London, South Kensington
23 April 2008
GUERICKE, Otto van (1602-1686). Experimenta nova (ut vocantur) Magdeburgica de vacuo spatio. Amsterdam: J. Jansson, 1672. 2° (312 x 190mm). Engraved frontispiece, portrait, 2 double-page plates and 20 illustrations in the text, 7 full-page, errata leaf at end (occasional light browning). Contemporary mottled calf, gilt spine (joints repaired).
FIRST EDITION of Guericke's own description of the Magdeburg Experiments - they had first been described by Gaspar Schott in his Mechanica hydraulico-pneumatica (1657, see lot 238) and Technica curiosa (see lot 239) - in which Guericke had disproved Descartes' assertions that a vacuum could not exist and had also discovered the elasticity and weight of the air, probably the most important of all the experiments. The work 'describes the invention of the air pump, the first electric generator and his experiments on static electricity', Gedeon p.62. The Wheeler Gift catalogue states, 'This remarkable work on experimental philosophy ranks next to Gilbert's in the number and importance of the electrical discoveries described'. Guericke was also a devoted Copernican and this book contains his important astronomical investigations. Dibner 55; Horblit 44; Wheeler Gift 170; Norman 952.
SEE ILLUSTRATION ON FRONT COVER OF THE CATALOGUE
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