Steampunk Primary Sources II

More PDFs (and sometimes epubs) of original Victorian and Edwardian books of interest to Steampunks. See part one here, and how these books were found here.

Automata (1893)

Automobiles (1900)

Babbage On The Difference Engine (1864)

Engineering (1860)

Factories (1844)

The Jacquard Loom (1895)

Lovelace On The Difference Engine (1853)


Mechanisms (1868)

Shipbuilding (1869)

Steampunk Primary Sources From Google Books And

Here is a list of PDFs of books from the Victorian (and Edwardian) era that Steampunks can take ideas and illustrations from. There are many more that can be found, see my post on how to search to help you find them. Let me know in the comments if you find anything good!

Airships (1909)

Aircraft (1910)

The Aether (1886)

Clockwork (1859)

Etiquette (1860s?)

The Great Exhibition (1851)

The Magic Lantern (1888)

Mediumship (1891)

The Phonograph (1879)

Steam Engineering (1867)

Steam Engines (1857)

Spirit Photography (1894)

The Telegraph (1860)

The Telephone (1889)

Theosophy (1891)

The Typewriter (1890)

HOWTO Search For Public Domain ebooks Using Google Books and

If you are looking for electronic versions of old public domain books and journals you can get good results by using Google Books and together.

Start with Google Books, which has more metadata and more search options than Despite much-publicised metadata failures on some books, most books have useful date, author and title information, and many can be searched inside. I’ve found that the useful search constraints are date (for example 1850 to 1900 when searching for Victoriana) and then one or more of author, title, exact phrase or subject keyword.

Always use the advanced search interface –

Don’t limit the search to “Full Books Only” unless you are searching specifically for epub format ebooks. Epub is a great way of getting a structured copy of a book that you can read on a mobile device, copy and paste from and translate to other formats, but many more books are availabe as PDFs. The only problem with PDF versions of books is that Google Books doesn’t provide downloads for all of them.

Once you’ve found the title of a book you want but that Google doesn’t provide a PDF download for, search for that title on It will almost always be there but you may have to select the correct edition, or choose between different versions from different libraries or from projects other than Google Books. Go to the book’s page and don’t click on “Download PDF” which sends you back to Google, who don’t have it. Instead click on the link to “All Files”, then download the PDF (or the DJVU, or the text extracted from the DJVU) from there.

There’s nothing to stop you searching for authors, title words of keywords as well. is used by projects other than Google Books. has the texts of many old books as well, and provides html and epub versions of illustrated books as well. But as a new resource with some rough edges, Google Books is a useful new research resource for historical sources.


A while ago I made a version of the old computer art language Mini-Explor. It’s a library or domain specific language in Fortran. I’ve tidied the code up a little and added it to my source repository here –;a=summary

You can get it using git –

git clone

For more information on Explor, see –