John Weale

John Weale (1791 – Dec 18, 1862, Maida Vale[1]) was an English publisher of popular scientific, architectural, engineering and educational works.


He went into the trade first with George Priestley in St Giles-in-the-Fields who died around 1812, and worked then with Priestley's widow.[2] He took a particular interest in the study of architecture. In 1823 he issued a bibliographical Catalogue of Works on Architecture and the Fine Arts, of which a new edition appeared in 1854. He bought the architectural publishing business at 59 High Holborn built up by Isaac Taylor and his son Josiah Taylor as The Architectural Library,[3] after Josiah's death in 1834.[2]

He followed the Catalogue in 1849–50 with a Rudimentary Dictionary of Terms used in Architecture, Building, and Engineering, a work which reached a fifth edition in 1876.

Diagram of an annular engine, from Robert Murray, Rudimentary Treatise on Marine Engines and Steam Vessels (1858), published by John Weale.

Weale died in London on 18 December 1862.


Weale published also:

He edited Weale's Quarterly Papers on Engineering, London, 1843–6, 6 vols., and Weale's Quarterly Papers on Architecture, London, 1843–5, 4 vols.

Weale's Rudimentary Series

Weale was on good terms with many men of science, and published cheap literature for technical education. His Rudimentary Series (over 130 works, usually selling at one shilling)[2] and other educational series comprised standard works, both in classics and science. They were suggested initially by William Reid,[4] and were continued after his death, first by James Sprent Virtue.

Source: Lists at end of the publications.[5] The series was later taken on by the publisher Crosby Lockwood, who added volumes while retaining the system of reference numbers (across editions).[6]

Series number First published Author Title Comments
1 1849? George Fownes Rudimentary Chemistry WorldCat editions Read Online (1853).
2 1848 Charles Tomlinson Introduction to the Study of Natural Philosophy WorldCat editions
3 1849 Joseph Ellison Portlock Rudimentary Geology WorldCat editions
There was an 1871 rewrite as Rudimentary Treatise on Geology by Ralph Tate: WorldCat editions
4, 5 1848 Delvalle Varley Rudimentary Mineralogy WorldCat editions
Later editions with James Dwight Dana, as Rudimentary Treatise on Mineralogy. Delvalle Varley was the second wife of John Varley, and daughter of Wilson Lowry;[7] her mother Rebekah Eliza Delvalle was a mineralogist.[8]
6 1849 Charles Tomlinson Rudimentary Mechanics WorldCat editions Read Online
7 1848 William Snow Harris Rudimentary Electricity WorldCat editions
Google Books, 1851 edition
8, 9, 10 1850 William Snow Harris Rudimentary Magnetism WorldCat editions
11 1852 Edward Highton The Electric Telegraph: its history and progress Edward Highton was the brother of Henry Highton, and they both experimented with electricity, taking a particular interest in telegraphy.[9]
WorldCat editions
12 Tomlinson Pneumatics[10]
13, 14, 15, 15* 1848 Henry Law Rudiments of Civil Engineering Henry Law (1824–1900) was a civil engineer, a pupil of Brunel much involved in the Thames Tunnel.[11]
WorldCat editions Read Online, 1852 edition
16 1852 William Henry Leeds Rudimentary Architecture (Orders) Google Books
17 1849 Thomas Talbot Bury Rudimentary Architecture (Styles) WorldCat editions
Google Books (2nd edition)
18, 19 Edward Lacy Garbett Architecture (Principles of Design)[10] Garbett (died 1900) was son of the architect Edward William Garbett.[12]
20, 21 G. Pyne Perspective[10]
22 Edward Dobson Art of Building[10] Dobson emigrated to New Zealand where he had a successful career as an engineer.
23, 24 Edward Dobson Art of Tile-making, Brick-making[10]
25, 26 Edward Dobson Masonry and Stone-cutting[10]
27, 28 George Field Art of Painting[10]
29 G. R. Dempsey Art of Draining Lands[10]
30 Dempsey Art of Draining and Sewage of Towns and Buildings[10]
31 Burnell Art of Well-sinking and Boring[10]
32 J. F. Heather Art of the Use of Instruments[10]
33 1853 Samuel Hughes A treatise on gas works Samuel Hughes (c. 1816–1870), son of the engineer Thomas Hughes,[13] was a civil engineer and Fellow of the Geological Society.[14]
WorldCat edition
45 G. R. Burnell Limes, cements, mortars, concretes, mastics, plastering etc. George Rowdon Burnell (1814–1868) was a writer on architecture and engineering, "one of the very few who have united a Fellowship of the Royal Institution of British Architects with a Membership of the Institution of Civil Engineers".[15]
WorldCat edition
61 1850 Thomas Baker Rudimentary treatise on mensuration
63-65 1852-53 G. H. Andrews Rudimentary treatise on agricultural engineering George Henry Andrews (1816–1898), though trained as an engineer, was better known as a marine watercolorist.[16]
WorldCat edition
66 1852 John Donaldson Rudimentary treatise on clay lands and loamy soils John Donaldson (1799–1876) described himself as a 'Professor of Botany'.[17] He taught at the Agricultural Training College at Hoddesdon, established in the 1840s under the headmastership of William Haselwood.
WorldCat edition
69-70 Charles Child Spencer A rudimentary and practical treatise on music Charles Child Spencer (1797–1869) was an organist and choirmaster of St. James's Chapel, Clapton, London.[18]
WorldCat edition
80 Robert Murray Rudimentary treatise on marine engines and steam vessels WorldCat edition
83 1853 Editor Charles Tomlinson, materials by Alfred Charles Hobbs, compiler by George Dodd Rudimentary Treatise on the Construction of Locks Alfred Charles Hobbs; George Dodd (1853). Rudimentary Treatise on the Construction of Locks. J. Weale. Retrieved 10 May 2013. 
99–100 John Radford Young Tables intended to facilitate the operations of navigation and nautical astronomy John Radford Young (1799–1885) was professor of mathematics at Belfast College from 1833 to 1849.[19]
WorldCat edition
101 1852 W. S. B. Woolhouse The elements of differential calculus WorldCat edition
102 1852 Homersham Cox The integral calculus At
1852 Robert Main Rudimentary Astronomy[20]
132 S. H. Brooks Erection of Dwelling-houses WorldCat edition

