# Classical Physics, Mechanics, Optics

Paris: Madame Huzard (née Vallat la Chapelle), 1830. First editions, in a stunning contemporary red morocco binding, of these important and beautifully illustrated works on fire-fighting including, among other things, the invention of the first fire helmet which allowed respiration during fires and protected the fire-fighter from inhaling hot air... More

Item #4011

Bologna: A S. Tommaso d’Aquino, 1802. First separate edition, extremely rare, of this work which represents the beginning of the use of galvanism as a therapeutic tool. This work prepared the ground for the development of various forms of electrotherapy that were heavily used later in the 19th century. Even... More

Item #3095

Paris: Chez David l’aîné, 1743. First edition of this landmark in the history of mechanics. “This book, D’Alembert’s magnum opus, was one of the first to give a unified view of mechanics. It started out from a minimum of principles, one of which came to be named after him.” (Landmark... More

Item #3429

Amsterdam: chez Henry Wetstein, 1687. First edition of this beautifully illustrated treatise on the magnet and its uses, dealing with the invention of the compass, magnetic mountains in America, declination and the orientation of the compass-needle in a magnetic field. The plates are etchings by Adriaan Schoonebeek (1658-1705), the pupil... More

Item #3188

[Paris: Firmin Didot, 1827]. First edition, journal issue, of the “Principia of electrodynamics” (DSB). “Having established a noumenal foundation for electrodynamic phenomena, Ampere’s next steps were to discover the relationships between the phenomena and to devise a theory from which these relationships could be mathematically deduced. This double task was... More

Item #4290

First edition. Venice: Bernardinus Bindonus, 1537. Very rare editio princeps of Apollonius’ Conics, the basic treatise on the subject, “which recognized and named the ellipse, parabola, and hyperbola” (Horblit 4, on the later edition of 1566). This is one of the three greatest mathematical treatises of antiquity, alongside those of... More

Item #3075

First edition. Paris: Gauthier-Villars, 1888. Becquerel’s doctoral thesis on the absorption of light in crystals. Norman 156. “On March 15, 1888 he submitted his thesis ‘Recherches sur l’absorption de la lumière’ (Research on the absorption of light). Antoine Henri had been interested in the absorption of light by crystals since... More

Item #3166

Strasbourg: Johann Reinhold Dulsseker, 1738. First edition of Bernoulli’s epochal work on fluid dynamics and the kinetic theory of gases, containing the famous ‘Bernoulli equation’ for fluid flow. “Besides introducing the first hydraulic theory of fluid flow, this book is the most remarkable general work in theoretical and applied mechanics... More

Item #3842

First edition. Lausanne & Geneva: Marci-Michaelis Bousquet, 1742. An exceptionally fine and complete copy with both the portraits which often lack, from the collection of Robert Honeyman. “Bernoulli published only one book, Théorie de la manoeuvre des vaisseaux (1714) and apart from this, his dissertation De motu musculorum (1694) and... More

Item #3597

First edition. [London: Harrison and Sons], 1910. Presentation offprint, inscribed in Bohr’s hand to the chemist Einar Biilmann, of the ‘Second Royal Society Paper’ – what Bohr “learned by working in this field may have been a help to him when, more than a quarter of a century later, he... More

Item #3505

First edition. Bologna: Dominici Ferri, 1670. A fine copy of one of the most important early treatises on fluid mechanics. In this work Borelli “argues against positive levity, discusses the Torricellian experiment, takes up siphons, pumps, and the nature of fluidity, tries to understand the expansion of water while freezing... More

Item #4310

Bologna: Giacopo Monti, 1667. First edition, an extraordinary association copy, of the first published book on the laws of percussion, and containing important hitherto unpublished material from the lectures of Galileo and Torricelli. This copy was a gift from Prince Leopold of Tuscany, Borelli’s patron at the Tuscan court. Probably... More

