London, South Kensington
23 April 2008
BOREL, Pierre (1620-1689). De vero telescopii inventore, cum brevi omnium conspiciliorum historia ... accessit etiam centuria observationum microcospicarum. The Hague: Adriaan Vlacq, 1655-56. 3 parts in one volume, small 4° (198 x 152mm). 2 engraved portraits of Zacharias Janssen and Hans Lipperhey by J. van Meurs after Berckmann, one folding engraved plate, one engraved illustration, woodcut illustrations, including one of a telescope, initials, with errata at end of part II (small stain on title, occasional light spotting). Contemporary vellum, yapp edges (front hinge broken but still holding firmly). Provenance: Nordkirchen Library (armorial bookplate on verso of title).
A FINE COPY OF THE RARE FIRST EDITION in which Borel gives the first full account of the invention of the telescope and microscope. It also contains Christian Huygens' preliminary announcement in anagram form (book II p. 63, 'annuto cingitur, tenui, plano, nusquam coherente, ad eclipticam inclinato') of his discovery of the rings of Saturn (and of the Saturnian moon, Titan) three years before it was announced in Systema saturnium. 'By publication of the anagram he [Borel] was able to establish his priority before full disclosure of the discovery' (Norman).
Borel cites Zacharias Janssen as the first inventor of the telescope and Hans Lipperhey as the second. 'He also describes a "polemoscope", a 1637 invention designed for looking around corners, which is particularly useful in warfare' (DSB). Borel was the first to apply microscopy to medicine, and the second part of the book is devoted to microscopic observations. It also gives a full account of the construction of telescopes and microscopes and discusses ways to grind lenses for both these instruments. Garrison-Morton 261; Gedeon pp.64-6; Krivatsy 1569; Norman 268; Wellcome II, p.204.
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