DEWAR, James (1842-1923). Collection of 12 offprints/pamphlets, mostly from the Proceedings of the Royal Society and Philosophical Magazine as listed below, FOUR WITH DEWAR'S PRESENTATION INSCRIPTIONS, on low-temperature physics, superconductivity, liquefaction of gases, etc. V.p., 1892-1904.
This collection includes most of Dewar's significant papers on the subject, including those which Dahl cites in the first chapter of his book. Several are presentation copies. Working at the Royal Institution, Dewar continued researches in gas liquefaction begun by Faraday, and was the first to liquefy hydrogen. He and Kamerlingh Onnes engaged in a long and heated competition (eventually won by Kamerlingh Onnes) over who would be the first to liquefy helium; however, Dewar's interest was not so much in the liquefaction of gases per se, but in the properties of matter at temperatures approaching absolute zero. "Joining forces with John A. Fleming of University College, London, Dewar began a systematic charting of the specific resistances of metals, alloys and nonmetals from the boiling point of water to the lowest point within reach [-197 degrees C.]" (Dahl, Superconductivity. Its historical roots and development from mercury to the ceramic oxides. New York: American Institute of Physics, 1992. p. 16). The temperature-resistance curves obtained in their investigations indicated "that the resistance for all pure metals converged downward in such a manner that electrical resistance would vanish at absolute zero" (DSB). Over the course of their investigations, Dewar and Fleming were able to gather accurate data on conduction, thermo-electricity, magnetic permeability and dielectric constants of metals and alloys from 200 degrees C. to minus 200 degrees C. Dewar's researches in low-temperature physics were greatly enhanced by his invention in 1892 of the vacuum-jacketed ("Dewar") flask, the most important device for preserving and handling materials at low temperatures
A listing of these offprints is available on request. They include the famous paper entitled "The Nadir of Temperature, and other problems" (1901). Various of the earliest papers in this group are co-authored with John Ambrose Fleming who later invented the thermionic valve or vacuum tube.
DEWAR, James. Black and white seated three-quarter legnth portait photograph signed ("James Dewar"), 200 x 151 mm, mounted on card.
A superb signed portrait photograph of Dewar in his laboratory--one of the more dramatic portraits of a working scientist from this period. This was probably taken after 1913, when Dewar shifted the focus of his research from cryogenics to the physics of thin films and bubbles. (13)