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Scientific Instruments, Specimens, Books and Collectables

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  • The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex – Charles Darwin – 1890

    The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex – Charles Darwin – 1890

    A very good second revised and augmented edition, published by John Murray, 50 Albermarle Street, London, 1890.

    The desired original “Murray”’ green cloth binding as issued with blind stamped borders and gilt titles and banding to spine. Octavo, 693 pages with 78 illustrations. Very clean binding, tight and whilst a little age to page edges a very good copy of desirable edition.

    Darwin’s classic work on comparative anatomy. By comparing the physiological and psychological aspects of man and ape, he fills in what had been merely suggested in the Origin: that man’s ancestor, if still alive today, would be classified among the primates and on a lower scale than the apes.

    The last chapter is an added essay on sexual selection, the superior chances of mating that some individuals of one sex have over their rivals. The essay ends with the famous and often misquoted statement, “Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin.”

    It was in this book (page 2) that Darwin used the word “evolution” for the first time.

    The Descent of Man Companion to The Origin of Species….

    $460.00

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  • A Treatise on Land-Surveying – Thomas Dix of Oundle – 1799

    A Treatise on Land-Surveying – Thomas Dix of Oundle – 1799

    Printed by Baldwin, New Bridge Street, London and sold by Seeley at Ave-Maria-lane and Seeley Buckingham and the Author at Oundle.

    Octavo, 182 pages illustrated with 180 diagrams and nine of ten copper plates, five of which are large and folding. There are ten plates noted in the last but the last was a separately stitched facsimile field book which is invariably missing.

    The author Thomas Dix was a teacher at the Northampton School of Oundle. Dix dedicates the work the Worshipful Company of Grocers and so he should. The school was formed in 1556 when Sir William Laxton, Lord Mayor of London and Master of the Worshipful Company of Grocers endowed a “Free Grammar School”. Under the terms of his will, the Grocers have been supporting the school ever since. Of the 108 livery companies in London they are number two … established in 1515 and originally known as the Guild of Pepperers who go back to 1100.

    The advertisements to the book suggest this is a second edition … more complete. The author does not pretend to any new Discovery; his aim is the deficiency of a Book … to instruct Boys in the first rudiments of Land-surveying by the Chain and Cross only.

    Bound in full leather, gold lines to spine but no sign of ever having a title label. Gilt knurling to board edges, joints split but holding quite well. Internally very clean and the fold out engravings are in pretty good condition. Everything a young chap need to survey the family estate.

    The book went through a number of later editions well into the 1820’s. This is the earliest copy we have found.

    Methodical training in Surveying 1799 – Nice plates.

    $190.00

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  • Antique Medical Instruments – Wilbur

    Antique Medical Instruments – Wilbur

    Published by Schiffer, i.e. the pen people, of Atglen, USA. The 2008 edition with updates by the distinguished Keith Wilbur MD who can trace back his descendants to Rhode Island 1636.

    We mention the “pen people” as the book is rather whimsically produced in an unusual cursive font with matching line drawing of instruments.

    Quarto, softcover 149 pages. Seems to be a bit under-rated for a book we really rate not just for the beginner but the serious collector too. We also like that it has a very good section on the development of the microscope often omitted from this subject matter. A semi-useful price guide at least provides perspective … 18th Century medical instruments can hardly come cheap. A list of medical museums in the USA good prove a valuable starting point for a holiday focussed on such matters. Plan your next trip.

    Wilbur’s Medical Instruments a great place to start … and more

    $50.00

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  • Antique Medical Instruments – Elisabeth Bennion

    Antique Medical Instruments – Elisabeth Bennion

    Published by Sotheby Parke Bernet, University of California Press a first edition 1979.

    A substantial book. Large quarto, 355 pages, heavily and appropriately illustrated. A trifle foxed inside dust jacket and top edge otherwise clan as a whistle, very good. A heavy book that will require a modest supplement to get it Overseas.

