Very Good. Item #9477
New York: The New York Press / J.F. Tapley Co., 1907. First Edition. Octavo; [iv], [1-6], 7-554pp. Diagrams and illustrations throughout. "For sale by The Technical Literature Company" banner tipped in at gutter toward bottom of title page. Distributor's binding in red cloth with gilt lettering and Technical Literature imprint at tail of spine. Ownership stamp of engineer Caleb Mills Saville, who worked on the Panama Canal, on front free endpaper.
Boards worn at corners and spine ends with rubbing down joints and fore-edge, a dime-sized surface abrasion to spine with loss of "A" in title, and some general smudging and soiling. Spine a bit rolled. Boards open loosely with book opening easily between a few gatherings, but binding is holding soundly. Previous owner's marks on front endpapers, with extensive marginal notes by Saville from pages 83-147. Pages otherwise clean with occasional light foxing.
A March 1908 review in Engineering Digest described Bates's book as "The most instructive work of constructive criticism of the Panama canal that has ever been written." The month prior, however, Engineering News was more critical, writing that "If we may believe the author of this book, everything which the United States has done at Panama, from beginning to end, has been a mistake. We have searched through his 550 pages to find a good word for somebody...but our search has been in vain." The review goes on to suggest it was written with some bitterness, adding that "The author of this book had his own pet plan for building the Panama Canal" which he was given the opportunity to pitch to the International Board of Consulting Engineers at a hearing, and who then went about with their own plans. The volume is expanded and collected from columns originally appearing in New York Press.
Prior owner Caleb Mills Saville was at the time an Assistant Division Engineer with the Gatun Dam Division in the Isthmian Canal Commission, and filled the margins of the chapters pertaining to Gatun with notes and rebuttals -- especially in passages about local soil, clay, rock beds, etc. -- though he does seem to have had an eye out for valid concerns, occasionally writing simply "Investigate?" next to certain passages. In a brief, late-April column in Engineering News titled "Experimental Work at the Gatun Dam Site," he reports that "Saville wrote that "Expreimental work on a large scale is now underway at a station which has been established at Gatun for the purpose of investigating the various soils and rocks which will be used in the construction of the dams and also the materials that are found in the foundations and in the portions of the ground underlying the embankments and walls to be constructed" before providing a list of the investigations and experiments at hand. We have so far not found an instance where either Bates or Saville refer to the other directly in print.
Saville later became the manager and chief enineer of the Metropolitan District Commission in Hartford, CT, modernizing Hartford's water system and building the Bill's Brook Dam, renamed the Saville Dam in his honor.
[Frank - American Interoceanic Canals p. 40; Meyer - List of References on the Panama Canal and the Panama Canal Zone #171].