The 1620 edition of Francis Bacon’s Novum Organum contains a plan for a collective work containing all world knowledge “made to the scale of the universe”:
For the world is not to be circumscribed within the narrow confines of the understanding (as is now the case), the understanding is rather to be expanded and widened to receive the image of the universe as it is found to be.
Here are the volumes he envisioned:
1. History of the Heavenly Bodies; or Astronomical History.
2. History of the Configuration of the Heavens and the parts thereof towards the Earth and the parts thereof; or Cosmographical History.
3. History of Comets.
4. History of Fiery Meteors.
5. History of Lightnings, Thunderbolts, Thunders, and Coruscations.
6. History of Winds and Sudden Blasts and Undulations of the Air.
7. History of Rainbows.
8. History of Clouds, as they are seen above.
9. History of the Blue Expanse, of Twilight, of Mock-Suns, Mock-Moons, Haloes, various colours of the Sun; and of every variety in the aspect of the heavens caused by the medium.
10. History of Showers, Ordinary, Stormy, and Prodigious; also of Waterspouts (as they are called); and the like.
11. History of Hail, Snow, Frost, Hoar-frost, Fog, Dew, and the like.
12. History of all other things that fall or descend from above, and that are generated in the upper region.
13. History of Sounds in the upper region (if there be any), besides Thunder.
14. History of Air as a whole, or in the Configuration of the World.
15. History of the Seasons or Temperatures of the Year, as well according to the variations of Regions as according to accidents of Times and Periods of Years; of Floods, Heats, Droughts, and the like.
16. History of Earth and Sea; of the Shape and Compass of them, and their Configurations compared with each other; and of their broadening or narrowing; of Islands in the Sea; of Gulfs of the Sea, and Salt Lakes within the Land; Isthmuses and Promontories.
17. History of the Motions (if any be) of the Globe of Earth and Sea; and of the Experiments from which such motions may be collected.
18. History of the greater motions and Perturbations in Earth and Sea; Earthquakes, Tremblings and Yawnings of the Earth, Islands newly appearing; Floating Islands; Breakings off of Land by entrance of the Sea, Encroachments and Inundations and contrariwise Recessions of the Sea; Eruptions of Fire from the Earth; Sudden Eruptions of Waters from the Earth; and the like.
19. Natural History of Geography; of Mountains, Vallies, Woods, Plains, Sands, Marshes, Lakes, Rivers, Torrents, Springs, and every variety of their course, and the like; leaving apart Nations, Provinces, Cities, and such like matters pertaining to Civil life.
20. History of Ebbs and Flows of the Sea; Currents, Undulations, and other Motions of the Sea.
21. History of other Accidents of the Sea; its Saltness, its various Colours, its Depth; also of Rocks, Mountains, and Vallies under the Sea, and the like.
Next come Histories of the Greater Masses
22. History of Flame and of things Ignited.
23. History of Air, in Substance, not in the Configuration of the World.
24. History of Water, in Substance, not in the Configuration of the World.
25. History of the Earth and the diversity thereof, in Substance, not in the Configuration of the World.
Next come Histories of Species
26. History of perfect Metals, Gold, Silver; and of the Mines, Veins, Marcasites of the same; also of the Working in the Mines.
27. History of Quicksilver.
28. History of Fossils; as Vitriol, Sulphur, etc.
29. History of Gems; as the Diamond, the Ruby, etc.
30. History of Stones; as Marble, Touchstone, Flint, etc.
31. History of the Magnet.
32. History of Miscellaneous Bodies, which are neither entirely Fossil nor Vegetable; as Salts, Amber, Ambergris, etc.
33. Chemical History of Metals and Minerals.
34. History of Plants, Trees, Shrubs, Herbs; and of their parts, Roots, Stalks, Wood, Leaves, Flowers, Fruits, Seeds, Gums, etc.
35. Chemical History of Vegetables.
36. History of Fishes, and the Parts and Generation of them.
37. History of Birds, and the Parts and Generation of them.
38. History of Quadrupeds, and the Parts and Generation of them.
39. History of Serpents, Worms, Flies, and other insects; and of the
Parts and Generation of them.
40. Chemical History of the things which are taken by Animals.
Next come Histories of Man
41. History of the Figure and External Limbs of man, his Stature, Frame, Countenance, and Features; and of the variety of the same according to Races and Climates, or other smaller differences.
42. Physiognomical History of the same.
43. Anatomical History, or of the Internal Members of Man; and of the variety of them, as it is found in the Natural Frame and Structure, and not merely as regards Diseases and Accidents out of
the course of Nature.
44. History of the parts of Uniform Structure in Man; as Flesh, Bones, Membranes, etc.
45. History of Humours in Man; Blood, Bile, Seed, etc.
46. History of Excrements; Spittle, Urine, Sweats, Stools, Hair of the Head, Hairs of the Body, Whitlows, Nails, and the like.
