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    With the First Periodic Table of the Elements

    James Dalton. A New System of Chemical Philosophy. Manchester: S. Russell, 1808-10. First edition of Dalton's work on the atomic theory of matter. Signed by W. J. MacNeven, the first Professor of Chemistry at Columbia University and the foremost exponent of Dalton's atomic theory in the United States, on the title page for Part II. Two octavo volumes bound in one. vi, [2], 220; [8], 221-560 pages. Illustrated with eight engraved plates. Contemporary half leather over marbled paper-covered boards, rebacked with a leather spine title label lettered in gilt. Moderate wear to the binding. Armorial bookplate to front pastedown. Marginal notes on a few leaves (possibly by MacNeven). Top sixth of the title page filled, likely removed originally for the previous owner's signature. Dampstaining to the top margin of a few plates. Occasional light scattered foxing. Still, a very good copy of a rare title.

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    From Printing and the Mind of Man: "The identity of each atom was established by its particular weight, which could be determined experimentally for each element, taking the weight of the hydrogen atom, the lightest, as equal to one. Thus Dalton found the oxygen atom to weigh 6.5 times as much as the hydrogen atom, etc. Hence the problem of chemical composition was that of determining how many atoms, and of which kinds, entered into a unit, later known as the molecule, of each compound substance. This problem dominated nineteenth-century chemistry." The third volume, not included, was published seventeen years after the second and is, therefore, often not present. Printing and the Mind of Man 261; Grolier 22.

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    Auction Dates
    October, 2013
    17th Thursday
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