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Scientific Instruments, Specimens, Books and Collectables

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  • Einstein’s Universe – Nigel Calder

    Einstein’s Universe – Nigel Calder

    Marking the Centenary of Einstein’s birth the BBC brought together some of the brightest ever to contribute to this work of relativity.

    Sometimes explained at a level beyond mere mortals, sometimes in such a trivial manner hardly touching the boundaries of the concepts and connectivity involved. Here we have a a master work on the subject which still holds well despite the forty plus years since its publication.

    Octavo, 178 pages, illustrated appropriately. Some minor highlighting by an educated reader which helps with emphasis.

    Einstein and relativity more than just “shells of time”


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  • Vintage Quality Science Specimen Jar

    A good example of a good quality vintage (circa 1930’s) specimen jar.

    Hard glass design vertical sides, stopper same width as jar, nice ground glass stopper a beautiful fit, some age but authentic. Heavily fluted base for stability. No chemical residue apart from slight “eau de naphthalene” so likely used to store biological / botanical specimens.

    Unusual scientific sample jar of upmarket design


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  • Victorian Spectroscope – Adam Hilger c1890

    A superb quality late Victorian brass Direct Vision Spectroscope, of the “Rainband” variety.

    The device includes a “train” of alternating crown and flint glass prisms.

    Made by Adam Hilger and his brother Otto who operated from Tottenham Court Road London from 1875 until 1916 when the business was taken over with the backing of Vickers. Nicely engraved A Hilger London and in near fine condition protected in its original custom brass canister.

    Interestingly, Adam Hilger supplied one of the most advanced spectroscopes of the day to the Sydney Astronomical Observatory in 1878 to be used in conjunction with their Merz 7 ¼ inch refractor. Three prisms alternating quartz and flint glass provide spectral quality clear of aberration.

    Neat Victorian Spectroscope top maker clear and true spectrum


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  • The Spirit Ridden Konde [Lake Nyasa Tanzania] – First Edition D.R. Mackenzie – 1925

    The Spirit Ridden Konde [Lake Nyasa Tanzania] – First Edition D.R. Mackenzie – 1925

    Longer title – The Spirit Ridden Konde. A record of the interesting but steadily vanishing customs & ideas gathered during twenty four year residence amongst these shy inhabitants of the Lake Nyasa region, from witch doctors, diviners, hunters, fishers & every native source.

    Published by Lippincott a first American edition 1925. A beautifully presented book with serious content regarding the Konde people of Tanzania.

    Octavo, 318 pages with folding map and 21 illustrations from photographs. Strikingly vivid blue cloth covered binding with gilt image of native to front, titles to spine. A very good copy.

    Mackenzie explores the complex relationship of the Konde people with the spirit world and how it affects their daily lives and their rituals and traditions. He traces their origins and how they migrated to the Lake Nyasa region. Good descriptions of initiation rites of both young men and women. A super book.

    No better book about the Konde of Lake Nyasa


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  • Mawson’s Papers – Innes and Duff – Robyn Mundy’s Copy.

    Mawson’s Papers – Innes and Duff – Robyn Mundy’s Copy.

    Thick softcover published by The Mawson Institute for Antarctic Research The University of Adelaide in 1990.

    Rather scarce and we are not sure why .. maybe they are all tied up with Institutions … maybe it was a pessimistic print run.

    Carries the modern book label of adventurer and writer Roby Mundy and a thoughtful note by the gift giver “happy hunting”. The kind message clearly relates to the research Mundy would have been doing for her novel “Nature of Ice” – all about the Mawson Polar expedition, Frank Hurley’s photographs and much more. Mundy also wrote a super book “Cold Coast” which revolves around the first female trapper in Svalbad … another Voyager favourite island group.

    Back to the Mawson Papers which are richly described in the unusually paginated work [probably circa 350 pages]. After a brief Forward by Jacka and a Biographical note by same we have various introductory papers re how to use the guide. Not a list of items – everything is described and put into context. Nicely illustrated from Hurley photographs, charts etc … it’s the complete business.

    Mawson no more comprehensive source of his work


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  • Fossil Tree Fern “Osmundacaulis pruchnikki” – Lune River Tasmania – Rare and unusual Early Jurassic Forest circa 182 Million years old.

    Fossil Tree Fern “Osmundacaulis pruchnikki” – Lune River Tasmania – Rare and unusual Early Jurassic Forest circa 182 Million years old.

    A significant piece in terms of size and quality of petrified tree fern “Osmundacaulis pruchnikki” from the Lune River area deep in the southern reaches of Tasmania.

    The dating of this location to the middle of the early Jurassic Period (182 Ma) was by isotopic measurements on zircons found in the volcanic sandstone hosting the fossils (Bromfield et al 2007). Also refer the excellent recently updated guide by P. Manchester.

    A substantial example weighing 362gm length circa 11cm – by 5cm by 5cm. The extremity is cleaved in the centre of the oval plant core and the core can be seen clearly on top and running down the side.

    This region is the area of the world where these plants developed. Twelve tree paratypes (arborescent) ferns and one bracken-like (rhizomatous) fern have been studied in the region. All of the tree ferns belong to the genus Osmundacaulis. This paratype exhbits numerous clear and tight trachioles

    The species evolved in this region, the Australian portion of Pangea, which was on the cusp of breaking up circa 200 million years ago. Gradually osmundacaaulis have spread elsewhere, but are limited in the Northern Hemisphere; they appear in North West USA .. whilst examples were only discovered in Eurasia in the year 2000 in northern China.

    Significant fossil tree fern from Jurassic Tasmania.


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