Highly specialized and very scholarly, this is a study of primarily the small hardware of the 15th through 18th centuries in France. The author frankly acknowledges his bias in favor of the pre-Gothic and Gothic periods; and deplores the work that came after. He discusses the craftsmen, the guilds, the tools and inventions, the processes used to protect from rust, the decorative as well as the functional work. He takes up specifically the locks, padlocks, keys, hinges, bolts, escutcheons, knockers, grills, nails; the caskets; the tobacco devices, tinder boxes, nutcrackers, sewing accessories, seals, corkscrews; the figurines. Lacking the 96 offset plates which illustrate 500 individual objects, it is difficult to do more than define the scope of the book. The text, no doubt, is factually sound; but the style is pedantic, the content uninspired.