Tom Roltís dedication to preserving and documenting the creations of early engineers, his own engineering training and his literary ability put him in a unique position to make engineering history interesting to a wide readership.

The books illustrated on the right have been recently re-issued, and are available to buy. See a full list of re-issues.

The subjects he wrote about include:

  • Canals
  • Railways
  • Motor cars
  • Topography
  • Industrial history
  • Philosophy

His books made a significant contribution to the growing interest in industrial archaeology, the conservation of industrial buildings and machinery, and the restoration and enjoyment of canals.

Among Rolt's best known works are Red for Danger, the definitive history of railway accidents and their consequences, Tools for the Job, a history of machine tools, and outstanding biographies of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Thomas Telford and George and Robert Stephenson.

He wrote three volumes of autobiography: Landscape with Machines, and the posthumously published Landscape with Canals and Landscape with Figures.

He also wrote works of fiction, including a collection of ghost stories, Sleep No More.

See also the page on this website about Sonia Rolt, who has recently produced a book titled A Canal People.