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Updated 5/12/2004
Ancient lathes Continual rotation lathes Spring-pole lathes
Bow lathes Tools Related Machines
Specialty Lathes Quotes about turning Notes on a 17th Cent. turner
My bow lathe Bibliography Links

Early Wood Lathes Bibliography

Feel free to recommend books and articles for this space.

To save money, remember to watch for the links for used copies available on Amazon.

Primary SourcesOrder a Copy!
Bergeron, L.E. Le Manuel du Tourneur, 1796
Diderot, Denis. Encyclopedie, Paris, 1751-65. 2 Vols. cover
Holtzapffel, John Jacob. Turning and Mechanical Manipulation, vol. 4--Hand or Simple Turning: Principles and Practice (orig. pub. 1881). Reprint--New York: Dover Press, 1976. ISBN 0486233650Hand or Simple Turning
Holtzapffel, John Jacob. Turning and Mechanical Manipulation, vol. 5--The Principles and Practice of Ornamental or Complex Turning (orig. pub. 1894), Reprint--New York: Dover Press, 1976. ISBN 0486229653The Principles and Practice of Ornamental or Complex Turning
Hulot. L'art du Tourneur Mecanicien. Paris, 1775.
Moxon, Joseph. Mechnick Exercises or the Doctrine of Handy-works., London, 1680. Mechanick Exercises
Plumier, Charles. L'Art du Tourner. Originally published in Paris in 1706. English translation of the 1749 2nd edition by Dr. Paul Ferraglio of Brooklyn, NY privately published in a very limited edition.
Salivet, Louis Georges Isaac. Manuel de Tourneur. Paris, 1792, 1796.
Evans, John Henry. Ornamental Turning (orig. pub. 1886) REPRINT--Mendham, New Jersey: The Astragal Press, 1993. ISBN 1879335352 cover
Lukin, James. Turning Lathes: A Guide to Turning, Screw Cutting, Metal Spinning and Ornamental Turning 1894 Reprint--Mendham, New Jersey: The Astragal Press. ISBN 1879335492 cover
TheophilusOn Divers Arts.Dover ISBN 0486237842 Original circa 1122. A number of instructions and illustrations of early lathes for bellfounding and pewterturning.cover

Secondary SourcesOrder a Copy!
Burstall, Aubrey. Simple Working Models of Historic Machines. M.I.T. Press.Simple Working Models of Historic Machines
Darlow, Mike. Mike Darlow's Woodturning Series: Fundamentals of wood Turning Vol 1 ISBN: 1565231783 Wood Turning Methods Vol. 2 ISBN: 1565231252 Woodturning Techniques, Vol 3. ISBN: 1565231481. Although these are books on modern turning they include occasional period illustrations of lathes and accesories and well as period objects with accompanying notes to show the historic origins of the various techniques that the author describes. I've only seen volumes 2 & 3 so far, but I assume Volume 1 uses the same idea to bridge some of the history of turning with modern turning. cover cover cover
Daumas, Maurice A History of Technology & Invention - Progress Through the Ages, Volume II,The First Stages of Mechanization Translated by Eileen Henessy, Crown Publishers, New York, English translation 1969, originally published as Historie Generales des Techniques, 1964, Presses Universitaires de France. Beginning in the 15th and 16th Centuries it includes lathes for glasswork and screw cutting and early jeweller's/watchmakers type lathes. A History of Technology and Invention; Progress Through the Ages.
Hodges, HenryTechnology in the Ancient World 1980, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, ISBN 394448081. Discusses some of the earliest records of lathes.
M¸ller, Ulrich Holzfunde aus Freiburg und Konstanz; (Wood finds from Freiburg and Konstanz) 1996, ISBN 380621266X. Wooden objects, many of them turned, excavated from waterlogged deposits in Konstanz and Augustinian drains dating from the 13th to the 16th centuriesHolzfunde aus Freiburg/Augustinereremitenkloster und Konstanz : Herstellung und Funktion einer Materialgruppe aus dem späten Mittelalter
Morris, Carole A Craft, Industry and Everyday Life: Wood and Woodworking in Anglo-Scandinavian and Medieval York 2000, ISBN 1902771109. A definitive study of over 1,500 wooden objects and woodworking tools of both wood and iron, recovered from Coppergate and the surrounding area.Wood & Woodworking in Ang-Scan & Medieval York: Craft, Industry and Everyday Life
Strong, Donald and David Brown Roman Crafts1976, ISBN 0715607812. Touches on Roman turning in particular turning cast metal pans on an illustrated lathe.Roman crafts
Woodbury, Robert. History of the Lathe to 1850. Society for the History of Technology. Cleveland, Ohio, 1961.History of the Lathe to 1850 : A Study in the Growth of a Technical Element of an Industrial Economy
Hummel, Charles. With Hammer in Hand, The Dominy Craftsmen of East Hampton, New York, 1968. With Hammer in Hand: The Dominy...
Mercer, Henry C. Ancient Carpenters' Tools: Illustrated and Explained, Together with the Implements of the Lumberman, Joiner and Cabinet-Maker in Use in the Eighteenth Centurycover
Watson, Aldren A, Country Furniture, Lyons & Burford, publishers.
Underhill, Roy. The Woodwright's Workbook, Univ. of No, Carolina Press 1986. cover
Wilbur, C. Keith. Home Building and Woodworking in Colonial America cover
Encyclopedia of Green Wood Working Ray Tabor. ISBN: 18899233075
Green Woodwork Mike Abbot ISBN: 0946819181cover
Danielevskii, V.V. (trans.) Nartov and His Teatrum Machinarum, Russian XVIIth Century Machine Tools. Published by the Smithsonian Institution and the National Science Foundation. National Technical Information Service, U.S. Dept. of Commerce, 1966, TT6411109. Israel Program for Scientific Translations.
Matthews, Martin. Engine Turning 1680-1980: The Tools and Techniques. Engine turning, 1680-1980 : the tools and technique
Seaver, Paul S. Wallington's World : A Puritan Artisan in Seventeenth Century London, 1985, ISBN: 0804712670. A biography of a 17th century woodturnercover


Lacer, Alan. "Historic Spindles: Centerwork from Old Sturbridge Village". American Woodturner, Fall, 1998.

Leeke, John & Jon. "A Child's Pole Lathe." Fine Woodworking. January 1986. Reprinted in Fine Wood Working on Spindle Turning. Taunton Press, 1987.

Richey, Jim. "Treadle Lathe: Build Your Own." Fine Woodworking.

Other Turning Bibliographies

Ornamental Turning Bibliography & Information Sources See also my Historical Reenactor's library for books related to reencacting various eras.