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PRIESTLEY, Joseph (1733--1804)
The history and present state of electricity. with original experiments, by Joseph Priestley, LL.D. F.R.S.
London: printed for J. Dodsley, J. Johnson and B. Davenport, and T. Cadell (successor to Mr. Millar), 1767.
[4], xxxi, [1], 736, [8] p., VII, [1] pl. (7 fold.) ; 25.9 cm. (4º)

Primarily remembered for his work with gases including the identification of oxygen, Priestley was also the first historian of electricity. In this work, in which he was assisted by Benjamin Franklin, he methodically reviewed previous discoveries and contemporary electrical studies. "The work contains Priestley's statement of the inverse-square form of the force law between electrical charges, deduced, on Newtonian grounds, from Franklin's observation that pith balls lowered into an electrified metal cup were not influenced by electricity. This statement was virtually ignored at the time, but probably inspired Cavendish's subsequent experimental determination of the force law." See The Haskell F. Norman Library of Science and Reason (New York: Christies, 1998), no. 1748). With a bibliography of electricity, an index and a final advertisement leaf accompanied by an unnumbered plate containing 'A Specimen of a Chart of Biography'. ESTC t36344; Norman Library 1748.

Copy Notes Bought from Thomas Boone for 9s., 4 March 1807. (Spiers Box). With Boone's price and hieroglyph in pencil on front free-endpaper.

Binding C18th calf, gilt double-ruled borders and spine, red morocco spine-label.

Reference Number 517


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