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Scientific Instruments, Specimens, Books and Collectables

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  • Linus Pauling [Two Times Nobel Prize Winner] – Biography – A Man and His Science –  Anthony Serafini (Introduction Isaac Asimov)

    Linus Pauling [Two Times Nobel Prize Winner] – Biography – A Man and His Science – Anthony Serafini (Introduction Isaac Asimov)

    A first edition published by Simon and Schuster in 1989.

    Large octavo, 310 pages with illustrations from period photographs. Very good condition.

    A super biography by the thorough and readable Professor Serafini. With and introduction from Isaac Asimov which also beats his own drum.

    A monumental scientist of the 20th Century … the only person to single handed won the Nobel Prize twice … Chemistry and Peace. His application of quantum mechanics to molecular orbital theory and the lead into the helix and, for others, consequently DNA was way ahead. His competition with William Bragg and the Oppenheimer conflict (not the least that he made a pass at Pauling’s wife) add some intrigue. Ban the Bomb and Vitamin C the elixir came later …

    Pauling’s Life will prove an inspiration for any budding scientist.


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  • Allen & Hanburys Ltd – Abridged Catalogue of Surgical Instruments and Appliances – Aseptic Hospital Furniture and Electro-Medical Apparatus. – c1920

    Allen & Hanburys Ltd – Abridged Catalogue of Surgical Instruments and Appliances – Aseptic Hospital Furniture and Electro-Medical Apparatus. – c1920

    Possibly the most important reference of the period on the subject. Allen & Hanburys were at 48 Wigmore Street, London W1 with a factory at Bethnal Green and other facilities in Hertfordshire and Norway (Cod Liver Oil).

    Abridged in their world means large octavo 739 pages. Original red cloth covered boards, titles etc blind stamped on spine, white to front. No date but references show circa 1920. Thousands of illustrations, frontispiece of the principal premises. Pasted onto inside front is a 28 page price list from April, 1925. All in very good condition.

    By this time Allen & Hanburys were leading players with businesses in South Africa, China, Australia, India, South America, USA, Canada, Arabia, New Zealand, West Indies and throughout Europe.

    Items covered include far too numerous to list even by category, they appear to cover every aspect. We have provided quite a few images to give some idea.

    Special Medical instrument Reference from the distinguished Allen & Hanburys.


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  • Linus Pauling (Two Times Nobel Prize Winner) – Signed corrected typed letter to colleague Professor D.P. Craig

    Linus Pauling (Two Times Nobel Prize Winner) – Signed corrected typed letter to colleague Professor D.P. Craig

    One of the top 100 scientists that have ever lived. Along with Marie Currie he received the Nobel Prize twice in different fields, Chemistry and Peace the only person to have received two alone in their own right.

    Valence theory and the application of quantum mechanics to molecular theory was his forte. Here we have him corresponding with Australian Professor David Craig at University College, London. Craig spent much time there and then later at the Research School of Chemistry, ANU, Canberra.

    Pauling writes on California Institute of Technology, Pasadena letterhead …. 4th August 1961

    “I thank you for your letter about molecular orbitals and benzene. I have no doubt that a reasonably good job can be done in discussing aromatic molecules by use of the molecular orbital method, in such a way that students find the discussion acceptable. I am not sure that I feel that it is obviously justified to say that the electrons occupying an orbital with a single node are about as stable as in the two-center orbitals of a Kekule structure – I know that this is right, but how the student would feel is another matter.

    Nevertheless, I have not reached the conclusion that I should attempt much of a molecular-orbital discussion in my book, as well as the discussion of simple resonance theory.”

    An enlightening view … Kekule having established his principles in the mid-19thC. It was not until molecular orbital theory that the properties of aromatic molecules could be more readily understood. Pauling used X-ray technology to support his findings. In a number of areas, he was “in competition” with Australian born Sir Lawrence Bragg, who was running the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge. Pauling discovered the protein alpha helix after many years of painstaking work … without this the work on DNA would have come much later. Having won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his pioneering work he became a strong anti-bomb supporter and through his efforts to suppress cold war activity was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Later he became a champion for the use of vitamin C as a near cure all.

    Linus Pauling every Scientists Hero – A letter to a Colleague with relevant Scientific Content


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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….


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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.


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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


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