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Scientific Instruments, Specimens, Books and Collectables

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  • Philosophia Britannica – Benjamin Martin – 1759 – Volume 1 – Rules of Philosophy; Mechanics; Hydrostatics

    Philosophia Britannica – Benjamin Martin – 1759 – Volume 1 – Rules of Philosophy; Mechanics; Hydrostatics

    One of originally three volumes each of which stands alone. We have two and are selling them individually or as a pair … scarce.

    Published by M Cooper in Pater-noster-row, J Newbery in St Pauls Church-yard, S Crowder and Co on London-bridge etc London and sold by the Author at his House in Fleet-street, 1759.

    Bound in original full speckled Calf showing some age but holding very well. Original maroon leather title labels. A beautiful antiquarian look.

    Text block speckled red. Inked name on front paste down. Title page in red and black. Octavo, 333 pages after preliminaries including “Catalogue” of previous works used a reference … staring with Principia. Twenty magnificent copper engraved plates of which eighteen are folding.

    Benjamin Martin (1705-1782) established a school in Chichester during his twenties. Little is known about his own formal education. By 1738 he had taken a keen interest in optics and produced several wood and cardboard microscopes. He started presenting lectures in experimental philosophy to audiences in Reading, Bristol, Bath and London. He published his first “Philosophia” in 1747. This the second 1759 edition is a new and augmented version and is the high point of his work. The world (Wiki) has Martin down principally as a lexicographer who compiled and early dictionary … and a lecturer and maker of scientific instruments …. we would say wrong way around. By 1756 Martin was firmly settled in London. He began trading as an Optician and then in addition numerous scientific instruments. His business address, which is where he lived was described as “Hadley’s Quadrant and Visual Glasses”, near Crane Court, in Fleet Street, London. His trade cards advertised … “All Sorts of Philosophical, Optical and Mathematical Instruments many of which are of New Invention made and Sold by Benjamin Martin at his shop … viz Planetariums, Globes of any Size, Air Pumps, Barometers, Thermometers, Pocket Microscopes, Wilson’s Microscopes, Solar Microscopes, Reflecting and Refracting Telescopes, Reading Glasses, Opera Glasses, Spectacles, Hadley’s Quadrants, Cases of Instruments, Sectors, Sliding Rules. Artificial Magnets and of which may be sent safe to any part of England”.

    The book … set out as four lectures; Lecture 1 – including inter alia the Nature of Matter or Substance; Divisibility and Mobility; Proof of Vacuum; Laws of Attraction; Magnetism. Lecture 2 inter alia – Gravitation; Motion; Relative Motion and Acceleration; Non-elastic Bodies; Newton’s Laws; Time and Space… Pendulums; the Pyrometer; Projectiles and Parabolic Curves; Halley’s Invention; Centripetal and Centrifugal Force; Earth and Moon; Increase in Gravity from the Equator to the Poles. Lecture 3 inter alia – Centre of Magnitude between two or more Bodies; The Sun and the Planets; Mechanical Powers … levers, ships rubber, bees cell etc. Lecture 4 inter alia the Nature of Fluids; Centre of Pressure; Specific Gravity; Hydrometer; Newtons Theory of the Motion and Resistance of Fluids at Large.

    The folding plates are very good, up with Principia or Pemberton’s book on Newtonian Philosophy. We can only conveniently provide a few scans. The instrument for measuring specific gravity is extra special.

    Superb 18thC Physics based on Newton and his followers with special engravings to demonstrate the principles and instruments involved.


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  • Hutton’s Logarithms -1804 – Professor Wiilam Wallace Connection

    Hutton’s Logarithms -1804 – Professor Wiilam Wallace Connection

    Longer title … Mathematical Tables; containing the Common, Hyperbolic, and Logistic Logarithms. Also, Sines, Tangents, Scants, & Versed Sines both Natural and Logarithmic. Together with Several Other Tables useful in Mathematical Calculations. To which is Prefixed, A Large and Original History of the Discoveries and Writings relating to those Subjects …

    Bu Charles Hutton, Professor of Mathematics in the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, London. A fourth edition published in 1804.

    There is much debate about who really set down the first logarithmic tables, but it was certainly Scotsman Napier (his “bones” were used by Captain Cook et all). Napier’s work was taken up by Briggs and then on to Hutton.

    To have a book of tables may seen rather dull (we like them) but it is the 179 pages before the tables that make this book especially interesting to those with a penchant for the history of Science. The first 17 pages is just that a history of the development of “higher level” mathematics. Then the invention of logarithms and their construction … Napier, Kepler, Briggs, Mercator … and Newton and Halley’s methods.

    Large octavo, leather bound, rebacked with the original spine laid down preserving the separate red leather title label.

    Interesting gift annotation … given to David Wilkie Student in the Junior Mathematical Class as the Highest Prize … for Patrons of the University – William Wallace – Professor of Mathematics April 19th, 1832.

