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Richly illustrated lectures on applied physics, by the Royal Society's de facto curator of experiments

DESAGULIERS, John Theophilus.

De natuurkunde uit ondervindingen opgemaakt ... Uit het Engels vertaald door een liefhebber der natuurkunde.
Amsterdam, Isaak Tirion, 1751. 3 volumes. 4to. With 114 folding engraved plates. Contemporary half calf.

€ 2,500

Second edition in Dutch of a syllabus of lectures by a British natural philosopher, reprinting the first two volumes and adding a third volume that appears here in translation for the first time. The son of Huguenot refugees, Desaguliers (1683-1744) studied at Christ Church, Oxford and succeeded James Keill as lecturer in experimental philosophy at Hart Hall. "Desaguliers' practical abilities aroused the Royal Society's interest soon after his arrival in London ... at Newton's suggestion, he was invited to repeat some of Newton's experiments on heat; before long he had become a de facto curator of experiments" (DSB).
Desaguliers was highly skilled in practical mechanics, improving numerous devices, and described and demonstrated a great number of experiments. For the benefit of his audience, Desaguliers published a number of his lectures in 1717 and in 1719 others appeared in an unauthorized edition that Desaguliers denounced. Only in 1734 did the first official volume of lectures appear, including a simple treatment of Newton's system of the world and a description of Ralph Allen's railway in Bath. The second volume appeared in 1746. "Desaguliers attributed the ten-year delay before the appearance of his second tome to his desire to improve the treatment of machines, especially waterwheels ... Continuing with mechanics, in seven lectures, he discussed impact and elasticity, vis viva and momentum, heat, hydrostatics and hydraulics, pneumatics, meteorology, and more machines. This second volume ... entitles Desaguliers to be considered a forerunner of the more advanced knowledge of machinery that characterized the Industrial Revolution" (DSB).
With some spotting throughout and the bindings rubbed. The privilege of volume 1 is bound after instead of before the contents; volume 2 with a small wormhole in the lower margin not affecting the text and a hole in the lower margin on pp. 279-301. A good copy of this interesting work on applied physics, with attractive engravings.
Bierens de Haan 1178-1180; DSB IV, pp. 43-46; STCN (12 copies, incl. 6 incomplete).

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