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  • The Downfall of Prempeh [The West African Ashanti Expedition] -Baden-Powell 1896

    The Downfall of Prempeh [The West African Ashanti Expedition] -Baden-Powell 1896

    A very special book by the Major Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell (later Lord Lieutenant General) founder of the Boy Scouts (the first Chief Scout).

    First edition published by Methuen, London in 1896. Octavo, 199 pages, nicely illustrated and with a map. Red cloth covered boards, gilt titles to spine, a little spine fading, otherwise a clean and impressive copy.

    The capital of Ashanti land , Kumassi, sits 75 miles inland from Cape Coast Castle on the West African Gold Coast – now Ghana.

    This is about a military expedition to effectively oust the leader Prempeh because he was totally mad and made his subjects follow his passion which was basically sacrificing people, lots of them, all of the time. They had special places for these rituals and even a massive cauldron style object over which heads were severed. He had a passion for killing virgins sometimes hundreds at a time … not nice man. A think we can agree this was one Colonial intervention that was justified.

    Anyway, Baden-Powell writes so well and we learn a lot about the preparations for the forces sent in, how they were organised and the difficulties and calamities they came across. The ending was rather strange but we will leave that for the reader.

    Ashanti of the Gold Coast – Baden-Powell Expedition


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  • Scientific Instrument – Measuring magnetic field produced by an electrical current against the Earth’s magnetic field (compass) – Flemings Right Hand Rule etc – likely Philip Harris c 1930.

    Scientific Instrument – Measuring magnetic field produced by an electrical current against the Earth’s magnetic field (compass) – Flemings Right Hand Rule etc – likely Philip Harris c 1930.

    Nicely made pine / mahogany box with removeable glass lid; back wall hinges down. Inside we have a good sensitive compass and two sets of parallel wires which are internally connected to the two brass terminals on the front wall. We say likely Philip Harris of Birmingham England, it is not marked, but it sure looks like their reliable work to us. 11cm by 11cm 4 cm deep – very good condition

    The application of various levels of current will provide a changing level of deflection in the compass. This will vary also as the instrument is revolved around the compass line. i.e. the true reading is gained with the parallel wires lined up North / south with the compass. There will be zero deflection at 90 degrees to that. Of course the instrument can be used to measure current in reverse principle – see out notes on the tangent galvanometer.

    The maths involved is pretty straight forward and very enlightening for anyone who has missed the physics challenge at school or for an interested youngster about to embark on it.

    Flemings Right Hand Rule proves very reliable


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  • Sarangi – Indian Stringed Instrument

    Sarangi – Indian Stringed Instrument

    The sarangi is a short necked bowed stringed instrument with a skin covered resonator. Carved from a single piece of wood. The playing strings typically gut and the numerous sympathetic strings from steel. The instrument is played predominantly in Northern India and also in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal.

    The sound it produces is very emotional and can resemble the human voice with special techniques such as gamaks (shakes) and meends (sliding movements).

    Its origins could be Persian the derivation of the name suggests that.

    The sarangi has a box like shape with three hollow chambers .. the names of which translate to stomach, chest and brain. This good example is around the usual size (slightly bigger) at 67cm. the lower chamber is covered in parchment. There is a bridge made from bone, earlier they would have been ivory. The bridge is strong as it supports the pressure from the numerous metal sympathetic strings.

    Nor really suitable for Overseas postage and will require a postage supplement in Australia dependent on buyers location. We are careful to pack well and obtain the most cost effect mailing.

    Expand your musical horizons with a Sarangi.


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  • Australia – Magic Lantern Slide Set – c1905.

    Australia – Magic Lantern Slide Set – c1905.

    Produced by W. Butcher & sons, London (1870-1906) under the brand name Primus. Sold as a set of eight in cardboard box with Lantern Lecture Reading notes. Complete.

    Standard magic lantern glass size 3.5 inch by 3.5 inch. All images square with rounded corners, original black mounting tape along edges. Very bright colouring, super condition apart from a crack in one slide.

    The slides comprise

    Government House Melbourne
    Sydney Harbour – Well before the bridge and heavily treed.
    Gold Mining Past and Present
    Sheep Shearing
    Richmond River [Northern NSW]
    In the Bush
    A Kangaroo Hunt
    Australian Aborigines

    There is much more about these images than observed at first glance.

