VOLTA, Alessandro (1745-1827). ''On the Electricity excited by the mere Contact of conducting Substances of different kinds'' [drop-title]. In: Philosophical Transactions 90 (1800), part 2, pp. 403-431. London: W. Bulmer & Co. for Peter Elmsley, 1800.
VOLTA, Alessandro (1745-1827). "On the Electricity excited by the mere Contact of conducting Substances of different kinds" [drop-title]. In: Philosophical Transactions 90 (1800), part 2, pp. 403-431. London: W. Bulmer & Co. for Peter Elmsley, 1800.
4o (273 x 212 mm). Folding engraved plate. (Some minor marginal browning and scattered pale spotting.) Contemporary half calf (worn). Provenance: James Brodie of Brodie (engraved bookplate).
"THE FIRST ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE VOLTAIC 'PILE,' OR ELECTRIC BATTERY" (Horblit). Volta's invention of the electric battery (the "voltaic pile") was composed of pairs of silver and zinc disks separated by cardboard soaked in saline or acid solution. It was a breakthrough in pysics, and led to the development of electrotechnology. "The voltaic pile revolutionized the theory and practice of electricity, so that within one hundred years of Volta's invention more progress was made than in the two thousand four hundred years between the tentative experiences of Thales and the publication of Volta's letter addressed to Sir Joseph Banks, President of the Royal Society" (PMM). The chemical properties immediately inspired the electrolyzing experiments and led to William Nicholson's decomposition of water and Davy's discovery of the elements sodium and potassium. It inspired studies of the physical properties of the electric current which led to the laws of Ohm, Oersted and Faraday, and the dawn of electrotechnology. "With this new force, water was decomposed, metal was electro-deposited, the electro-magnet was created and the electrical age was begun" (Dibner).
HERSCHEL, William (1738-1822). "Investigation of the Powers of the prismatic Colours to heat and illuminate Objects." -- "Experiments on the Refrangibility of the invisible Rays of the Sun." -- "Experiments on the Solar and on the Terrestrial Rays that occasion Heat." 3 papers in: Philosophical Transactions 90 (1800), part 2, pp. 255-83; 284-92; 293-326, respectively. 4o. 7 folding engraved plates (the first two papers with one apiece and the final paper containing 5). FIRST APPEARANCES of Herschel's three important papers containing his investigations of the rays of the solar spectrum to determine which were responsible for heat production. Through these experiments he dicovered the infra-red rays. PMM 254; Norman 1059A.