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Scientific Instruments, Specimens, Books and Collectables

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  • Gold Refining – Donald Clark – First Edition Australian 1909

    Gold Refining – Donald Clark – First Edition Australian 1909

    First edition published by Critchley Parker, Melbourne [Pitman’s London] in 1909.

    Octavo, x, 124 pages with 12 full page plates. Original cloth covered boards, some foxing otherwise a very good copy of what seems to be an extremely scarce and interesting book. Early ownership signature of Harold Sims, Helensburgh, New South wales.

    Donald Clark was born in Geelong in 1865. He studied under the Rev H Stewart who in turn had been a student of the great Lord Kelvin. After graduation Clark was soon made Director of the School of Mines at Bairnsdale and later Director at the School of Mines in Bendigo. He also authored “Australian Mining and Metallurgy”.

    This is a sophisticated work, which deals with the methods and systems of gold refining. Includes chapters on … the Occurrence of Native Gold; Refining Gold with Oxidising and Chloridising Agents; Sulfur Refining; Refining by Cementation Process; Refining Gold Bullion by means of Oxygen; Miller’s Process; Parting with Nitric Acid; Parting by Electrolysis; the Treatment of Cyanide Precipitates etc etc.

    First edition Australian Reference on Gold Refining 1909


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  • A.G. Mumford limited – Engineers, Boiler Makers, Launch and Yacht Builders, Makers of Steam Pumps, Valves etc – Catalogue No & – 1906 Edition – Reprinted for Historical Reference 1985

    A.G. Mumford limited – Engineers, Boiler Makers, Launch and Yacht Builders, Makers of Steam Pumps, Valves etc – Catalogue No & – 1906 Edition – Reprinted for Historical Reference 1985

    Mumford’s were based in Colchester, England. Their Culvert Street Engineering Works was the centre for Marine Engineering development and manufacture.

    Foolscap in size, 117 pages of diagrams and specifications that are simply a mechanical engineers delight. Mumford were contractors to the Admiralty, War office, the Colonies, Spanish and other foreign governments. The contents are best described by way of the example images shown

    Marine Engineers Delight – Mumford


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  • The Life of Gerard Mercator – Set of Six Trade Cards – Liebig

    The Life of Gerard Mercator – Set of Six Trade Cards – Liebig

    A group of six brightly coloured trade cards by Liebig advertising their tasty products. Produced circa Mid 20thC and in very good condition. Comprehensive text in French on reverse.

    Delightful chromolithographs depicting various phases in Gerard Mercator’s life.

    Gerardus Mercator (1512-1594) a German-Flemish geographer studied at the University of Leuven. He appears in the matriculation records of 1530 … they still exist! In 1569 he created the principles that we now call the Mercator projection, fundamental to voyagers from that day forward. He produced a magnificent Atlas based on his projection technique and made many fine globes sold to Royalty and gentry all over Europe. Unfortunately, as were the time even though a devout Catholic he was accused of heresy and spent six months in prison. Each of these elements of his life is nicely displayed in this scarce card set.

    Mercator … his projection is everlasting


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  • Kalgoorlie Golden Mile – Western Australia – Original Magic Lantern Slide – Newton & Co – c1910

    Kalgoorlie Golden Mile – Western Australia – Original Magic Lantern Slide – Newton & Co – c1910

    Very good condition magic lantern slide from Newton & Co Fleet described in cursive writing.

    We date the slide to around 1910. New & Co were at 43 Museum Street London. They were the world’s longest established suppliers of scientific instruments being formed by Sir Isaac Newton’s cousin J. Newton in 1704. At the time of this slide the proprietors were still from the Newton family. The British Museum have Newton & Co out of business at Museum Street in 1913, but other references have it continuing

    A really broad view which magnifies to present incredible detail. Standard British size in fine condition. We believe this slide and image is pretty rare.

