# Classical Physics, Mechanics, Optics

Paris: Madame Huzard (née Vallat la Chapelle), 1813. 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: David l'aîné, 1747. First edition of this important work on atmospheric tides: “Alembert’s treatise on winds contained the first general use of partial differential equations in mathematical physics, a technique later perfected by Euler.” (Norman 34). “In 1747 d’Alembert published two more important works, one of which, the Réflexions... More

Item #3480

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

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. Rome: Angeli Bernabo, 1680-81. A fine copy of the foundation work of biomechanics. “Pupil of Galileo and teacher of Malpighi, Borelli’s lasting fame is his dominating influence in the establishment of the Iatrophysical School of thought, which sought to interpret all physiological phenomena by the laws of mathematics... More

Item #3633

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. Vienna: In Officina Libraria Kaliwodiana, 1758. An exceptionally fine copy, in untouched contemporary blind tooled pigskin, of “Boscovich’s masterpiece” (Norman), a work “now recognized as a fundamental influence on modern mathematical physics” (Printing and the Mind of Man), and a notorious rarity. Only two copies of this rare... More

Item #4128

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

Rome: Typis haeredum Corbeletti, 1655. Very rare first edition of this work on the theory of machines and the nature of gravity by the young Jesuit Paolo Casati. A thesis presented viva voce at the Collegio Romano, the work imaginatively envisions a Latin dialogue, in two parts, between three great... More

Item #2661

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

First edition. Paris: Thomas Jolly and Simon Benard, 1671. Exceptional copy in contemporary red morocco of “the most exhaustive treatise on lens making in the seventeenth century. It is a six-hundred folio page long, comprehensive, cogently-argued treatise on telescope making. It contains an impressive amount of theoretical and practical, first-hand... More

Item #3486

[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: Michel Bobin & Nicolas le Gras, 1664. First edition, an exceptionally large copy (10 mm wider than the Norman copy), of Descartes’ first account of his influential system of physics based upon vortices, written in the early 1630s. His great achievement was to develop a system of physics based... More

Item #4205

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