# Classical Physics, Mechanics, Optics

London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1876. First edition, rare on the market in this condition, of Maxwell's textbook on dynamics, “a masterpiece of natural philosophy, notable especially for introducing into physics the term relativity in a passage that combines strenuous scientific insight with a mystical awareness … [It] had... More

Item #3849

[London:]: Taylor and Francis, [1867]. First edition, in the very rare original printed wrappers, of the first practical designs for a dynamo, made independently and almost simultaneously by Siemens and Wheatstone. Maxwell attended the February 1867 meeting of the Royal Society at which both papers were read, and he immediately... More

Item #4305

Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1873. First edition, first issue, and a wonderful association copy, of Maxwell’s presentation of his theory of electromagnetism, advancing ideas that would become essential for modern physics, including the landmark “hypothesis that light and electricity are the same in their ultimate nature” (Grolier/Horblit). “This treatise did for... More

Item #4308

Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1873. First edition, first issue, of Maxwell’s presentation of his theory of electromagnetism, advancing ideas that would become essential for modern physics, including the landmark “hypothesis that light and electricity are the same in their ultimate nature” (Grolier/Horblit). “This treatise did for electromagnetism what Newton’s Principia had... More

Item #4564

Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1873. First edition, second issue (see below), of Maxwell’s presentation of his theory of electromagnetism, advancing ideas that would become essential for modern physics, including the landmark “hypothesis that light and electricity are the same in their ultimate nature” (Grolier/Horblit). “This treatise did for electromagnetism what Newton’s... More

Item #4642

MÉCHAIN, Pierre François André & DELAMBRE, Jean Baptiste Joseph; BIOT, Jean Baptiste & ARAGO, Dominique François Jean.

First edition. Paris: Baudouin & Garnery, 1806-21. Rare complete set (in four volumes) of the foundation work of the metric system. PMM 260 (3 vols.); Norman 1481 (lacking half-titles). We know of just one other set with all four volumes and having the half-titles as here (Arago's copy, modern bindings)... More

Item #2966

First edition. Paris: Gauthier-Villars, 1869. A fine copy, in original wrappers, of the first book explicitly devoted to solar energy, whose publication coincided with the unveiling of Mouchot’s largest solar steam engine, the so-called ‘Sun Engine’, in 1869, which caused a revolution in the development of solar thermal power. Auguste... More

Item #3048

Paris: Jean Dedin, 1631-39. Extremely rare first edition, author’s presentation copy, of all four books of this important work on conic sections, intended to provide the geometrical basis for the study of optics. “Mydorge’s work on conic sections contains hundreds of problems published for the first time, as well as... More

Item #3576

London: Benjamin Motte, 1729. First edition in English of the Principia. The first edition was published in Latin in 1687 and “is generally described as the greatest work in the history of science. Copernicus, Galileo and Kepler had certainly shown the way; but where they described the phenomena they observed... More

Item #3907

Cambridge / London: Typis Academicus / Benjamin Tooke, 1707. First edition of Newton’s treatise on algebra, or ‘universal arithmetic,’ his “most often read and republished mathematical work” (Whiteside). “Included are ‘Newton’s identities’ providing expressions for the sums of the ith powers of the roots of any polynomial equation, for any... More

Item #4064

Leipzig: Grossius and J.F. Gleditsch, 1688. First edition of the important Acta Eruditorum review of the Principia. There were four reviews of the Principia, of which this is chronologically the third. It is “the most detailed and serious of the four reviews. It was comprehensive enough to provide many people... More

Item #4463

Cambridge; London: Typis Academicus; Benjamin Tooke, 1707. First edition of Newton’s treatise on algebra, or ‘universal arithmetic,’ his “most often read and republished mathematical work” (Whiteside). “Included are ‘Newton’s identities’ providing expressions for the sums of the ith powers of the roots of any polynomial equation, for any integer i.... More

