An American of wide-ranging interests and overflowing energy, Benjamin Thompson applied his scientific and technical knowledge to the improvement of public service and welfare institutions in Bavaria (a service for which he was made Count Rumford), Ireland, England, and Italy. In the process, he made important discoveries in physics. In this new edition of Rumford’s Works, Sanborn Brown has arranged his writings according to subject matter: in this fifth volume are Rumford’s papers on public institutions: “Poor in Munich”; “Poor in All Countries”; “Feeding the Poor”; “Coffee”; “Public Institutions in Bavaria”; “Regulations for the Army of Bavaria”; “Public Institutions in Great Britain”; and “The Royal Institution.”
The Collected Works of Count Rumford is much more than a source book or a guide to methods of research in physics. It provides a unique portrait of the scientific, political, and social conditions of the turbulent early years of the Industrial Revolution.