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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….

    $490.00

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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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  • 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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  • Important Microscope Slide – HMS Challenger Expedition –  Globigerina Ooze – Station 21 South Atlantic in 1876. Preparer John Browning, the Strand, London.

    Important Microscope Slide – HMS Challenger Expedition – Globigerina Ooze – Station 21 South Atlantic in 1876. Preparer John Browning, the Strand, London.

    Contemporary prepared microscope slides of samples taken on the Challenger Expedition are highly sought after. This one is of particular interest as few can be found prepared by John Browning.

    The Challenger Expedition 1873-1876 was the perhaps the world’s greatest marine focused scientific expedition. Organised by the world’s greatest club. The Royal Society, a total of 126 thousand kms were travelled. She carried 190km of Indian hemp for making soundings and taking samples, had beautiful fitted laboratories and the finest instruments of the day; and no doubt microscopes made by John Browning a leading maker of microscopes and spectroscopes of the highest standard.

    The slide is very clearly labelled with the preparers name and address at 63 The Strand. The date the sample was taken on the Challenger, 21st March 1876. The depth of sample taken, 1,990 fathoms and the location Latitude 21.15 South Longitude 14.2 West.

    On the 21st March 1876 the Challenger had been at sea three years and was on her way home to England. The location is almost the same longitude as Voyager’s favourite island Tristan d’Acunha and a few degrees north.

    Campbell’s “Log Letters from the Challenger” recorded the passage of the vessel. In literally the final paragraph we have our location.

    “On the 6th February 1876 the Challenger left the Falklands for Monte Video; thence she proceeded towards Tristan d’Acunha. [Here they found the water very cold at depth, finding a stratum of water 400 fathoms in thickness below freezing.] From the neighbourhood of Tristan d’Acunha the ship sailed to Ascension, finding shallow soundings, and the bottom temperature 35.9F having left Ascension she touched at Porto Praya, St Vincent, and Vigo, and arrived at Spithead on the 24th May 1878. And so ended the cruise of the Challenger”

    In our images we show a chart showing the track of the vessel (taken from Campbell’s Log-Letters – see our copy) and the nature of various sample taken [Yellow] is Globigerina Ooze. The location of this sample is almost equidistant between Tristan and Ascension [just south west of St Helena}. You will see that it is marked Station 21 and the depth of 1,990 noted.

    Globigerina refers to planktonic foraminifera with calcareous shells.

    See our Research Section for a note on the achievements of John Browning. We have his spectroscopes for sale elsewhere on this site.

    Original Challenger Expedition prepared slide, of good Globigerina sample, from known location and date of sample – rare distinguished preparer.

    $290.00

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  • The Geology and Palaeontology of Queensland and New Guinea – (Plate Album – Some Hand Coloured) – Robert Logan Jack and Robert Etheridge (Jnr) – 1892

    The Geology and Palaeontology of Queensland and New Guinea – (Plate Album – Some Hand Coloured) – Robert Logan Jack and Robert Etheridge (Jnr) – 1892

    This is the scarce first edition plate album published by James Beal, Brisbane in 1892 and Dulau, London

    Small quarto (25cm by 19cm) containing 68 striking plates. A plate 69 is listed being a Geological Map of Queensland, as this was bound separately it is nearly always missing as in this case. Original embossed brown cloth covered binding, gilt titles to spine, original patterned endpapers. Some ageing to extremities. Internally very clean, with some damage to one plate (no 25) not affecting the images.

    The specimens figured are predominantly from the Geological Survey of Queensland Collection along with some from the British Museum, Australian and Queensland Museum ; and private collections including the late Richard Daintree, Tenison Woods etc

    Robert Logan Jack (Voyager hero) was the Government Geologist for Queensland. Robert Etheridge son a an equally famous father of the same name worked with Logan Jack previously on the Geological Survey of Scotland. At the time of this work Etheridge was Government Palaeontologist of NSW.

    The first 44 plates contain 661 individual illustrations lithographed by Berjeau & Highley and printed by Mintern Brothers, London a combination active in scientific works of the period including the leading London Societies. 11 of the plates represent geological sections of varying degrees of complexity; a plate of drill cores; a coloured folding chart of the Burrum coal field; a larger folding coloured plan of Gympie Gold Field; a larger again folding coloured plan of Chartered Towers. The 12 excellent hand coloured images of rock thin sections drawn from the microscope by Isabel Phoebe Clarke (1863-1960) wife of Arthur Walter Clarke (1854-1893) who was at Chartered Towers

    Important Queensland Geological Work – Special Plates

    $490.00

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