February 18th, 2021


The Clock and The Camshaft

The Clock and the Camshaft, by John W Farrell.
The Clock and the Camshaft, by John W Farrell.

I really enjoyed reading The Clock and the Camshaft- And Other Medieval Inventions We Still Can't Live Without.  

As a medieval enthusiast, I had prior knowledge of many of the things author John W Farrell  discussed here, but I was delighted to find that he added a great deal of extra information and sources about the subjects in each chapter.

I  enjoyed his accessible writing style which made the book easy to read and follow without over-simplifying the information. A really good balance which is often lacking in books about technology.

I learned many great things reading this book- including what kind of mill  powered the fabric mills and where some of the earliest ones were  located. I have read a lot about fabric in the middle ages, so this was of particular interest to me.

Undoubtedly, my favourite chapter in the entire book was Chapter Eight- Through a Glass, Not Darkly. I had thought that there wouldn't be a lot for me to learn here about medieval glasses, and was surprised to discover that I was quite wrong. John W. Farrell's sources indicated dates and places much earlier than I had supposed and I was astonished to discover the sheer volume of reading glasses being exported by 1380. I had believed they were much more of a  luxury item than the records indicate.

Don't believe me? I heartily recommend you get yourself a copy and read it for yourself.