The Insurance Cyclopeadia


Published in the nineteenth century, the Insurance Cyclopeadia by Cornelius Walford was meant to be an alphabetical listing of all things related to insurance. Although that sounds dull and boring, these volumes are anything but that. They are just stuffed with facts and figures about so many topics that the social historian can get lost in reading them.

Volume One: Abacus to Bakers and Confectioners to Commercial Casualty.

Colliery Explosion 1857 February 19, Lund Hill near Barnsley; 180 miners perished. The discipline of the pit had been very lax.

Volume Two: Commercial Credit Insurance to Diseased and Impaired Lives to Equitable Society Surrender Values.

In 1781, individuals who had not had smallpox were charged a premium of 12-1/2 percent on the premium for their life insurance by the Equitable Insurance company.

Volume Three: Equitable Society to Hand Fire Engines to Fire Protection.

1670 – The great foundling hospital of Paris was founded this year. In 1680 it admitted 890 children; in 1874 no less that 40,000.

Volume Four: Fire Telegraphs to Freight, Maritime to Friendly Societies.

1776 – taking the whole Kingdom at an average, 19 houses in 20, or rather perhaps 99 in 100, were not insured from fire.Dr. Adam Smith

Volume Five: Friendly Societies to Gout to Hailstorms.

The gout stand much at a stay, that is, it answers the general proportion of burials; there dies not above 1 in 1000 of the gout, although I believe that more die gouty.1661 - Graunt in his Observations on the Bills of Mortality

Volume Six: Hand and Heart to Heart Disease to Hereditary Diseases

In 1850, deaths from heart disease numbered 11,530 and in 1860 they were 18,758 and in 1870 they were 25,259.Dr. Farr

Unfortunately, the volumes stop at volume six:

His [Cornelius Walford’s] great literary labour was his ‘Insurance Cyclopædia,’ a compilation of immense labour, expected to occupy ten large octavo volumes. The first volume is dated in 1871; the fifth, and last complete, volume came out in 1878, and each of them contained about six hundred pages (see Times, 2 Jan. 1878). One further part only was issued, concluding with an essay on ‘Hereditary Diseases;’ but large materials were left for the remaining volumes.Wikipedia
  • Reference 100 %
  • History 100 %
  • Readability 70 %

Cornelius Walford's "The Insurance Cyclopeadia: Being a Dictionary of the Definitions of Terms Used in Connexion with the Theory and Practice of Insurance in All Its Branches: a Biographical Summary ... a Bibliographical Repertory of All Works Written Upon the Subject ... an Historical Treasury of Events and Circumstances Connected with the Origin and Progress of Insurance" written in 1878 is a great collection of statistics, facts and data and is sure to be of interest to any Social Historian.

90% Great Resource

Barbara J Starmans is a social historian, freelance writer and obsessed genealogist living in Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada and has been doing genealogical research for the past 35 years. She is a graduate of the National Institute for Genealogical Studies in Toronto, Canada with professional learning certificates in General Methodology and in English Records and recently become an instructor for them with an intermediate course on Social History.

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