Sunday, January 08, 2006

Pepys and Machinery

There are some tantalizing tidbits on technical communication burried in the Pepys diary. Here's but one example:

Thursday 11 October 1660

In the morning to my Lord’s, where I met with Mr. Creed, and with him and Mr. Blackburne to the Rhenish wine house, where we sat drinking of healths a great while, a thing which Mr. Blackburne formerly would not upon any terms have done. After we had done there Mr. Creed and I to the Leg in King Street, to dinner, where he and I and my Will had a good udder to dinner, and from thence to walk in St. James’s Park, where we observed the several engines at work to draw up water, with which sight I was very much pleased. Above all the rest, I liked best that which Mr. Greatorex brought, which is one round thing going within all with a pair of stairs round; round which being laid at an angle of 45 deg., do carry up the water with a great deal of ease. Here, in the Park, we met with Mr. Salisbury, who took Mr. Creed and me to the Cockpitt to see “The Moore of Venice,” which was well done. Burt acted the Moore; ‘by the same token, a very pretty lady that sat by me, called out, to see Desdemona smothered. From thence with Mr. Creed to Hercules Pillars, where we drank and so parted, and I went home.

Viewing mysterious machines in the park--with Mr. Greatorex of all people: builder of the air pump and supplier of drafting equipment--is tantalizing. A sort of Kunst- and Wunderkammer type-of-thing is urban London.

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