The Evolution of the Steam Locomotive, by G.A. Sekon, Railway Publishing Co. 1899 [ebook]
Hard cover book, bound in gilt embossed blue cloth, 8.5”x 5.5”, pp. 327, 146 drawings and B&W photographic illustrations.
Classic locomotive history, published at the end of the Victorian era, at a moent of great changes in locomotive design were about to take place. The frontispiece illustrates Ivatt’s first Atlantic, plainly a late Victorian machine in outline, which its large boiler successors to follow soon, were plainly not..One of the great pleasures to be had from railway books published in the late 19th early 20th centuries is the quality of design and printing involved, which is usually, as in this case, of a very high order. The “Railwayacs”, of the period, as they called themselves, were generally speaking a well-heeled lot, and could afford good work. “Evolution” is a pleasure to handle. Less than three-quartersof an inch thick, its over 300 pages ăre printed on a special thin coated paper, thick enough not to show “ghost” images from the reverse side, but good enough for reproduction of half – tone blocks of a quality which could only be surpassed by the expensive “photogravure” process Furthermore, publishers treated each production as an item in its own right, no nonsense about shoe-horning the book into a house style, which was often an excuse in the 50’s and 60’s for a lack of imagination, or aN exercise in penny pinching. We were glad to have them, as there was no alternative, but how boring the formula became. Full page frontispiece, in colour if you were lucky, two or three signatures of text, followed by a signature of black and white illustrations, most of them half a page or less – in the paper covered editions, often bled of the page edge – and do not get me started on so called “perfect binding”! The illustrations were seldom anywhere near the text referring to them. None of that nonsense here!