Wednesday 12 October 2016

There's No Technology Like Old Technology

Ahhhhh, books.  I love books.  I know new e-readers are all the rage, they take up less room and you can easily travel with a ton of books loaded into your new tech and it doesn't take up much space.  But...there is nothing like the feel of a book.  The thrill of being the first to open a brand new book, the smell, the feel of the pages.  And of course there's the thrill of reading an old book and wondering how many other people have turned its pages.  It gives you a kind of connection to people you don't even know because of the shared experience of handling those pages, reading those words, and sharing that story.

So, I can't begin to tell you how exciting it was to have a book donated to our collection that was printed around 1729!

The name of the book is Human Nature In Its Fourfold State written by Thomas Boston, a Scottish church leader who lived from 1676 - 1732.  The book is a religious classic from Scotland and is still available in print today - just google it.

This particular book was well used by the looks of its condition.  You can see from the picture that at some point it was covered with a lighter coloured, heavy paper.

In this picture you can see how someone tried to stitch the spine back together with string.    
Here you can see on the bottom left-hand page that the preface was written by Robert Wightman, March 18, 1729.  Since Thomas Boston died in 1732, this is likely a first edition of the book.

We also see a signature:  Andrew Glagon____ owns this book, 1769.  If anyone reading this can make out the full last name, please leave a comment in the comments box below.

Here we can see the signature of another owner of the book.  It's signed Thomas Purvess, May 1, 1826.

In a world we people change their technology every few years or even months, it's amazing to think that this old printing technology has enabled this book to last almost 300 years.  I'd like to see the giant tech companies beat that! Sometimes there really is no technology like old technology.


  1. Considering smart phones are changed out almost every year, having something last 300 years is really quite amazing. This is a very interesting post.

  2. I have a Thomas Purves in my family history who was born in Scotland in 1801 and arrived in new Brunswick in 1826. He married an Ann Unknown, settled in Hampton, Kings Co. and had 6 children. Rulof R.Purves, a son, married Naomi B. Mercer, a daughter of John M. Mercer(Saint John, Loyalist Desc.) and Elizbeth McGeouch (Scotland). See a note at panb by Dan Johnson concerning Thomas Purves. "The Sussex congregation was organized as a congregation on the 18th July 1857 in the Roach meeting house by Mr. Gray, assisted by Thomas PURVES and Robert WOOD, elders from St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Hampton (now Nauwidgewauk). The congregation continued to worship in the Roach meeting house until they succeeded in erecting the edifice, which has now changed site, and which was opened for public worship June 21st, 1863. The Rev. Thomas STEWART succeeded Mr. Gray and was inducted 14th Nov. 1887, remaining there about three years and nine months till called to Dartmouth, N.S. where he still remains, and about two years ago was succeeded by the present incumbent, Rev. J.S. SUTHERLAND." Thomas Purves died 31 May 1887 at Nauwigewalk, age 85. Thomas Purves had to be the owner of the book in 1869.

    1. The date should be 1826 not 1869. Typo. Thomas Purves/Purvess perhaps brought the book with him in 1826 upon arrival from Scotand.The Purves family had to have saved the Book in the family all those years?

    2. Kings Co. Museum22 October 2016 at 21:54

      That's a great history. Certainly sounds like Thomas Purves was the same one who signed this book.