ACCUM, Frederick (1769-1838). A Treatise on Adulterations of Food, and Culinary Poisons, exhibiting the Fraudulent Sophistications of Breads, Beer, Wine, Spirituous Liquors, Tea, Coffee... London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, 1820.
8o (172 x 103 mm). Tinted aquatint vignette-title, woodcuts in the text. (Preliminaries a little browned.) Modern half tan calf, contemporary lettering-pieces (extremities lightly rubbed).
FIRST EDITION of one of the first exposures of food adulteration the sensational conclusions of which caused the author to exile himself for some time from England. This was the first systematic and "thoroughly dispassionate" survey of the growing problem of food adulteration. Among the many frauds Accum exposed were the use of alum for whitening inferior grades of flour; the use of cheap substitutes, sometimes poisonous, for malt and hops in the brewing of beer; tea that was manufactured from native English hedgerows; the poisonous pickles which owed their green color to copper; the nutty flavor in wines produced by bitter almonds, the rind of Gloucester cheese colored with vermillion and red lead; and the pepper adulterated with the sweepings of the warehouse floors. His book attracted immediate public attention. The first edition of a thousand copies sold out in less than a month, and a fourth edition had appeared within two years. "Yet the book had no immediate effect in reducing adulteration - indeed, it is quite possible that in exposing the techniques of fraud Accum instructed others in the very art he wished to suppress... In April 1821 he was indicted by the managers of the Royal Institution for mutilating books in their library... and he chose to leave the country rather than face public trial and disgrace... public opinion swung sharply against the man who had been for a time London's most popular scientist, friends deserted and his old publishers refused to handle any more of his work" (John Burnett, Plenty and Want, 1966, pp. 76-77). Bitting p.2; Garrison - Morton 1604.2; Wellcome II, p. 11.
ACCUM, Frederick. A Treatise on Adulterations of Food, and Culinary Poisons, exhibiting the Fraudulent Sophistications of Breads, Beer, Wine, Spirituous Liquors, Tea, Coffee,... London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, 1820.
8o (190 x 115 mm). 12 page publisher's catalogue dated April 1820 at beginning. Vignette-title, woodcuts in the text. (One or two pale stains and light soiling.) Original green pictorial boards, uncut (rebacked preserving some of the original spine, one or two small marks, extremities rubbed). Second edition. Wellcome II, p. 11. (2)