    Ephemera included with the book includes a book review and prospectus and two letters to a previous owner by the author Elisabeth Bennion when she worked with distinguished antique medical instrument purveyors Simon Kaye, Piccadilly, London. The correspondence relates to the purchase of monaural stethoscopes.

    Also included is the catalogue for the second exhibition (and sale) of Antique Medical Instruments at the aforesaid Simon Kaye 1978 which references the launch of of Elisabeth Bennion’s book.

    The Foreword by Reginal Murley, President of the Royal College of Surgeons, England says it all … a book of this quality has been long overdue, the meticulous and thorough research stand out and the newly created “directory of Surgical Instrument Makers” will be a goo to reference for all Medical Historian.

    Covers the period from the Middle Ages to 1870 with chapters by instrument family following an introduction on the history of the profession. Then saws, trephines and phlebotomy instruments; knives, directors and forceps; lithotomy and urethrotomy instruments; ear, nose and throat; obstetrical and gynaecological; ophthalmic; Dental; Veterinary; etc … an the bibliography is extensive, glossary of terms, chronological chart of surgeons and the aforementioned 40 page “Directory”

    Make sure you look at the image of the various spectacles … amazing that the green ones in the shark skin case are from the 1820′s … so fashionable by today’s standards.

    Extensive well researched book on medial antique – not just ear trumpets.

    $110.00

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  • Bloodletting Instruments – Davis and Appel

    Bloodletting Instruments – Davis and Appel

    Published by The Printers’ Devil. Arlington, MA 1983. The bulk of the work had previously been included in an issue of Studies from the Smithsonian Institute

    Softcover, quarto 102 pages well illustrated. Very good condition. Original invoice of purchase left inside.

    An impressive work on Bloodletting Instruments. With reference to the collection held by the U.S. national Museum of History and Technology.

    Starts proper with a History of Bleeding and usefully “How much Blood to Rake” and “When to Bleed”. Barber Surgeons and then the move to cupping, leeching etc. A catalogue of instruments for the best of Phlebotanists ad good references to the numerous trade catalogues

    Bloodletting once very popular – might make a comeback

    $40.00

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  • Douglas Mawson – Report from the British Antarctic Expedition – Transactions and Proceedings of The Royal Society of South Australia

    Douglas Mawson – Report from the British Antarctic Expedition – Transactions and Proceedings of The Royal Society of South Australia

    Published by the Society, Adelaide 1916, Being Volume XL.

    Thick octavo, 631 pages with 54 plates and 21 figures in the text, Mawson map and folding diagram. Fine condition, barely opened, clean as a whistle inside. Unusually still in its original mailing envelope albeit chipped here and there. A super copy.

    Numerous papers, many on entomology, marine species, flora, mineralogy etc.

    Douglas Mawson features twice. First, his report on the Aurora Australis … “Aural Observations at the Cape Royds Station, Antarctica”. Pages 151-213 with plates xxi and xxii. The observations were taken during the British Antarctic Expedition in 1908. Mawson states that they were intended for publication in 1911. The delay was due to Shackleton wishing to publish the Scientific Reports as a series. However, for lack of funds this could not happen, and the series ides was abandoned, allowing this work to be published here. Special thanks are given to Edgeworth David for his contribution to the work.

    Second, “Mineral Notes” is based on Mawson’s analysis of minerals exhibited at the Society in 1910 and 1911. Publication, gain, had been delayed … this time because Mawson mislaid his notes before departing for his own Antarctic Expedition of 1911. Minerals described include … Octahedrite, Twinned Gypsum Crystals, Beryl, Loadstone, Monazite, Cordierite, Sillimanite, Spinel, Sphene, Davidite, named after the great man, and much here about the radioactive properties. An addendum page by W.T. Cooke on the constituency of Davidite with reference to the spectroscopic work of the great Sir William Crookes identifying Scandium as a component.

    Another standout report is by Walter Howchin on “The Geology of Mount Remarkable” pages 545- 584 with large coloured Geological Sketch Map.

    Nicely illustrated journal with interesting reports by Douglas Mawson in very good condition.

    $140.00

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