LES TRAMWAYS by SERAFON, E.

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LES TRAMWAYS Les Chemins de Fer sur routes, Les Automobiles et les Chemins de fer de montagne à crémaillère. Quatrième édition complètement refondue par H. de Graffigny.... J. B. Dumas, Paris, E. Bernard et Cie, Imprimeurs-Editeurs...

1898. 8vo; pp. viii, 576; with some 200 text illustrations and half-tones, and numerous tables within text; browned throughout due to paper quality, more prominently so around margins; with some occasional minor marginal nicks; in contemporary red roan backed marbled boards, spine ruled in black and lettered in gilt, tail of spine nicked with small loss, joints somewhat rubbed, with some scraping and scuffing to roan, with light scuffing and rubbing to surfaces, extremities lightly worn, more prominent along tail of upper cover. Fourth and expanded edition (first 1882) of this detailed account and analysis of both the French transport system, together with a comparison of other systems across the world. Originally the work of Ferdinand Sérafon, ‘Ingénieur civil, ancien Directeur des Tramways de Lille, ancien Ingénieur en chef d’une Société de Chemins de fer sur routes’ (first edition title-page), this later edition is ascribed to ‘E. Serafon’ (but from the preface clearly the original author so perhaps an typo), with revisions by H. de Graffigny ‘Ingénieur Civil Directeur de la Petite Encyclopédie électro-mécanique’, and J. B. Dumas ‘Conductuer principal au service municipal des travaux de Paris, en retraite’. Henri de Graffigny, the pseudonym of Raoul Henri Clément Marquis (1863-1934), was a hugely successful popular scientific writer on a myriad of topics, and indeed a short list of his publications is included on the title-page verso.
By the 1870s it was becoming clear that Paris needed a pubic transport system other than the existing omnibus and tramway services. London already had a network of inner city and suburban railways, notably the shallow underground lines, and the US had seen the development of effective street railroad or tramway networks. A keen student of international advancement, Ferdinand Sérafon had already published two comprehensive studies on the subject, highlighting in particular developments in London in Étude sur les chemins de fer, les tramways et les moyens de transport en commun à Paris et à Londres (1872), and with a wider survey undertaken in Manuel Pratique de la construction des chemins de fer des rues (1877), but noting US developments. The present work was clearly a continuation upon those themes, Sérafon a fervent exponent of tramways, and leading the charge to adopt old road routes for new railway lines, as a cost effective method. The work compares and contrasts systems employed in Britain, the US, as well as other parts of Europe. Attractively illustrated, it includes a wealth of technical information on all areas of construction and exploitation, and provides a fascinating insight into the rapid growth of public transport systems at the end of the 19th century.

Bibliography: OCLC locates copies at the New York Public Library, Illinois, Princeton, with a number of further European locations.

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