London, South Kensington
23 April 2008
PRIESTLEY, Joseph (1733-1804). Experiments and Observations on Different Kinds of Air [volumes I-III]. Experiments and Observations relating to Various Branches of Natural Philosophy; with a Continuation of the Observations on Air [volumes IV-VI, with, at the end of volume I] Philosophical Empiricism: containing Remarks on a Charge of Plagiarism respecting Dr. H--s, interspersed with Various Observations relating to Different Kinds of Air. London: J. Johnson [volumes I-IV]. Birmingham: J. Johnson [volumes V & VI], 1775-86. 8° (211 x 123mm). 6 engraved plates, 5 folding, advertisement leaves at the end of each volume (but lacking after Philosophical Empiricism), half-title in volume I, with the final blank in volumes IV-VI. Contemporary tree calf gilt (expertly rebacked with original gilt spines). Provenance: Richard Prime (armorial bookplate) - Kenneth Garth Huston (bookplate).
Second edition of volumes I & II and FIRST EDITION of the remainder of Priestley's greatest work in which he identified and isolated oxygen. 'During this period - in addition to his discovery of oxygen - Priestley described the isolation and identification of ammonia, sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxide and nitrogen dioxide, and silicon terafluoride. He discussed the properties of mineral acids; further extended the knowledge of photosynthesis; defined the role of blood in respiration: and noted, unknowingly, the differential diffusion of gases through porous containers' (DSB). FIRST EDITION of the Philosophical Empiricism. 'Priestley had been accused of plagiarising Bryan Higgins's experiments on air and wrote this pamphlet in reply to Dr. Brocklesby and Dr. Higgins, In this work Priestley, who had attended some of the lectures given by Higgins, throws some light on the course, gives informations concerning the treatment of air in Higgins's Syllabus and on the personality of Higgins', Cole 1082. I. cf.Dibner 40; cf.Garrison-Morton 920; Gedeon pp.124-25; Horblit 85; cf.PMM 217. (6)
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