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Science including Natural Sciences, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, Astronomy, Medical Sciences etc

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  • Insectivorous Plants – Charles Darwin – First Edition 1875

    Published by John Murray, London, 1875 a First Edition (second thousand). Octavo. 462 pages, half-title, title, publisher’s advertisement to verso of title page. 30 in-text illustrations. Original publisher’s green cloth covered binding, gilt-lettered spine. Minimal rubbing otherwise an excellent copy.

    Alfred O Walker’s copy with his bookplate on the front paste down. Alfred O Walker FLS (1832-1925) was a British Industrialist and Naturalist who specialised in Marine Biology. He made a significant and noted contribution to the Crustacea collection at the Natural History Museum, South Kensington, London.

    Darwin began this work with insectivorous plants in the 1860s, though his findings would not be published until 1875. Darwin reflected on the delay that allowed him to refine his work: ‘The delay in this case, as with all my other books, has been a great advantage to me; for a man after a long interval can criticise his own work, almost as well as if it were that of another person.’

    Darwin’s observations that this group of plants secreted a fluid closely analogous to the digestive fluid of an animal, was a remarkable discovery. In “Insectivorous Plant”, Darwin explores the reaches of natural selection. Analysing the features of insectivorous plants that allow them to survive in difficult environments. Darwin devised experiments to stimulate the plants’ trap mechanisms, including feeding them meat, blowing on them, and stimulating them with hair. Through his work he concluded that the plants would only react to the movements of ‘prey’; Darwin believed that this was a wonderful adaptation for the plants as it enabled them to ignore unhelpful stimuli.

    In this work Darwin collaborated with other naturalists and experts, including Professor Frankland of the Royal College of Chemistry in designing and executing some of the experiments. Darwin’s sons George and Francis assisted with the illustrations of the key species: Drosera, Dionaea, Aldrovanda, and Utricularia. Darwin also corresponded with the New Jersey naturalist, Mary Treat. Darwin and Treat exchanged fifteen letters from 1871-1876 about the behaviour and mechanisms of insectivorous plants.


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  • Panarithmologia: or The Trader’s Sure Guide Containing Exact and Useful Tables, Ready Cast Up, Adapted to the use of Merchants, Mercers, Bankers, Drapers, Goldsmiths, Grocers, Brewers, Weavers and Haberdashers, and those that deal by Wholesale, or Retail and All other Mechanicks etc – William Leybourn – corrected and enlarged. 1772

    Published Rivington, Hawes et al, London 1772.

    Small octavo, unpaginated, re-backed in leather over early worn cloth covered boards, raised bands, title and date in gilt.

    Pages showing age and use as usual and, with the ever present annotations and mathematical doodles that are a characteristic of this book. Very popular in business during the 18th Century having been first published late the previous. Then, constantly updated with final editions in the 1820’s.

    The author William Leybourn was an accomplished mathematician and surveyor .. we have had his excellent surveying books before but it was this little delight that made him rich.

    An early and most useful guide for business … and a super title.


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  • Victorian Microscope Slide – Horse Ant … Whole Insect Specimen – Mounted and dated 1880.

    Victorian Microscope Slide – Horse Ant … Whole Insect Specimen – Mounted and dated 1880.

    Nice condition, quality mount of a whole insect specimen of the Horse Ant, also known as the Red Wood and Southern Wood Ant. Classified by Linnaeus in 1761. Earlier, in 1648 the English Chemist John Ray distilled thousands of these ants to discover formic acid.

    Mounted in gum arabic, with minimal oxidation a super example dated 1880.

    Horse Ant in all its glory over 140 years old.


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  • 19thC Cased Brass Surveyors Cross – French Maker

    19thC Cased Brass Surveyors Cross – French Maker

    A very good example of a octagonal design surveyors cross in its original case.

    A Victorian surveying cross, French in origin. The solid brass body bright, undamaged and not over polished. Comes in two threaded parts, the neck resting inside the head whilst in its box. Sighting threads intact.

    The box is in good shape and measures 13cm by 9cm by 9cm. The whole weighs just short of a kilogram.

    A nicely cased brass surveyors cross


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  • Vintage Microscope Slide – Pollen from the Antarctic

    Vintage Microscope Slide – Pollen from the Antarctic

    Nice condition, quality mount of an unusual subject – Pollen from the Coast of the Antarctic.

    Nice deep mount with well preserved coloured mount rings. We are unsure who the preparer was but would suggest they must have been a professional get the mount in such good shape. The hand written label looks familiar to us but we still cannot pick the preparer. The location is not identified but likely in the area immediately south of South America … as these pollen samples would have started life in warmer climes.

    Unusual Antarctic Microscope Slide


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  • The Billings Microscope Collection of the Medical Museum Armed Forces Institute of Pathology. James Hansen et al [Second and Preferred Edition]

    The Billings Microscope Collection of the Medical Museum Armed Forces Institute of Pathology. James Hansen et al [Second and Preferred Edition]

    This is the preferred second edition 1974 of this standard reference for antique microscope collectors and those interested in antique scientific instruments generally. It contains 32 additional pages of microscopes to the first published in 1967.

    The existence of this collection which maybe rivals that of the London Microscopical Society is down to Lieutenant John S Billings a medical officer in the US Amy who was put in charge of the Army Medical Museum. He did a magnificent job and must have been well financed and supported. He built the heart of the collection between 1883 and 1993 [couldn’t be a better period}. The result has been augmented over the year from donations and acquisitions.

    Softcover quarto, 244 pages, 4 colour plates and 473 black and white photographs of examples. Very good condition … the covers might look marked but it is just the trendy arty finish.

    A brief history of the microscope is followed by a three part catalogue. Part I … contains the collection acquired by Billings and later donations etc up until 1966. Part II represents a significant collected added from Europe in 1966 – the Kaas Collection. Part II are the important additions since the first printing.

    Billings and essential scientific reference – the best edition .


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