37th DPS Meeting, 4-9 September 2005
Session 4 HAD Posters
HAD Posters, Monday, September 5, 2005, 11:00am-5:30pm, Umney Theatre Foyer

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[4.01] The English Mechanic and world of science

E.S. Hutton (F.R.A.S)

The English Mechanic and World of Science was a weekly newspaper published from 1865 to 1926. Although not apparent from the title items of an astronomical interest took up a large percentage of the content, (22% in a sample volume). The term ``newspaper" is also misleading, as over half of the content of a typical 24 page issue would be taken up by readers letters and answers to queries.

The ``Letters" section of English Mechanic occupied the ecological niche today held by Usenet: a heterogeneous mixture of professionals, amateurs, and cranks.

The paper popularized amateur telescope making first the U.K then later in the U.S.A after the Rev. Ellison's articles were republished in Scientific American. A letter in its pages also prompted the formation of the British Astronomical Association.

A project to digitise and OCR the entire run (about 69,000 pages) is described, and the methods applicable to finding information from the full text search facility.

From its pages are taken a sample selection of articles, letters and photographs showing the wide range of content available to historians of astronomy.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: bookman@rmplc.co.uk

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #3
© 2004. The American Astronomical Soceity.