London, South Kensington
23 April 2008
RUTHERFORD, Daniel (1749-1819). Dissertatio inauguralis de aere fixo dicto, aut mephitico. Edinburgh: Balfour & Smellie, 1772. 8° (198 x 120mm). (Very light marginal soiling). Modern green half morocco, gilt spine with red lettering-piece. Provenance: THE NORMAN COPY (book-label) -- Medical & Chirurgical Society of Aberdeen (stamp on verso of final leaf) -- Wellcome Medical Library (stamp and withdrawal stamp on verso of title).
FIRST EDITION. THE DISCOVERY OF NITROGEN, IN RUTHERFORD'S DISSERTATION ON 'FIXED AIR' (CARBON DIOXIDE). Although both Cavendish and Carl Wilhelm Scheele, a Swedish chemist, had isolated nitrogen previously, this is the first published description of a gas that could extinguish both life and combustion, but which was recognizably not 'fixed air', (carbon dioxide). Even Rutherford did not recognize this gas to be a separate entity, but thought it only a combination of common air and phlogiston. Garrison-Morton 921; Norman 1869.
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