Cover to 'Electricity in the service of mankind', 1885.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Decorative binding from Die ElektricitAt im Dienste der Menschheit (Electricity in the service of mankind) by Alfred Ritter von Urbanitzky (born 1852), published in Vienna in 1885. The development of publishers' book bindings in the late nineteenth century led to a huge increase of bright, decorative covers for popular science and technology books. Most were unsigned by artists employed by the publishers. This elaborate Austrian example in green publishers' cloth is blocked in black, silver and gold. A winged semi-naked female figure is holding two earphones. She is surrounded be electrical wiring and apparatus.