18 DECEMBER 1886, Page 23

The Romance of Inventions. By James Barnley. (Cassell and Co.)

—This is a capital gift book for a lad with a meohanical turn ; indeed, for any lad with brains in his head and the sense to honour those who inventas ?Main excoluere per artes. A wonderful company they are of whose strivings, failures, successes, and sometimes but not always great rewards, Mr. Burnley has to tell. Here are the inventors of the old world, from Tubal Cain down to Archimedes, the alchemists, half. philosophers, half-oharlatans, and others almost without number The steam.engine, the stocking-loom, the telegraph, have all their heroes and their romancee. In short, Mr. Burnley here has an almost inexhaustible subject,—a subject, too, whieh for literary pur- poses has the inestimable advantage of being best told by personal narrative. The lives of inventors are the "romance of inventions," and a writer's diffieulty lies chiefly in selection from a mass of materials.