17 June 2008
PASCAL, Blaise (1623-1662). Traitez de l'Équilibre des Liqueurs, et de la Pesanteur de la Masse de l'Air. Paris: Guillaume Desprez, 1663.
12o (147 x 82 mm). 2 folding engraved plates, one woodcut diagram in text. (Small repair to letterpress third line of title-page, one persistent marginal wormhole throughout.) Contemporary speckled calf, spine and edges gilt (joints just starting). Provenance: De Pedepelaur(?) (signature on title-page).
FIRST EDITION OF THE FIRST ACCOUNT OF PASCAL'S LAW, stating that pressure in a liquid is transmitted undiminished in all directions. Divided into two closely related parts, this posthumous work is devoted to the laws of hydrostatics and to the demonstration and description of the various effects of the weight of air. Continuing the investigations of Stevin, Galileo, Torricelli, and Mersenne, he provided in the Traitez a lucid account of the fundamental concept of pressure. "Using the recently invented Torricellian barometer, Pascal had his brother-in-law climb the Puy-de-Dôme in 1648 and watch the barometer level fall with the ascent, thereby demonstrating that air had weight... The relationship of barometric change and change in the weather was first outlined here" (Dibner Heralds of Science 143); Norman 1650; Sparrow Milestones of Science 157; Tchemerzine V, p. 59; Waller 12161.
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