If you are a mechanical sort, and have an hour or two to while away, may I suggest spending it at 507movements.com, a website that contains an enhanced version of the book of the same name by Henry Brown, which was originally published in 1868.
“Multiple gearing”—a recent invention. The smaller triangular wheel drives the larger one by the movement of its attached friction-rollers in the radial grooves.
The website features the 21st edition of this long-popular technical book which was published in 1908. (The satisfyingly wordy and descriptive frontispiece of which is roughly reproduced below:
FIVE HUNDRED AND SEVEN
ALL THOSE WHICH ARE MOST IMPORTANT IN
DYNAMICS, HYDRAULICS, HYDROSTATICS, PNEUMATICS, STEAM ENGINES, MILL AND OTHER GEARING, PRESSES, HOROLOGY, AND MISCELLANEOUS MACHINERY;
MANY MOVEMENTS NEVER BEFORE PUBLISHED
SEVERAL WHICH HAVE ONLY RECENTLY COME INTO USE.
HENRY T. BROWN.
I was exceedingly excited when I first found this site, because not only are the original 507 mechanisms pictures, a good number of them have been animated! The animations are great because some of the mechanisms are so complex that it’s not easy to figure out exactly what they’re supposed to do (although I have to admit that I have gotten so caught up in the animations that I have yet to reach number 507.
When I was younger, the Boston Museum of Science had a wall of similar mechanisms–gears, pulleys, engine movements, clock escapements, etc. that could be activated by the press of a button by a youngster’s finger. I was happy when I returned to that museum a few years ago and found the exhibit still there, looking a bit dated amidst the model of the DNA molecule and the satellites hanging from the ceiling. Dated maybe, but still mesmerizing.
Now, how to incorporate one of these mechanical wonders into my next bit of steampunkery?