47. History of Faculties; Attraction, Digestion, Retention, Expulsion, Sanguification, Assimilation of Aliment into the members, conversion of Blood and Flower of Blood into Spirit, etc.
48. History of Natural and Involuntary Motions; as Motion of the Heart, the Pulses, Sneezing, Lungs, Erection, etc.
49. History of Motions partly Natural and Partly Violent; as of Respiration, Cough, Urine, Stool, etc.
50. History of Voluntary Motions; as of the Instruments of Articulation of Words; Motions of the Eyes, Tongue, Jaws, Hands, Fingers; of Swallowing, etc.
51. History of Sleep and Dreams.
52. History of different habits of Body–Fat, Lean; of the Complexions (as they call them), etc.
53. History of the Generation of Man.
54. History of Conception, Vivification, Gestation in the Womb, Birth, etc.
55. History of the Food of Man; and of all things Eatable and Drinkable; and of all Diet; and of the variety of the same according to nations and smaller differences.
56. History of the Growth and Increase of the Body, in the whole and in its parts.
57. History of the Course of Age; Infancy, Boyhood, Youth, Old Age; of Length and Shortness of Life, and the like, according to nations and lesser differences.
58. History of Life and Death.
59. History Medicinal of Diseases, and of the Symptoms and Signs of them.
60. History Medicinal of the Treatment and Remedies and Cures of Diseases.
61. History Medicinal of those things which preserve the Body and the Health.
62. History Medicinal of those things which relate to the Form and Comeliness of the Body.
63. History Medicinal of those things which alter the Body, and pertain to Alterative Regimen.
64. History of Drugs.
65. History of Surgery.
66. Chemical History of Medicines.
67. History of Vision, and of things Visible.
68. History of Painting, Sculpture, Modelling, etc.
69. History of Hearing and Sound.
70. History of Music.
71. History of Smell and Smells.
72. History of Taste and Tastes.
73. History of Touch, and the objects of Touch.
74. History of Venus, as a species of Touch.
75. History of Bodily Pains, as species of Touch.
76. History of Pleasure and Pain in general.
77. History of the Affections; as Anger, Love, Shame, etc.
78. History of the Intellectual Faculties; Reflexion, Imagination, Discourse, Memory, etc.
79. History of Natural Divinations.
80. History of Diagnostics, or Secret Natural Judgements.
81. History of Cookery, and of the arts thereto belonging, as of the Butcher, Poulterer, etc.
82. History of Baking, and the Making of Bread, and the arts thereto belonging, as of the Miller, etc.
83. History of Wine.
84. History of the Cellar and of different kinds of Drink.
85. History of Sweetmeats and Confections.
86. History of Honey.
87. History of Sugar.
88. History of the Dairy.
89. History of Baths and Ointments.
90. Miscellaneous History concerning the care of the body–as of Barbers, Perfumers, etc.
91. History of the working of Gold, and the arts thereto belonging.
92. History of the manufactures of Wool, and the arts thereto belonging.
93. History of the manufactures of Silk, and the arts thereto belonging.
94. History of the manufactures of Flax, Hemp, Cotton, Hair, and other kinds of Thread, and the arts thereto belonging.
95. History of manufactures of Feathers.
96. History of Weaving, and the arts thereto belonging.
97. History of Dyeing.
98. History of Leather-making, Tanning, and the arts thereto belonging.
99. History of Ticking and Feathers.
100. History of working in Iron.
101. History of Stone-cutting.
102. History of the making of Bricks and Tiles.
103. History of Pottery.
104. History of Cements, etc.
105. History of working in Wood.
106. History of working in Lead.
107. History of Glass and all vitreous substances, and of Glass-making.
108. History of Architecture generally.
109. History of Waggons, Chariots, Litters, etc.
110. History of Printing, of Books, of Writing, of Sealing; of Ink, Pen, Paper, Parchment, etc.
111. History of Wax.
112. History of Basket-making.
113. History of Mat-making, and of manufactures of Straw, Rushes, and the like.
114. History of Washing, Scouring, etc.
115. History of Agriculture, Pasturage, Culture of Woods, etc.
116. History of Gardening.
117. History of Fishing.
118. History of Hunting and Fowling.
119. History of the Art of War, and of the arts thereto belonging, as Armoury, Bow-making, Arrow-making, Musketry, Ordnance, Cross-bows, Machines, etc.
120. History of the Art of Navigation, and of the crafts and arts thereto belonging.
121. History of Athletics and Human Exercises of all kinds.
122. History of Horsemanship.
123. History of Games of all kinds.
124. History of Jugglers and Mountebanks.
125. Miscellaneous History of various Artificial Materials,–Enamel, Porcelain, various cements, etc.
126. History of Salts.
127. Miscellaneous History of various Machines and Motions.
128. Miscellaneous History of Common Experiments which have not grown into an Art.
Histories must also be written of Pure Mathematics; though they are
rather observations than experiments
129. History of the Natures and Powers of Numbers.
130. History of the Natures and Powers of Figures.