La Métherie, Jean-Claude de. ~ Essai analytique sur l’air pur, et les différentes espèces d’air… Paris: Rue et Hotel Serpente, 1785.
8vo (215 × 140 mm), pp. , 474, , complete with half-title, leaf P2 a cancel. Woodcut title vignette and other ornaments. Uncut in contemporary marbled wrappers with early manuscript label. Early letterpress bookseller’s label (Frères Perisse, Lyon). Slightly rubbed and dusty with minor repair to spine. An appealing copy.
First edition (a second appeared in 1788). ‘The book is a survey of existing information concerning various kinds of airs and the experiments and discoveries of Lavoisier, Priestley, Scheele and others.The author presents his ideas concerning the nature of gases (pure air, oxygen is the basis of all), phlogiston, heat, combustion, acidity (oxygen not the necessary constituent), etc.’ (Cole). ‘..all combustibles (including perhaps diamond) contain inflammable air, which he identified with phlogiston and thought it is contained in metals...He called oxygen ‘pure air’ and nitrogen (phlogisticated air) ‘impure air’. Pure air consists of vesicles inflated by the principle of heat. Nitrous air (nitrous oxide) is a compound of nitric acid and inflammable air or phlogiston. Fixed air, which he called ‘acid air’, can be converted into phlogisticated air or into pure air.’ (Partington).
Cole, Chemical Literature 742; Partington, III, pp. 494-95; WEllcome III, 438a.