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Technical specifications including standards, material safety datasheets (MSDS), and patents: Home

Includes wiring diagrams, trade catalogues, material safety data sheets (MSDS), designs.


Amongst the wealth of materials reference libraries such as the State Library of South Australia and its interstate and overseas counterparts hold are published working tools for artisans and tradesmen, farmers and scientists, manufacturers and distributors, government facilitators and regulators, and, of course, anyone willing and able to follow what are sometimes detailed and complicated instructions.

Many of the major databanks of patents, trade marks, standards and manufacturers material safety data sheets, trade catalogs and handbooks are now packaged by online databases or platforms available only to subscribers. Others, however, remain in the public domain, on public websites or in library and archive collections and this guide contains a wide selection of resources for your guidance.

We encourage you to make use of the comments boxes on these pages to indicate any additions you think should be made and to record suggestions relating to improved layout or presentation.

Encyclopédie iPad application

NEW iPad App: The Encyclopédie iPad application, fulltext of the ARTFL Encyclopédie with page and plate images, available for free download.

Technology in Australia 1788 - 1988(online version)

TECHNOLOGY IN AUSTRALIA 1788 - 1988: A condensed history of Australian technological innovation and adaptation during the first two hundred years. Compiled by Fellows of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, MELBOURNE 1988; ONLINE 2000)
"....Technology, pervading as it does all arts and sciences, indeed everything we do, puts a definitive history out of range.... If the book purported to be a complete history, or were not specifically limited to the last 200 years, a special place for Aboriginal technology would, of course, be necessary...."(from the Foreword)

" is the origin and feedstock of science. All sciences have developed out of techniques -mathematics from measuring in the market, surveying and keeping accounts; mechanics and physics from working wood and metals, construction and transport; chemistry from smelting ores, brewing and distilling...."(From the Introduction)

Historical antecedents for description, regulation, and protection of technologies and inventions

The following publications are amongst the many signal points in historical efforts to describe both the mechanical world and other human achievements.

"The Encyclopédie ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers, par une Société de Gens de lettres was published under the direction of Diderot and d'Alembert, with 17 volumes of text and 11 volumes of plates between 1751 and 1772. It containsg 74,000 articles written by more than 130 contributors. The Encyclopédie was a massive reference work for the arts and sciences, as well as a machine de guerre which served to propagate the ideas of the French Enlightenment. The impact of the Encyclopédie was enormous. Through its attempt to classify learning and to open all domains of human activity to its readers, the Encyclopédie gave expression to many of the most important intellectual and social developments of its time."  (cf, The ARTFL Encyclopédie). Whilst we dont have the Encyclopédie in our collection we do have a 2 volume selection of the plates,  A Diderot pictorial encyclopedia of trades and industry : manufacturing and the technical arts in plates ... (NY, Dover Publications, 1959)

Cyclopaedia ; or, An universal dictionary of arts and sciences : containing an explanation of the terms, and an account of the several subjects, in the liberal and mechanical arts, and the sciences, human and divine : intended as a course of ancient and modern learning / by E. Chambers ; with the supplement and modern improvements, incorporated in one alphabet by Abraham Rees (5 volumes; London : J.F. and C Rivington and others, 1778-88). 

After working on the above 'Chambers'  cyclopaedia' Abraham Rees  went on to produce The cyclopaedia, or, Universal dictionary of arts, sciences and literature : in thirty-nine volumes / by Abraham Rees ; with the assistance of eminent professional gentlemen ; illustrated with numerous engravings by the most distinguished artists (39 volumes + 6 volumes of plates.  "Addenda and corrigenda" published in v. 39. London : Printed for Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme & Brown ..., 1819-20). We also have a 5 volume selection from this extensive work, Rees's manufacturing industry (1819-20) .... (Newton Abbott, Devon: David and Charles Reprints, 1972).

A history of technology / edited by Charles Singer, E.J. Holmyard, A.R. Hall and Trevor I. Williams (London : Oxford University Press, 1954-1978)
v1: From early times to the fall of ancient empires;  v2: The Mediterranean civilizations and the middle ages c700 BC to cAD 1500;  v3: From the Renaissance to the Industrial revolution c1500-c1750;  v4: The Industrial revolution c1750 to c1850;  v5: The late nineteenth century c1850 to c1900; v6: The twentieth century c1900 to c1950 Part I; v7: The twentieth century c1900 to c1950 Part II;  v. 8. Consolidated indexes /​ compiled by Richard Raper

Crystal Palace

The Crystal Palace was a cast-iron and plate-glass building originally erected in Hyde Park, London, England, to house the Great Exhibition of 1851. More than 14,000 exhibitors from around the world gathered in the Palace's  990,000 square feet (92,000 square meters) of exhibition space to display examples of the latest technology developed in the Industrial Revolution (Wikipedia)

Crystal Palace genral view from Water Temple  ( Wikimedia Commons  freely licensed media file)