    William Wallace (1768-1843), astronomer and mathematician was Professor at Edinburgh University. He started adult life as a bookbinder! Inventor of the eidograph for scaling drawings. An expert in geometry. At the time this book was published he was a Master of Mathematics at the Royal Military College so would have known Hutton. It seems likely that this later prize (1832) was of Wallace’s personal copy of the book.

    Hard to find mathematics – essential for when the internet gets full.


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  • The Hand its Mechanism and Vital Endowments as Evincing Design – Sir Charles Bell – 1833

    The Hand its Mechanism and Vital Endowments as Evincing Design – Sir Charles Bell – 1833

    Published by William Pickering, London in 1833. A second printing same year as the first, revised and expanded.

    Octavo, 314 pages with numerous engravings throughout the text. Bound in contemporary half calf, spine gilt ruled with raised bands and separate leather title label. A very nice copy of an important fundamental work.

    Constituted the fourth volume of the remarkable Bridgewater Treatises (See our other listing).

    A landmark book by Scottish Surgeon Sir Charles Bell (1774-1842). He was the first Professor of Anatomy and Surgery at the London College of Surgeons and established the Medical School at the University of London where he headed up the Surgery Department.

    Medical Classic by Sir Charles Bell


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  • Polar Manual – E. E. Hedblom

    Polar Manual – E. E. Hedblom

    Prepared and published in 1961 under the auspices of the U.S. Naval Medical School by Captain Hedblom of the Department of Cold Weather Medicine.

    Cold Weather Oceanographer, Patrick Arnaud’s Copy

    The author held a number of distinguished relevant positions including Staff Surgeon, Commander Naval Support Force Antarctica 1955-1959.

    Quatro, 133 pages after preliminaries. Some useful illustrations in the form of charts, diagrams etc. Sound advice under the following general headings … Living Condition; Selection of Personnel; Physiology; Hygiene; Psychological Adjustment; Clothing; Nutrition; Sanitation; Sled Dogs; Visual Disabilities; Cold Injuries; Medical Supplies; Safety; Survival; Polar Do’s and Don’ts; Antarctic Mortality and a relevant Bibliography.

    Makes for interesting reading and not just for the medically inclined. We learned that for sure if lost one should stay in the same place and wait to be found … but keep moving … and aircraft accident are the biggest cause of death so stay out of the sky. Alcohol at this time still highly recommended but gin was the recommended tipple, suggestions that on the occasional too much is consumed by some … and Cape Hallett although most of the year is sub-zero was nicknamed the “Banana Belt” by the “Pole Cats”.

    Patrick Arnaud (1939-2016) was born in Paris and after graduating was accepted, as oceanographer, on the 1961-1963 expedition wintering over on Adelie Land, Antarctic … at the Dumont d’Urville base. He went again to the Antarctic in 1964 to complete his work. He was the author of over 200 scientific papers on his subject. He spent several years as a member of the Editorial Board of the Polar Record.

    Essential Polar Advice – Arnaud’s Copy


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  • The Sexual Life of Savages in North-Western Melanesia – Bronislaw Malonowski

    The Sexual Life of Savages in North-Western Melanesia – Bronislaw Malonowski

    Bronislaw Malinowski’s landmark book about the sexual life of the people of the Trobriand Islands. Papua New Guinea.

    A third edition published in 1932 by Routledge, London after the first of 1929. Contains the important lengthy “Special Forward” by the author who was unhappy that the book had been sensationalised regarding its sexual content, and that his objective of the “synthesis, integration of details, the correlation of aspects, the whole functional mechanism in short was missed”. Time has corrected that and he would be happy now that this important book is more fully understood and appreciated

    Large, royal octavo, 505 pages after extensive forwards and preliminaries. Original salmon cloth covered binding, gilt title to spine, faded. Foxing to title and page edges otherwise clean. Complete with map, 91 illustrations from photographic and four figures

    Malinowski gives a detailed description of the social organisation of sexuality (social rites, partner choice etc). Tracing the Trobriand life cycle from birth through puberty, marriage and death. At the time of publication chapters such as “Lovemaking and the Psychology of Erotic Life” which includes “The Conversations of Two Lovers” and “Erotic Approaches” were considered rather racy requiring this book to be issued with a special notice indicating to booksellers that it was a work reserved for academic and research purposes. Malinowski argues that the unusual (“co-operative” – our word) lifestyle of the Trobriand Islanders proved the Freudian Oedipus complex is not universal.

    Malinowski broadened our minds in the Trobriands


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  • Rocks and Minerals of Australia – Oliver Chambers

    Rocks and Minerals of Australia – Oliver Chambers

    Published by Methuen in Australia a first edition 1976. Very good condition. 246 pages with lots of images, diagrams and maps. And with the striking Crocoite on the front board – see our examples on this website.

    Or favourite “Observer Book” part of an Australian contribution to the series. A serious miniature work on the subject and the source of much of Voyager’s knowledge.

    The detailed maps at the end and connectivity to the narrative open up the enormous subject to the newcomer

    An expert in a day!


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