Cyril Stanley Smith

Cyril Stanley Smith is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT, and author of A Search for Structure: Selected Essays on Science, Art, and History (MIT Press paperback).

  • A History of Metallography

    A History of Metallography

    The Development of Ideas on the Structure of Metals before 1890

    Cyril Stanley Smith

    Cyril Smith's study of the structure of metals and alloys and the properties that result from their processing remains, after more than two decades, a foundational work on the history of metallography. It starts from the intuitive knowledge of metals achieved by such early artists and craftsmen as Biringuccio, Descartes, Réaumur, Bréant, Osmond, Sorby, Brinell, Tschernoff, Howe, Percy and others, and then describes the evolution of the modern scientific understanding of materials. Throughout, the author emphasizes the interplay of contributions from practical engineering, from experimental and theoretical science, and from the workings of the aesthetic imagination.

    The original hardcover edition of A History of Metallography won the Pfizer Prize of the History of Science Society.

    • Paperback $62.00 £48.00
  • A Search For Structure

    Selected Essays on Science, Art and History

    Cyril Stanley Smith

    These fourteen essays celebrate the necessary unity between aesthetic curiosity and scientific and technological discovery. Drawing on his own experience as a metallurgist and his wide-ranging studies of ancient and modern artifacts, Cyril Smith offers an intriguing and generously illustrated exploration of the relationship between material structure and our sense of beauty.

    • Hardcover $49.95
    • Paperback $23.95
  • Sources for the History of the Science of Steel, 1532-1786

    Cyril Stanley Smith

    As modern chemistry and physics began to grow, scientists looked at the artisan's practice and found much on the nature and behavior of matter that posed problems for their philosophies. The papers in this book – the most important pf which appear in English for the first time – cover that period when people who were part scientist, part industrialist, first came to learn clearly that the properties of iron and steel depend on their chemical composition and internal structure. The collection does not attempt to give an account of the production of iron on a growing industrial scale – indeed, the sources for studying this do not lie mainly in literature – but rather to make modern readers witness to the increasing concern of educated men with what for centuries had been the concern of the unlettered artisan alone,

    The earliest item reproduced, the Stahel und Eysen (1532), is a little anonymous booklet of recipes on hardening and softening iron and on etching it decoratively. The last paper included, by a trio of famous scientists, Vandermonde, Berthollet, and Monge (1786), clearly and concisely defined the role of chemically identifiable carbon in giving the distinctive qualities of the three main forms of commercial iron. In between are articles by Italian, German, Swedish, and French writers of varying backgrounds, showing different stages in the dawning of this insight over a period of more than two hundred years.

    The book is not a consolidated history but a collection of sources for the materials student, or for the student of the history of science, or for the general reader with some nongeneral interest to browse through, puzzle over, and enjoy. It will be important to scholars that these articles, many of them rare and difficult to obtain, have been translated and collected in one volume; the book will interest general readers as well, for the documents reveal so well the importance of continuing contact between science and the complicated real world of the workshop and are so uniquely expressive of the excitement the scientist feels when he grasps the meaning of something that has long been beyond understanding.

    • Hardcover $30.00
  • Pirotechnia


    Vannoccio Biringuccio, Cyril Stanley Smith, and Martha Teach Gnudi

    Originally printed in 1540, this classic work on the field of metallurgy marked the beginning of a true technological literature.

    Biringuccio's Pirotechnia is the earliest printed work to cover the whole field of metallurgy. Originally printed in Venice in 1540, this was the first book to deal with the applied metal arts and processes of ore reduction and to describe the techniques which had been in development since the bronze age.

    Written by a master craftsman in a time when knowledge was kept alive by the spoken rather than the written word, this classic marked the beginning of a true technological literature, with both craftsmanship and science united by a writer's pen to form a record of an important facet of man's achievement as a stimulus to further advance. After the publication of the Pirotechnia, many followed Biringuccio's example, and as a result of this growing literature of technological practice and experimental fact, science eventually became the concern of the educated man.

    • Paperback $53.00 £41.00