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MENDELEEV, Dmitry Ivanovich (1834-1907). Osnovy khimii [Principles of Chemistry]. St. Petersburg: 1869-71.

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MENDELEEV, Dmitry Ivanovich (1834-1907). Osnovy khimii [Principles of Chemistry]. St. Petersburg: 1869-71.

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MENDELEEV, Dmitry Ivanovich (1834-1907). Osnovy khimii [Principles of Chemistry]. St. Petersburg: 1869-71. 8° (175 x 107mm). Half-titles, wood-engraved illustrations, folding letterpress table in volume II. (Heavy dampstaining in vol. I, more occasional dampstains in vol. II, some scoring in red ink and pencil, occasional ink stains, heavy stain on 26:1v of vol. I, final leaf of vol. I torn through and with patch on verso causing loss to 15 lines, half-title to vol. II bound in after title, title ink-stamped, folding table with small internal tear, tear at inner corner and some creases, first leaf of text in vol. II torn with some loss at lower corner and repaired, 46:8v and 47:1r soiled.) Contemporary Russian roan-backed cloth (rubbed). Provenance: Vladimir Antushev, 27 February 1877 (inscription on front free endpaper of vol. I); 1903 inscription and one later signature on title. FIRST EDITION. The Principles of Chemistry, Mendeleev's principal work, was conceived after he had been appointed to the chair of chemistry in the University of St. Petersburg in October 1867. Finding there was no book he could recommend to his students as a text for his lectures, he set out to write his own, deriving his basic plan from Gerhardt's theory of types, whereby elements were grouped by valence in relation to oxygen. However, in his early chapters on alkali metals and specific heat, Mendeleev organised the halogens and alkali metals according to their atomic weight in order to show that, in spite of their common valency, they had a contrary chemical relationship. He then had the crucial idea of arranging the several groups of elements in the order of atomic weights. In seeing there was a regular progression between the atomic weights of all the elements, he was led on remarkably quickly to the formulation of the periodic law. His preface, which is dated March 1869, contains the first ever chart of the periodic table on the last page [iv], though it was only on the first of March, as he was making ready to leave St. Petersburg for a trip to Tver (now Kalinin), that Mendeleev had first realised how to group the elements according to the principle of atomicity. The table also appeared in the same year in a paper by Mendeleev in the Journal of the Russian Chemical Society (see Horblit Science 74). DSB IX, p. 288; Bolton p. 664.
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