3 DECEMBER 1904, Page 10

The Boyhood of Great Inventors. By A. Fraser Robertson. (J.

F. Shaw and Co. ls.)—We do not think that we can serve the interests of this little book better than by giving the names of the " inventors " about whom it tells us. There are eight,— Smeaton, Flaxman, liumphry Davy, Arkwright, Wedgwood, Stephenson, Edison, and Watt. Every one of these is full of suggestion. What a gap would be left in twentieth-century civilisation if it could be suddenly deprived of all the additions which these men have made to it. The most novel of these little biographies will probably be that of Thomas Edison. Here, as indeed in every case, the boy was the father of the man. At twelve Edison had read through, among other works, Burton's "Anatomy of Melancholy," Gibbon's "Decline and Fall," and Hume's "History of England."