Early books on control theory

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This is my list of early books in control theory.

Order Year Author, Title, Publisher Source Status
0 1915 W. Trinks, Governors and the Governing of Prime Movers. D. Van Nostrand Company, 1919 D. P. Eckman, 1945 (preface) On order
1940 G. C. Brown. Behavior and Design of Servomechanisms. National Defense Research Committee, 1940. MacColl, 1945
1942 H. Harris, The Analysis and Design of Servomechanisms. National Defense Research Committee, 1942. MacColl, 1945
1 1942 Murray F. Gardner and John L. Barnes. Transients in Linear Systems. Wiley, New York, 1942
  • Contains a short section on servomechanisms
Bennett On order
2 1942 Ed S. Smith. Automatic Control Engineering. McGraw-Hill, New York, 1942 Bennett On order
3 1943 Roosevelt Griffiths. Thermostats and Temperature Regulating Instruments. 1943 Bennett 1934 edition (?)
4 1943 Albert C. Hall. The Analysis and Synthesis of Linear Servomechanisms. Technology Press, MIT, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1943 Bennett 1947 printing; typed manuscript
5 1945 Hendrik W. Bode. Network Analysis and Feedback Amplifier Design. Van Nostrand, New York, 1945 Bennett On order
6 1945 Donald P. Eckman. The Principles of Industrial Process Control. 1945
  • Focuses on on/off (two term) to PID (proportional-reset-rate) control
Bennett Second printing, 1946
7 1945 LeRoy A. MacColl. Fundamental Theory of Servomechanisms. Van Nostrand, New York, 1945
  • Uses exponential response to compute the transfer function, using \(p\) instead of \(s\)
  • Introduces the use of the Nyquist criterion, initial with the origin as the critical point and then shifting to -1
  • Briefly discusses discrete time systems and the relationship between differential equation approaches and transfer functions ("steady state" analysis)
Bennett First edition
8 1946 W. R. Ahrendt and J.F. Taplin. Automatic Regulation. 1946 Bennett
9 1947 Hubert M. James, Nathaniel B. Nichols, and Ralph S. Phillips. Theory of Servomechanisms, volume 25 of MIT Radiation Laboratory Series. McGraw-Hill, New York, 1947 Bennett First edition. Caltech library copy; L. A. Dubridge signature stamp.
10 1947 Henri Lauer, Robert Lessick, and Leslie E. Matson. Servomechanism Fundamentals. McGraw-Hill, New York, 1947 Bennett
11 1948 Gordon S. Brown and Donald P. Campbell. Principles of Servomechanisms. Wiley, New York, 1948 Bennett
12 1948 Norbert Wiener. Cybernetics; or, Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine. Wiley, New York, 1948 Bennett Ninth printing, 1951
1954 H. S. Tsien. Engineering Cybernetics. McGraw-Hill, New York, 1954. First edition (+ mimeographed class notes)


  1. Stuart Bennett. A brief history of automatic control. IEEE Control Systems, pages 17-25, June 1996.