – Measuring
Decr. 10th 1831
A later title page is present, reading:
Original notes of Lectures
on Steam Engines &
A final title page is present, reading:
Notes of a Lecture
delivered at Inst. 9th Feby.
A number of hand-drawn illustrations are found throughout the volume, most of them illustrating the scientific points being discussed at that point in the lectures. One of these illustrations, of a boiler, is hand-colored. A relevant handwritten note addressed to “Prof.” Peale and a newspaper clipping are included. Volume rubbed, but sound. First page faded; most of the pages remain easy to read. Very good or better. Item #6659
Unique, and a fascinating volume from the period directly preceding Peale’s employment by the United States Mint. George Escol Sellers, in his Early Engineering Reminiscences (page 70), writes: “when [Peale] was Manager of the Philadelphia Museum, he delivered such chemical lectures as could be made interesting to the general public by brilliant experiments. He also exhibited many ingenious automata of his own invention and construction. About the same time, he delivered at the Franklin Institute a course of lectures on machinery, illustrated by models and movable card drawings.” In a footnote to the passage quoted above, Eugene S. Ferguson, the distinguished historian of science who edited Sellers’ reminiscences, stated: “[Franklin Peale] was employed in the museum from 1822 to 1833; and he lectured at Franklin Institute from 1831 until he departed for Europe in 1833.” As authority for this statement, Ferguson cites Charles Coleman Sellers, Charles Willson Peale (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1947), Volume 2, pages 345 and 382. Finally, Charles Coleman Sellers wrote the standard history of the Peale Museum, Mr. Peale’s Museum: Charles Willson Peale and the First Popular Museum of Science and Art. On page 242, Sellers notes: “[Franklin] Peale had inherited a Lecture Room assistant from Rubens [Peale], a small Peale grandson named Escol Sellers. For Escoll, the Lecture Room was the heart of it all.” Thus Escol knew what he was talking about when he recalled Franklin’s lectures in his Reminiscences. Benjamin Franklin Peale (1795–1870) spent over twenty years in the employ of the United States Mint at Philadelphia. He was first sent to Europe to study modern coinign techniques; this experience, coupled with his mechanical skills, allowed him to design innovative coining technology for the U.S. Mint, including its first steam presses. He would serve as Melter and Refiner and later as Chief Coiner. He was eventually dismissed when questions were raised about his use of Mint equipment for personal gain. This is a highly important volume.