Jarom 1:8. Machinery

Jarom 1:8. Nephite Machinery

The Book of Mormon says that the Nephites had “machinery” (Jarom 1:8), in an age prior to the introduction of machines during the industrial revolution.

Book of Mormon JapaneseThose of us who live in the post-industrial age think of this word in terms of manufacturing plants and motors, but that was not the primary meaning of “machinery” in Joseph Smith’s day. Indeed, the term first appears in English in the 16th century and derives from Greek via Latin and Old French. Webster’s 1828 dictionary, published two years before the Book of Mormon, notes that “the simple machines are the six mechanical powers, viz.; the lever, the pulley, the axis and wheels, the wedge, the screw, and the inclined plane.” All of these were known in the ancient Near East from which Lehi’s party emigrated and some of them were known in the New World. The context of the passage in Jarom 1:8 suggests rather simple machinery, including “all manner of tools of every kind to till the ground and weapons of war.” Some of the tools known during this early period may not have been known to later generations.