Publisher Information: London: Peter Short, 1600.
Gilbert, William (1544-1603). De magnete, magneticisque corporibus, et de magno magnete tellure. . . . Folio. , 240pp. Text woodcuts, folding woodcut plate. London: Peter Short, 1600. 296 x 194 mm. Recently bound in old vellum antiphonal leaf, cloth ties; preserved in a cloth drop-back box. Corner of leaf *2 repaired, minor stains on p. 46, light foxing, but very good.
First Edition. “One of the earliest monographs devoted to a particular branch of terrestrial physics, and one of the first published reports of an extensive series of linked, reconfirmed experiments” (Heilbron, Electricity in the 17th and 18th Centuries, p. 169). Gilbert divided his work into six books, the first of which gave an outline of the history of magnetism and introduced his new hypothesis that the earth itself was a magnet. In chapter 2 of the second book, Gilbert distinguished the effects of electricity from those of magnetism, thus establishing electrical studies as a separate discipline; he also introduced the terms “electricity,” “electric force,” and “electric attraction,” and described the first instrument (the versorium) for measuring electricity. In the remainder of his treatise, Gilbert discussed the five known movements associated with magnets—coition, direction, variation, declination and revolution—and discussed them in terms of the earth’s magnetism, using data obtained from experiments with a small spherical magnet (“terella”) which, he believed, duplicated the earth’s magnetism in miniature. Heilbron, pp. 169-179. Printing and the Mind of Man 107. Horblit, 100 Books Famous in Science, 41. Dibner, Heralds of Science, 54. Norman 905. S.T.C. 11883.Book Id: 43653