‘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)..see full details
An idiosyncratic personal index of useful and curious facts, mainly geographical, in part forming an index to the Encyclopédie Méthodique (which had been issued in print without an index), a gazetteer to its Atlas, and an index to various other books, such as Valmont de Bomare’s Histoire Naturelle and Lacroix’s Géographie.more...
A homespun affair, the volume is rather haphazardly arranged and presented in homemade boards covered in rather fine contemporary wallpaper. It includes references to regions, cities and landmarks in Europe, Asia, Africa and America (the latter including mentions of Cabot, Columbus and Penn) and several ingenious diagrams of the rivers of France..see full details
First edition of this comprehensive study of human fertility, infertility and artificial insemination.more...
‘Notre livre est surtout destiné aux familles qui sont désolées de rester sans enfants.’ A practical and populist approach to the scientific facts with an extraordinary sequence of vignettes by José Roy..see full details
Charles Green was the most celebrated British balloonist of the nineteenth century.more...
In 1836 he made a record-breaking flight from London’s Vauxhall Gardens, across the English Channel, landing at Weilburg in Nassau, Germany, giving rise to the name of the ‘Royal Nassau Balloon’. The handbill explains the reason for this benefit flight undertaken by Green in the Great Nassau Balloon in a long newspaper extract. He had made an ascent from Vauxhall on August 20th but had crashed near Gravesend (’Mr. Green received several bruises, and had a narrow escape from a dreadful death’) and his other balloon (The Albion) was torn to shreds. The wreckage was displayed at Cremorne Gardens as an attraction ‘for the inspection of the curious and scientific’.see full details
First edition of this extraordinary treatise on the status of eunuchs in society, according to civil and canon law.more...
Largely based on classical sources, history and (most interestingly) anecdotal evidence from the Orient, Ancillon considers the reasons for the phenomenon (including slavery, household, employment or punishment for sexual misdemeanour). The major contention is that while civil law permits a eunuch to marry, canon law should forbid it (as it did) on the grounds that a marriage could not be consummated. Along the way Ancillon recounts numerous anecdotes of famous eunuchs, notably Abelard, castrated at the instigation of Heloise’s family.
The book was later translated into English by Robert Samber as part of Edmund Curll’s Eunuchism display’d (1718).
This copy of Traité des Eunuques is one of at least two issues of the same year with slightly different paginations and title ornaments. The ‘Epitre dedicatoire’ is signed: ‘C. d’Ollincan’ an anagram of the author’s real name..see full details
This portrait is a naive interpretation of the classic image of Ramon Llull (c.more...
1232- c. 1315), Catalan mystic and mathematician. It is derived from the engraved portrait which first appeared in the seventeenth century Bibliotheca Chalcographia published by Jacques Boissard and Theodor de Bry in 1664..see full details
First published in 1751, The Tutor’s Assistant became one of the best-selling mathematical books for over a century.more...
‘An incomplete listing comprises 276 editions, the last in 1885... The York editions, starting in 1797, were corrected by Thomas Crosby of that city’ (Wallis in Oxford DNB).’ Crosby also published a popular Key to the book, which itself ran to many editions.
‘This book is by far the most used of all school-books, and deserves to stand high among them’ (De Morgan, Arithmetical Books, 1847, 80, cited by Wallis). .see full details
First edition in French of Tractatus de globis (1594), an important navigational work originally dedicated to Sir Walter Raleigh.more...
Hues had studied at Oxford where he became acquainted with Richard Hakluyt and later, Walter Raleigh and Thomas Harriot, before taking part in a voyage to Newfoundland. In five parts, the book describes the practical uses of the globes designed by Molyneux and, especially, how mariners could find the sun’s position, latitude, course and distance, amplitudes and azimuths, and time and declination. The fifth part describes the use of rhumb lines in navigation.
The translation is by Denis Henrion, the Paris mathematician remembered for his edition of the works of Viète and for the introduction of the calculating device known as the proportional compass to France. Henrion’s is a faithful translation with numerous interpolations of his own (indicated by italics). In these, Henrion adds several practical details to the methods of calculation but also takes the opportunity to advertise his Cosmographie, which was not to appear until two years later. At several points he affirms Hues’ text while stating ‘comme nous avons enseigné en nostre Cosmographie.’ The notes on the operation of the proportional compass promised by the title are confined to very sparse remarks on how a lengthy calculation, for example, could be achieved simply with the compass. They would appear to be an attempt to advertise another of Henrion’s works, Usage du compas de proportion (also 1618) and perhaps the instruments themselves..see full details
The limitation notice reads ‘This Edition is issued to Subscribers only and limited to two hundred and fifty copies, numbered and signed by the Author. The price will be doubled after first of March, 1931’. This copy is, however, unsigned and unnumbered. The work forms issue no. 5 of The Lugano Series.
‘From 1920 until 1937 Douglas was settled in Florence... As his fame grew, he became much visited by inter-war writers, and forged close friendships with D. H. Lawrence and Bryher. During these years he lived with the publisher Giuseppe (Pino) Orioli, who helped him publish several limited editions, most of which were later commercially published in London... In 1937 Douglas was forced to flee Florence after the police made enquiries concerning his friendship with a ten-year-old local girl’ (Katherine Mullin in Oxford DNB). .see full details
A rare little collection for animal-lovers, with over 60 anecdotes illustrating the characteristics of dogs (mainly) and cats, with titles such as ‘The faithful poodle’, ‘Siberian sledge-dogs’, ‘The surgeon and the dog’, ‘Strange punishment by a poodle’, ‘Remarkable rescue by a dog’, ‘The hunting dog’, ‘The life and times of a pomeranian’. For cat lovers, there are stories such as ‘The amusing education of a cat’ (from Campe’s Kinderbibliothek) and ‘The prisoner and the cat’..see full details
First edition in English of the Exercitatio Anatomica De Motu Cordis (1628) in which was described the discovery and proof of the circulation of the blood.more...
