English and Foreign Ready Reckoner
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Foreign and English and English and Foreign Ready Reckoner of Weights and Measures for Nearly all Parts of Europe with the Corresponding value in English
By Louis Fenwick de Porquet
Simpkin Marshall and Co, London, 1853 - 4th edition (believed to have been first published in 1840)
Slim pocket book – small 8vo. Cover size: 6 ½” H x 4" W (16.5cm H x 10cm W). 54 pages + 4 pages of advertisements; Full leather binding in burgundy with gilt edges to all sides; Title to front in gilt; Yellow paste-downs. Condition: Outer covers unrestored and grubby; A little rubbed and worn especially at the edges; Title scuffed; Short closed tear (9mm) to ffe; Pencilled conversion to the half title; Pages clean, bright and tight. Overall - Very Good condition.
An interesting and little known work by a major publisher that is extremely scarce. Initial searches online reveal no other copies in libraries, or for sale.Double checking copies libraries, I found just 2 copies of any edition: COPAC lists a single copy of any edition (the 1848 third edition at Bodley) and OCLC lists an 1868 seventh edition in the Huntington Library (CA).
The Spectator's book review in 1840 had this to say: “Contains tables in French and English of the monies, measures, and weights, of nearly all the countries in Europe. Those of France are very elaborate; so much so, in fact, as to furnish a study rather than tables of reference. The typography is so neat.”
The Spectator , Volume 13 (1840), Book Review Page 1052.
Bearing in mind that at around the time of the book’s publication in the middle of the nineteenth century, much of Europe was undergoing great changes - politically, industrially and militarily, resulting in unprecedented trading opportunities between neighbouring countries. This was also the time that saw the first telegraph cable laid under the English Channel between England and France in 1850.
The first two thirds of the contents deal exclusively with comparisons of measurement and exchange rates between England and France. The final third is concerned with converting weights, measures and monies between England, France and other European states e.g: Hanover; Russia; Prussia; Milan; Naples; Austria; Hamburgh, etc.,
This slim volume would prove attractive to professional businessmen (as this fourth edition of 1853 testifies), successfully anticipating their need for portable and accurate information available at their fingertips.