OHM, Georg Simon (1789-1854). Die galvanische Kette, mathematisch bearbeitet. Berlin: J. G. F. Kniestdt for T. H. Riemann, 1827.
8o (197 x 123 mm). Engraved plate; with the advertisement leaf (present in some copies). Original publisher's purple cloth, spine gilt (scratch on front cover, spine faded). Provenance: Thovorowicz (signature on front free endpaper); Elihu Thomson (1853-1937), electrician and inventor (signature on front pastedown).
ELIHU THOMSON'S COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION of a pioneering work in the development of electrical science, containing the first fully developed presentation of Ohm's theory of electricity. In it Ohm established the basis for the modern system of electrical measurement, the so-called "Ohm's law," which states that the "resistance of a given conductor is a constant independent of the voltage applied or the current flowing" (PMM). Although Ohm derived his law from rigorous experimentation, his work suffered from "a highly abstract theoretical mode of presentation [influenced by Fourier's Thorie analytique de la chaleur, 1822] that obscured the theory's close relationship with experiment" (DSB). Partly for this reason, when it first appeared Ohm's work was poorly received by his contemporaries, even within Germany, "largely because the majority of German physicists in 1827 represented a soon-to-be-superseded non-mathematical approach to physics" (op cit.) By the early 1830's, however, Ohm's fundamental law of electric circuits had been adopted by younger physicists studying electricity. "On the other hand, the question of how fast Ohm's work became known and appreciated by the majority of scientists who were not particularly concerned with that branch of physics has still to be answered... English and French physicists [including Faraday] seem not to have become aware of Ohm's work and its profound implications for electrical science until the late 1830's and early 1840's" (DSB).
AN ELECTRICAL ASSOCIATION COPY. Elihu Thomson was an organizer of the Thomson-Houston Electric Co., which was merged with Thomas Edison's company to form the General Electric Co. in 1892, which manufactured and operated under his inventions, for which he obtained more than 700 patents. Among his numerous inventions: electric welding, the standard three-phase alternating-current generator, the centrifugal cream separator, the common watt meter, the electric bowlbrush, and the street arc lamp.
Dibner Heralds of Science 63; Grolier/Horblit 81; Norman 1607; PMM 289; Wheeler Gift Catalogue 835.