Item #4639

London: Printed for R. and J. Dodsley, 1756. First printing, very rare, of these letters of Newton which Koyré has described as “one of the most precious and important documents for the study and interpretation of Newtonian thought” (Koyré, p. 202). Newton here gives his views on the nature of... More

Item #3537

Cambridge: [Cornelius Crownfield at the University Press], 1713. The important second edition of “the greatest work in the history of science” (PMM). This is a fine copy in an unrestored contemporary binding. The Principia elucidates the universal physical laws of gravitation and motion which lie behind phenomena described by Newton's... More

Item #4606

Berlin: J.G.F. Kniestädt for T.H. Riemann. 1827. First edition, very rare complete copy, of “Ohm’s great work” (DSB), containing the fully-developed presentation of his theory of electricity, including Ohm’s Law. The present copy not only retains the errata leaf R1, often lacking, but also the one-leaf publisher’s list R2, which... More

Item #4599

First edition. Palermo: Reale Stamperia, 1792. A fine copy, uncut in the original boards, of Piazzi’s account of the Palermo Observatory, which he established, and where he made the observations that led to his discovery, on January 1, 1801, of the minor planet Ceres. Specola Astronomica includes Piazzi’s description of... More

Item #3288

Paris: for the author, 1588. First edition, a magnificent copy bound in contemporary gilt vellum, and with outstanding provenance, of one of the most famous illustrated books of the sixteenth century and a landmark in book design. “The plates in Ramelli’s treatise are artistically as well as technologically superb, the... More

Item #3694

Amsterdam: Elsevier, 1654. First edition (see below) of this rare and controversial work on physical, medical and natural philosophy from a Cartesian viewpoint. Among the wide variety of topics covered, there is a chapter on the circulation of the blood (p. 267 ff.), and also an interesting section on magnetism... More

Item #3222

Important letter from Rutherford to Charles Herman Viol requesting information about the production of radium, in preparation for a series of lectures he was to deliver at The Royal Institution. “From 1921, when he succeeded [J. J.] Thomson, until his death, Rutherford was professor of natural philosophy at the Royal... More

Item #3663

Ingolstadt: Eder for Elisabeth Angermaria, 1614 & 1615. First edition, in a beautiful contemporary binding, of Scheiner’s very rare work containing the second earliest map of the moon – but the first to give topographical details – as well as the first illustrations of a telescope. It builds upon Scheiner’s... More

Item #4126

Nuremberg: Simon Halbmayer, 1627. First complete edition and the first edition of the fourth part (the first part was published in 1616, the first three parts together in 1618). The first book is a treatise on general mathematics and the principles of geometry. The second deals entirely with techniques of... More

Item #2235

Leiden: George Abrahamsz van Maarssen for Jodocus Colster, 1617. First edition of Snel’s most important work. This was “the foundation of modern geodesy” (Galileo Project) and of great significance in the history of navigation. “With the development of their oceanic commerce, the Dutch became very interested in the most accurate... More

Item #4229

[Amsterdam: Jan Rieuwertsz], 1677. First edition, and a very fine copy, of Spinoza’s Opera Posthuma which “have served, then and since, with the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus, to immortalize his name” (PMM 153). The first work in the volume is “Spinoza’s one indisputable masterpiece, the Ethics” (Bennett, A Study of Spinoza’s Ethics... More

Item #4364

Leiden: Ex officina Plantiniana apud Christophorum Raphelengium. Academiae Lugduno-Batavae Typographum, 1599. First Latin edition of Stevin’s extremely rare and important work on the determination of longitude using magnetic variation. Originally published in Dutch as De Havenvinding, “the [Latin] translation appeared almost simultaneously with the original Dutch version” (Crone et al.... More

Item #3954

Leyden: Jan Paedts Jacobsz, 1608-05-05-08. Very rare first edition in French of this collection of works, which was published almost simultaneously in Dutch, French and Latin. They deal, among other topics, with geometry, trigonometry, perspective, and double-entry book-keeping – Stevin was one of the first authors to compose a treatise... More

Item #4588