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»Mechanick Exercises«, London 1683

Mechanick Exercises: Or the Doctrine of Handy-Works

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  • "Mechanick Exercises" was written, printed, and published by Moxon between 1683-1685 and reprinted in 1703. Breaking away from Guild restrictions, he wrote of what he knew from his experiences as a practitioner of skilled trades.

    [From D. B. Updike’s Printing Types: Their History, Forms, and Use (1962 ed.). Images are from PPL’s copy of Moxon’s Mechanick Exercises (1683)]

  • The text is as cutting edge as when it was printed in 1678 (specifically to the fine art of letterpressery). Mechanick Exercises is a great summer beach reading, chock full of intriguing illustrations and fine printing advice delivered in ye olde english-style. Perhaps my favorite section is the dictionary at the end of the book, if your master printer has ever accused you of having “Sop the Balls”or if you don’t know where the “Monks” on your print came from, this is your go to source for answers.

    Grabhorn comments: "These men had a way of borrowing from each other and themselves in their various editions. The father of most of them was Joseph Moxon in his Mechanick Exercises [ of 1683. Here, this collection has had to make do with DeVinne's annotated reprint edition of 1896." However, although there are less than seventy known surviving copies of Moxon, the Jackson Burke copy was purchased from Dawson's of Los Angeles in 1975. Its arrival at the library was celebrated with a special event. The money to purchase the Moxon came from an auction of duplicates, and there was enough left to also purchase one of the typographical masterpieces of the twentieth century: Bruce Rogers's Oxford Lectern Bible , a real "trouser-press" of a book, as Stanley Morison said.

  • Joseph Moxon's mechanik exercises; or, The doctrine of handy-works applied ...
    Joseph Moxon,Charles Franklin Montgomery
    Snippet view - 1970

    Grabhorn comments: "These men had a way of borrowing from each other and themselves in their various editions. The father of most of them was Joseph Moxon in his Mechanick Exercises [ of 1683. Here, this collection has had to make do with DeVinne's annotated reprint edition of 1896." However, although there are less than seventy known surviving copies of Moxon, the Jackson Burke copy was purchased from Dawson's of Los Angeles in 1975. Its arrival at the library was celebrated with a special event. The money to purchase the Moxon came from an auction of duplicates, and there was enough left to also purchase one of the typographical masterpieces of the twentieth century: Bruce Rogers's Oxford Lectern Bible , a real "trouser-press" of a book, as Stanley Morison said.

Mechanick exercises - Collections | HathiTrust Digital Library

The link is for the section on joinery. To download the entire book for free as a pdf, look at the left rail of the page and click on the link “Download Whole Book.” A couple clicks later and the entire “Mechanick Exercises” from 1703 will be on your hard drive, with the plates intact.