A pigmy mounted on the shoulder's of giants...
By WYLD, Samuel , 1725

The Practical Surveyor or, the art of land-measuring made easy.

Natural History, Science & Medicine
  • Author: WYLD, Samuel
  • Publication place: London
  • Publisher: J.Hooke, at the Flower-de-luce against St. Dunstan's Church in Fleet-street: and J.Sisson, mathematical instrument-maker, the Corner of Beaufort Buildings in the Strand
  • Publication date: 1725.
  • Physical description: Octavo (195 by 120mm), eight preliminary leaves including title page, a preface to the reader and contents, [1]-182pp, ending with two leaves of tables and five folding illustrations, additional folding woodcut illustrations on title page, contemporary panelled calf, gilt spine in six compartments separated by raised bands, title in gilt.

    Collation: A-N4, blank N4 not present, [2].
  • Dimensions: 200 by 122mm. (7.75 by 4.75 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 14797


Rare first edition of Samuel Wyld’s popular tract on land surveying.

In his preface Wyld defends the necessity of work’s publication, stating that he (the pigmy) is merely standing on the shoulders of giants, in order to see that little bit further. The work is split into seven chapters: the first two deal with surveying instruments, such as the plane table, the theodolite,and the circumferentor, with the first useful for gardens, the second for large tracts of enclosed land, and the last for parkland and large estates; the third chapter deals with the use of the compass in surveying;, and chapter five with the theodolite; then follows how to measure a field with just the chain and the cross staff; the sixth with the laying out and dividing of land; and the seventh with how to survey a county, and plot a town plan.

The work with its simplified and plain language was evidnetly a hit with the general public, and it would go through seven editions over the next 55 years.


1. Anthony Methwin.
2. Rothamsted Collection.

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