Item #3935

First edition. Paris: Claude Jombert, 1729. A very nice copy in contemporary binding of the founding work of photometry. “Bouguer is regarded as the founder of photometry, the branch of optics concerned with measuring the intensity of light. His two most important contributions to the subject are contained in his... More

Item #2212

Oxford: H. Hall for T. Robinson [and London: J.G. for Thomas Robinson], 1662. Second edition, containing the first announcement of Boyle’s law. This second edition is “particularly important for what Boyle called an ‘hypothesis’ but what we know as ‘Boyle’s Law’: that the volume of air in a confined space... More

Item #4154

London: Awnsham and John Churchill, 1692. First edition of this rare posthumously published work on the nature of gases, seen through the press by Boyle’s friend John Locke and containing some of Locke’s own early meteorological observations. The product of Boyle’s life’s work on gases, the General History “is of... More

Item #4046

First edition. London: Taylor & Francis, 1904. Rare offprint issue of the Brace experiment - the first optical experiment measuring the relative motion of Earth and the luminiferous aether which was sufficiently precise to detect magnitudes of second order to v/c. The Brace experiment was of great importance for the... More

Item #2990

First edition. Prague: J.G. Calve, 1835-36. The memoire in which Cauchy explained the dispersion of light from the undulatory theory of light, and first derived the equation, named after him, relating the refractive index and wavelength of light for a particular transparent material. This memoire was a continuation of his... More

Item #2354

[Zürich: Fäsi & Beer, 1865]. The true first edition (see below) of Clausius’ introduction of the term ‘entropy’ and the culmination of his work on the second law of thermodynamics. Clausius is today regarded, alongside Sadi Carnot, as the founder of modern thermodynamics. Clausius explains his introduction of the term... More

Item #2901

Rome: Francesco Zanetti, 1581. First edition of Clavius’ masterwork on the theory and construction of sundials, “la plus grand ouvrage existent sur la gnomonique” (Houzeau & Lancaster). Clavius considers the astronomical background, the geometrical theory and the various construction methods. The design of sundials occupied many mathematicians in this period... More

Item #3855

Paris: Moutard, 1782. Extremely rare offprint, with imprint three years before publication in journal form, of this important memoir in which Coulomb created the science of friction. “Coulomb’s most celebrated study, one that brought him immediate acclaim, was “Théorie des machines simples,” his prize-winning friction study of 1781. He investigated... More

Item #4273

London: W. S. Caines for Sir Isaac Pitman & Sons, 1926. First Edition of the first book in English on television. Dinsdale discusses the technical challenges faced by early experimenters (Jan van Szczepanik, Boris Rosing, Denoys von Kihaly and others), but focuses primarily on the work of the Scottish engineer... More

Item #2932

Berlin: Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1925. First edition, extremely rare author’s presentation offprint (not to be confused with the much more common trade offprint – see below), and the copy of Einstein’s son Hans Albert, of Einstein’s first original paper on unified field theory, and the first to use the term... More

Item #4035

St. Petersburg: Imperial Academy of Sciences, 1769-1771. First edition, and a very fine copy, of Euler’s rare work on optics, ‘widely known and important in the physics of the eighteenth century’ and which ‘laid the foundations of the calculation of optical systems’ (DSB). The first volume presents his general theory... More

Item #3300

St. Petersburg: Imperial Academy of Sciences, 1768-1772. First edition, in the original interim wrappers, of these letters to the Princess Friederike Charlotte Leopoldine Louise of Brandenburg-Schwedt, to whom Euler had given lessons during his stay in Berlin. The work “had an immense success and profoundly influenced contemporary philosophy” (PMM 196... More

Item #3992

Petersburg: Academy of Sciences, 1736. First edition of “Euler’s famous work on mechanics in which he introduced the use of analytical methods instead of the geometrical methods of Newton and his followers” (Timoshenko, p. 29). Mechanica won the praise of many leading scientists of the time: Johann Bernoulli said of... More

Item #3922