Geology is the most historical of all sciences. Yet its own history remains neglected, especially the many aspects of how geology was practised in the past. This volume analyses the careers of some important practical figures in English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish geology between 1750 and 1850. These include people who would have regarded themselves more as mining engineers (or `coal viewers' as they were then called in the vital coal industry) or `mineral surveyors' as today's mineral prospectors were first called (from 1808), or even inventors. Their expertise, in the land which led the industrial revolution, took them all over the world. Those included here went to Italy, and South (Peru) and North America (Virginia and Canada). The practice of geology, through the search for mines and minerals, has been much less attended to by historians than the geology which was undertaken by leisured amateurs - even though practical geology was as important in the past as the oil industry is today.
'... the present collection of papers, from 1983 to 1999, is especially welcome... Torrens's papers are essential to understanding the history of geology ...' Archives of Natural History
'... Hopefully this important collection of essays (...) will be acquired and placed on open shelves for geologists to access... a fascinating expedition into the past... opens windows into the long-lost world of the surveyors and engineers, all artisans rather than university-trained gentlemen, who were the first actually to practice geology.... Torrens has an eye for detail that reveals as much about the lives of these people as the very real geological world of shafts, wimbles, sections and strata.' Geological Magazine
'Few other practitioners in this field recreate the drama of historical discovery so convincingly... Torres writes (...) for specialists and has much to teach them.' Isis
'It is genuinely worthwhile and convenient to have these papers in one volume, given their disparate places of issue, sometimes in publications of limited distribution; and the index is a bonus of real value... Anyone interested in the history of British geology at the relevant period, and many local historians and industrial archaeologists, would find this worth checking for the issues that these papers raise...' Annals of Science
'This book should be on the shelf of all interested in the early development of both geology and mineral prospecting, particularly coal mining.' Geology Today
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