One of John Weale's earliest books published was Steam Navigation, Tredgold on the Steam Engine Appendix A which was edited and published under direction from Thomas Tredgold himself. Steam Navigation, Tredgold on the Steam Engine, Appendix A was printed by W. Hughes, King’s Head Court, Gough Square.

Its value in August 1839 was twelve shillings.



  1. Appletons' annual cyclopaedia and register of important events of the year: 1862. New York: D. Appleton & Company. 1863. p. 695.
  2. 1 2 3 Topham, Jonathan R. "Weale, John". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/28908. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  4.  "Reid, William (1791-1858)". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
  7. Kauffmann, C. M. "Varley, John". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/28115. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  8. Guyatt, Mary. "Lowry, Wilson". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/17103. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  10. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Robert Main (1852). Rudimentary astronomy. John Weale. p. 157.
  11. Obituary (PDF)
  12. Howard Colvin (1978). A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600–1840. John Murray. p. 331. ISBN 0 7195 3328 7.
  13. A. W. Skempton, A biographical dictionary of civil engineers in Great Britain and Ireland, p. 378
  14. 'Obituary - Samuel Hughes', Geological Magazine, vol. 9 (1872)
  15. Minutes of the Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers, Volume 31 (1871), pp. 211 –212
  16. Martin Hardie & Dudley Snelgrove, eds., Water-colour Painting in Britain: The Victorian period, 1966, p. 80
  17. ODNB
  18. Jamie Croy Kassler, The science of music in Britain, 1714-1830: a catalogue of writings, lectures, and inventions, Volume 2, 1979, p, 961
  19. Norman St. John Stevas, ed., The Collected Works of Walter Bagehot: Letters, Harvard University Press, 1986, p.
  20.  Lee, Sidney, ed. (1893). "Main, Robert". Dictionary of National Biography. 35. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  21. Google Books
  22. Google Books
  24. Google Books
  26. Dictionary of National Biography, Smith, Thomas Roger (1830–1903), architect, by Paul Waterhouse. Published 1912.

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: "Weale, John". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. 

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