‘The most important book in the history of medicine. Harvey proved experimentally that in animals the blood is impelled in a circle by the beat of the heart, passing from arteries to veins through pores (i.e. the capillaries, seen by Malpighi with the microscope in 1660’ (Garrison & Morton). It should also be regarded as ‘the first record of a complete biological investigation, giving a clear and accurate description of the methods employed to recognise the laws governing an important vital process, a knowledge of which had till then been befogged by mistaken conceptions...’ (H.P. Bayon in Keynes).
Harvey’s hypothesis, like almost all revolutionary hypotheses, was initially very unpopular and was widely refuted. Harvey himself admitted that his career was nearly destroyed by the publication of De Motu Cordis. However, it is interesting that he was quickly vindicated and that the circulation of the blood became accepted as irrefutable medical fact within his own lifetime, albeit towards its end. This lifetime edition in English reflects that vindication. Keynes wrote of the text ‘It gives a vigorous if unpolished, rendering of Harvey’s book in contemporary language.’
The translation is from the Rotterdam edition and includes the additional commentaries by Zachariah Wood and James De Back. This edition also contains the first English translation of Exercitio anatomica de circulatione sanguinis (of which the first edition had appeared in Latin at Cambridge in 1649) again taken from the Rotterdam edition. This is an important text in its own right, providing a restatement of Harvey’s hypothesis concerning circulation supported by further experimental proof.
This is an unusually tall copy. In most copies the headlines, and sometimes even the top lines of the text, are shaved. In this copy none of the headlines is shaved, and on some leaves the lower edge is uncut. This copy has 11 of the 13 misprints (to pagination and signatures) listed by Keynes that were corrected as the book passed through the press. In addition, F3 is mis-signed F5. It is complete with the first blank leaf..see full details
The Eagle was ‘an airship designed by the Comte de Lennox in 1834 to create a direct communication link between the capitals of Europe. The first aerial ship of its kind, it was exhibited in the grounds of the Aeronautical Society in Kensington, London... The ship was cylindrical with conical ends and had eight paddle-shaped flaps, four on either side, which were intended to be worked backwards and forwards manually by a series of cords and chains. However, the airship proved too heavy to lift its own weight and was destroyed by onlookers after a failed ascent from the Champ de Mars, Paris, on 17th August 1834’ (Science Museum, Science and Society Picture Library online). Though several prints and pamphlets accompanied the exhibition of the Eagle, most are very rare..see full details
Second edition (first 1724) of Hoffmann’s “Complete Instruction for a safe, sensible and medically respected practice of medicine”: a very extensive baroque medical compendium.more...
Friedrich Hoffmann (1660-1742), a German physician, practiced and taught medicine, chemistry and physics in Halle from 1693. He studied and wrote on such varied topics as paediatrics, mineral waters and meteorology and introduced many new drugs into medical practice (such as a compound spirit of ether branded “Anodyne” and “Hoffmanns-Tropfen” still today known as a household remedy). Hoffmann was among the first to describe several diseases, including appendicitis and German measles, and to recognize the regulatory role of the nervous system.
The work contains examinations of common ailments such as fever, infections, haemorrhageing, cramps, spasms and convulsions, consideration of the cerebral and nervous system, lymph and glands, female complaints and childhood illnesses. It also includes numerous medicinal recipes and cures..see full details
Tiphaigne de la Roche’s L’Amour Dévoilé is a notable attempt to explain love and sexual attraction in mechanistic terms. The author considers the role of ‘la matière Sympathique’, which he believed to be a type of vapour exhaled by both animals and humans, and its action upon the senses of a member of the opposite sex. This rational approach to the subject makes overt reference to Leeuwenhoek who had explained the action of skin pores and appears to prefigure modern research into pheromones.
The author studied medicine at the University of Caen and practised as a physician. L’Amour Dévoilé is his first published work preceding several speculative and utopian novels, notably Giphantie (1760, the title an anagram of his name) in which he anticipated several modern developments including photography and synthetic food.
Pernetti, author of the moral romance Histoire de Favoride was a canon of the cathedral at Lyon and a prominent antiquary of that city. He was also a freemason and wrote a short treatise on that subject..see full details
The Subterranean Voyage of Nicolas Klim is one of the classics of speculative and utopian fiction, written fifteen years after Swift's Gulliver's Travels and often compared favourably with that work. It is the first fully developed novel to be set in the earth's interior, a setting which has been utilised countless times in later science fiction. Klim, a poor student, falls through a hole in the earth just outside the Norwegian town of Bergen and finds himself on the inside of the earth's crust. He lands on the planet Nazar (which orbits a sun at the centre of the earth's cavity) where he finds a nation that lives according to the laws of reason and nature. The peasantry are considered very highly and therefore are the most distinguished class in the state; many of the highest offices are held by women, who are in every way equal to the men. Nazar presents an enlightened utopia, very much in the mould of the ideals of Montesquieu and Voltaire (who Holberg admired enormously) but Klim also travels to other states where the perfect state of society is not so fully developed or is perhaps degenerate, allowing a vivid comparison of political, social and philosophical systems.Holberg (like his hero Klim) was a native of Bergen at a time when Norway and Denmark existed as a twin kingdom. He saw himself as a fully European writer and the equal of the French philosophes. The majority of his works, including the present, first appeared in Latin, the universal language. The adventures of Nicolas Klim were immediately popular and were rapidly translated into all the major European languages..see full details