- Londini (London), United Kingdom: Petrus Short, 1600.
- quarter vellum, paste paper coverd boards, vellum tips, red and black leather spine label, gilt lettering on spine, clamshell box
- [xvi], 240 pages
Price: $37,500.00 other currencies
Order Nr. 131432
First edition. Gilbert's (1544-1603) De Magnete is "a remarkable work in the history of scientific discovery. Handwritten corrections, thought to be in Gilbert's own hand, on pp. 11, 22, and 47, but not on 14 or 63 as in some other copies. Minor soiling to covers and minor wear to leather spine labels. Two ex-libris bookplates, one of "Liechtensteinanis" and a more recent bookplate of "Cornelius Hauck Collection, Cincinnati, OH" on front pastedown. Errata slip bound in correcting the error on the spine indicating the date is "1550" when it is in fact "1600". Occasional foxing throughout the text. Previouslly featured at an auction at Christies in 2006. A lovely copy in a very nice contemporary clamshell box.
It cost the author 18 years of investigation and experiment. Large marginal asterisks mark what he considered great discoveries, and small asterisks minor ones. There are 21 of the former and 178 of the later. Gilbert shows that a freely suspended magnet is controlled by the earth and not, as supposed, by extra-terrestrial influences. his magnetic theory enabled him to explain the behavior of the compass-needle, the dip-needle, the magnetic condition of vertical masses of iron, and the magnetic properties of heated iron bars when allowed to cool while lying in the magnetic meridian. Gilbert is chary of prose and wrathful in denunciation; he was a staunch Coperican, and warm friend of Kepler and Galileo." [Wheeler Gift.] ". It is with Gilbert, who was physician to Queen Elizabeth I, that the modern development of electricity and magnetism really starts. His book On the Magnet was the first major English scientific treatise based on experimental methods of research. He coined the terms "electricity," "electric force," and "electric attraction". He contended that the earth was one great magnet; he distinguished magnetic mass from weight; and he worked on the application of terrestrial magnetism to navigation." [Printing and the Mind of Man] . Title with woodcut printer's device on recto and Gilbert's woodcut arms on verso. 88 woodcut diagrams and illustrations in text (4 full-page), one folding. Decorative woodcut heard- and tail - pieces and initials.
STC 11883. PMM 107. HORBLIT 41. SPARROW 85. DIBNER 54. HOUZEAU & LANCASTER 2870. Norman 905. Osler 675. Wheeler Gift 72. Durling/NLM 2099. ESTC s121112. Neville I, 522.