Publisher Information: London: Dan Brown, Tim. Goodwin, John Walthoe [etc.], 1704 -1710.
Harris, John (1666?-1719). Lexicon technicum: Or, an universal English dictionary of arts and sciences: Explaining not only the terms of art, but the arts themselves. 2 vols., folio. Unpaginated; collation available on request. Engraved portrait frontispiece by G. White after R. White in Vol. I, 14 engraved plates, text woodcuts. London: Dan Brown, Tim. Goodwin, John Walthoe [etc.], 1704-1710. 320 x 205 mm. Paneled calf ca. 1704-10, rebacked, endpapers renewed. A few plates toned, but a fine copy. Armorial bookplate of John Manley, Esq. in Vol. II.
First Edition of the first English dictionary of arts and sciences, and the earliest modern encyclopedia of science. Harris was the first to make the distinction between "word-books" (dictionaries) and "subject-books (encyclopedias), and his Lexicon Technicum is the first English encyclopedia to be arranged in alphabetical order, as opposed to systematic order in the tradition of the medieval encyclopedist, Isidore of Seville.
A clergyman educated at Oxford, Harris took an early interest in science, and was elected to the Royal Society in 1696. As a result, he had access to many of the greatest scientific minds in England, and the Lexicon technicum may be the first example of an encyclopedist relying directly on the consultation and help of experts or specialists, such as John Ray and Isaac Newton. In particular Harris relied heavily on the writings of Isaac Newton as a source, quoting lengthy excerpts from them under such headings as "Attraction," "Colour," "Fluxions," "Gravity," "Light," and "Motion." The introduction to Vol. II contains the first printing (in Latin and English) of Newton's "De natura acidorum," his only published work on chemistry; and the articles "Quadrature" and "Curves" give the first English translations of the "Two treatises" from Newton's Opticks.
The first edition of volume 2 was published together with the second edition of volume 1. Therefore sets of the first edition of both volumes of Lexicon Technicum are rare on the market. Babson Supplement, p. 55. Collison, p. 99. Horblit , One Hundred Books Famous in Science 25a. Norman 992. Printing and the Mind of Man 171a. Wallis 383.5-383.501.Book Id: 40876