Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice

    Description

    Early Work Foreshadowing
    Mechanical Philosophy

    John Wilkins. Mathematical Magick: Or, The Wonders That may be Performed by Mechanical Geometry. In Two Books. Concerning Mechanical Powers Motions. Being one of the most Easie, Pleasant, Useful, (and yet most neglected) part of Mathematicks. Not before treated of this Language. London: Printed for Ric[hard]. Baldwin, 1691. Fourth edition. Octavo. A-T8, V4. (14), 295 pages (1). Numerous illustrations within the text, woodcuts and engravings. Half modern calf over marbled boards, gilt title on spine. Modern endpapers. Frontispiece portrait and title page glued together at inner margin (no affect), inner hinge opened, but strong. Title page with old owner's signature in ink. Foxing and toning to the pages. Q7-R5 small ink stain to lower outside corner (no affect). Externally fine; internally very good condition.
    From the Krown & Spellman Collection.
    Please visit HA.com/6127 for an extended description of this lot
    .


    More Information:

    "In 1648 Wilkins published Mathematical Magick, or, The Wonders that may be Performed by Mechanical Geometry. The first part of the book, on mechanical powers, showed how simple machines like the lever, pulley, and screw could be used to bring about remarkable effects, while the second part, on mechanical motions, discussed among other things flying machines, the submarine, automata, and perpetual motion. Offered as a practical manual rather than as a work of theoretical exposition, it can nevertheless be seen as a foreshadowing of the mechanical philosophy and of the increasing importance of the geometrical approach to an understanding of nature. It was influenced by the work of Guidobaldo del Monte and Marin Mersenne, and formed an attractive and highly effective medium of popularization." - ODNB.

    "Wilkins was also concerned to popularize the science of mechanics. Mathematical Magick, or the Wonders that May be Provided by Mechanical Geometry was, even more that the Discovery or Discourse, a work of popular science. Its purpose was not to defend the validity of a relatively new scientific theory but to familiarize the average man with the basic and long-accepted principles of mechanics. Wilkins begins with a defense of mechanics as a liberal art that was, like astronomy and music, a "species" of "mixed mathematics." The basic subject of mechanics was the relationship between weight and power. Weight was no longer to be considered a natural quality, whereby condensed Bodies do of themselves tend downwards, but and affection, which might be measured. Wilkins hoped to spread the new, mathematical approach to mechanics to the general public. He then describes basic mechanical principles and discusses their application. How shows how, at least theoretically, the force of any mechanical faculty could move any weight, suggesting that a small child, using a machine composed of a hundred double pulleys, could easily move the earth itself....in general, Wilkins preferred to stimulate imaginations rather than provide blue prints." - Intellectual Biography of John Wilkins, Barbara Shapiro.

    Wing 2201.



    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2015
    5th Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,425

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $100,000 (minimum $14), plus 20% of any amount between $100,000 and $1,000,000, plus 12% of any amount over $1,000,000 per lot.

    Sold on Aug 5, 2015 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    VIEW BENEFITS
    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
      winnings 
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2022 April 3 Guitars and Musical Instruments Signature® Auction .

    Learn about consigning with us

    Thanks a million for getting approval to sell my Civil War Hospital Death Ledger! You made them AND ME , a nice profit. You are the best!
    Ed W.,
    Mount Vernon, OH
    View More Testimonials

    HA.com receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source: Similarweb.com)

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search