LEWIS, WILLIAM.

COMMERCIUM PHILOSOPHICO-TECHNICUM; OR, THE PHILOSOPHICAL COMMERCE OF ARTS:

Published: Printed by H. Baldwin, for the Author; And sold by R. Willcock, at Sir Isaac Newton’s Head in Cornhill.

Date: 1763

First edition, second issue, completing the work. 4to. 8.5 x 10.75 inches. [1] imprimatur + frontis. + [2] + xviii + x + 646 pp. + [14] pp. index. Some irregularities in register but all pages present and correct. Illustrated by six plates, including folding frontispiece and plates 1-5, royal arms and tailpiece vignettes. Includes dedication to the King, preface and contents.

Note
This substantial volume is a work which applies science, especially chemistry, to various experimental and industrial purposes. It includes sections on the design of portable furnaces, on the properties and technology of gold, experiments on platina (i.e. platinum, then a little known metal), the manufacture of porcelain, the construction of blowing engines (blast furnaces), including at Lead Hills in the Scottish Lowlands, and black colouring, especially inks, paints and dyes. William Lewis, (1708-1781), physician and experimental chemist, was a native of Richmond, Surrey. After gaining a Cambridge degree in 1731, he began lecturing in London on chemistry and the improvement of pharmacy and manufacturing industry and was elected F.R.S. in 1745. He published on various chemical and pharmaceutical subjects from 1746 and set up his experimental laboratory at Kingston. Lewis was largely responsible for the establishment of chemistry as a discipline in its own right, and one that was separate from physics. Although dated 1763 on the title page, it was only the first four parts that were issued in that year and it was not completed until the final three parts and appendix were added in 1765. Some copies were issued with a title page of this date, described as Vol.1, but the intended Vol.2, never materialised. A handsome volume, in its original binding, printed with wide margins and including the magnificent frontispiece of a chemical and physical laboratory, equipped with an array of Lewis’ portable furnaces.

Condition
Extremities slightly worn and front hinge cracked but sound. Missing corners from bottom of b3-4 not affecting text. Otherwise a fine crisp copy.

Binding
Bound in original calf; spine divided into compartments by raised bands and gilt rules, with red morocco label .

£1000

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