Business Encyclopaedia and Legal Adviser

The Business Encyclopedia and Legal Adviser

This several-volumes encyclopedia is authored by W. S. M. Knight, Barrister at Law of the Inner Temple. The edition was in London, by Caxton Publishing Company, located in Surrey Street. The first volume had five editions, being the last one (also a revised edition) made in 1913.

The subtitle of this work is “with a series of statitical articles and explanatory diagrams by John Holt Schooling”.

It contains “Numerous illustrations, business forms, charts, etc.”

Contributors to the Encyclopedia


“He has had a remarkable career. Became a famous long-distance cyclist, took to the cycle business, went thiough the boom in the trade, and then turned his attention to motoring. Was a pioneer in motoring, motor racing, and in the development of the vehicle. Is the principal of the firm handling the Napier cars.”


“He born in London 1874. Started life at the age of 13 in a newsagent’s shop. Joined newly established Daily Mail in 1896. Became its Advertising Manager in 1901, and its Director in 1907. Is now associated with other Carmelite House publications in addition to directing the advertising side of the Daily Mail.”


“He is a journalist, born 1877. Received his earlier training on lancashire and Yorkshire journals. He was editor of “Modem Business”1909; writes on business subjects for “System and Modern Business’ and contributes freely to daily, weekly, and other publications. ”


“He tried farming, but was tempted to black and white work by the success of sketches sent to England while out in Canada. Is a humorist whose work is ever popular, and has made a special place for himself as a poster artist. He writes on the subject he has made his own in the “Business Encyclopaedia.’”


Preface to the 1st Edition

“While there are many Encyclopaedias before the public, most of them professing to be of Universal Knowledge, it is remarkable that they all exclude practical affairs treated from a practical standpoint. They treat of Literature, Science, Art, Philosophy, Technology, and ignore altogether the multifarious interests of the Business Man. The attempt of this Encyclopaedia is to affotd this special information.

It is an Encyclopaedia of Practical Affairs, and as such a unique work of reference, for there is no
other book published on similar lines. The “Business Encyclopaedia “is therefore no luxury, but a business tool, valuable to the Capitalist and Financier, the Merchant and Manufacturer, the Shopkeeper and Clerk, the Commercial Traveller, and the Managers of businesses large or small.

But while it is designed primarily for practical men, the object kept steadily in vtlew throughout the work has been the production of a general exposition of business principles and practices: one which will enable any intelligent person, by reference thereto, to appreciate and deal with any matter of business in the widest sense of the word which may come before him. It follows that this Encyclopaedia is rather a supplement to existing works of leference than in any sense a competitor with them.

The most characteristic feature of the life of the twentieth century is its business activity. Whereas in former days the number of people interested in business was limited to those who were in business on their own account, nowadays, through the medium of Limited Liability Companies, there are few people having money to invest who are not directly or indirectly interested in some commercial enterprise. Many business men, as Directors or Shareholders in Limited Companies, have to master a wide range of complicated facts in addition to managing their own business.

No longer is the knowledge necessary for the man of business confined to one trade or department
of commerce. He is constantly called upon to exercise his judgment upon matters which demand some familiarity with such subjects as Law, as it relates to every matter in which as a business man he Engages; Banking; Financial principles and methods as they concern Monetary, Company, and
Stock Exchange investments and speculations; the principles and practice of Importing and Exporting, Insurance, Taxation, and of Book-keeping, etc. The list might be indefinitely extended.

Whether the object indicated above has been attained, will be shown by the reception of the Encyclopaedia by the public. Every effort has been made to render it bofh comprehensive and accurate; but in these respects some little indulgerce must be prayed for. The wide range of possible subjects, and the limits of space, have made necessary a policy of almost arbitrary exclusion, and in the mass of detail there may be even an overlooked inaccuracy lurking here and there notwithstanding the pains taken to discover them.

To literary merit the author lays no claim. Whatever in the work may appear to have such, may be attributed to Masters of the Law and Authors now departed their contributions to legal and economic science having been freely drawn upon and incorporated in the text. But where it is due to those now with us, special acknowledgment thereof is made in the text.”

Preface to the 3rd Edition

“In this Edition the main feature is the enlargement of the Supplement by the addition of a further volume. To provide for this and consequent introduction of new matter, more nearly connected with practical business, it has been found necessary, in order to keep the whole work within as few
volumes as possible, to take out the Gazetteer. The alterations in law are dealt with in the Appendices as in the previous edition.”

Preface to the 4th Edition

“It is very gratifying to the editor to know that the change introduced into the last edition has proved very satisfactory anJ successful. In this edition there has been need only for such alterations and add’tions as will bring the text up to date.”

Preface to the 5th Edition

“In presenting this New and Revised Edition to the public, the author feels bound first to place on record not only his appreciation of the kindly reception which this work has received, but his thanks to the very many correspondents who have offered much valuable criticism and suggestion.

Since the issue of the first edition there has accrued a substantial amount of new matter. How this should be satisfactorily dealt with so that the size of the work should be kept as much as possible within the original limit of space, has been a matter of some anxiety to determine.

In the rebult it has been decided to introduce Appendices to the first five volumes, in addition to making the necessary alterations in the original text. These appendices follow the alphabetical order of the whole of the five volumes, and should afford an easy means of access to the new subjects which are now introduced for the first time.”

See Also

  • Legal citation and the Encyclopedia
  • Legal encyclopedias
  • Modern Legal Systems Cyclopedia
  • Legal Information Institute resources
  • Legal Research



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