    Kalgoorlie was discovered by Paddy Hannan and Tom Flanagan in 1893. There horse had thrown a shoe and when they stopped to sort it out they noticed gold …. Well … on the ground everywhere. Hannan staked a claim and the rush was on. By 1896 the rail had arrived and the area had taken over from Coolgardie as the primary WA goldfield.

    As an aside the Newton & Co address is as you might suspect in sight of the British Museum in London and also opposite The Plough … a favourite Voyager pub.

    Rare Australian Gold Mining Lantern Slide


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  • Vickers Mk1 303 M.G. [Machine Gun] Slide Rule Manufactured by W.H.H. for the Australian Forces – WWII

    Vickers Mk1 303 M.G. [Machine Gun] Slide Rule Manufactured by W.H.H. for the Australian Forces – WWII

    A fine example of the Vickers slide rule for the 303 (7.7mm) Machine Gun … perhaps the best machine gun of the 20thC.

    The Vickers 303 MG was based on the earlier MAXIM Gun after Vickers purchased the manufacturer in 1898. The Vickers 303 was used from WWI up until 1968 … it played its biggest part in WWII. It was capable of 10,000 rounds per hour and incredibly robust and reliable. Well like by Australian and New Zealand gunners. Required a team of five or six to operate … it was rather heavy, with a heavy tripod, water cooler and condenser and one can only imagine the weight of ammunition at the rate of firing. It was often used for “indirect firing” at up to 4 kms i.e., when the target could not necessarily be seen, and the trajectory must be calculated – hence the development of the sophisticated slide rule.

    This Australian variant of the Mark I is an adaptation of the Mark III that was manufactured in metal following a request from the 2/2nd (Australian) Machine Gun Battalion as the found the then wooden Mark III unsuitable for jungle warfare. The Vickers historical website references and Australian War Diary …

    “RULES, SLIDE: Probably one of the most useful items of equipment held by Machine Gunners is the Slide Rule. The present issue Rule, slide MG Mk III – 303 VMG for Mark VII amn is quite unserviceable, being made of cane and glued at the joins. The cane swells in the moist climate, the slides will not run freely, the glue gives way at the joins – and the whole thing falls to pieces. Should any of these things fail to happen, the white ants make sure that the Rule is u/s. So that throughout all the recent ops we have been denied the use of this most useful instrument. The Mk IV slide rule, designed for use with Mk V IIIz amn, is of metal construction throughout, and is most efficient. Were it possible to have a similar Rule, suitable for use with Mk VII amn, it would be of great assistance.

    15cm by 8cm by 1cm with two independent reversible sides for calculating range, drop, dispersion etc. Moves freely, excellent condition.

    The 2/2nd (Australian) Machine Gun Battalion was formed in 1940 and went to the Middle east and then fought at the Battle of Alamein. By 1943 they were required back in Australia to oppose the Japanese – they fought at Milne Bay and then later in Borneo. The equatorial conditions encountered gave rise to the above report and the re-development of this Slide Rule.

    See example in the VMGCRA collection … similarly manufactured by W.H.H. the struggle to find any further references to this maker.

    Unusual military slide rule … of some complexity and Australian relevance regarding its construction and manufacture


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  • Newnes’ Slide Rule Manual

    Newnes’ Slide Rule Manual

    A 1960’s revised edition of the “go to” book on the slide rule produced and published by George Newnes, London.

    Octavo, 112 pages of slide rule lovers delight. Covers the … Principle of the Slide Rule; Principle of Logarithms; Using the Slide Rule; Examples; Circular Slide Rules etc. Very good condition albeit a little creasing to the otherwise good dust jacket.

    The Preface starts … “The slide rule is considered by many a mysterious instrument requiring years of study before it can be used with facility”.

    Within twenty years sophisticated electronic calculators and personal computers made the slide made the slide rule obsolete and an “antique” of the past. Pity … to use the slide rule properly a knowledge of mathematics was required …

    A very interesting “modern” curiosity … get your slide rule today.

    Slide rules and the mathematics that flows from them.


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