Introduction — the first age of topology



The greatest difficulty in compiling a history of almost any specialist subject is to know where to begin. There is a popular saying—‘There is nothing new under the sun’-and certainly it is often impossible to credit the invention of the most useful of devices to any known single person. In The Children’s Encyclopaedia (1922) a verbal picture of a stone-age man is painted with the use of phrases such as “He lifts the stone, raises it above his head, and flings it from him. The others imitate him. They chuckle and grin. The first game of cricket is being played.”


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Boucherot, P. (1908), ‘Appareils et machines à courant et mouvement alternatifs’, Bulletin de la Société Internationale des ẺIlectriciens, Vol. 8, pp. 731–755Google Scholar
  2. Bowers, B. (1972), ‘The eccentric electromagnetic engine-a chapter from the very early history of the electric motor’, Electronics and Power, Vol. 18, pp. 269–272CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Clark, Sir Kenneth (1969), Civilisation-A Personal View (British Broadcasting Corporation and John Murray).Google Scholar
  4. Journal IEE (1922), ‘Proceedings at the meetings held in commemoration of the first ordinary meeting of the IEE in 1872’, Vol. 60, No. 308, pp. 377–500Google Scholar
  5. Laithwaite, E. R. (1966), Induction Machines for Special Purposes (Newnes)Google Scholar
  6. Laithwaite, E. R. (1967), ‘The moving window motor’, Electrical Review, Vol. 181, pp.278–279Google Scholar
  7. Laithwaite, E. R. (1971), Linear Electric Motors (Mills and Boon)Google Scholar
  8. Lenihan, J. M. A. (1969), ‘The triumph of technology’, The Philosophical Journal, Vol. 6, No. 1, pp. 12–18Google Scholar
  9. The Children’s Encyclopaedia (1922), Vol. I, p. 47 (Amalgamated Press)Google Scholar
  10. The Electrician (1889), ‘The Birmingham Exhibition-Woolrich’s magneto-plating machine’, Vol. 23, p. 548Google Scholar
  11. Wheatstone, C. (1841), British Patent No. 9022Google Scholar
  12. Williams, F. C, Laithwaite, E. R. and Eastham, J. F. (1959), ‘Development and design of spherical induction mo tors’, Proc. IEE, Vol. 106A, No. 30, pp. 471–484Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Eric R. Laithwaite 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Imperial CollegeLondonUK

Personalised recommendations