ANMÄRKNINGAR WID ITALIENSKA BYGGNADS SÄTTET, til förekommande af eldswådor. [colophon:] Stockholm, Tryckt uti Kongl, Tryckeriet.
1759. 4to, pp. [ii] engraved title-page, [iv], 52; with three folding engraved plates, and woodcut headpieces; paper a little browned throughout, with some occasional light foxing and soiling, a more prominent (though inoffensive) stain on p. 3; a good, crisp copy in modern dark brown sprinkled boards, with white label lettered in gilt, all edges gilt. First edition of this attractively produced ‘Remarks on the Italian building method for the prevention of fires’, the work of the Swedish metallurgist and civil servant Reinhold Angerstein (1718-1760). Written in response to a series of devastating fires in Stockholm, leading to calls for changes in building regulations, Angerstein looks in particular at alternative construction methods, focusing upon the use of different types of stone, and in particular upon the use of granite. Angerstein argues that the stone is common in the mountains of Sweden, and that it would make economic sense, to use a local natural resource, which would also hopefully solve the issue of fire resistance. Hi notes that the art of working with grey stone had died out somewhat in Sweden, but hopes that it could be revived for Stockholm’s benefit - both architecturally and practically. The frontispiece title, after a drawing by Olof Årr, depicts a fire in Stockholm, surrounded by a border of fire-fighting equipment. The second plate illustrated different types of stone, with the final plate an elegant depiction of the Church of St. Peter in Rome and part of the Vatican.
A member of an old family of Swedish Iron masters, Angerstein studied in Uppsala, and then worked as an auditor at the Swedish Board of Mines (the Bergskollegium). Financed by the Swedish Association of Iron Masters, he travelled extensively across Europe, and wrote a series of manuscript travel accounts, focusing in particular upon technical and economic observations from mining and iron and steel works. Apparently during a visit to England and Wales between 1753-1755 he was accused of being an industrial spy. On his return he was appointed Director of Steelworks at the Bergskollegium, and in 1757 he purchased the Vira Iron Works in Uppland. This appears to have been the only published work during his lifetime, though his travel diaries were translated and published in 2000. ‘His published journals show that he had a profound understanding of commerce as well as an ability to understand and record developments in technology. He appreciated the significance of the use of coke in blast furnaces, still practised in only a very small number of ironworks at the time of his visit to Britain, but he also showed an understanding of the diversity of the market for iron in England, and of the way in which niches in it could be filled by imports from Russia, Spain and the Netherlands, as well as from Sweden. He made valuable observations on textiles, mining, railways and river navigation. He was one of many Swedish iron masters who, through their travels, conveyed new thinking about technology and commerce, and left illuminating records of industry in other countries’ (https://www.erih.net/how-it-started/stories-about-people-biographies/biography/angerstein).
Bibliography: Josephson, Stadbyggnadskonst i Stockholm intill år 1800, p. 270; OCLC locates copies at the Getty, Yale, Columbia, the Royal Swedish Library, the Royal Danish Library.