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BABBAGE, Charles.

Science economique des manufactures.

Traduit De L'Anglais De Ch. Babbage, sur la troisiéme edition, par M. Isoard, Ancien chef de division au Ministère du Commerce.

Paris: Dondey-Dupre, 1834 Stock Code: 93461
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First edition of Isoard's French translation of On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures - Babbage's most successful lifetime publication, selling 3,000 copies. Prompted by the demands for precision in the construction of his first calculating engine, Babbage had made a conscientious and detailed survey of factories and workshops both in England and Europe. An encyclopaedic record of craft, manufacturing, and industrial processes, as well as an analysis of the domestic organization of factories, the work demonstrates Babbage's remarkable prescience. He proposed many scientific management techniques for the first time, including subdivided work, cost accounting, and merit pay systems. He advocated the decimalization of currency, foresaw the role of tidal power as an energy source, and predicted the exhaustion of coal reserves. "The book is at once a hymn to the machine, an analysis of the development of machine-based production in the factory, and a discussion of social relations in industry It was at once translated into French and German, both translations being published in 1833. Throughout the world the book had much effect, becoming the 'locus classicus' of the discussion of machinery and manufacturing" (Anthony Human, Charles Babbage, Pioneer of the Computer). "Economy was a turning point in economic writing and firmly established Babbage as a leading authority of the industrial movement" (ODNB).

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Octavo (203 x 131 mm). Contemporary quarter calf, marbled boards, spine lettered in gilt, marbled endpapers, edges speckled brown.


Boards scuffed, contents slightly foxed. An excellent copy.


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