    The image of aborigines includes an inset of a proud Murray River Warrior which is clearly derived from a photograph taken in 1880 by Samuel White Sweet. Resplendent in a possum skin coat holding a fighting waddy and decorated malcarra (shield) and string bag the subject cuts a proud figure. Maggs are currently selling a collection including the photograph – eye watering $.

    The kangaroo hunt is rather gruesome particularly the practice of cutting the tendon.

    The gold mining slide is super albeit cracked with an inset image of the old time cradle against the powerful mechanised image of Ballarat mines.

    The accompanying words are fairly comprehensive and interesting but of the period so anti C’s beware.

    Australia as it was seen over 100 years ago.


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  • The Hunter Sketchbook. Birds & Flowers of New South Wales drawn on The Spot in 1788 89 & 90 By Captain John Hunter of the First Fleet.

    The Hunter Sketchbook. Birds & Flowers of New South Wales drawn on The Spot in 1788 89 & 90 By Captain John Hunter of the First Fleet.

    A really rather beautiful and slightly strangely titled work.

    We say strangely titled because we do not have to read far about the original sketchbook, (once owned by the great Rex Nan Kivell and now housed in the Australian National Library) to find that the sketches include fishes and people … and of New South Wales and also Norfolk and Lord Howe islands. Peeking at the reproductions of the sketches we can also see a kangaroo and a dolphin. What is really surprising is the rarity now of some of the birds he drew e.g. the Swift Parrot and we wonder where he saw that bird …

    Captain Hunter, to be Governor Hunter, known as a skilled sketch artist through the illustrations in his sought after First Fleet journal .. but these images take one’s understanding and admiration to a whole new level.

    No expense spared production limited to 500 copies and with a further 50 sets of unbound plates. Edited by John Calaby with assistance. Published in 1989. Quarto, x, 252 pages with 100 full page colour plates and other illustrations in the lengthy introductions. Bound in quarter calf, raised bands to spine, separate green leather title label, exotic marble paper covered boards, original removable glassine protector, silk ribbon release from original open slip cover. A fine copy.

    A special edition from a unique work of historical significance – an Australian National Treasure.


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  • De Re Metallica – Georgius Agricola – the Hoover Translation.

    De Re Metallica – Georgius Agricola – the Hoover Translation.

    This is the second printing of the famous Hoover translation of the equally famous 16th Century monumental publication by Georgius Agricola on all things then known in mining, metallurgy, geology etc. Published by Dover, New York in 1950.

    Longer title … De re Metallica translated from the first Latin edition of 1556 with biographical introduction, annotations and appendices upon the development of mining methods, metallurgical processes, geology, mineralogy & mining law from the earliest times to the 16th century by Herbert Clark Hoover and Lou Henry Hoover.

    This edition, large royal octavo blue cloth covered boards, 638 pages after xxxi preliminaries, illustrated throughout from the images of the original wood engravings, simply superb. Dust jacket closed tear at top front otherwise pretty good, a very good copy overall. Quite a heavy book which will require and Overseas postage supplement.

    The series of books within the book (an early style) I Arguments against the art of mining II The miner and the mining of veins III Veins and stringers and seams in rocks IV The method of delimiting veins and the functions of the mining officials V The digging of ore and the Surveyor’s art VI The miner’s tools and machines VII The assaying of ore VIII Rules for the work of roasting, crushing, and washing the ore IX Methods of smelting ores X the work of separating silver from gold, and lead from gold and silver XI Separating silver from copper XII rules for manufacturing salt, soda, alum, vitriol, sulphur, bitumen, and glass … Agricola’s works – Ancient authors on mineralogy, mining, metallurgy- Nomenclature to be adopted for weights and measures etc.

    There is so much to admire about this book … the date of the foundation work, its breadth and quality, the learning from the engravings. Strangely maybe we particularly like the section on pumps in mines – essential equipment for water bound mines and the ingenuity pre powered machines is very interesting. Regarding the translation – what a job done by Hoover(s). The difficulty must have been very challenging – for example Agricola struggled to find Latin equivalents for many mining terms so had to contrive them from everyday Latin words – Hoover then had to decipher these once and only Latin words – unsurprising that his hair was depleted.

    De Re Metallica – The Foundation Work for all Mining and related – the readable version


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