Hatfield, H. Stafford

Automation or the Future of the Mechanical Man.

  • First edition of this uncommon and unusual text on automation, with analyses of the types of automatic control system then available and predictions of the types of work they could take over in the future. Among the tasks discussed are sorting objects; reading printed text and handwriting (“The difficulty would be stupendous; I should say insuperable”); automatic traffic control (“a good light-sensitive relay would, as I have already remarked, readily enable a signal to be sent that something was approaching a cross road. It would be next door to impossible, however, to signal ‘man,’ ‘car,’ ‘horse and cart,’, let alone ‘policeman,’”); typing from dictation ( ‘I venture to say that if any technical problem can be flatly termed insoluable, this is one’); industry and “the mass production of machines”; counting and accounting; and even “the automatic steering of ships and airplanes”. WorldCat locates only four institutional copies, at the Johannesburg City Library, the Koninklijke Bibliotheek in the Hague, Oregon State, and the Staatsbibliotek zu Berlin.

  • London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., Ltd., 1928.

    Octavo. Original purple boards, printed paper labels to spine and upper board. Binding rubbed, spine faded, boards bowed, light spotting to edges of text block. A very good copy.

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